I just signed up for RocketReach and was sorely disappointed. The free version allows you to search for business emails, and it gives you all sorts of nifty ways to find people.
So what’s the catch?
The catch is that yes, you can get their business email address, but only if you can find their name within the first two pages of your search. And for reasons most mysterious, this doesn’t happen much, if at all.
Now maybe I was just too dumb to figure it all out. Or maybe, just maybe, RocketReach was hoping to make it complicated so I’d sign up for their premium services.
I tried about 6 searches, but the first two pages gave me irrelevant names, often without the last name of the person I was looking for! And when I tried to search the third page, I was led to spine-chilling messages about RocketReach pricing.
Yep. It seems that if you want to routinely find people through their “free” service, you’re out of luck unless you pay them. And who but Arab oil sheiks can afford these prices?
This is slick marketing on their part. During the sign up, they coax you to divulge your business email address for free. It’s then added or updated in their premium database which they then turn around and charge you $49 a month for! WOW. It would seem then that signing up for their free tool is just a waste of time.
The good news is that it ain’t so! Turns out that Google does a far better job of searching Rocketreach than Rocketreach does!But for this to work, you still have to use their free signup just like I did. Don’t worry, it’s not painful. And you can always give them one of your crappy email addresses, or set up a disposable one for them to send their confirmation to.
Simply click on the link above, and replace my name with your subject’s, along with the company they work for. Be sure to leave the rest alone. You could also try with quotes like this “Graham Firestone” solvay site:rocketreach.co
This pulled up my name and my company name. To find both my business and personal email address, simply click on VIEW GRAHAM’S CONTACT INFO. Be sure to click further if it says there are other emails.
In my case, it gave out a lot of good information. It pulled up my current business email, and an email from a law firm I used to work for, and a rarely used personal email of mine (scraped from LinkedIn no doubt).
What If My Subject’s Name Doesn’t Appear But I know He Works There? Don’t be a crybaby. No database is perfect. If the person isn’t listed, do the same Google search above but without the person’s name. This should pull up lots of other people from the same company and allow you to guess the email format.
What if I Don’t Know the Name of Their Employer or Company? This won’t work well for common names, but with a rare name like mine, try a search like this: “Graham Firestone” site:rocketreach.co.
Let’s not kid ourselves. Finding a company email address is rarely easy. Sure, if you’re lucky enough, you can get to their customer service department. But what if you want to write to the top decision makers?
How can you reach the vice president you charmed at the coffee shop? Yes, the one who’s desperate for your resume, even though she doesn’t know it yet.
Or what about the home improvement contractor who never repaired your leaky basement? You paid their outrageous bill for $3,200, dutifully screamed at their voicemail, and then followed up with frantic texts for them to finish the job . But for reasons most mysterious, they can never find the time to return your calls. Or for that matter, to return your money.
Don’t let a mean ole website keep you from the big shots. And don’t waste your time yelling at a company voicemail. Here are the tricks to find company emails. Now you can send the VP at Starbucks your stellar resume.
Or if you like, you can email your home repair guy about the terrible dream you just had. Yes, the one where you take him to court, ruin his reputation, and then revoke his contractor’s license.
Live Search in Action! Contacting the Top Decision Makers in AquaGuard
AquaGuard is a midsized to large roofing and waterproofing company in Georgia, also known as AquaGuard Foundation Solutions. According to Zoominfo.com, it has about 243 employees.
Now suppose you wanted to email the owners of AquaGuard but couldn’t find their contact info on the AquaGuard website. For the moment, I will assume you knew that the owner of AquaGuard is Thomas DiGregorio(Tom DiGregorio). And that unlike me, you found him simply by scrolling down their homepage or looking at their “contact us” page.
Or perhaps you couldn’t find his name there so you got it through the free corporate filings at the GA Secretary of State. Indeed, it was here I learned thatThomas DiGregorio also owns AquaGuard Properties, LLC,AquaGuard Water Proofing Contractors, Inc. and probably even AquaGuard Roofing Solutions, LLC.
Note that while the AquaGuard website also lists Joe Rusk as a co-owner, I was unable to confirm such through official government records.
The Low Hanging Fruit (Free Email Extractors) There are two types of free email extractors. First there’s the typical free people searches that pull up emails along with other data. I recommend Cyberbackgroundchecks.com or using Fastpeoplesearch.com as a backup.
Just enter the person’s name and state and scroll down for emails. Some sites, even allow you to search by a person’s cell phone number or old email address for similar results.
Second, there’s the websites where you type in a web address to see a collection of company emails.
For smaller companies like AquaGuard, it could mean you find the email address of the owner, vice president, or talent recruiter. But for big companies like Microsoft or Amazon, there’s much less a chance of that.
But don’t fret on this. If you know the name of your contact, you can guess their email address simply by looking at the format of all the other email addresses on the list.
Note, each site may require you type in the address in a different format. So with AquaGuard as an example, you may need to enter it as: aquaguard.net. or www.aquaguard.net or https://www.aquaguard.net
Using CyberbackgroundChecks.com To Hunt for Business Emails With CyberbackgroundChecks, you simply search for the owner’s name along with their state. When I did this for “Tom Digregorio” and Georgia, I found the emails of two of his active businesses below.
Using Email-format.com To Get Emails from the AquaGuard Website My next step was to use Email-Format.com to search for other emails associated with AquaGuard.
When I typed in aquaguard.net I found these additional emails below. People come and go in large companies, so look for the newest confirmed email addresses. (See those I highlighted in yellow.)
Be sure to Google these to see if you can get their full names as well. To see if they’re still any good, you can also plug these into an email verifier. But always Google them as well. Email verifiers aren’t perfect.
Another way to find the names of key players is to do a Google search within signalhire.com. See below. Note: You must replace Aquaguard and Georgia with the specifics for your company, but leave all else the same. As noted below, be sure to ignore all the Google ads.
The great thing about the Signal Hire website is that it lists the names of employees along with their job titles! It won’t reveal their email addresses, but you can always find these through Google and the other sites already mentioned.
Sending the Email When You Don’t Know Which Address Is Valid Sometimes, such as when lodging a serious complaint, you don’t want them to know you’re just guessing at their contact information. To hide this fact, simply email yourself and put all the numerous other email addresses in the “bcc” box. So, if the recipient gets your email, they’ll only see your address and assume you knew theirs all along. And once they respond, you certainly will!
Still Can’t Find Their Email? Then Get Them To Contact You! Many businesses enjoy top ratings with the Better Business Bureau. And even those that don’t will often hate to see bad reviews posted online.
So if you can’t reach them directly, simply look up the company by name or phone number in the Better Business Bureau Complaint Database. After you lodge a complaint, the BBB will contact the business and encourage the business to get in touch with you. Often this works far better than simply suing them in court.
Note that if you can’t find a business using the BBB Complaint Database, try Googling the business with “BBB.” Sometimes Google works better at finding BBB complaints than even the Better Business Bureau! And once you see the write up, look for how you can file your own complaint.
So you really dig the Honda Civic you saw advertised for $7100 online. But at the dealership you suddenly learn its take home price is now $8100. This really happened to me and I was furious. Turns out, the sales guy wanted to charge me an additional $599 “dealer fee” along with the taxes and title fees.
