Private Investigations and Personal Security/background checks



I'm wondering if when a background check is done by the Fed Government, if they will use my phone number (I have a cell phone) to try to find out (perhaps through one of their various databases) what phone numbers I've called.  

I should also mention that I purchased the phone (a cell phone) and it is not registered in anyone's name.  I pay the bill through a card I buy regularly at the AT&T store and sometimes I also pay for the minutes with my debit or credit card, but other than the debit or credit card, I don't think the phone number is "linked" in any way to me.

So, again, my question is IF the USG were to ask for my cell phone number when doing a background check and IF I were to provide it, could they find out -- is there any way at all they could find out -- whom I've been calling?

Your answer is greatly appreciated as I've been a bit stressed lately worrying about this.  It's not that I'm calling anybody bad -- it's just that I have several girlfriends and I don't want the fed gov cracking into the phone calls and knowing all that personal info.  

Many thanks.

ANSWER: I'll answer your question in two ways;

1) Because you are using a prepaid cell phone, the protection you have from the telephone not being linked to you goes away when you voluntarily disclose it to the government. They could if they so chose, run the records.

2) It would be an extraordinary event  for the Feds to try and run your cell phone records in the course of doing a routine background check, even for TopSecret/Crypto clearances. It is something they would do in the normal course of an investigation, but not for a background check.

3) The Feds could care less about your girlfriends ( if that really is the reason for your concern) so no worries there.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank YOU!  One clarification, I take it by your answer in paragraph 2 that a background check for a TS clearance is not the same as an investigation (I ask because the form I have to fill out say "Background Investigation" on it.)   
Also, I assume when you say "they could if they so chose, run the records" this would/might require them to get some sort of federal warrant?  

Yes, a background investigation is not the same as an "Investigation" The BI is specific with regards to the issues that they are addressing.

A warrant is generally required, however, in the matter of "National Security" all sorts of things don't get done the way they should be.

I wouldn't sweat this investigation unless you have serious issues that you don't want disclosed in which case you might want to reconsider applying. The feds are slow, but they are persistent and in spite of some of the bad press they get, they do catch lots of crooks and bad guys!  

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Nichols (Nic) J. Smith


I can answer almost any question with regards to the individual state laws concerning private investigators; best practices and procedures used in private investigations;how to determine if the agency or investigator you are contemplating using is sufficiently qualified to do the work and if an investigation was conducted in accordance with the standards of practice and care used in the professional investigative industry. I can also direct you with regards to doing your own research in certain situations, such as finding someone who owes you money. I can steer you through the database "minefield" with regards to which databases contain useful information and which don't. I can also advise regarding the kind of information that you can legally obtain and what's not legal.


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Life Fellow- American College of Forensic Examiners

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