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zondag 10 augustus 2014

The Koyal Group Private Training Services: Vital Fraud Prevention Tips


Fraud Prevention Month is a time to spread awareness about the serious problem of insurance fraud in Canada, and to arm drivers with the knowledge to avoid it. Fraud can come in many different forms, from staged collisions to inflated claims, and being aware of all of the scams out there is the best way to avoid becoming a victim. These important tips are intended to help Canadians avoid becoming victims of fraud.

Recognizing Staged Collisions

A staged collision can be hard to prove, so the best thing a driver can do is to avoid them as much as possible. Drivers looking to stage a collision may suddenly slam on the brakes or slow down when another car is following closely.

Never tailgate, and always allow plenty of stopping distance – allowing for road conditions – when following another vehicle. When another vehicle on the road is driving erratically, braking suddenly for no apparent reason, or changing speed suddenly, back off, allow some space, and call the police if the activity appears dangerous.

Avoiding Inflated Claims

Getting more money out of an insurance company than the actual cost to repair the damage is another common insurance fraud trick. This can range from claiming previous damage as part of the accident damage to using disreputable repair shops to charge more than the actual cost of the repairs.

When involved in an accident, take detailed photographs of the damage and the scene, and make note of any previously existing damage on the other vehicle that doesn’t appear to be a result of the accident. Use a cell phone camera or keep a disposable one in the car. Those photos can be used to stop fraud.

Use a reputable repair shop for all claims work. Insurance companies have trusted repair shops they use regularly, and can provide some referrals. And of course, don’t ever falsely report a claim or exaggerate damage.

Report Suspicious Activity

The best thing all Canadian drivers can do for each other is to report fraud, or any suspicion of fraud, right away. Insurance fraud causes rates to go up for everyone, and fraud prevention can help to curb this.

If another driver involved in an accident tries to suggest any shady deals when it comes to claims or repairs, tell the insurance company immediately. And of course, always pass along any knowledge of insurance fraud on the part of others to the authorities or the Insurance Bureau of Canada

Insurance fraud prevention requires a concerted effort on the part of both insurance companies and drivers, but that effort can help to save everyone a lot of time and money.


The Koyal Group Private Training Services designs online and onsite training for your particular needs, information that you can apply while in training in order to enhance the effectiveness of this information. Our coursework qualifies governmental standards for both fraud and continue education upgrading. Our programs are flexible and can be presented in various formats to address the industry's requirements and standards. Please visit and check our course listings.

vrijdag 8 augustus 2014

The Koyal Group Private Training Services: Minimizing the risk of identity theft

(Special) - Identity theft is a very real and present danger. In the past 12 months some seven million Canadians became victims of identity theft with an average direct cost per victim of US$372.00, according to internet/computer security company Norton.

Identity theft is the result of an unconsented or unknown use of an individual's personal information. It often occurs in conjunction with crimes such as fraud, forgery, or theft. Likely targets for an identity thief can include a Social Insurance Number (SIN), driver's licence number, credit cards, debit cards, cheques, phone cards, passwords, and pin numbers.

In general, identity thieves look for the opportunity to make a transaction and obtain cash, merchandise, or services before their identity can be found or the true information owner can be notified.

Although it may sound simple, the main way of combatting identity theft is to use caution when making any purchase or when otherwise safeguarding your personal information.

Insurance company Marsh offers some tips on how to reduce the threat and risks of identity theft, including insurance to cover some of the costs that can result from becoming a victim.

Identity theft is a generally serious and often costly crime. Insurance for this risk is sometimes included in homeowner insurance policies from certain insurers, but if it is not, an endorsement for identity theft coverage is usually available at a small additional cost.

Identity theft insurance is also generally available through insurers, their insurance brokers, banks, and credit card companies. Typical identity theft coverage includes costs to obtain credit reports, notarize documents, certified mail, telephone, and fax expenses, lost wages due to time taken off work to resolve identity theft issues (up to policy limits), loan reapplication fees, specified legal fees and costs to replace stolen government-issued identifications.

Some institutions will offer credit monitoring services as a way of helping to detect identity fraud in a timely manner. This is a separate service from identity theft insurance.

As with all insurance, it's important to read your policy documentation carefully to understand the exact coverage provided or call your insurance broker for more information.

In general, do not provide personal information to anyone whether in person, over the phone, or on the internet unless you are certain of their identity. "Phishing" scams are now commonplace and usually involve an individual posing as a legitimate business/government representative in hopes of stealing your personal information or even gaining control of your computer.