A dealer’s fee is nothing more than a clever way for a car salesman to grab your money. Dealer fees may show up as “administrative fees,” “document fees,” “processing fees,” or “customer service fees,. They could also be called reconditioning or “recon fees”, or “protection fees” etc. It’s all left to the car dealer’s imagination. Bottom Line: A dealer fee is any non-governmental fee a car dealer tacks on.
Dealer fees are not per se illegal. Georgia law allows car dealers to charge whatever they like for these fees. But here’s the catch! It’s TOTALLY ILLEGAL to advertise a price and then tack these fees on later. THAT’S RIGHT! The price they show you must include any and all dealer fees or they’re ripping you off! This pricing requirement extends to any advertised price in any medium. So if they advertised the car for $7100, the law says this price must include all dealer fees. The car dealer can’t slip them in later. Even if their website disclaimer says “price does not include dealer fees.”
So if Stone Mountain Toyota decides to show you a computer screen showing the car’s price, they’ve published it! The only fees they can add to this price are the fees they must pay the government.
Other types of charges that MUST be included in the vehicle’s advertised price include “freight charges”, “transportation charges”, “destination charges”, “dealer preparation charges”, “overhead charges”, and any other terms of similar import.
Fees New and Used Car Dealers Don’t Have To Include In The Price The only fees dealers DON’T have to list in the advertised price are government fees, which include tax, tag, title, Georgia Lemon Law, and Warranty Rights Act (“WRA”) fees. The GA Lemon Law fee is just $3 and applies only to new vehicles.
So be sure to ask the car salesman “What’s the full price when I walk out the door.” And don’t let them get away with tacking on dealer fees not already included in the advertised price.
How To Verify You’re Not Being Overcharged For Government Fees If government fees are being added to the price of the car, be sure to ask what each fee is for and how it was calculated. You can ask them “Is this the exact amount you pay the government or is it more than that?” If the dealer inflates the title fee or tax amount, it’s nothing but an illegal dealer fee in disguise.
Don’t confuse the government’s title fee of $18 with the more expensive “Titling Fee” often charged by new and used car dealers. The latter is often five times the amount charged by the state. So the dealer’s titling fee also needs to part of the published price of the car. It can’t be extra.
Government Fees The Dealer Can Add To The Price Of The Car
Ad Valorem (Sales Tax): To know the exact taxes the dealer must pay, simply enter the car’s vehicle identification number into the Georgia Department of Revenue’s Ad Valorem Calculator.
Examples of Legal And Illegal Dealer Fees
ILLEGAL The car is advertised for $7,100 with a $600 dealer fee not included. But a big disclaimer says THIS PRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE DEALER FEES”. Illegal (all dealer fees must be included in price).
LEGAL An old beat up car is advertised for $7,100. Price includes dealer service charge of $599 and “title service” fee of $198. Legal (both fees are steep but allowed because they are part of the car’s published price and not added as an extra fee).
ILLEGAL The car is advertised for $7,100. Price includes dealer service charge of $599 but not title service fee of $98. Illegal as the actual title fee charged by the government is less than $98 (dealer fee in disguise).
The Advertised Price Must Include Options Already Installed or Those Things “You’re Required To Have” to Buy The Vehicle
ILLEGAL “A dealer policy where all new vehicles must receive a paint protection package and vehicle floor mats for an additional $1,000. (illegally forces you to pay an extra fee beyond the published price or you can’t buy the vehicle).
ILLEGAL A car dealership website invites you to click a button on the website, and communicate with your dealership in order to receive a special “E-Price.” This “E-Price” does not include your mandatory dealership fee which is tacked on later. The “E-Price” must include all required non-government charges, including your dealer fee, according to The Georgia Department of Law-Consumer Protection Unit (CPU).
ILLEGAL “This car has a GPS built in so you need to pay an additional $200 beyond what was advertised.” Not by a long shot! Like any other dealer fee, if this option is already installed, this “dealer addendum charge” must be included in theadvertised vehicle price.
So when the dealer gives you a line on how “the rules require” a particular option to be installed, or “it has already been installed”, you get to tell them, “Great! The rules also say it’s you who will eat the cost! Now remove the charge!”
Negotiating The Best Deal With Your Car Dealership (and convincing them not to back out once you expose them)
If you tell the sales person upfront about the illegal dealer fees, two things may happen:
The dealer may not sell you the car;
The dealer may remove the illegal dealer fees but then jack the price up with other fees/offer you second rate discounts. For example: To recoup their losses, the dealer could decide to lower the price of your trade in, give you a terrible deal on auto financing and warranties, or jack up their insurance or other service products.
To be safe, DO NOT OBJECT TO THEIR ILLEGAL FEES UNTIL THE END WHEN THE DEALER HAS PRESENTED YOU WITH THE PAPERWORK LISTING ALL THEIR DISCOUNTS AND CHARGES. Yes, ask to see their final paperwork so that you know your absolute takeaway costs.
This is the time to make sure the dealer won’t back out when you expose them. They may try to do so simply because the deal is no longer a moneymaker. To ensure the deal goes through:
Circle the illegal dealer fees, illegal add ons, and anything else illegal;
Quickly take a photo of the finance page with your circles: Make sure to get their logo or anything else that proves this is from theircar dealership;
Object to the fees, and give the dealer the 3 pre printed, highlighted copies of the GA Department of Law pamphlets found in this blog under the Georgia Law section (listed under YOUR TOOLBOX: Helpful Resources) Better yet: Use their business card to email or text them. Be sure to attach the snapshot of the illegal fees along with the links to the GA law brochures. (might get the sales person personally on the hook by proving they knew of the illegality.)
If the dealer still won’t sell you the car, no need to raise your voice or make empty threats. Simply explain that they are all on legal notice. They have wasted your valuable time, padded the bill with almost a thousand dollars in illegal fees, and you need to warn the whole state of GA so they won’t become victims. IF YOU WON’T SELL ME THE CAR SANS THE ILLEGAL FEES, I’LL SIMPLY SPREAD THE WORD BY SENDING THIS TEXT/EMAIL TO THE GA DEPARTMENT OF LAW, THE BBB COMPLAINT DATABASE, FOX 5, and WSB NEWS. I’LL ALSO SEND IT TO THE VARIOUS AUTO FRAUD CLASS ACTION ATTORNEYS WHO WILL ADVERTISE THIS ONLINE SO THEY CAN ROUND UP ALL THE OTHER VICTIMS AND SUE YOU FOR MILLIONS.
THE CHOICE IS YOURS BUT PLEASE DECIDE IN THE NEXT FIVE MINUTES. I’VE WASTED ENOUGH TIME HERE.
Help For Victims Who Were Cheated with Illegal Dealer Fees
You’ve heard that the bigger they are, the harder they fall. Well, mamma was right! Big companies including car dealerships are extremely sensitive to bad publicity.
But it’s best to use a flyswatter before you use dynamite. Your first step should be to contact the general manager and get them to fix the problem. After all, if you were in charge, wouldn’t you want people to come to you first, rather than go over your head?
For example: Say you were cheated by a dealership like Nalley Infiniti or Stone Mountain Toyota, and the general manager doesn’t return your calls. These dealerships have to worry not only about their own reputation, but also about the reputation of Infiniti or Toyota (which allows them to sell their brand name cars).
So in the above example: if the franchise finds out the dealership is besmirching their good name, guess what happens? It means that the dealership could lose their right to sell Toyotas or Infinitis! That would cost them a lot more than a thousand dealer fees.
