Unclaimed Funds Warning

Unclaimed funds also known as unclaimed money is a real thing and there are government websites you can search to find and claim yours, but I have an important warning this week if you receive a letter in the mail from a company who claims they want to help reunite you with your money and charge a percentage of the funds recovered!

Here’s the thing. There are unclaimed funds out there.

I believe every state in the US has an unclaimed funds office. It can be hidden in commerce or the Secretary of State’s office. But somewhere, it’s there. And most, if not all, are searchable online.

Here’s what happens. Companies or individuals find people who are owed money and they track down the person. It’s kind of a skip tracing really. Then they send a letter that says, “We found this money that you’re owed. It’s unclaimed funds. We’d like to help you recover it.”

This is DIY!

They don’t tell the person where the funds are because it’s so easy to go get the money yourself!

You just contact the unclaimed funds office, and do whatever they require. Show your driver’s license, or whatever it might be to collect your money.

The company is offering to act as an intermediary, saying they know the secret place your money is and they found you so they can put you together with your money. Of course, they want a a percentage of what you collect.

I don’t have a problem with the concept. It’s a legitimate service.

Anybody who’s done skip tracing knows that they may look at a hundred unclaimed funds accounts and put the time, energy, and money into trying to find the people who belong to them and may have a relatively small success rate, depending on their skip tracking and how much they want to invest in it. They’ve still got to compensate themselves for the attempted and failed skip trace on the majority of people. I get it. They gotta charge for their service. However…

Two Warnings

Warning #1

I’ve spoken about this before. The company is asking for a piece of the money. One company I know of request a fee equal to fifteen percent of the amount actually recovered.

The contract they have you sign is quick to say, “I understand that if no funds are recovered, there is no fee payable” to the company. This is a contract you’re signing. They’re asking you to sign this contract to agree to the fifteen percent.

Okay. Maybe that’s a fair amount. Maybe it’s not. I don’t know. I mean, it legitimately seems like a fair amount to me. However, in my state, that’s more than what’s allowed by law. In my state – the last time I looked – ten percent was the maximum that they could collect.

Warning #2

The last line in the contract you sign says, “I will not authorize any other firm to represent me in this matter.”

There you run into problems. Because once you sign this and return it to them, they’ve got you.

Whatever hoops they want you to jump through, whatever they say you need to do, you’ve got to do.

You can’t go to someone else. Your trapped!

I suppose you could hire a lawyer. But then you’re talking about money out of your pocket. The recovery company has got you. You’ve agreed you’re not going to use any other service.

I find that a little scummy and questionable at best.


Jim Rohn had this great idea. People would ask him, “Do you read a book on nutrition and follow it?” He says, “No! You read two books on nutrition and you make a decision. Don’t be a follower. Be a student.

Take the information I’ve shared with you here and use it with information from other experts, maybe talk to a professional in your area about this type of thing then make a decision.

Contact the Unclaimed Funds Office in your state if you get a letter like that. See if the they Unclaimed Funds Office can help you for free!

In the meantime, remember: Do the right thing, even if it’s the hard thing.

Committed to your success,
Larry Kaye, P.I.

P.S. – Want more solid info like this? Then don’t miss my special report titled… If You Want To be a Private Investigator Give Up… Unless You Do These Three Things. You can get it right here…

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Bad Guy Triggers

This week I’m teaching about bad guy triggers which is helpful for my brothers and sisters working as security guards and for loss prevention officers, but if you’re a private investigator and anticipate working on hit skip (or hit-and-run) auto accidents, you’re going to find value here as well!

This week, the idea of triggers for bad guys comes up because of a comment I got from a Loss Prevention Officer on one of my training videos.

The Shoplifter Case

He said as he was approaching the theft suspect, who had walked out of the store, the suspect turned and swung on the Loss Prevention Officer. He said he instinctively swung back, but the problem was that he already had the handcuffs in his hand and when he swung and it scratched or cut the bad guy’s face.

Of course, the bad guy sues the store.

The Loss Prevention officer said, all they had to do was show the video recording of the theft, of the blatant ,obvious concealment of merchandise and the judge dismissed the case.