Question the need for personal information specifically as it relates to your Social Insurance Number (SIN). Only a select number of people need to know your SIN, including your employer, your financial institution, and various government departments. Consult the Service Canada website for a complete listing.

Avoid carrying your SIN card if you don't need it. Leave it in a secure place instead. Be careful that your SIN is not used as the account number for other purposes.

Make sure there is a lock on your mailbox if you still have door-to-door delivery. By stealing your mail, an identity thief can access bank, credit card, and tax information, and even possibly write cheques in your name.

Ensure any sensitive information is shredded and not recycled or put in the trash.

Pay careful attention whenever providing your credit or debit card for payment. "Skimming" is a process whereby your card information may be stolen. Watch to see that your card is only swiped for the purpose of paying for a transaction.

Secure any computers or personal documents in your home. Be aware that anyone with access to your home can potentially steal your personal information.

Only carry the identification and purchase cards you use and keep your wallet or purse in a safe place when not carrying it. If you require new cheques or credit/debit cards consider arranging for a bank pick-up instead of having them mailed. Always sign the signature area of your credit cards as soon as you receive them.

When disposing of old computer equipment or other electronic devices, make sure that your personal information is permanently deleted from the included memory.

Always shield your PIN number when making banking, credit, and debit transactions.

On line, change passwords you use frequently and avoid passwords which use easily findable data such as your mother's maiden name, your birth date or phone number. Use anti-virus software on all of your electronic devices as available and do not send confidential information through email or use your credit card online unless the merchant uses a secure transaction system.

By taking precautions and insurance you can guard yourself against the possibility of identity theft and the costs that can go along with it.

The Koyal Group Private Training Services designs its online and on-site training to your particular needs, providing information you can apply while in training in order to reinforce the efficiency of that information. Our coursework qualifies state standards both for fraud and continuing-education upgrade. Our programs are adaptable and can be presented in various formats to address industry requirements and standards. Please visit and check our course listings.

woensdag 6 augustus 2014

The Koyal Group Private Training Services: Financial housekeeping includes cleaning up your credit report


A report from the Urban Institute this week said 44 percent of adults in the Metroplex with credit reports had collection dings.

While this number has huge consequences on how much we pay for mortgages, car loans and credit cards, as well as access to jobs or rental housing, local experts caution that things are not as financially dire as the report may indicate.

Widely dispersed by the media this week, the report also said that one in three Americans with credit reports had collection problems hanging on their credit histories.

But a closer look at the report showed that some of these issues were as small as an unpaid parking ticket or membership fees. The figures include credit card debt that has already been charged off by the creditor as paid or settled, but still remains on your credit report for up to seven years. Much of that activity happened during the biggest financial collapse of a generation and may not represent a current debt problem.

So let’s look at what’s really going on here.

While many are still digging their way out of the economic collapse, personal bankruptcies are down 11 percent as of March compared to the year before, said Mitchell Allen, founder and president of Benbrook-based Debt Education and Certification Foundation, a call-in service center for financial education now required pre- and post-bankruptcy.

“Bankruptcies have had a steady decline over the last four years,” he said. “We’ve had a 25 percent reduction over that period.”

Allen, who also is the author of A Survival Guide to Debt. (Greenleaf Book Group Press, $11.36 on Amazon.com) — one of the best books I’ve read on the subject — said that bankruptcies are down because of better personal financial management and tighter lending requirements.

“People noticeably aren’t spending as much and have saved a little more,” Allen said. “And there is a huge difference in the documentation required to get a loan or a credit card than there was before the recession.”

Because of the decline in bankruptcies, Allen’s company has scaled back from 40 to 30 employees, he said.

Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Greater Dallas, which provides a no-cost service, has also recently closed two offices in Tarrant County because of less activity and now operates just one office in Dallas, said Todd Mark, vice president of community affairs for the company.

“There is a lot less in terms of crisis calls today than we’ve seen in the past,” Mark said. “Nationally, CCCS reports that the demand for counseling is down 50 percent over the last year.”

Calls coming into the counseling service deal more with old credit problems than recent ones, Mark said.

“Most people are two or three years in recovery and are contacting us to deal with some of the issues of their past now that they have a stable income,” he said.

Those facing such credit repair issues should consider opening up new lines of credit, whether through a secured credit card or other type of loan, to re-establish health to their credit report, Mark advised.

“It’s like the lottery — you have to play to win,” Mark said. “Credit is about borrowing and paying it back. To have good credit, you have to display responsible behavior.”