Keep that in mind if you think the dealership is not playing fair with you. Your next step may be to call Toyota’s or Infiniti’s pubic relations department. You can bet they’ll be keenly interested in what the dealer is doing with their good name. (In case you’re wondering, Infiniti is owned by Nissan; Toyota Stone Mountain is owned by Sonic Automotive.)
If this doesn’t work, try your local TV station for even more exposure. Be sure to Google if the car dealer has had prior complaints. Reporters eat this up. You can also lodge a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. A little bad press can give your dealer a seven figure lesson on freakenomics.
And don’t forget our government friends. You can also contact the GA Department of Law (404-651-8600) regarding any Fair Business Practices Act violation of the above. The GA Department of Law is part of the GA Attorney General’s office. They have the power to fine a crooked dealer and shut them down.
Finally, if you’re really really mad, find a class action lawyer who will gather other angry plaintiffs who have also been cheated.
I’d do this last, because if it were me, I’d first sue in the court of public opinion so the dealership would immediately lose millions and millions. But if you simply want your money back, it may be worth your while to deal with them pesky lawyers.
Getting Proof They’re Cheating Others It’s always good to have proof this is not an isolated incident. After all, repeat offenses could peak the interest of the media or your U.S. or local representative. First try Googling the name of the dealership with any of the following words: Complaint BBB Fraud Deceptive
Also, be sure to monitor your dealer for further wrongdoing through Google Alerts. Yes, you can create a Google Alert with the same terms as above so future complaints appear in your email in box!
Next, fax an open records request to the Georgia Department of Law so they can email you a printout of any allegations of fraud against the dealership. You can fax (not email or text) these requests to 404-651-9018. If the request is simple, they’ll email you the results in just 3 business days. (free of charge). I just verified this with a lawyer who works there!
Sample Open Records Requests To Fax The GA Dept. of Law “In regards to Gravity Auto throughout the state of GA, please send me a list of all complaints against them in the last three years (formal or informal, substantiated or merely alleged) that involved deceptive pricing.”
“In Regards To Nalley Infiniti, please list any fines or settlements in the last three years that relate to deceptive practices.”
Making The Story More Newsworthy
Aside from how you were cheated, your story will gain more traction if you can show reporters that virtually every driver has or will become a victim.
The facts and figures below show the number of people who buy new and used cars from dealerships, and how much $ the dealerships make from selling these cars. Dishonest dealerships are a problem for everyone. This issue affects the rich, the poor, the elderly, the disabled, immigrants, democrats, republicans, the black, the white, Latinos and anyone who buys a new or used car from a GA dealer.
Your Toolbox: Helpful Resources Below To Stop False or Misleading Car Dealers and Crooked Auto Dealerships
Georgia Consumer Protection Division (Formerly The GA Dept. of Law) 404-651-8600 Complaints filed with this office alleging fraud may form the basis for an investigation into a company’s business practices. A significant quantity of complaints about a business may give rise to legal action—not on behalf of the individual complainants, but to enforce state law.
Georgia Auto Informer Government Pamphlets Below The Georgia Department of Law-Consumer Protection Unit enforces the Georgia’s Fair Business Practices Act (FBPA) which prohibits unfair and deceptive acts or practices within the context of consumer transactions. These news letters are part of their efforts to raise awareness among auto dealers and advertisers regarding the FBPA, as well as the GA Government’s Auto Advertising and Sales Practices Enforcement Policies (AAEP). Although the policies found in the AAEP are not actual law, they highlight those industry practices that the GA government considered to be unfair and deceptive, and thus violations of the FBPA.
What’s The Deal With Dealer Fees (Government Pamphlet Issue #12) Governor’s office of Consumer Protection newsletter: a dealer’s claim of ignorance or confusion regarding this matter will not mitigate OCP’s actions for noncompliance. In 2013, Fox 5 Atlanta conducted numerous undercover visits to Atlanta area dealers in order to investigate dealer compliance with this policy. All of the dealers visited during these undercover shops were adding fees to advertised prices.
Pricing Representations: Dealer Fees, Options & Discounts (Government Pamphlet issue #13) 1/22/16 Georgia Department of Law’s new bulletin: Advertised vehicle prices must include all non-government charges that a consumer is required to pay in order to purchase a vehicle, including but not limited to, dealerfees, previously installed dealer options, and electronic titling fees. Only taxes, tag, title, and Lemon Law fees may be added to this price. This pricing requirement extends to any advertised price in any medium, but most commonly becomes an issue on your dealer website or a third party site such as Autotrader.
GA Law On Mandatory Arbitration Clauses (Forum Selection Clauses) In 2022 it’s still touch and go. The courts still have some leeway to decide that a clause forcing you to arbitrate (forbidding court or a class action law suit) are void. And some dealerships do not have these clauses in their contract anyway. Every case can turn on the facts, the judge or the jurisdiction. So consult an experienced GA class action attorney.
Select Dealerships: (Their Public Relations and Franchise Owners)
FOX 5 Call For Action 404-879-4500 Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m Volunteers at Fox 5 Call for Action center try to resolve your problem by calling the bad auto dealer to work it out. Bad car dealers may want to respond to them, because if, not, their story could soon be on FOX news. Be sure to explain to the volunteer how many millions this affects so the story will interest a reporter, This will help the volunteer feel more confident to forward your story to a reporter if the car dealership remains uncooperative.
GA Class Action Lawyers (Lawyers For Auto Fraud) Even if you’ve been cheated only a little bit, the dollars add up when thousands like you have also been defrauded. Class action lawyers can file a mega lawsuit that punches the crooked dealer in the pocket book. Car dealers must learn that charging illegal doc fees, security fees and other illegal markups ain’t worth the trouble.
Every superhero has a weakness. With Superman, it’s Kryptonite. With Green lantern it’s the color yellow. And with Daredevil, it’s just a lot of background noise. But what about the supervillains? Obviously they have weaknesses too. And it’s my pleasure and delight to talk about them.
In the world of supervillians, the worst of them is the big bad debt collector. And the badder the debt collector, the easier it is to find their Kryptonite!
This blog will talk about the really bad debt collectors. I won’t claim there are good debt collectors. But the bad ones are those that illegally ignore the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
Sadly, the worst offenders are lawyers. Particularly, it’s the attorneys who think that because of their power and connections, they can trounce on the little people. So here’s a handy dandy road map to blast them out of business! I’ve even included scare letters which you can send to the state bar, their big bank employers and to all their trade associations (the pals they hang out with).
Debt collectors cut corners because it’s faster and cheaper than playing by the rules. So now is the time to punch them in the pocketbook.
Use public awareness so more debtors know their rights, fight harder, pay less on their debt and sue more under the FDCPA and state law. Remember that the FDCPA encourages consumers to sue and will even pay for your court costs if you win. You can also collect $1000 plus your attorney’s fees and even tack on state law claims to drive up the damages! In other words, you can make it so the debt collector is the one who owes you the money!
To spread the word, tell your story to the BBB and other Internet Complaint Websites. Make sure to mention key terms that other debtors will search for. Include the full name of the collection agency, the phone #, the name of the individual collector, FDCPA and what they did wrong. For example, “I asked them to validate the debt but against the law they sued me instead!”
You Will Need Publicity Lawyers won’t go down without a fight. And they are experts at fighting in court. So you need to fight them where they’re at a disadvantage. And this means the court of public opinion.
Publicity is more than just the media. And it’s more than just the Better Business Bureau. It also includes reaching out to Consumer Advocates. It is through such means that you can force a debt collector to make nice, or drive it out of business.