I can argue both sides of this situation, but, in public, I’m not going to explain to bad guys some of the things that they should have thought about or mentioned in their lawsuit.

However. let’s talk about it from the good guy’s point of view.


When I worked loss prevention and used handcuffs, there were just hundreds of cases like what I just described. I would approach the suspect and he would try to flee or fight or both.

So based on my experience (been-there-done-that) is to not have your cuffs out until you have some sort of control over your subject. This is for two reasons.

One, you’re probably going to want both your hands free in case you’ve got to lay hands on the guy, move him, direct him, defend yourself, etc. I like to have my hands free for that.

Also, if you have a pair of cuffs, a lot of times the instinct is to pull them with your strong hand and now you’ve lost that primary self-defense hand.

I say wait until you have some control over the suspect before pulling out your cuffs.

The second reason is, having those cuffs out can be a trigger for the bad guy!

I don’t know about this case in particular, and I am not second guessing this LPO. I don’t do that. But, when the bad guy sees those cuffs, he can say in his mind, “No. We’re not doing that.” Then it’s on.

If you approach someone with empty hands with the cuffs hidden and completely out of view, the bad guy, even some die-hard bad guys, might not go to violence. The first thing they think is that they can lie to you. After all, they’re doing a shoplifting and trying to be sneaky rather than an outright robbery! They’re thinking they can say, “I don’t have anything on me” or “I paid for it. I have my receipt”. They think they can fool you. They think they can talk/lie their way out of it.

That allows you, as an experienced professional, to manipulate and hold the situation as needed for everybody’s safety and to get a good clean apprehension.

Don’t forget this…

One thing you have to remember is that the shoplifter may have a lot of experience with theft. They may steal a lot. If it’s drug-related, it may be everyday!

But, what you also have to take into consideration is that the Loss Prevention Officer has way more experience in apprehending thieves!

This guy may steal every day, but he only gets caught once or twice a year.

However, the Loss Prevention Officer has way more apprehension experience under his or her belt! That means you know ahead of time what some of these bad guy triggers are and can anticipate and adjust for them, like keeping the cuffs concealed.

Another Shoplifter Trigger

Another trigger that I ran into when I worked loss prevention was, as we would bring people back in, there was an archway that led to where our loss prevention office was.

On the right was a fitting room. On the left was a stockroom door. When you went back to the stockroom, there was the loss prevention office behind another door.

It wasn’t going through the door to the stockroom that was the trigger for a lot of people, it was when they came to the archway and they realized, “This is it. They’ve got me.”

When you do your job enough, you learn what the triggers are. Prepare for them.

Security Guards

Security people, you’re probably not taking people into custody like that, but you know the area where you work.

You know that there’s a certain alley where people go and smoke dope. Or you know that behind these dumpsters, people go back there and causes trouble. You know the places.

I’m always surprised that total random, unconnected strangers will find the same use for the same space. It’s just human nature that we see certain things and react in certain ways. When you work security, you’ll know the geography of your work space and what things you have there that trigger certain behaviors.

Private Investigators

Let’s step into the private investigation world, where you might be doing accident investigations.

Specifically, I want to talk about hit skips, also know as hit and run accidents.

If you see these in real life, you’ll see that there are two basic types. If you’re investigating in hindsight, you’ll see them as well when you review, say, nearby surveillance video.

Two Types (according to the world).

All of the world, and certainly in law enforcement, divide hit skip accidents into two categories. Those with injuries, and those with just property damage. (And of course, I do too!)

Those are the two categories and that 911’s going to want to know about.

But, for you as an investigator, or maybe even as a security person on the scene, let me divide these into two different categories.

Two Types (according to Larry).

1. People who immediately flee the scene.

2. People who stick around for a few minutes, and then they flee.

Either way, this is why it’s really important to get a license plate number right away.

It’s probably the first move, in my view, because you can do as you approach the vehicles, even before you’re assessing for injuries or anything else.

WARNING: With the people who flee right away, a lot of times it will initially look like they’re not fleeing. It may look like they’re just backing their vehicle out of the intersection to make room for traffic to pass. But, they’re moving their vehicle for a reason (and maybe it’s a legitimate, lawful reason), but you need to at least consider they’re doing it to flee.

