Can a Private Investigator Access Financial Records?

Can a Private Investigator Access Financial Records?

A private investigator can obtain financial information, but in accordance with legal guidelines. Generally speaking, a private investigator cannot retrieve financial records without permissible purpose. Banks are held to a standard, according to the Right to Financial Privacy Act. An additional act called the The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act requires financial institutions to safeguard sensitive information for services like loans, investments, insurance and financial advice.  The 1978 RFPA, restricts financial institutions from giving out customer’s financial records without being the owner of the account or the following:

  • Subpoena
  • Court Order
  • Warrant
  • Consent

Many seasoned financial investigators may be able to identify accounts for clients, but that may be the extent of the search. Once the accounts are found, the aforementioned must be present in order to obtain additional information. When consulting with a private investigator on obtaining financial records use caution. Many investigative agencies claim they are able to obtain records with account information and transaction history. Although this may be true, it could land you in trouble if you are not following lawful guidelines.

So How Do They Obtain The Information?

Many investigators could have inside contacts at banks that are able to provide them with the information. Other tactics used could be by use of pretexting, both of which are not legal. The use of pretexting to obtain financial information is a Federal crime and is protected under the Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act (GLB), also known as the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999, (Public Law 106–102, 113 Stat. 1338, enacted November 12, 1999).

Subtitle B: Fraudulent Access to Financial Information, codified at 15 U.S.C. §§ 6821–6827: Pretexting (at times referred to as “social engineering”) take place when an individual attempts to gain access to personal, nonpublic information without appropriate authority to do so. This may entail requesting private information while impersonating the account holder by phone, email, or even by “phishing” (i.e., using a deceptive website or email to collect data).

Can I Legally Obtain Bank Information?

In short, the answer is yes if you are approaching the matter legally, using the methods above. Always consult with an attorney. The use of attorney client privilege can be used as leverage if you are in search of financial records. This becomes beneficial when you are paying alimony, and wanting to know if your estranged ex is hiding financials for example. Be weary when sourcing PIs that claim they can access financial records. Many over promise and underdeliver due to legal constraints.

Should I Contact A Private Investigator About Financial Searches?

The answer is yes! If you have questions about financial record searches, we can assist you with our free consultation service. There we will be able to identify solutions to your case. We look forward to speaking with you.

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