Big bad debt collectors often work for big global banks. These include the banks you know by name such as Capital One, Bank of America and Citibank. And the bigger the bank, the more sensitive they are to bad publicity.
Sometimes the collector works for a debt buyer such as Midland Funding. A scare letter is much less effective with Midland because they already have a bad reputation. However, you might want to send it to them anyway. Their lack of response can be used to draw in the media. And once the media is involved, you can lobby your government representative to saddle them with more fines and regulations.
To write a good scare letter, you will want to Google your bank with FDCPA or complaints. If the bank has had bad publicity with debt collection, you can mention it in your letter.
The above headline is almost a certainty. How you minimize the fallout is up to you.
You are using the law firm of Cooling & Winter to collect debts on your subprime credit card accounts. As you must know, Cooling & Winter is the successor to the notorious law firm of Frederick J. Hanna & Associates. You are no stranger to Hanna. Hanna is the same law firm you previously hired to collect on your credit card debts. It’s also the same firm that in January 2016, was fined $3.1 million and then shut down by the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau.
The Hanna firm was shut down because it relied on deceptive court filings and faulty evidence to churn out over a hundred thousand debt collection lawsuits in violation of the FDCPA. To stop further action against it, Hanna signed a Consent Order with the federal government, which was made final on January 6, 2016.
As part of this Order, Hanna, agreed to pay $3.1 million in fines and acknowledged itself to be a debt collector subject to the FDCPA. The Order also prohibited Hanna and its partners and successors to engage in unfair debt collection practices. (see CFPB Complaint and Consent Order).
Out of the ashes of the Hanna firm, arose Cooling & Winter. Cooling & Winter was formed just three weeks before the Consent Order that forced Hanna out of business. And the new firm is strikingly similar to the old one. In fact, the named partners, Joseph C Cooling & Robert A Winter, belonged to the Hanna firm, and were specifically named in the government suit against Hannah. In addition to having virtually the same partners and many of the same attorneys, the new firm even uses the old firm’s prior phone number. (For National Headlines on Hanna partners Joseph Cooling & Robert Winter, click Here.)
Like its predecessor, Cooling & Winter has continued in the Hanna legacy. In 2017 alone, they’ve been sued 11 times for violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Many of these cases touch on the same practices prohibited in the Consent Order.
To this day, Cooling & Winter lawyers are telling debtors that the FDCPA doesn’t apply to them. The reason they give is alarming. They say they’re exempt because they have a special relationship with Capital One. True or false, this puts Capital One in a bad light. And inquiring minds want to know what Capital One has to say about this.
Capital One is no stranger to publicity. According to the Wall Street, Journal, Capital One is the top lender to the working poor. (sub prime credit card accounts). In another article, Capital One was noted for “Easy Credit and Abundant Lawsuits.”
In that story, the Consumer Federation of America called for more government regulation against subprime credit card lenders. It found “disturbing” the volume of suits filed by Capital One, and it urged regulators “to investigate whether the perils of subprime credit cards outweigh the benefits.”
So these debt collectors are already in the federal spotlight. And they have already made national news. Using them against the working poor is an open invite for more government regulation.
Below, Are the 18 Lawsuits Where Your Debt Collector Was A Defendant.
The 11 lawsuits in 2017 were all for Violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, Note how quickly Cooling & Winter settles them-often within 1-3 months– to avoid a ruling that the FDCPA applies to them.
Bottom Line: A wolf in grandma’s clothing is still a wolf. You are using debt collectors who have hurt thousands of people. And they’re still at it but under a new name. So when the feds and media come knocking at your door, what will Capital One have to say for itself?
Very truly yours
3a. Get them In Trouble With Their Licensing Boards
Publicity & The State Bar As a lawyer myself, I know that attorneys fear bad publicity. And so does the state bar, which in GA, just happens to be run, not by the government, but by the lawyers and judges themselves!
If you don’t believe me, just take a look at the websites for doctors vs. lawyers. As you would expect, GA doctors are regulated at medicalboard.georgia.GOV. But for some reason, GA lawyers are regulated by a non government organization at gabar.ORG.
This is your strength. The state bar is very much like the Motion Picture Association. Both are terrified that outsiders might make the rules for them. Both want to regulate themselves without government interference. With the MPAA it means they’re very aware of the public’s sensitivity to sexual acts, and will rate on this more aggressively than on violence.
But with the state bar, it’s less about sex and far more about client theft. If a lawyer is caught stealing a client’s funds, the bar is terrified they must act immediately lest the government step in to correct the matter. And so in these cases, the Bar is very tough on its own.
That said, most lawyer offenses are treated with far less punishment. Unless of course, you can convince the Bar that if they don’t act fast, their friends the government will…
So with debt collector law firms, you must show how the individual lawyers are acting so badly that there needs to be immediate damage control. Otherwise, it will look like the state bar is a den of wolves and unwilling to police its own!
Show They ViolatedEthics Rule 8.4 (Attorney Misconduct)
Your state bar is in charge of enforcing lawyer ethics violations. This includes whenever a lawyer engages in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation. So don’t let a lawyer blow smoke in your face and say the FDCPA doesn’t apply to them.
Know deception when you see it. For example, when Cooling & Winter was told they must follow the FDCPA, one of their senior lawyers tried to mislead the debtor into thinking otherwise.
The lawyer starting saying something that was technically true: “We represent the creditor and the creditor is FDCPA exempt”. But in context, it was said only to fool the debtor into thinking something false; i.e. that because the FDCPA doesn’t apply to the creditor it also won’t apply to the creditor’s 3rd party debt collector!
In Cooling & Winter’s case, they know full well they are under the FDCPA. Take a look at the disclaimer they have on their website. It totally tracks the FDCPA disclaimer-the one where the law requires all 3rd party collectors to say This is an attempt to collect a debt and any information obtained will be used for that purpose.
Now what debt collector would ever put this on their website unless they were forced to by law? It’s like the cop who reads you your Miranda rights and then claims it was just a courtesy. The police don’t do it as a courtesy. They only do it because they have to. So Cooling & Winter, a law firm, has committed a breach in lawyer ethics by lying to you.
Sample Letter To State Bar Ethics Commission Dear state bar: I am not a lawyer but I do know how lawyers are seen by the general public. Sadly, most people are suspicious of lawyers until they need one. And even then, they assume that the state bar will protect its own at the expense of the people hurt by them.
That said, I hope the state bar will investigate the ethics lapse of lawyer x who works for the law firm of Cooling & Winter. This lawyer violated ethics rule 8.4 which requires they refrain from deceptive or misleading statements.
As you must know, Cooling & Winter is the successor to the notorious law firm of Frederick J. Hanna & Associates; the same firm that in January 2016, was fined $3.1 million and then shut down by the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau. The Hanna firm was shut down because it relied on deceptive court filings and faulty evidence to churn out over a hundred thousand debt collection lawsuits in violation of the FDCPA.
Cooling & Winter is much like the defunct Hanna firm. In addition to having virtually the same partners and many of the same attorneys, the new firm even uses the old firm’s prior phone number. To this day, Cooling lawyers are still telling debtors that the FDCPA doesn’t apply to them.
Now that you know the checkered past of this particular law firm, I will go into what they did wrong here. In my case, the misleading/deceptive statement was… I also have an email/recording to back it up.
