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Useful tools for investigating junk faxes

Who owns a phone number
The fastest, easiest and simplest way to find out who owns any phone number is Phone Search Central. If they can't find it, there's no charge. I gave them a tough number and in about 30 minutes, they had the correct subscriber name, address, and phone company and also told me whether it was still active. I highly recommend this!

If you want to do things the harder way (which is NOT worth the time), http://www.fonefinder.net  will tell you which company owns the phone number. You can then subpoena that company to get the owner of the phone number.

Address and phone of a person
http://www.peoplefinders.com is a reasonable service. Their "people search subscription" works reasonably well, finding all sorts of things, including some things that are completely wrong. Don't use this for 800 number reverse searches...I never got anything even remotely useful from those (and they will reverse the charge on these automatically if you make a mistake). For cell phone numbers doing a reverse search, it will tell you only the name of the subscriber; and the location of the number when it was originally assigned; no address of the person. It is annoying that on every search it prompts you to sign up for a $16.95 "savings" program. The link to sign up is huge. The link to say "no thanks" is below it in small type, and somewhat hard to find. I did a criminal search on a guy I knew was convicted and it wouldn't tell me what county it was in, but it did find it. This service is a bit pricey, but may be your lowest cost option if you've exhausted the alternatives.

www.FreePhoneTracer.com charges $10 per phone number lookup. No hit, no charge. They don't charge for info that is publicly available.

Other resources:

ReversePhoneLookup.com
ReversePhonelookup.org
KnowPhone.com
ReversePhoneFerret.com
Phonedetective.com

How to find out the merchant ID of the company
You may have to put a small $ transaction through in order to get complete info. Having a rejected transaction may only give you the "name" of the vendor as it would appear on your statement which can be quite obscure and often bogus.

Bank of America ShopSafe is the best option. You can generate a one time number (including the 3 digit code) that is tied to your credit card and you can set a $ and time limit on that unique card number. But once a merchant charges to that card, it is locked to that merchant. So it is really safe.

A Visa Buxx number or a Visa reloadable card is another choice. Keep the amount in the account really low. When they try to charge your card, you can find out their merchant ID but ONLY if the transaction goes through! If it doesn't go through, then you only get the info that would appear on your bill (which could be bogus and it is not traceable). There are monthly fees though even if you don't use these cards. The B of A ShopSafe has no additional fees.

How to find the Florida seller of travel number
Call 800-435-7352 or 850-488-2221 and they tell you if a seller of travel is registered and their complaint history. This is not available on the website.

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services regulate sellers of travel in the State of Florida. If you want to file a complaint you can at our website www.800helpfla.com at our home page on the left or you can call us at 1-850-488-2221 or in Florida at 1-800-435-7352.

When I want to find out information about a possible FL State Seller of Travel, I call Sophie Campfield (850-410-3713) or Will Harter (850-410-3763). If they have a company registered in their office as a FL State Seller of Travel, then they will respond to a FOIA request and provide you with lots of information about the company...

There is a similar sellers of travel department in CA, but I haven't dealt with them much...

http://vcinweb.doj.ca.gov/SellerOfTravel/SotprodTest/sotInput.asp

Tracking down violators
This page at tcpalaw.com is an excellent resource of all sorts of information including forms to get PO Box information.

Recording phone conversations
I use Personal call Recorder from www.digital-loggers.com. I use the free WavePad from www.nch.com.au and sample at 16000 and save it in MP3  Constant bit rate CBR 16kbps (high quality). For lower quality and fast saves, capture at 8K and save in .wav format, PCM, 8kHz, 8 bit, mon, 7Kb/sec. Be sure it is legal first:

900 numbers
Number Administration System shows the responsible organization for each number. You then send a subpoena to the company to find out who owns it.

800 number ownership
As far as finding the resp org, in theory your long distance carrier should be willing to supply that for you. 

Ameritech has an automated service at 800-337-4194; they typically give a service number associated with the Resp Org, which you can then call to find out who the Resp Org actually is. A third method:

"If you don't know who to subpoena, use the RESPORG services or go to:

http://www.fonefinder.net  (Note: this works for non-toll free numbers too!)

and find out the provider and then go to:

http://www.nanpa.com/number_resource_info/carrier_id_codes.html  (download the "Feature Group D CIC assignments" zipfile)

to get their contact info. Call to ask WHO to send a subpoena to, then send it.