Of course, they can be running with what we call counterfeit tags or bogus tags, but you’d be surprised how many times a skilled investigator can still turn that around and figure out who the person is. (I worked a hit-skip once where the bogus tags belonged to the suspect’s brother-in-law.)

The second type of person, who sticks around for a few minutes and then takes off does it for a reason and I’ll share with you the trigger that makes them run.

You may not know this if you’re just viewing security footage from a nearby store or something like this, but watch carefully. Here’s what happens. They’re scared. They’re mind is racing.

I see this mostly when they’ve striking a bicyclist or a pedestrian verses another car.

Here’s the trigger: It’s when they hear the sirens arriving.

When the medics are a couple of blocks off, they hear the sirens and the driver is fearful. Then they flee. Not because they’re a bad person, but because they’re really scared.

Of course. they’ve just made their whole predicament a hundred times worse. They’ve taken something that was a traffic accident and turned it into a crime. But that’s the trigger. When those sirens start to sound.

So if you’re on the scene, beware. Know that, as the sirens come from a distance, that may be a trigger for the person you’re dealing with.

Committed to your success and safety,
Larry Kaye,
Private Investigator

P.S. – And, of course, don’t miss my special report titled… If You Want To be a Private Investigator Give Up… Unless You Do These Three Things. You can get it right here…

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Do you call the police for a crime in progress?

You’re a Private Investigator. You’re on surveillance. You see a crime in progress. Do you call the cops?

Over the years, I’ve honed my answer down to three times I tend to call the police both on surveillance and otherwise.

Larry’s Three Benchmarks

1. Some Crimes of Violence

I’ll call the police for some crimes of violence. Not all of them.

If I see somebody get a smack in the head but they handled it well and the problem is deescalating, they’re disengaging, and they’re fine, I’m not calling the cops on that.

Some crimes of violence I will call. If there is a victim or somebody who needs help, yeah, absolutely I’ll call on that.

2. Some Felonies

Another time I’ll call the police is on some felonies. Again, not all felonies.

There are a ton of property crime felonies and other felonies where no one is in danger and it doesn’t need to be dealt with in the moment. Especially if I’m recording and have video of the person and the crime.

So, even if it’s a felony, but no one’s getting hurt, it’s not urgent, and it can all be put together later, I don’t necessarily call the cops on that.

3. Always When a Weapon is Involved.

I do call if I see a weapon is involved, usually a gun or a knife. I will call the cops on that because it can turn very serious very quickly. Even deadly. I’ve seen it happen.

Other Considerations

If you like those three little rules, they may be a helpful guide for you, but you do have to take some other things into consideration, including…

Client Needs

What does your client need need? How does this play into what you’re being paid to do?


Also, consider liability. Your liability and maybe your client’s liability!

What you see is probably going to come to light later. Right? You’re doing surveillance. You’ve got to write a report and submit the video.

It’s not like this is going to be hidden away forever. Somebody else is probably going to find out.

Is there any liability in your not acting? Should you have acted and called the police?

On this, and a lot of things in life, I ask myself: What’s reasonable?

Would a reasonable person call the police?

If I’m following somebody and they throw an empty soda can out their car window, I am not calling on somebody for littering! That’s not reasonable.

Consider what’s reasonable in the circumstances you’re involved in and you’re witnessing.

The Totality of Circumstances

Finally, take into consideration the “totality of circumstances”, including the location, the time of day, and cost of acting or not acting.

Some things are more normal at certain locations than others.

For Example: Some corners in the city are “dope corners”. There is a lot of drug sales going on all day. If you see a dope deal there, you might not call given the totality of circumstances. But, the same dope deal on a school playground may merit a call to 911!

Another Example: At an expressway off-ramp, there’s a guy panhandling. He gets angry with one of the drives and pounds or slaps his palm against the driver side window. Is this something you call the police for?

Well, they’re safe in the car, the light changes, and they drive on.

If you call the police it’s likely nothing’s going to happen to the panhandler anyway, so the totality of circumstance may not warrant a call to the police.