Worse, lawyer X is an expert on the FDCPA and a former employee of the defunct Hanna law firm. This lawyer knows better.
Possible Headlines For Reporters include : State Bar Protects Notorious Attorney Debt Collectors Shut Down By Feds State Bar Won’t Police Its Lawyer Debt Collectors, Is This A National Trend?
Please respond in the next 7 days.
3b. Get Them In Trouble With Their Trade Groups (Are You All A Den Of Thieves Argument)
Find the trade Associations the debt collectors belong to and scare them with unwanted media attention. Have I-team reporters place calls to the National Credit Association and other groups these lawyers mingle with, belong to, host seminars at, or are invited to speak at.
To find the groups they interact with, Google the name of the individual wrongdoer and the word association. Repeat with the name of the company. If the association has them as a key speaker or treasurer or president etc, make sure the media exposes these connections.
Also get the reporters to contact respectable trade groups for comment, even if the debt collector doesn’t belong to them. The goal is to get other groups to admit the debt collector is out of line and to publicly put distance between them and the big bad wolf. i.e. Big Bad Wolf is wrong and most of us debt collectors are not like that.
Enlist the Debt Collectors Who Play Fair Who Are Put At a disadvantage because the bad guys cut corners. If the bad guys always win then it’s just a race to the bottom of who can ignore the law the fastest. Contact Convergent Outsourcing, a debt collector who plays by the rules and will be at a competitive disadvantage with the bad guys.
Do the same with other respectable debt collection trade groups. Have reporters call them for an opinion on big bad wolf’s collection practices. Do they have any suggestions on how to stop crooked debt collectors? Watch your story gather momentum as respectable organizations chime in with their opinions.
Sample Letter To Trade Association About Cooling & Winter Debt Collector Dear National Creditors Bar Association (NARCA)
I wish to inform you that one of your members is actively flouting the FDCPA. The individual attorney is X and they work for the law firm of Cooling & Winter.
Specifically, they falsely claimed they were not FDCPA debt collectors, refused to validate the debt and also did … I also have an email/recording to back it up.
This is in violation of Ethics Rule 8.4, and also the FDCPA which forbids deceptive or misleading communications. It also goes against your NARCA Code of Professional Conduct & Ethics. Specifically this attempt at deception causes disfavor with the public and a lack of public trust in violation of Article I, Section 1 and Section 2.
Please consider that your member law firm is the successor to the notorious law firm of Frederick J. Hanna & Associates. As you must know, in early 2016, this firm was fined 3.1 million dollars and shut down by the federal government. The new Cooling & Winter is much like the defunct Hanna firm. In addition to having virtually the same partners and many of the same attorneys, the new firm even uses the old firm’s phone number.
And it seems they are at it again with numerous FDCPA violations. Given your reputation in the community, I hope you will take action. The general public does not have much faith in a creditor’s group policing its own members. Please prove us wrong.
Possible Headlines For Reporters include : NARCA Shields Notorious Attorney Debt Collectors Shut Down By Feds NARCA Won’t Police Its Lawyer Debt Collectors, Is This A National Trend?
4. Get the Government to Shut Them Down.
Like a slow languid beast, the government won’t act unless there’s plenty of prodding. To get it moving on your behalf, you’ll need lots of help. Help can take the form of consumer action groups, the media and other debtors who’ve been victimized.
Getting More Victims To Come Forward
The media love to talk to real live victims. And the government will need to know who else has been hurt. The best place to find other debtors are in Magistrate and Superior court where the cases are recent or still ongoing.
A court search does two things that should make you happy. First it will get you a list of defendants (victims) involving Cooling & Winter or it’s attorneys. Second, you get to see the names of the big bad banks you’ll want to write scare letters to. To search court records, see Exposing A Debt Collector Who Won’t Follow The FDCPA
To the non beer drinker, there’s only three types of beer in the world. There’s BAD beer. There’s VERY BAD beer. And there’s LESS BAD beer. And so it’s much the same with debt collectors.
This blog is all about the VERY BAD debt collectors. Here I will show you how to background the shady ones along with their company or law firm.
As an example, I will name real names. You will get to see an actual background check on the notorious lawyers of Cooling &Winter. Cooling & Winter is a prime example because it’s been sued 12 times in 2017 alone. And virtually all the lawsuits against them concern bad debt collection practices. So you’re in for a real treat!
When we’re done you’ll be able to expose a debt collector’s lies, ferret out their half truths and expose their prior bad dealings. You can then use this information to negotiate your own settlement!
This includes enlisting the aid of honest debt collectors, the BBB, the media and even the debt collector’s own licensing board and trade associations. It could also mean getting help from consumer rights advocates and powerful government regulators.
Can I Enlist The Help Of A Plaintiff’s Attorney?
Most plaintiff attorneys won’t dare use these weapons of mass destruction. Because unlike you, they don’t really want to go nuclear. To them, it’s a big game of catch and release. They see the debt collector as a wild animal that should be caught, fined and let go again.
No attorney makes money off of destroying big bad debt collectors. They make money off of suing them and collecting their attorney’s fees. (again and again). So it’s not in their interest for you to blast them out of commission. It’s like asking the farmer to kill the goose that lays all the golden eggs. This is why the media, consumer advocates and government regulators are your best course of action.
3rd Party Debt Collectors Must Play By The Rules (The FDCPA)
When I say play by the rules, I mean that most debt collectors must follow the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The FDCPA is the golden rule that applies to all third party collectors. It even applies to collectors that work for the creditor but look like they’re an entirely different company.
If the collector violates these rules in the slightest, they could be sued for $1000, plus, your court costs and even your attorney’s legal fees. (And this doesn’t even include state law claims, which you can file too!) Yes, it’s all built into the Act to encourage attorneys to take your case. Free of charge!
Spotting The Lies & Half Truths Collectors Say
How To Show They’re Still Bound By The FDCPA
Googling The Debt Collector and Their Company
Checking The State Courts & Complaint Databases
Checking For Other FDCPA Lawsuits Filed Against Them
What We Found on Cooling & Winter!
Spotting The Lies & Half Truths Collectors Say
Lie/Half Truth #1
Since We’re Part of The Creditor, We’re Exempt From The FDCPA
Debt collectors love this one. Some of them even believe it. One of the real life exceptions to the FDCPA is that it usually won’t apply to creditors who collect on their own debts. Nor does it usually apply to the creditor’s employees.
For example, if you owe money to Bank Of America, they can collect on the debt with no fear of the FDCPA. The same goes if you receive a call from their accounting department or their in-house lawyers.
But even then, the FDCPA forbids them to collect under another name. OR in a manner which makes them appear to be a third party debt collector. If they do that, they will be stuck under the rigid rules that bind all third party debt collectors. Note that in Cooling & Winter’s case, they sometimes will insist the creditor is not subject to the FDCPA. But the status of the creditor is not the issue. It’s the law firm’s status as a 3rd party debt collector that counts. The FDCPA applies to law firms too!
And this is VERY important. The trend these days is for some collectors to falsely claim they are not a third party. Instead, with forked tongue, they’ll tell you they are somehow an “affiliate” or “employee” of the creditor.
The reason they do this is because if they can skirt the rules they can undercut their law abiding competitors. And by ignoring the law, they can collect their debts cheaper and faster than everyone else.
Honest debt collectors hate when their competitors try these stunts. For unlike the baddies, they’re the ones who get penalized for playing fair.
