Obtaining information through pretext is a highly debated issue. President Bush signed into law H.R. 4709, The Telephone Records and Privacy Protection Act of 2006, to directly combat private investigators from using “pretext” to obtain secret or private information. The term pretext itself is a confusing umbrella term that does not define the scope of the law.
What is “pretext”?
Pretext is an umbrella term to describe many different versions of the same thing. That thing is impersonating, or pretending to be someone eligible to obtain information that they otherwise would not be eligible to obtain. This leaves a large array of possible definitions because many different authority figures have different levels of access to private information. Many different businesses have access to private information as well, and thus the notion that all pretext is illegal does not hold water. What H.R. 4709 specifically defines as illegal pretext is in regards to financial records and telephone records.
How does H.R. 4709 specifically relate to pretext?
H.R. 4709 directly relates pretext to financial and telephone records only. This means that law enforcement agencies, police officers, collection agencies, and even government agents are allowed to use alternative forms of pretext to obtain information, legally. Using pretext regarding financial information and telephone records is against the law and should never be used to obtain a person’s private information.
How is using pretext considered illegal?
There are scrupulous marketers that will attempt to claim they have direct financial information regarding you or your loved ones. This type of pretexting is illegal and is not allowed in any way shape or form. If you have or are being solicited by people claiming to have financial information pertaining to you, contact your wireless carrier and ask them for help. The other type of illegal pretexting is regarding your telephone records. If someone calls claiming they have direct knowledge of your telephone records and calls, report them to your wireless carrier as well. They are breaking the law by doing this.
Is it still legal to use pretext in certain instances, or not at all?
Yes, it is legal to use pretext in ways that do not pertain to financial or telephone information. This is why the confusion of using an umbrella term like pretext is bad when dealing with legalities.
There are proper ways to use pretext to get the information you are seeking. Law enforcement, police, government personnel, lawyers, and certain businesses have the right to use pretext to get information from users that are actively trying to avoid contact. Trying to impersonate a financial officer or a telephone record keeper would not be a wise move. If you need user information from a particular cell phone, you should contact a company like Nonpub.com to guide you on your path to finding that information. They have over 15 years experience and will be able to help you quicker than you attempting the search on your own.