But… let’s think about the next driver. If this panhandler is so drunk or mentally unstable that he’s behaving like that, maybe somebody with their window rolled down is going to be a real victim. Do you call or not?

Honestly, I’m still not going to call on that. But I’m still considering the totality of circumstances… It’s daylight, cars are moving, people are kind of safe in their cars, and there are other people around in case something does happen. (Though, just because other people are around that doesn’t necessarily make things safe.)

In the meantime, this is Larry Kaye reminding you to do the right thing, even if it’s the hard thing.

Committed to your success and safety,
Larry Kaye, P.I.

P.S. – And, of course, don’t miss my special report titled… If You Want To be a Private Investigator Give Up… Unless You Do These Three Things. You can get it right here…

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Don’t be a follower. Be a student! Study my ideas. Study other experts’ ideas and make a decision for yourself! Don’t just follow anyone’s advice blindly!

What “No Record Found” really means.

Do you know what it really means when you search for public records or even a private database and it comes back with, “no record found”?

This comes up because I recently opened my public records mini-course to the general public and I’ve been getting great feedback from that.

So when searching public records (or any source!) one thing I want to really emphasize is if you get a result that says, “no record found”, that’s all it means. Don’t read anything else into it.

Three Examples

I’m going to give you three examples, including the number three example which is right from my case files.

1. The first example seems really clear to me and it represents all your searches.

Let’s say you’re searching an online college directory.

You type in the subject’s name for skip tracing, background check, or whatever you’re doing and it comes back with ‘no record found’. You cannot infer from that that they did not go to school there or they’re not currently enrolled there! You just can’t!

There are a variety of reasons it might’ve come back with no record found.

Maybe they clicked the little button to “opt out” of the student directory. It comes back ‘no record found’, but they are a student there.

Maybe they registered too late to be included in the directory. Again it comes back with “no record found”, but they are there!

Don’t try to stretch out any more information or read into what it means. Literally, all it means is the search didn’t find a matching record.

2. Another example is for mostly my licensed brothers and sisters in private investigations.

If you’re doing searches in Bureau of Motor Vehicle records because you have permissible purpose for that, and run a check for a vehicle abstract or registration for a vehicle, and it comes back with, “no record found”, that does not mean that person does not own a car.

There’s a variety of reasons I can come back like that! Maybe it’s a state with community property. So the car’s registered in the wife’s name. When you search by his name, “no record found” does not mean he doesn’t own a car!

Maybe it’s “his daughter’s car”, so he owns it but it’s registered in her name. “No record found” simply means no record found.

3. From my case files I can share about a background check on a drug dealer.

I saw him one day in what I believed was a stolen vehicle.

I did a little bit investigating and found out it definitely was a stolen vehicle, so the next time I saw this dealer in this vehicle, I called the cops. He got arrested and he’s still in jail. Not specifically off of the stolen vehicle, but just from the accumulation of crime in this guy’s life.

If you look at his criminal record, it’s just theft, dope, and violence, over and over again. So now he’s locked up. I’m pleased about that. He really needs it. Society really needs it.

CASE UPDATE: While serving his time in state prison, he got busted again for trafficking dope – inside prison! The judge added 18 months to his sentence. Ouch!

But here’s the thing…

When I was investigating who this guy in the lower (misdemeanor) court records, he comes up with first name, middle name, and last name. It’s an easy search and there’s plenty of criminal history there.

But, when I searched in the Common Pleas or Upper Court for felonies, he came back blank. “No record found”.

Now, I know from vast experience there is no way this guy didn’t have a felony. He’s in there somewhere. As I started to experiment, I found out, for some reason, every time they charged him with a felony, they switched his middle and first name!

When I searched by switching his first and middle names, up came his felony criminal history!

Don’t make the very common mistake that people make. You punch them in to search felony records, get the result of “no record found” and you think he’s clean. He has no felonies. Nope. “No record found”, in this case, means they entered the information wrong or you searched wrong. Don’t be fooled by that!

Committed to your success,
Larry Kaye,
Private Investigator (Ret.) &
#1 Best Selling Author

P.S. – And, of course, don’t miss my special report titled… If You Want To be a Private Investigator Give Up… Unless You Do These Three Things. You can get it right here…

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