Lie/Half Truth #2
Since We’re Debt Buyers The FDCPA Won’t Apply To Us
Debt collectors will also try to avoid the Act by claiming they are debt buyers and therefore exempt. In other words, they will tell you that since they own the debt outright, they are now the creditor and can collect on it in any way they choose to.
This is a half truth based on the recent Supreme Court ruling in Henson. What they won’t tell you is that the FDCPA still applies to them when the principal purpose of their business is debt collection. See Henson v. Santander Consumer USA Inc., 137 S. Ct. 1718 (2017). And this is where the background check comes in.
How To Show That They’re Still Bound By The FDCPA
Under current case law there are 4 ways a debt collector can be bound under the Fair Debt Collections Practice Act. Since the collector may try to hide this information from you, it’s up to you to find public records that support your case!
Prove any one of the following and they’re still on the hook:
1. The debt collector is clearly a third party who is collecting the debt on behalf of someone else.
2. While the debt collector claims to be part of the creditor, they have the appearance of being an entirely different company. For example, a debt collector law firm may say they’re part of the creditor but they use a different name, incorporate as a separate entity, have a different website, use a different logo and have different stationary-all of which conveniently fails to list an affiliation with the creditor.
3. While the debt collector may own the debt and say’s they’re merely collecting on it, you have proof that debt collection is the principal purpose of their business or part of their regular activities; For example, their website says they’re debt collectors and all their lawsuits and articles involve debt collection.
4. Even if the debt collector is a debt buyer or part of the creditor, you can show they also act as a third party collector with respect to other debts. For example, they say they’re an “affiliate” of Capital One but you discover they also collect debts for competing banks such as Bank of America or Midland Funding.
A General Background Check To Reveal The Facts Above
Each background check is different. And you never know the juicy facts that can help you until you find them!
So it’s important to do a background check on both the debt collector AND their company. If either one has a checkered past, all the better.
Googling Cooling & Winter
I Googled the law firm of Cooling & Winter with many or all of the terms below:
Cooling & Winter FDCPA Cooling & Winter Complaint Cooling & Winter fines Cooling & Winter sanction Cooling & Winter Capital One (To see if they are affiliated)
Googling Debt Collector Attorney Quinn M Kasper
I then did likewise with one of their attorneys,
Other words to search for include their name along with contempt, fined and disciplined.
Googling Specific Newspapers For Stories On Your Collector or Their Big Bank Employers You’re more likely to get the media to do a story if the collector was already in another story by them. And you can bet the collector’s bank employers will be more apt to drop them if you remind them about their prior bad press with debtors, or how the collector has damaged their rep in the past.
In the case of Cooling & Winter, a Google search revealed sordid facts about their past. It turns out that many of their top lawyers were from the notorious law firm of William J Hanna & Associates. Yes, the very same firm that in 2016 was fined $3.1 million and shut down by the federal government! (See more below)
Sample Google Search For Hanna & Associates in Media Articles
Hanna debt site:ajc.com (collector in Atlanta Constitution) Hanna debt site:wsj.com (collector in Wall Street Journal) Hanna debt site:nytimes.com (collector in New York Times)
Sample Google Search For Big Bank & Media Articles (Getting Headlines to include in Scare Letters To Their Clients)
“Capital One” Hanna debt site:ajc.com (collector & Capital One, AJC) “Bank of America” FDCPA site:nytimes.com (FDCPA trouble) “Midland Funding” debtors site:wsj.com (general bad press)
Check The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau’s Complaint Database.The CFPB Complaint Database shows the type of complaints filed by others which the government already knows about. For Example, Cooling & Winter has had 75 complaints since 3/16/16 to the present. This information may be useful when contacting the media, writing scare letters to the big banks, or when negotiating with the collector. It’s also good to remind the government that the collector is still a menace.
Check Local and Federal Courts For Cases They’re Involved In
Search by the last name and maybe 1st name of their attorneys. Also search by their law firm. You’re looking for three things:
1. The names of the companies or banks they represent
The more competing banks they represent, the more obvious they’re a third party debt collector. Also, the cases will show you if there are any big banks involved, i.e. the ones most sensitive to bad press. You’ll want a list of these so you can write them scare letters or get the consumer advocates and reporters to give them a happy phone call.
2. The names of the debtors that are being sued
If the debt collector is telling you lies, there may be other witnesses who can vouch for their bad conduct. Reporters also like talking to a other victims to make their story more sensational.
3. Other lawsuits that show dirt or bad conduct.
Has the law firm, collection agency or its attorneys been sued for malpractice? Are there any suits against them in federal court for violations of the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act? You’re looking for anything juicy and embarrassing they don’t want publicized.
Searching For Cooling & Winter in GA ( Fulton State & Magistrate Court)
In the link above, search for the word Cooling
and set your display to 200 records. You’ll want at least a dozen names and addresses of defendants in debt collector actions during 2017. This will help when you or reporters reach out to other victims.
Do the same with Fulton Superior Court.
Choose All Case Records and enter the CAPTCHA. In the box below this, change Search By: Citation to Attorney. Ignore all fields but the attorney’s name. In this case, the attorney has a rare name so search by the last name of KASPER (nothing else). When you see a list of cases, look for the ones grouped as Contract/Account. For more info on a case, click on the blue links to the far left
USING PACER TO FIND OTHER FDCPA LAWSUITS
Often, a big bad debt collector trounces on the little guy in magistrate court. But later the debtor turns around and sues them for FDCPA violations in federal court. While the debtor often loses the first round, with the help of free plaintiff attorneys they typically win or settle the FDCPA case. At least that’s how it works with Cooling & Winter.
And guess what? You can find all these cases on PACER. PACER is free if you use it wisely. And even if the case has settled already, you get to see what every debtor complained about (before they were paid to keep quiet). This is great because the debtor’s complaint can show if there’s a pattern or practice the government should investigate. For example: a debt collector’s repeated attempts to sue before the debt was confirmed or “validated.”
To search on PACER, login and then get to find a party by pasting the link below in the Internet address bar at the top: https://pcl.uscourts.gov/pcl/pages/search/findParty.jsf
Or you can go to National Case Locator, click on Pacer Case Locator, andFind Parties. Next, in the field called Last Name or Entity Name, all you need to do is enter in the law firm name without the LLC, LLP etc. For example Cooling & Winter. Click Search and watch the magic!
Cooling & Winter is the successor to the notorious law firm of Frederick J. Hanna & Associates.
Hanna is the same firm that in January 2016, was fined $3.1 million and then shut down by the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau. (CFPB)
The Hanna firm was shut down because it relied on deceptive court filings and faulty evidence to churn out over a hundred thousand debt collection lawsuits in violation of the FDCPA.
Cooling & Winter was formed just three weeks before the government forced Hanna out of business. (Frederick J Hanna & Associates knew they needed a new name as a shut down was imminent.)
The new firm is strikingly similar to the old one. In fact, the named partners, Joseph C Cooling & Robert A Winter, belonged to the Hanna firm, and were specifically named in the government suit against Hanna. In addition to having virtually the same partners and many of the same attorneys, the new firm even uses the old firm’s prior phone number. (For National Headlines on Hanna partners Joseph Cooling & Robert Winter, click Here.)
Like its predecessor, Cooling & Winter has continued in the Hanna legacy. In 2017 alone, they’ve been sued 11 times for violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Many of these cases touch on the same practices prohibited by the government Order that shut down their predecessor.