Mark said the Urban Institute report showed more of the financial problems left over from the Great Recession.

“It’s representative of the wreckage left behind from the Great Recession,” he said. “It’s not a snapshot of today. The delinquency rate on credit cards today is just 5.3 percent and consumer debt overall is much lower.”

The collection agencies in the state also haven’t experienced a current uptick in business, said Tom Morgan, executive director of the American Collectors Association of Texas, which has 170 third-party collection agency and attorney members in the state.

But Morgan said his members are watching the “astronomical” rise in student loan debt.

“If those graduates are flipping burgers at McDonald’s, they are not going to be able to pay off student loan debt,” he said. “Many are underemployed.”

Another wave of credit problems may be coming. But in the meantime, clean up your credit report and you will save on interest rates and insurance, while having better access to rental property and jobs.

The Koyal Group Private Training Services designs its online and on-site training to your particular needs, providing information you can apply while in training in order to reinforce the efficiency of that information. Our coursework qualifies state standards both for fraud and continuing-education upgrade. Our programs are adaptable and can be presented in various formats to address industry requirements and standards. Please visit and check our course listings.

dinsdag 5 augustus 2014

The Koyal Group Private Training Services: Private investigators want a look at the rolls


PRIVATE investigators are the latest group to call for the Australian Electoral Commission to restore access to the electoral roll, saying recent changes inhibit their investigations.

The Australian Institute of Professional Investigators is lobbying MPs involved in a review of last year’s election to push for restrictions on accessing the roll to be overturned.

Other groups keen to see access to the roll restored include those separated by forced adoption or child removal or similar practices who are trying to track down their relatives.

They have won the backing of Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews, who is calling for change.

Security personnel are also lobbying to have access to the roll restored.

Investigators institute president Jim Corbett said private investigators had freely used the roll in their work until the most recent changes, but now were not.

“An investigator’s normal activity includes conducting inquiries in relation to claims for motor vehicle theft or accident, burglary, arson, fraud, public liability, WorkCover matters and the service of court documents,’’ he said. “In effect investigators are being hamstrung in their attempts to assist the insurance industry and government in relation to investigative matters.”

The investigators want the AEC to use its discretion to grant license to members of their profession to be able to perform searches using the roll, which shows the last enrolled address of anyone in Australia who is enrolled to vote.

The AEC confirmed it had “adopted a stricter approach” to people accessing the roll.

It now was supervising viewings to ensure that people used it only to check their own enrolment or if objecting to another elector’s enrolment.

The Security Institute of South Australia, which also supports restoring access to the roll, said changes to the Electoral Act meant it was impossible for people to look at anyone else’s details on the roll.

The association said it understood the need to protect victims of domestic violence or security or law enforcement workers, but access to the roll was vital to find witnesses in trials, to help single parents get child support from recalcitrant former partners and help creditors find debtors.

“We believe the individual’s right to privacy can and should be balanced with the legitimate interests of the broader community,” SA institute chief executive Charles McDonald said in a submission to a parliamentary committee inquiry.


The Koyal Group Private Training Services designs its online and on-site training to your particular needs, providing information you can apply while in training in order to reinforce the efficiency of that information. Our coursework qualifies state standards both for fraud and continuing-education upgrade. Our programs are adaptable and can be presented in various formats to address industry requirements and standards. Please visit and check our course listings.

maandag 4 augustus 2014

The Koyal Group Private Training Services: Austin company leads Medicaid fraud crackdown

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Medicaid fraud is a multibillion dollar scam, and a new computer system hopes to help spot the crooks.

Texas pays out $28 billion a year to some 4.8 million people, according to Kaiser.

The state picks up one-fourth of the tab, and the feds pay the rest.  The FBI estimates that 10% of Medicaid claims are fraudulent, which comes out to $2.8 billion a year in Texas alone.

On Monday, Austin company 21CT launches a new computer system called “Torch” to help the state bring scammers to justice.

Torch will collate state data around the clock. The system will monitor frequency of claims, the size of claims and any funny patterns or anomalies.

21CT has grown to over 100 employees, most of them devoted to the crackdown. Company officials say what they are finding is eye opening.

“You know it’s there,” said Kyle Flaherty, Vice President of Marketing for 21CT. “What’s so surprising is how complex and entrepreneurial the fraudsters can be. This is a business for them and we need to disrupt the business they are creating.”

