The Right to Financial Privacy Act prohibits financial institutions from disclosing bank records or account information without:
- The Customer’s Consent
- A Court Order
- Search Warrant, or
- Other Formal Demand, with limited exceptions.
Most financial institutions will not release information without one of the above listed authorizations or without the customers consent.
More often than not, private investigators do not have the legal authority to access information such as bank or investment accounts. There is no comprehensive database of bank accounts in the United States and identifying undisclosed or hidden accounts is not an easy task. A seasoned private investigator may be able to identify accounts linked to an individual through interviews, public records searches, or other legitimate investigative techniques. Once accounts are identified, legally obtaining specific account information is nearly impossible without a court order or the consent of the account holder.
There are private investigators and online businesses who claim that they have the ability to obtain bank accounts and other financial information. While this may be true, obtaining this information without specific authority is against federal and state statutes.
In this scenario the investigator must have accurate and timely personal identification information for the other spouse. This includes full legal name and variations (nicknames, abbreviations, common misspellings) as well as known aliases. Current and recent address information is essential. While some searches only need the name and not the address, it is always good to have both pieces of information.Because assets may have been transferred to family members, the names and addresses of close relatives, their social security numbers and dates of birth will be valuable information in tracing movement of property or cash between the spouse and family.
When it comes to asset investigations or a financial investigation, FPI is not always trying to find evidence of mischief or wrongdoing. There are several reasons besides an ex-spouse hiding assets in divorce that someone might be interested in hidden bank accounts, hidden assets, or off shore accounts. More information can be found on our ASSET SEARCH INVESTIGATIONS page.