Cooling & Winter collects for Bank of America, Capital One and a debt buyer called Midland Funding.
Cooling & Winter lawyers are licensed by the GA Bar and subject to their rules and regulations for ethical misconduct.
Cooling & Winter is a member of a trade organization called NARCA (The National Creditors Bar Association)
Cooling & Winter knows it’s subject to the FDCPA. In 2017 alone, They were sued under the FDCPA 11 times. And in every case, they settle within 1-6 months.
What We Found On Quinn M Kasper
Quinn Kasper was no angel either.
Martha Kasper worked for both Hanna and Cooling & Winter and is therefore bound by the government order on unfair debt collection. She’s also known as Martha Quinn McGill and Quinn McGill Kasper.
Kasper is a former magistrate judge and files many suits in magistrate court.
Kasper holds herself out as an expert on the FDCPA and even was about to teach a class on such to NARCA before it was canceled due to a hurricane scare.
Kasper in spite of her seniority and expertise, still tells debtors she and her firm are not covered under the FDCPA.
Kasper is a lawyer licensed by the GA Bar and subject to their rules on ethical misconduct & misrepresentation. (Rule 8.4 )
Scroll to the bottom to see the Sentencing and Imprisonment of Elisabeth Greenhill and Jonathan Greenhill who operated the fraudulent travel agency Mission Trip Airfare and stole over $1.3 million from over dozens of Christian Ministries. (The subjects of this blog which was written 3 years before, while they were still hiding behind their website.)
The great thing about living in a small town is that you know everyone by name. You know their reputation and you know where to find them, especially if they’ve done you wrong. And so you’re less likely to be taken in by a pretty face, as you already know their true character.
Not so on the Internet. On the Internet the big bad wolf can masquerade as a happy sheep. And the ugly duckling can look like a beautiful swan!
Don’t get me wrong. I like beautiful swans. Especially when they’re all so pretty soft and white. But if they’re an ugly duckling, I want to know about it. Because if the ugly duckling took all my money and won’t give me a refund, I’m going to go duck hunting.
So let’s talk about business websites. No, not the large companies that are publicly traded and easily found. But the small businesses. The ones that make nice professional web pages, where for some reason, the owner’s contact information is completely missing.
Yes, the websites where you’re unable to talk to a live person. And if you have a problem, you’re stuck filling out a complaint form which goes into the corporate abyss.
But what if you could find the business owners behind the website? Perhaps express your joy to them at their personal email address? Or maybe even send a bouquet of flowers to their house while they’re eating dinner?
Do you feel guilty for being so mad at them? Why not tell them all about it on their private cellphone! They may need to know about the awful dream you keep having. You know, the one where you repeatedly sue them and put a lien on their home.
Reaching real live owners is important, especially when there’s no evidence the business has been incorporated. If it’s not an official company, it means the owners could be personally liable. And so the more owners you can find, the more houses and property you can put liens on!
So this is a blog about hard to find businesses. Businesses that might not be incorporated and might not even have a bad reputation. (Yet) The only thing you know for sure is that they owe you money and you need to reach real live people. People who can be held accountable for the wrongs they’ve done.
As an example, I will show you how to find the owners behind missiontripairfare.com. (AKA MTAF and Mission Trip Airfare) Missiontripairfare.com is a great example of a site that doesn’t have easy to find contact information.
Once, their contact information used to be out in the open. But for some reason, it’s now all been neatly removed. So here I will use real public data to show you who the owners are and (if you like) how to reach them.
But before we begin, I must warn you: There’s a lot of information out there. So don’t get lost in it. Always keep in mind the following:
When You Get Their Names & Websites It Will Lead To Their Contact Info. When You Get Their Contact Info, It Will Lead To Their Names & Websites. (So Everything Can Be Used To Find Who Owns What!)
Four Happy Tips
Get their name and ways to reach them through theirwebsite, website address and older versions of their websites.
Google any contact information you find, including their business names, plus any business or personal emails, addresses and phone #s.
Use their names to get their contact info and their contact info to get their names. (Gather all the info you find. Even old emails and phone numbers could lead to other owners and hidden associates.)
Confirm you have the right contact information. Plug your info into the free validators for their current emails, physical addresses and cell phone numbers.
Now Here’s How To Find Them:
Scour Their Current Website For Owners Names & Contact Info Typically, ownership and contact information can be found on their “Contact Us”, “About Us” or bio section. Copy any contact info into Word or notepad even if it’s just a first name. You’ll be Googling it later.
Sadly, through this method I could find nothing about the owners of missiontripairfare.com. The website was devoid of any helpful names, emails or phone numbers!
Scour Their Old Website For The Owners’ Names & Contact Info Here’s where I hit paydirt! With the Way Back Machine, you can go back in time to what the website looked like in the days of yore.
In other words, you may be able to see owner information before they got crafty enough to remove it! So with missiontripairfare.com, I was able to browse through 10 years of changes to find one of the website owners and how to reach her!
Here’s what missiontripairfare.com looked like in 2007. Note the contact info up top is now missing from the current website. But there’s no fooling the Way Back Machine!
The owner of Mission Trip Airfare is Elisabeth Greenhill, also known as Beth Greenhill. Her photo and bio is here (site as of 2005). I was also able to find a working cellphone # for her at 404-353-6824 (confirmed by the cellphone validator below). As late as 2016, she was still on the website as the founder and owner.
Lookup The Website’s Domain Name Registration For Names & Contact Info: Also Look Up Related Sites With .org & .net Yes! Did you know that every website must register their domain name and provide contact information? Often this information can be found for free through a domain name lookup.
For large businesses, a domain lookup is pretty much useless. The reason is that any contact info you get is apt to lead to their IT department. And who wants to talk to IT people!
But it’s a goldmine for looking up small business owners. Often a domain registration gives you their name, their phone number and their email address. Sometimes you’ll even get their personal cell phone number. How about that!
But I was not so lucky with MTAF. For some reason missiontripairfare.com has concealed their domain registration. Sometimes people will pay extra for a private (or hidden) domain registration which can only be revealed through a court order.
But fear not! Sometimes you can look up a domain history which will tell you who owned the web address before they concealed it. This is how I found Beth Greenhill’s email address, which is firstname.lastname@example.org. Too bad it’s no longer valid.
For even more leads, try looking for who owns the same domain name but with the .net and .org suffix. Often people will reserve several domain names even if they’re never make them into websites. And sometimes, they will leave their contact info unprotected!
Through this approach I was able to uncover that Jonathan Andrew Greenhill owns missiontripairfare.org and missiontripairfare.net. WOW. He has the same last name as Beth Greenhill.
Is that a wild coincidence? Or could they be business partners? Whether they’re siblings or husband and wife is a separate issue. But read on and I’ll show you that too! But right now I’m just looking for liability. And the more partners the merrier!
Google All Names & Contact Info For More Leads Even if your website has virtually no contact information, be sure to do at least two Google searches.
You’ll always want to Google the business name and then do a separate search for the website address. In my case, I jumped the gun and Googled too quickly. I didn’t have the owners’ name yet. So I was overwhelmed with hundreds of useless hits.
If I knew the owner’s name earlier I could also have Googled Beth or Elisabeth or Beth Greenhill separately or in the same search box along with the website or the business name.
Also, I could have Googled any email addresses, physical addresses and phone #s to see what else comes up.