You can also try 1-800 Toll free number search program to locate vanity 800 numbers.. You can type in the toll free number in the "Vanity number lookup" at the top of the page and it will also get you the RespOrg. As before, you'll have to subpona the RespOrg to find who purchased that number. I've had excellent results from this site.

If you have a login, you can go right to the source: www.sms800.com 

For Canadian numbers: see CO Code Availability

With respect to subpoenas to resp orgs, I've found that you can generally fax the subpoena to them and simply ask that they fax the answer back. In three of three cases, they have simply faxed the information back to me.

See the question on the Junk fax Q&A on "The junk fax has a toll free response number on it. How can I found out who owns it so I can sue them?"

See also next section.

Phone number ownership

Abika services: Find out who owns a number or who is calling you!
Offers a very comprehensive set of searches and is very similar to Docusearch. Unlike Docusearch they can trace the source of a fax call into your phone number. This is the only service we know of that lets you do that without your having to change your incoming fax line into an 800 number (they can't block their callerID if you have an incoming 800 number). 

The way their service works is that you forward your fax line to their number and they forward the call back to your number instantly. In the process, they pick off the callerID that you can't get. So let's say you get 10 faxes a day. You just note the time you receive each fax and correlate it to the list they give you of phone numbers that called you at the same time. So you can identify the number of every single fax you got over any time period! It's called the Trace Phone Calls Search. 

The Abika "Trace Phone Calls" service is highly recommended because you get the phone numbers of each of the junk faxers that called you regardless of how they are trying to block their number. Then you can use the other Abika searches to find out who they really are (billing name and address, etc). Then you can sue the sender of the faxes. This is particularly useful for pump and dump faxes and the 900 number "we want your opinion" faxes because these faxes generally never identify who is sending them (since they want to avoid lawsuits) and if they have an opt-out number, it is generally blocklist.com and that's totally useless since blocklist doesn't identify individual clients...they just give the list to all their clients. So you can't sue blocklist and blocklist can't tell you who sent the fax. In fact, someone can just list the blocklist numbers and not even be a blocklist client! So that's why the Abika service is so important and it's the only one we know of that does this.

The cost is $79.96 ($69.98 plus 9.98 processing charge) for the first month; $10 for 1 month extensions. You get 100 minutes of talk time free with your initial order. You can buy additional 60 minutes of talk time for $10 each. For Canada, Hawaii, Alaska and Puerto Rico you get 50 minutes of talk time free with your order. You can buy additional 30 minutes of talk time for $10 each.

Note: You will probably not be able to forward back to the original number. This will depend on the local phone or cell phone company and often on the area, even within the same phone company. They have a database of the phone / cell companies and the areas where it works and it does not. For areas where it gives a busy signal the call has to be returned to a different phone number or voicemail. 

But for fax lines, if you don't have a second line handy or a fax machine that timestamps when the fax was really received (I don't have either), the best option is to do what I did and just forward my fax number to Abika's call center and then have them forward it the phone number of an efax service U sign up for such as www.efax.com. So you don't have to have another phone line installed, and you get an electronic record of everything, including accurate receipt times that you can then correlate to their call logs. And you can set everything up instantly (the efax number is instant; call forwarding may take a couple of business days to add).

Abika can immediately tell you of the caller's origin number and billing address. You either call or email them for the info. This is part of the "Call Trace" monthly service. So to do a live trace, you must do the same as described above, i.e., forward your number to them and have it forwarded back. As long as the call is 5 seconds or longer, you'll know who called you.

The service works virtually 100% of the time, even if the number is "out of area" or blocked and even when they were unidentifiable by callerID, *69, and *57. Basically, they get the ANI (Automatic Number Identification) information that certain businesses get (more info on ANI). Getting ANI delivered realtime to your home or office requires installation of digital equipment and a separate digital line, and programming at the CO. So Abika is the quick and easy way to accomplish the same result (getting the ANI information), but without the hassle, cost, or time delay.

