Serving the "Artful Dodger"

by Nic Smith

Most people don't normally think of private investigators for service of process, but there are distinct advantages in using investigators in certain circumstances and with certain individuals.

The most common type of individual we are asked to serve is what I call the "Artful Dodger." This is the defendant or witness who has been around the legal system long enough to know the rules of combat. His or her address is always a private mailbox or a U.S. Postal service mailbox. He or she only uses cell phones, and the bills for service are sent to that private mailbox. These individuals often live in apartments or homes that are rented by a friend. They pay the bill, but everything is in the friend's name.

This type of defendant or witness is always challenging and may be more than a process server can handle. Because we are able to mine lots of data from our various databases and "sources" we have a greater chance of creating an opportunity to serve the individual.

We are also expert in the art of unobtrusive surveillance and have the patience and expertise to do this in a way that allows us to slip up on the person to be served. Because of our skill at using various pretexts (NOT the kind that is prohibited by law), we are often able to obtain information about an individual's whereabouts that others cannot.

Also, as someone who once ran a process serving agency, I always found that people were more forthcoming when I introduced myself as a private investigator as opposed to a process server. Many people still don't understand that private investigators are just private citizens - private citizens with a lot of unusual talents!!

If you are experiencing difficulty in getting someone served, give us a call. Once we have all the information, we can usually come up with a creative and effective way to get the person served.

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