Investigative Professionalism Recognized
Columbia Investigations and its detectives have been noteworthy and newsworthy, appearing in print and radio interviews. Please be aware that we will never violate a clients confidentiality... ever! Our clients come first!
Cell Phone, Tablet Hacking Becoming More Prevalent
COLUMBIA – Our cell phones and tablets hold our most sensitive personal information. Sometimes they track more of our lives than we’re comfortable with. The Missouri State Highway Patrol’s Digital Forensics Unit examined 239 cell phones and 95 computers potentially hacked in 2014, and those are not the only hacking cases in mid-Missouri. Private Investigator […]
Local Sex Offenders a Cause for Concern
I got an email this week from Melinda Kidder, a private detective with a heart for children’s issues.
Private investigator Melinda Kidder, owner of Columbia Investigations, uses her natural inquisitiveness and discipline developed through martial arts to solve cases.
Investigators with Integrity
Our team of detectives and support staff are committed to providing the highest quality investigative services.
I would like to offer my recommendation for Melinda and Columbia Investigations. Melinda’s assistance with my difficult and protracted situation was undertaken with the utmost professionalism and consideration. In one instance Melinda’s dogged persistence resulted in her serving a subpoena to an individual who was resolute in his efforts to not be located. Without any reservations I highly recommend Melinda and Columbia Investigations.
When I became a target of workplace violence, stalking, theft, and identity theft, it was Columbia Investigations (CI) that came to the rescue and helped me see the light at the end of the tunnel. Melinda has the integrity, toughness, and honesty needed in investigators today. She is freakin’ awesome and I wouldn’t recommend anyone else for your investigative needs or even to establish a baseline as support for trial.
Melinda is smart, tough yet compassionate, frank, ethical, loyal and competent. Her clients can trust her to do a great job, with only their best interests at heart. She is more than fair, and a very hard worker.
Melinda Kidder has provided insights and advice to others that appears both sound and reasonable. Further, she has a very enjoyable sense of humor and obvious intelligence.
Useful Tips and Tricks from the Blog
Is My Daughter Dating An Axe Murderer? How to Run a Background Check on Anyone – Part One
Reasons for a Background Check: One of the most common inquiries we receive at our firm is to look into someone’s background. Some clients need to know with whom their children are spending time. Others want to check out a potential spouse. The more financial savvy individuals are looking to find whether a potential investment is sound or if the deal may be a scam. Persons of a more litigious nature want to dig up the dirt before getting into the courtroom to either get something on the other guy, or make sure their own witnesses can stand up to cross examination. The number of reasons for a background check vary broadly. Application of the Law: As licensed investigators, we have to be aware of many laws which keep popping up to protect the privacy of our fellow citizens. There’s the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLB) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gramm-Leach-Bliley_Act Next is the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) http://www.ftc.gov/os/statutes/031224fcra.pdf Another is the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) http://www.accessreports.com/statutes/DPPA1.htm There are more, but these are some of the major ones by which we need to abide when checking into someone’s background for a client. If you attempt to check into someone else’s background on your own, you STILL need to abide by these laws. They’re not just for private detectives. They’re for everyone. To put it plainly, these laws are there to make sure NO ONE can have access to another individual’s specific personal information without a valid reason. To see those reasons, check out the links above. How Can I Do It Myself? What Do You Already Know? The first thing I ask a client is to write down all of the information they already know about the subject upon whom they’d like a background check. This saves them cost since I won’t be running down the same avenues they’ve already traveled in their search. More importantly, however, this helps the client to organize their needs, information, and helps establish other ideas for where to search for more facts. Database Searches: Well, you’re not going to have access to our proprietary databases such as www.irbsearch.com, www.skipsmasher.com, www.locateplus.com, etcetera. So, what about those sites all over the internet which appear to offer a background check for around thirty bucks? The difference between proprietary databases and the cheap online public access databases are that the proprietary ones typically update their information on a daily basis. However, if you’re going to do this yourself, the public one might be worth a shot as a starting point. Be sure to note that some information may be outdated or incorrect. Always double and triple check your information for accuracy, especially when your subject has a common name. Use the Power of the Internet: The internet is a wonderful tool. Learn advanced search techniques. There’s a very simple, but true, list of “do’s” at: http://www.ehow.com/how_2911_conduct-advanced-internet.html For a deep web search, check out www.paterva.com . One could not ask for a better search and relationship connecting program than Paterva’s Maltego Community Edition. I’ve been amazed at the depth to which this tool delves in its search to find