Here's what they write:

We have had hundreds of customers who have used our call trace. If you would like to test us out, I can activate trace for a number you specify and you can ask any of your associates to dial that number from any unlisted, anonymous phone number or even using *69 and check us out. We will trace the origin number for all calls that originate in US and Canada. The proof is in the pudding. The test will speak for itself. (Can we get the $20 for winning the bet!:)

Regarding our price list, we do not have fixed pricing of our products. Our prices are dynamic and vary according to the complexity of the various searches we offer. Where is the price list? Each search is unique and gets the attention it requires. Prices vary depending on whose and what information you are searching as some information is easier (cheaper) to search and some more difficult (expensive). Once you fill out the search form with the search criteria and click "next" you will see the prices for that particular search. If the information is easy to search then that particular search is listed as FREE!

Q Regarding most of our searches? A. You can try any of our searches. All of them have a money back guarantee for inaccurate information found. As a businessperson you would be interested in knowing that the Wall Street Journal got the full report on Richard Scrushy (ex CEO) of Healthsouth's suspect activities from us even before anyone else in the media or investment community suspected anything. The time when WSJ got the full report Healthsouth was a high flying stock. In most of the searches we offer, we have the best sources for the information. We have even had a senior editor of People Magazine, a few magazine reporters and news anchors of a couple of local TV stations use us to get information for some of their stories and personal needs.

Here are some testimonials from customers who agreed to publish their feedback: http://www.abika.com/help/feedback.htm

You maybe interested to know that we offer a similar service to trace emails and instant messages. emails and IM traces are available for the whole of N. America, W. Europe, India, S.Africa and the Pacific Rim Countries including Australia and Japan. I wonder when many of the so called tech gurus say that emails and IM's are untraceable. We have conducted thousands of these traces with a success rate of more than 98%. A few major corporations use us to trace emails and IM's.

If you have any more questions or need any more information please do not hesitate to contact us online. help@abika.com. Or if you choose you can call us at: 720-207-0362.

Junk Fax Library 
Maintained www.junkfaxes.com. Just hit that search button (any extra info is optional) and you'll be amazed. Search for your favorite junk faxer here. Not terribly up to date, but an excellent resource. Try searching by removal number here.

Docusearch 
Find out who owns an 800 number, regular phone number, and more. Expensive (well under $100), but some stuff you can only get this way. If they can't find it, there's no charge.

Also use Ameritech's automated RespOrg ID service: 800-337-4194.

Call trap procedure

This is guaranteed to get your offender.

Have the phone company put a "trap" on the line, make note of when the calls came in. You must have the EXACT time of each call (e.g., I set my fax machine to the The official U.S. time and then I print out the "activity report" of the fax machine which shows the time of each fax transmission). Then I report it  by calling the Annoyance and Tracking line. For SBC, the number is 800-698-7223. After you get two faxes from the same sender, if they can't get a number, then they can put traps at the remote location and eventually you get them. Hit 0 to speak a live person when calling the SBC number. You also need to call the police/sheriff and get a case number (associated with harassment calls). They'll come out to your house and hand you a piece of paper with your police case # on it. The phone company will release the info to the police using that case #. You'll also need to file a small claims action against the junk faxer (use your best guess as to who it is using clues on the fax.com page; you can amend the claims later when you find out for sure). That way, you'll get a small claims case number (which you got when you filed your small claims claim with the court). You can then go to small claims, get a subpoena associated with that case number, fax it to the detective that handles these annoyance calls, and he'll fax you back the info from the phone company. For fax.com calls, you'll probably then have to repeat the process with the carrier that was identified in the call trap, i.e., the trap might tell you that the call was from Global Crossing and to "call 800-783 7380" for more information (i.e., the phone number to fax in your request). You'd then fax over your request for call records, the subpoena, and the call trap results and they'll fax back the results to the sheriff/police. You then ask the sheriff/police to release the information to you via the original subpoena which you asked them to hold. See KirschSBCTraceReport which shows how I did this. This whole process will cost you absolutely $0 out of pocket since the subpoena is free and you normally need not pay someone to "serve" the subpoena because law enforcement is happy to comply with the subpoena if they a served via fax or mail (rather than personal service from a paid process server, for example).

Here is some more info on call trap: Caller ID and My Privacy. The number for the SBC Annoyance call bureau in my area is 925-867-8101, for example.