Torch will eyeball providers: businesses, medical supply companies, doctors, therapists, dentists, ambulance firms, hospitals and more. The system will make it easier to sort out.

“In my old job as a healthcare fraud investigator for the state I would have eighteen browser windows open with tabs in them,” Ross Worden, 21CT Director of Data Science said. “I had no idea what was going on. Now, it’s all in one place. I can click through and see who is connected to what… what they are doing… what they are going to do potentially. It’s a fantastic tool.”

Cheats use patterns to pull off their scams, but they can be spotted if you know what to look for. However, Torch isn’t talking.

“The reason I won’t tell you what they are is they may be listening,” Flaherty said. “The last thing I want a fraudster to know is the techniques we can pick up on.”

Those could include suspicious associations, peculiar transaction accounts and unsavory networks.
A little modest bill padding, or honest mistakes are to be expected in Medicaid. Torch looks for the big boys.

“There’s always something where you say no, you knew it,” Worden said. “It was bad and you tried to hide it. Those are the things that really interest us. We want the bad people.”

When the red flags fly, they are passed along to state investigators to pick up the trail.
If you are busted, it could mean a fine, paying restitution or even jail time.
 

The Koyal Group Private Training Services designs its online and on-site training to your particular needs, providing information you can apply while in training in order to reinforce the efficiency of that information. Our coursework qualifies state standards both for fraud and continuing-education upgrade. Our programs are adaptable and can be presented in various formats to address industry requirements and standards. Please visit and check our course listings.


















maandag 21 juli 2014

The Koyal Group Private Training Services: Snowden UK Surveillance Bill


NSA whistleblower, Edward Snowden, has denounced the UK’s emergency surveillance bill, criticizing the distinct lack of public debate it encompassed and its heightened powers of intrusion.

During an exclusive interview in Moscow with the Guardian, the whistleblower suggested it was highly unusual for a state to process legislation so hastily other than at a time of acutely endangered national security.

"I mean we don't have bombs falling. We don't have U-boats in the harbour”, he emphasised. Yet suddenly this legislation has become an absolute priority. "It defies belief", he said.

Snowden found the duress with which the UK government processed the Data Retention and Investigation Powers Bill to be remarkable, comparing it to the Bush administration’s introduction of the Protect America Act in 2007. The Protect America Act was issued after the New York Times exposed a “warrantless wire-tapping programme” that was both illegal and “unconstitutional”, he stated.

The UK government claims Britain’s emergency bill will preserve UK law enforcement and intelligence agencies’ access to data that is vital for “protecting national security and preventing serious crime.” According to Snowden, the case the US administration built to justify the Protection of America Act is notably similar.

"I mean the NSA could have written this draft…They passed it under the same sort of emergency justification. They said we would be at risk. They said companies will no longer cooperate with us", he observed.

Westminster’s rhetoric of UK intelligence services’ diminished investigative powers in the face of potential terror threats is certainly reminiscent of the Bush administration’s 2007 claims. As Snowden notes, both governments cited intelligence services’ waning assistance from communications companies in a climate of looming terrorist threats as requiring swift and decisive action.

And like Britain's emergency surveillance legislation, the US' Protection of America Act 2007 was enacted in the absence of fair and open public debate.

Snowden’s observations reflect the concerns of myriad UK civil liberties groups who are acutely skeptical of the coalition's claims that the bill will not adversely compromise the privacy rights of Britons.

In an effort to secure cross-party backing from Labour and the Liberal Democrats, Prime Minister David Cameron vowed the legislation would not entail an extension of the state’s surveillance powers. But according to the Guardian, internal Home Office documents appear to indicate that British authorities’ surveillance powers will be expanded.

During his interview – a rare occurrence since he secured asylum in Russia almost a year ago - Snowden commented that the UK's emergency legislation marked “a significant change” in Britain’s surveillance landscape. He also questioned why the UK government were pushing the bill through shortly after a European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling confirmed existing surveillance measures were overly intrusive.

"If these surveillance authorities are...so invasive the courts are actually saying they violate fundamental rights, do we really want to authorize them on a new, increased and more intrusive scale without any public debate?”

Reflecting on a year-long government silence following his exposure of the depth and scale of NSA-GCHQ oversight, Snowden stated that Britain’s new surveillance legislation effectively “looks like it was written by the National Security Agency”.

The UK government has justified the new legislation on the grounds of feared terrorist activities emanating from an alleged Al-Qaida member in Yemen who is linked to fundamentalist Islamist groups in Iraq and Syria.