information. The user interface is a bit difficult, but if you play around with it, the results will be worth the time and effort. The PI buddy who steered me to this “open source forensics and intelligence application” told me its even used by the CIA. True? I have no idea, but the program is awesome for our cause. Every investigator should add this data mining tool to their arsenal immediately. Hell, its free, too! Social Networking Sites: Don’t miss the social networking sites. Although Facebook and MySpace are enormously popular, there are so many more like LinkedIn, Naymz, etc. Even your boss might be checking on your online activity on these sites. Opposing counsel and prosecutors use social networking site searches to gather evidence and more. Here’s a great list of popular social networking sites for your search: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_social_networking_websites Another social networking site recently pointed out to me by a friend, which is not on the above list, is secondlife.com. Its new and growing fast as a virtual reality social networking site. Pretty cool, too. However, the first time I used it, I took the tour, then clicked randomly on the map and ended up in a virtual reality BDSM shopping center with no warning of the true nature of the content in advance. The moral of the story is to be careful where you click 😉 My family is urging me strongly to get off of the computer and join them for some family time. Therefore, this post is going to be a two-parter 🙂 Melinda Kidder Licensed Private Detective Columbia Investigations Columbia Missouri 573-673-2485
The Silent Rapist
The Prosecutor/District Attorney who offers a plea deal to the accused or chooses not to prosecute in spite of the hard work of law enforcement is a Silent Rapist. (more…)
Signs Your Spouse Is Cheating
No one wants to be the victim of a cheating spouse. It hurts the ego and leaves one wondering if the entire relationship has been a sham. The hurt can cut extremely deep and have a severe effect on future relationships. It can become hard to trust another partner again and cause brutal damage to one’s self-esteem. It can leave the victimized partner questioning everything about him or herself as well. Collateral damage can include the effect on children of the relationship as well as financial security. We’re often taught from childhood to ignore our instincts. Instincts, however, don’t go away. If you feel that something is wrong, it makes sense to “check it out”. Ask your partner what’s going on and try to open a dialogue. If your concerns are dismissed, but you still feel that something’s wrong, take a look at the list below and see if you notice a pattern. Remember, anyone can fit into a couple of these points below. However, if you’re noting a large swing in behavior, it could be indicative of a cheating spouse. The following include some signs that your spouse might be cheating on you: Privacy change: 1. E-mail or full computer access passwords are changed. 2. Avoids allowing you access to his/her cell phone. 3. Needs privacy when making phone calls. 4. Hides bills (cell phone, credit card, bank statements). 5. Wants time alone with friends when in the past you had accompanied one another. 6. Claims new personal interests which do not include you (new sporting league, book club, etc). 7. Changing clothing out of eyesight when modesty had not been a prior issue. Inconsistent Schedule: 1. Work schedule suddenly changes. 2. Work requires travel when there had been none in the past. 3. Frequently misses or cancels family or spouse engagements (family night, prior commitments with you). “Something just came up”. 4. Claims new personal activity, but times of activity are inconsistent. 5. Phone calls at odd hours. Habits change: 1. More time at work than usual. 2. More time spent on computer than normal. 3. Suddenly becomes asexual or wants more sexual activity. 4. Takes more pride in personal appearance. 5. Begins or drops habit (smoking, drinking, reading, etc). 6. Begins doing own laundry, more frequent/smaller loads and at odd times. 7. Showers immediately upon arriving home. Its not you, its me: 1. Claims need for space to “figure things out.” 2. Separates emotionally; becomes emotionally unavailable. 3. Refuses to discuss issues or partake in couples counseling. 4. Becomes physically unavailable for family/partner events or discussions. Its not me, its you: 1. Belittles inquiries, turning them around on you. 2. Dismisses concerns as paranoia. 3. Accuses you of being overbearing, suffocating, needy or prying. 4. Protests profusely. 5. Refuses to discuss your concerns. Separates from friends: 1. Avoids gatherings with those who may be considered “your” friends. 2. Limits contact with friends who would normally confront unusual behavior. 3. Avoids your family. Unavailable: 1. Suddenly hard to contact at work. 2. Often has cell phone turned off or leaves unanswered. 3. Friends with whom s/he was supposedly with make excuses why s/he cannot come to the phone and will have him/her call you back. 4. Not where s/he says s/he will be. From the outside in: 1. Frequent hang up calls when there were minimal or none in the past. 2. New social groups or interests which exclude you. 3. Receives gifts without reason or new objects are evident at home or in vehicle. 4. Friends recall seeing your spouse at time/location when spouse reported being elsewhere. 5. Co-worker attempts to reach spouse when spouse is reportedly at work. 6. Friends/family begin to inquire more about your relationship than normal. Remember, anyone can be found to fit into a couple of these molds. This is simply an effort to help you further explore the reasons you’re already reading this post.
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