Here's some slightly conflicting advice: Now *all* calls are logged by the LEC's (Local Exchange Carrier) computers. Ask them (via subpoena) for a call detail report (CDR) for all calls into and out from your number on the affected date. *ALL* the phone companies have this data... most for 90 days of history or more. If they tell you they don't, they are lying

Accurint.com
25 cents a search. Highly useful for tracking down people, even with unlisted phone numbers. Accurint uses a name, past address, phone number or Social Security Number to obtain the current name, address and phone number of targeted subjects. Be careful that you don't lookup someone you don't have a legal reason to lookup, or you can be sued by that person. So if you are looking up information for a lawsuit, that's ok.

Whois Source - Wildcard Domain Search Lookup
I have a silver membership here. It's totally worth it if you look up website registration. There are other lots of other reverse lookup tools here if you are a member.

Advanced Research, Inc. - Background Investigations, Asset Searches, Telephone Records, Locates
They will find a bank account owned by the debtor, bank balances for all accounts in a given bank, bank transactions, credit card transactions, Canadian phone records, etc. Even international bank account searches. You can find out where the person is currently employed. Searches that are not available on the traditional databases.

Operation Sting Free Search page
Useful free searches, e.g., within a certain state, lists all the free services for locating a debtor in that state. For $49, they will do a special search for you.

MelissaData address lookups
Lookup address related thing

Ancillary Service Endorsements
"Return service requested" (preferred) or "Address service requested"  are both ways to find a new address or confirm an existing address. See this page for a description of each type of endorsement.

Free People Search - Find People - Free People Locator - Find People Free, Skip Tracing, Trace People at skipease.com
variety of people search

Find anyone! We'll locate missing persons, debtors, assets, and employment (skiptracepros.com)
Pay service but worth it.

mapper.acme.com
Satellite photos: You can search by lat/lon, street address, zip code, or well known locations. Also: http://terraserver.microsoft.com/

International business name search
General Guides:

Anguilla company name search: Company Status Search

International phone number search

International phonebooks directory

International Telephone Numbers Directory - City, State, Country Phone Number Look-up

 

Batch reverse phone number
Use accurint batch mode or a service from
infoUSA.com.

ABA number lookup
ABA routing number verification. Free bank routing number search tool.

Bank account balance: See if funds are in the account you want to levy!
Welcome to www.bettercheck.com

TCPALaw investigation tools
A great list: Tracking down violators

Report bogus domain information
Bogus information in the domain registration in violation of ICANN regulations. Registrars are required to ensure that registration data is complete & accurate.

You will have to subpoena the registrar for the information on who paid for the registration.

You should also download and capture all information off of the web site and look to see who hosts the web page, as they can also be subpoenaed for customer data.

In the meantime, you can report incomplete or inaccurate domain registration information here:

http://wdprs.internic.net/

CorpAmerica Corporate filings
If you want to find out who the officers are, etc. you can order a "plain" copy of corporate records for any state in the US and some foreign corporations. See also: Division of Corporations - Authorized Direct Web Vendors

www.anywho.com 
Yellow pages, white pages, and reverse number lookup

www.argali.com
forward and reverse phone number lookup. This is a downloadable FREE tool that searches public databases.

FCC unsolicited fax orders and search 
Enter the name your favorite spammer and read what the FCC has done about them. Our favorite spammer, fax.com has 6 separate FCC citations on this page alone! This site uses the search engine that I invented when I was CEO of Infoseek, by the way. The FCC citations explain the law much better than anything I've seen on other sites. Read a few of them to educate yourself on the law.

G E E K T O O L S Whois Proxy
Fast whois lookup

Cell Phone Magic
They will find out who owns a cell phone.

http://www.ioffer.com/selling/infopros
This online store offers a variety of searches and stuff you won't find anywhere else....like how to get keys for the car you want to levy.

Offering nationwide and international investigative services, spy gadgets, safety and surveillance products, records research, criminal background checks and personal information verification services.

Information retrieval for insurance companies, law firms, repossession agents, financial institutions, collection agencies, private investigators, bounty hunters, process servers, bail bondsmen, businesses, spouses and parents.

