The Rapps on information brokerage
You can search the net for many articles about one Mr. Edward James Rapp in Colorado. Recently Mr. Rapp had his information brokerage shut down by the Feds. It seems that TouchTone Information Services, an information brokerage, was illegally claiming to telephone companies and banks that they were the institution’s customers in order to get information on target companies for their clients.
In one instance his client was a wine company that asked for information on another wine company. The Rapps delivered a 4 month history of the long distance telephone calls of the target company to their client company. The client company then went after each and every one of the target company’s customers. Ouch!
Information brokers who move from research into the area of economic espionage provide a service of great value to their clients: The wine company mentioned above could never have acquired their competition’s client list by legal means.
It is unfortunately true that many investigations, both in the private sector and the law enforcement sector, involve some sort of deception. However, there is a real risk that, without controls, unscrupulous investigators, whether public or private, may end up performing illegal acts which place their clients at risk.
Stick with licensed private investigators and business intelligence professionals, for whom there is at least some minimal recourse, and make sure their actions don’t put you at risk.