The Tories deny the bill raises privacy concerns, stating it does not necessitate public debate. Both Labour and the Liberal Democrats have demonstrated hesitance in contributing to public debate on the matter, perhaps fearful of repercussions they might endure were a terrorist attack to occur.

Despite having expert knowledge of surveillance and the cross-border agencies that sustain it, Snowden’s comments are unlikely to phase many UK parliamentarians. While his revelations previously sparked inquiries waged by two separate parliamentary committees, the privacy rights advocate is yet to garner vocal support among UK MPs.

Campaigners opposed to the UK’s new surveillance bill argue it contains unprecedented power for Britain to demand foreign companies comply with warrants for interception. It also increases the British government’s leverage to acquire sensitive communications data, they caution.


The Koyal Group Private Training Services designs its online and on-site training to your particular needs, providing information you can apply while in training in order to reinforce the efficiency of that information. Our coursework qualifies state standards both for fraud and continuing-education upgrade. Our programs are adaptable and can be presented in various formats to address industry requirements and standards. Please visit and check our course listings.

zaterdag 19 juli 2014

The Koyal Group Private Training Services - Secret Technology Tracks Private Phones

TAMPA — When searching for dangerous criminals or missing crime victims, police have a covert weapon that can zero in on cellphones by pretending to be a signal tower.
The secret technology, often called Stingray, tricks mobile phones into communicating with investigators’ equipment.
Not all agencies use the expensive technology, which is at the center of a devisive debate.
It can gather information about cellphone use by anyone, innocent people as well as investigative targets, within its range.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement says it has used the “cell site simulator” equipment about 1,800 times since 2000.
Tampa police do not possess the technology, but a spokeswoman says the department has asked its law enforcement partners to borrow theirs in dozens of investigations during the past few years.
One case was the manhunt in June 2010 for Dontae Morris, recently sentenced to death for shooting to death two Tampa police officers during a traffic stop.
The equipment did not locate Morris, said police spokeswoman Laura McElroy.
The department has turned to its partners to help “track down our most dangerous criminals” as well as missing children, McElroy said.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office declined to comment on the covert technology, although the American Civil Liberties Union, a chief critic of the equipment’s use, says the agency is among many to sign an agreement with FDLE allowing the sheriff’s office to borrow it.
Clearwater police have also signed an agreement for borrowing the technology, the ACLU said, but police spokesman Rob Shaw said the department has not used it.
An FDLE spokeswoman said the agency doesn’t loan out the equipment but allows it to be “used jointly” by FDLE task force partners.
The ACLU has tracked use of the technology and uncovered what it calls potential abuses across the country, including law enforcement agencies that have lied to or misled judges about use of the equipment.
Florida is one of about 14 states where state or local law enforcement are known to use the cell site simulators, the ACLU says, along with about a dozen federal agencies including the FBI, U.S. Marshals Service and National Security Agency.
According to the ACLU, the equipment comes in a number of sizes, some handheld and some as big as a small suitcase, suitable for mounting in a car. Their signal ranges can be up to about a mile.
ACLU attorney Nathan Wessler said it’s possible investigators operating the equipment may not see bystanders’ phone information even though the equipment is capable of capturing it.
Stingray sends signals mimicking those sent by cellphone towers, forcing mobile phones within range to respond with information, including electronic serial numbers and locations.
“It’s sending signals through the walls of private homes and offices, forcing phones to report back their location,” Wessler said. “When you know a phone’s location, you almost always know a person’s location.”
There has been no evidence the equipment can intercept the contents of cellphone communications, such as conversations or texts, Wessler said.
Federal agencies’ use of the technology has been known for years, Wessler said. Use by local and state law enforcement was revealed only recently.
A key question, Wessler said, is whether the devices keep information obtained from the cellphones of people who are not investigation targets.
“We still don’t know the answer to that,” he said. “This is one of the most important pieces of information they should be making public for the public to understand whether their privacy rights are being violated, but we just don’t know.”
FDLE uses the technology only when authorized by a court, spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger said.
“FDLE does not use this technology to eavesdrop on conversations, read text messages, access emails or examine private data,” Plessinger said. “We do not collect or retain information from citizens who are not subjects of an investigation.”
But Plessinger could not produce any court document specifically authorizing use of the equipment. She said court orders are sealed and could not be released.
Wessler said FDLE and other agencies have failed to make available any policy governing the use and storage of information from people who aren’t targets, which suggests no such policy exists, he said.
Plessinger said the state’s laws governing this kind of information are “narrow in scope.” She said there’s no policy relating to innocent bystanders’ information because none is collected.