US SEARCH 
Similar to Docusearch

UPS Store Locator/ mail drop mailbox mail box location
Actually what you ALWAYS do when you have any address of any perpetrator is simply first go to the UPS Store Locations search page http://go.vicinity.com/upsnew/prxStart.dsp
http://go.vicinity.com/mbe/prxStart.dsp
http://www.semaphorecorp.com/cgi/form.html

Excellent maildrop search: Mail boxes - remailing services. Directory of mail drops and mail boxes

Who is at this Address?
If I have an address and I am not sure what it is, or if it's even a real address, then I always go to www.usps.com and look up the address and the post office that delivers to the address. Then I call that post office and ask them if they know what's located at that address. I ask if it is a residential address, or if it's an office building of some sort. I ask them if they know if the address is a Commercial Mail Receiving Agency (CMRA) like a Mailboxes Etc or UPS Store. The post office is not required to answer these types of questions, but they can if they want to. I'd say 90% of the time they tell me what I need to know.

FEIN number lookup
Federal Employer ID Number can found here if it is registered: Query RN Information. Another low cost way is the Knowx.com: FEIN Number information Search Corporation Tax ID Number. Otherwise  www.dnb.com may work.

AutoTrackXP
Very comprehensive searches. Requires a subscription agreement and qualification.

Reverse Phone Directory - Find Name and Street Address from Telephone Number: Beware of selecting the 99 cent option. It obligates you to pay a large sum.

Reverse phone number lookup 
Find out who owns a phone number

Reverse Address Directory - Lookup Street Address Find Person's Name and Telephone Number to Locate People and See Who Lives There.

Craig Ball's Sampler of Informal Discovery Links 
A pretty extensive list of resources

Public Records from KnowX.com 
I've found this pretty useful. They charge for searches, but you'll find info here you can't get anywhere else. Reverse phone number, reverse address, corporate records, D&B reports, etc.

ScreenNow 
Get all sorts of info on a person.

Net Detective 2001 people search utility software- HDP Corporate Website 
Essentially a bunch of semi-useful hyperlinks, all categorized for you

OnlineDetective.com - unlisted phone numbers dmv records detectives personal public records investigate anything and more ! 
Seems to be similar to net dectective

Yellow Pages
Lookup phone number by business name

SuperPages.com
A search at superpages.com (hint: I usually look for the category "mail" at the particular address, then if that doesn't turn up a mail drop, search for any businesses at the address) turns up, for example, 5401 Chimney Rock Apartments 5401 Chimney Rock Road, Houston, TX 77081 (713) 661-3790

White Pages 
Lookup phone number by person name

Canada phone number lookup
Canada's 411

United States Postal Service - ZIP + 4 Lookup

Maps and Directions 
Handy when they don't give you enough info to confirm you got the right company.

GNU wget
I used this to grab a complete copy of the fax.com website so that they couldn't change it.

California Secretary of State - CalAccess : Follow the money!
A way to follow the money. Find out who fax.com is hiring as a lobbyist, how much they are paying the lobbyist, and campaign contributions to members of the Legislature supporting fax.com's bills to make it easier to send junk faxes.  See also California Secretary of State - Campaign & Lobbying

Find out who owns a PO Box 
Some popular techniques to find out the owner of PO Box

Telephone Prefix location 
If you have a phone like (650) 423-xxxx, it will tell you where that phone is.

Trash pickup
It's legal to pick up their trash and comb through it.

ID_Link 2L can record caller ID for calls to your fax machine
ID-Link 2L hardware provides Caller-ID connection your Windows PC and call logging for 2 phone lines. ID-Link 2L monitors the phone lines to capture all incoming and outgoing caller information.

Electronics and Surveillance for Law Enforcement 
A wonderful listing of suppliers.

CCS International Ltd: Surveillance, Counter surveillance and Hi-Tech Spy and Security Products 
This device is perfect for finding out what your fax.com faxcaster is doing. The FM-400 is a self contained fax logging system that will record all your incoming faxes and outgoing fax transmissions from your fax machine. The FM-400 offers compact digital fax recording technology for 4 fax machines or can be expanded up to 100 channels. This is Title 3 equipment and can only be procured by state or federal officials.

Radio Shack Call Accountant 200 (Cat.#: 43-446)
CallerID printer (for incoming faxes and attaching to a faxcaster). It does print out a record of every outgoing call as well as incoming calls. Also, like a computer it has to be on all the time, and it seems you have to reset the date every time the power goes out. If you attach to a faxcaster, order extra paper (Cat.#: 43-1266).

