The Skinny on Bank Account Searches
Short Answer: As an attorney who has been conducting asset searches for other attorneys for over 20 years, I am repeatedly contacted or approached by lawyers and other professionals and asked whether it is permissible for a lawyer, individual, asset search company or private investigator to conduct bank, stock, bond or mutual fund account searches on a subject. The short answer is “no”. Conducting a bank, stock, bond, or mutual fund search is considered to be an invasion of privacy and is also considered to be an unfair and deceptive business practice. More important, any company that claims to be capable of conducting bank account searches in this day and age, (and there are a number of them) is doing so by using false pretenses. Be forewarned also, if that was not enough, that the Board of Bar Overseers has also come out and stated that an attorney, who has a bank account search conducted on their behalf or on behalf of their client, could be held vicariously liable. Finally, the Attorney General’s offices, in a large number of states, have aggressively sought and obtained injunctions and heavy fines against individuals and asset search companies who conduct bank account searches. So when you have to satisfy your “due diligence” on behalf of your clients by conducting an asset search, contact a reputable company who knows what is permissible and what is not. Here, at www.assetsearchesplus.com, we only use trained asset recovery attorneys to conduct asset searches. We provide our clients with access to each and every asset and liability of a subject that is permissible to obtain, in all 50 states, so that our clients can receive the necessary data to fully satisfy their due diligence within (1) to (3) business days. Long Answer: The long answer as to why you are no longer able to conduct a bank account search is that on November 12, 1999, President Clinton signed the Financial Services Modernization Act into law. Since then, using false pretenses to obtain bank account information, from either banks or bank customers, is considered a federal crime. The law applies to all banks and financial institutions, including stock brokerage firms, insurance companies, loan companies, credit card issuers, and credit bureaus. The Act applies to those persons who use false pretenses and any third party requesting the information when it is known, or should be known, that false pretenses will be used. Certain limited exemptions do apply. Exempt parties include law enforcement agencies, financial institutions, insurance companies conducting claims related investigations, and state-licensed private investigators that are attempting to collect delinquent child support. However, in this case, private investigators must have a court order in hand authorizing the bank investigation.