The equipment has been used to locate people wanted in homicide, home invasion and sexual battery investigations as well as missing children, she said.
The FBI declined to discuss the technology but did provide an affidavit filed in Tucson, Arizona, by a supervisory special agent who says details about the use of the equipment and how it works are not disclosed because they are considered sensitive.
Disclosure would enable criminals and foreign powers to create countermeasures, the affidavit states, and would “completely disarm law enforcement’s ability to obtain technology-based surveillance data in criminal investigations.”
The FBI says the technology is so sensitive that information the agency maintains about it is exempt from court rules requiring prosecutors to share information with defense lawyers.
Wessler said the ACLU has filed at least 37 records requests with law enforcement agencies in Florida and has determined that three local departments, in addition to FDLE, have the equipment. Those departments are in Miami, Miami-Dade and Sunrise.
Wessler said 15 departments have either provided no records or have told the ACLU they don’t use the equipment.
Police departments in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater, as well as the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office, said they didn’t have any relevant records. The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office was still searching for records.
The ACLU is challenging the Sarasota Police Department over the equipment in a case recently moved to federal court in Tampa. The ACLU filed a public records request for applications and state court orders related to the use of the devices.
Sarasota police initially agreed to provide the records, but before they could, U.S. marshals seized the documents, saying they had been created by officers serving on a federal task force. A state judge later said the court had no jurisdiction over what were deemed to be federal records.
The ACLU insists they are not federal records because they were prepared by state employees for use in state court.
“Nowhere else do we have this crazy situation where a federal agency swoops in and seizes the records,” Wessler said.
The ACLU did obtain what Wessler called a “smoking gun” in the form of Sarasota police emails showing police deliberately conceal use of the equipment from judges.
In the emails, Sarasota Sgt. Kenneth Castro says North Port Police had specifically described the technology in a court document. The sergeant asks North Port to either change the document or at least change procedure so that wouldn’t happen again.
The email says use of the equipment has not been revealed “so that we may continue to utilize this technology without the knowledge of the criminal element. In reports or depositions, we simply refer to the assistance as ‘received information from a confidential source regarding the location of the suspect.’ North Port responded that it can’t change the court affidavit but will submit an addendum. The department pledges not to refer to the specific technology in future documents.
Wessler said his organization also has uncovered emails from federal prosecutors in California showing magistrates discovered investigators used the cell simulators after obtaining warrants to use pen registers and trap and trace devices, which record only the phone numbers that make and receive calls to and from a particular phone.
Warrants for that technology require a relatively low threshold of evidence because the information it gathers is much more limited than what is collected by cellphone simulators, Wessler said.
The magistrates, Wessler said, had “no idea” they were authorizing the cell site simulators when they signed the orders.
The ACLU recently won a court victory in Tallahassee when a judge unsealed a transcript of a 2008 hearing in which a Tallahassee police investigator discussed using the equipment to track a rape suspect after the victim informed detectives the attacker had taken her cellphone.
During that hearing, the prosecutor told the judge the courtroom needed to be closed because the investigator had signed a nondisclosure agreement with the equipment manufacturer.
The maker, Harris Corp., based in Melbourne, declined to comment for this story.
According to records obtained by the ACLU, FDLE has purchased more than $3 million worth of cell site simulators from Harris since 2008. Wessler said each device can cost tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The Tallahassee court transcript provides a rare glimpse into how the equipment was used in a particular case. Investigator Christopher Corbitt testified he underwent six days of training from the manufacturer.
Corbitt said police contacted the victim’s cellphone provider, Verizon, which gave police information about the location of the cell tower the phone was communicating with. By emulating a cellphone tower with the equipment, Corbitt said, “we force that (cellphone) to register with us.”
Corbitt said he used a car-mounted device to follow the signals to a particular apartment complex and then used a handheld device, walking from door to door in the complex, pointing it at every apartment until the victim’s phone was found.
Wessler said it was particularly alarming that Corbitt said the equipment was “evaluating all the handsets in the area” to find the phone police were seeking.
This, he said, shows that innocent bystanders’ information is captured.
The Koyal Group Private Training Services designs its online and on-site training to your particular needs, providing information you can apply while in training in order to reinforce the efficiency of that information. Our coursework qualifies state standards both for fraud and continuing-education upgrade. Our programs are adaptable and can be presented in various formats to address industry requirements and standards. Please visit and check our course listings.