Windermere Standard Products 
They make devices to capture fax transmission.

Electronic Countermeasures Inc. 
Provides cellular, pager and fax surveillance monitoring systems to law enforcement and other investigative agencies world-wide. Fax Surveillance monitoring System 8000 (FSS-8000) connects to the telephone line of any fax machine or fax modem. It monitors, captures and stores a copy of all documents sent or received over the telephone line it is connected to. Stored images can be recalled, displayed and printed. Data rates up to 14,400 are supported. Can only be procured by state or federal officials. (403) 233-0644, Fax (403) 233-8849. Email: bill.fischer@t8000.com

GSM, CELLULAR, COMPUTER, FAX MONITORING 
Due to federal law, you must be in law enforcement to get access to this site.

ZoomInfo
This is a free site where you can find lots of information about a person or a company gathered from analyzing web pages. Very impressive.

Find out who called you
Use the call trace feature offered by the phone company. I did a *57 and got a "successful" trace, FWIW, plus an announcement that for $8 (plus tax and tip, no doubt) I can even have it reported the the police. For $8, they can record the number. Then if you take action, you subpoena the phone company for the call info, and if it is a subscriber of that phone company, you get info. on the caller as well. If it's not a subscriber of the phone co, you generally get who the local carrier is so you know who to subpoena for the subscriber info. If you were to have the number but want the subscriber info, and issued a subpoena to SWB, they would charge you a $25 fee for the record search. When you do a call trace, you get the whole shebang for $8. I've done call traces when I have the subscriber's name and number, but want a) a sworn affidavit from the phone company saying that the call was made from number "X" to my number "Y" at a specific date and time, and b) if it is from a SWB customer, full ID of the calling party, including name & address where the service is installed. All for $8, much cheaper than issuing a subpoena for records after the fact, and with more info.

Locating a company in Calif
Try http://kepler.ss.ca.gov/list.html  That's the CA business search page, might lead to what you need.

http://www.residentagentinfo.com  page
links to all the state corp. search pages on the net. Pretty helpful, if you still can't find it

http://www.checkemout.com/corporation_go.html 
has a nationwide corp/dba search for $39.00 .

http://www.freelancesecurity.com  
will let you have private PI's bid for a service you describe.

Can We Tape
Rules regarding taping of phone conversations in each state.

Other useful tools (for Internet and e-mail)

SamSpade.org Tools
A bunch of useful tools for Internet spamming investigation

Sam Spade for Windows
The classic program for snapping up websites and analyzing paths and mail headers.

Spamtrack 
How to track who sent you that unsolicited e-mail

See also:

Subpoena information

> Since SBC is now merged with AT&T, does anyone know where they accept > subpoenas? Anyone done an SBC or AT&T subpoena lately?

This is the information that I have (not sure what's still correct and what's old). Please let me know if you get a response from them.

The AT&T Subpoena Center 800-291-4952 (voice) 248-552-1764 (fax)

Southwestern Bell, SBC is now AT&T Teleport Communications Group (TCG) is now AT&T Corporate Security (Subpoena Compliance) 800-732-5689 800-559-7928 (general information) Must mail subpoena to: AT&T c/o CT Corporation Systems 1515 Market Street, Suite 1210 Philadelphia, PA 19102 I was told that they charge $150 for subscriber information, but that they will refund that money if they simply rebill service to another telephone service provider. One time they looked up a number that I gave them on the phone and told me it was rebilled to ICG Telecom Group, so I didn't need to send a subpoena at all.

Southwestern Bell, SBC is now AT&T Pac/Pacific Bell is www.sbc.com, 800-750-2355 Subpoena Department is 800-291-4952 (1, 5) 208 S. Akard, 10th Floor Dallas, TX 75202 214-464-2854 (fax) They said that they won't respond to a civil subpoena from out of state unless I have a search warrant or make a request on a federal level.

AT&T long distance and Resp Org information 877-973-7767, 2 Send subpoena's for toll free numbers to VP Regulatory Long Distance 5850 West Los Positas Boulevard, Room 302 Pleasanton, CA 94588 I sent a subpoena to AT&T the West Los Positas address and it was responded to by SBC Southwest at the South Akard address. I also sent one that never got a response.