A Google search for“elisabeth greenhill” Georgia found she lives at 225 Warm Springs Circle, Atlanta, GA 30075. She owns this property as indicated in the Fulton County property lookups.
Check For Hidden Relationships Note: To find hidden relationships between two people, I could have Googled Beth Jonathan Greenhill. Or I could have searched for their names along with a company they might own together.
In this case I confirmed that Beth and Jonathan Greenhill are brother and sister, not husband and wife.
Find Owners Through A Company Name Search, Both Local and National. Off the bat, I found nothing for missiontripairfare.com. But that doesn’t mean you won’t find your business. And how I searched will help you.
Be sure to search several states and in the various ways described below in red. If you find an incorporation, see if you can open up the original company filing. This will often have the owner’s cell phone number!
Searching Several Ways For A Business For missiontripairfare.com, I did a preliminary national search making sure not to include a city or state. The free national search is good just to see what states have companies with the same name as the one you’re looking for.
If you find one in a certain state, click on the company name for their contact information. But don’t stop there. Even if you get their address, it could be an old one.
Now that you know the state where the business could be incorporated, go back to the free listing of Secretary of States and look up the most current contact info.
The national search ain’t perfect. It could miss records. So to figure out where they might be incorporated, I also would do a search where the owner lives and has lived, plus California and Delaware, which are where a lot of people incorporate.
So in the case of Mission Trip Airfare I checked with the Secretary of States in GA, DE, IL, SC and CA. Sadly, none of these had anything for MTAF, Mission Trip Airfare or MissionTripAirfare.com. In GA, I also searched for Beth Greenhill and Elisabeth Greenhill both as a registered agent and also as the officer/owner of any company. Nothing.
Now you might be asking what does it mean if your business is not incorporated? In short, it means the owner can be personally liable for any debt incurred here.
Even when a business has incorporated, the owner may still be liable if they used the business to defraud people. So be sure to get legal advice on Piercing the Corporate Veil.
And this is where the fun begins! If more than one person is involved in the business, it could be a partnership where everyone is liable. This means you want to find all owners, so you can put a lien on all their houses! Now ain’t that something!
Plugin Names To See If They Own Other Businesses Which List Their Contact Info If you find the names of people connected to the business, do a national search by their names too. Remember that names lead to contact information and contact information will lead to more names.
It may be they are the officers or agents of other companies. Companies where you can find where they live and send them a beautiful bouquet of flowers.
Find Their Contact Info Through The Better Business Bureau Complaint Database. The BBB allows you to search by website, business name, phone number or email address. Keep in mind that a new business may not have complaints. I recommend a search with and without their state. It’s possible their new business in GA has no complaints, but the old one in AL does. This only works if the owner used the same name for both businesses (not uncommon).
WIth MTAF, I was able to use the BBB to locate their virtual office which is located at 10 Glenlake Pkwy STE 130 Atlanta, GA 30328-3495. They also listed “Ms. Beth Greenhill, Founder“
Find Their Contact Info Through Other Domain Names They Have Yes, you can get their private cell phone number, physical address and email addresses based on other domain names they’ve registered for. And you can do it simply by plugging in their old and new contact information. You don’t even need to know if they have a website!
So now all the contact info you saved is paying off!
Through a Reverse Whois Lookup you can find their other websites and domain names.This works by plugging in any of the following:Their name, the name of their company, their user name, or an email address of theirs.
Now let’s get back to Jonathan Greenhill of Mission Trip Airfare. With just his name I learned he owns the following web addresses:
To find his current address, look for the latest website/URL. In this case it’s the one I marked in red. They don’t have a website up yet. But it’s always worth checking because an up and running website might have contact information.
Note that as late as 2016, Jonathan Greenhill listed his contact address as 1425 Rock Springs Circle, and his cell phone as 404-822-4185. Here’s a photo of the property where he lives.
Are you a shy person who is too afraid to shake his hand? Well in that case, why not email him at email@example.com? I’m sure he’ll be very glad to hear from you. The email is still valid. But if you need several more, just grab them from one of his other domain registrations.
Note: If my link to who owns a domain name doesn’t give out details on how to find him, you may need to go to GoDaddy or where ever the domain name is registered. Then use their WHOIS to find the owner’s contact information.
Confirm You Have The Right Contact Information By now you have a slew of emails, phone numbers and physical addresses. But which ones are current? Does the cell phone number work? Who owns it? Is the email still good? And how can you know if they even live there anymore?
On October 18, 2019 Elisabeth and Jonathan Greenhill both pled “Not Guilty” to all counts. Elisabeth Greenhill’s pleading shows her current phone number and address. If it were Jonathan’s I’d have published it in a heartbeat. But perhaps Elisabeth should get some grace here. She’ll need it.
Elisabeth Greenhill On February 3, 2020 Elisabeth Greenhill changed her plea from “not guilty” to guilty of count 1. But she then tried to withdraw her plea, blaming her lawyer of course, for never explaining things to her. The judge didn’t buy it, and Elisabeth was penalized for perjuring herself and showing no remorse for her awful and dishonest crimes which hurt at least 41 people.
On March 23, 2021 Elisabeth Greenhill was sentenced to 7 years and three months in a Florida federal prison, plus 3 years supervised release with special and standard conditions. She must pay $1,310,102.00 in restitution and has reported to prison atFCI Marianna SCP on Noon, April 29, 2021 to begin service of sentence. She is appealing, but I doubt she’ll win this one.
Jonathan Greenhill Jonathan Greenhill was found guilty after a three day trial, which he appealed of course. Jonathan actually got a much lighter sentence than his sister Elisabeth, even though he has a decade plus history of being sleazy, unscrupulous and downright deceitful. Perhaps this is because unlike his sister he wasted far less of the court’s time with legal duplicitousness and chicanery. Plus he probably blamed his conduct on being a victim of substance abuse, as his sentencing suggests he has a drug problem.
On April 1, 2022, the court sentenced Jonathan Greenhill to 3 years and one month in federal prison; plus 3 YEARS SUPERVISED RELEASE and $969,102.00 IN RESTITUTION. The court also recommended to the Bureau of Prisons: (1) That the Defendant be allowed to serve his custodial sentence in the BOP facility at FPC Montgomery, Alabama, and (2) That the Defendant be recommended for participation in the RDAP program if he qualifies. Unlike his sister, he has no set time yet to surrender himself to the Federal Bureau of Prisons. As of May 11, 2021 Good ole Jonathan is now in federal prison at Montgomery FPC.
So your 20 year old daughter is all gaga about the cool guy she met at the Waffle House. “He’s fun, he’s fast and he’s really terrific”, so she says. “At 23, he owns his own modeling agency and is now off to Europe to check on his import export business!”
It’s obvious your daughter is wild about him. But as a concerned parent you’re worried. Some men will say anything for sex. And as smart as your daughter is, she’s also a bit naive. So you wonder, what if this guy’s a liar? Or worse, what if he’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing? He could be dangerous!
Your daughter won’t listen without proof. And you know just how to get it! Now is the time to be cheerful. So with your best botox smile, you say “That’s great honey! I’d love to meet him when he returns! May I take a look at his business card?”
With great joy she hands it over to you. And now you’re really smiling. For his neck is in your noose. With just a business card, you have all you need for a full fledged background check! It’s time to pull the beard off Santa, and expose him for the fraud he is!
A short time later your suspicions are confirmed. The guy is 30 not 23. And to your disgust, the slacker still lives with his mommy. You also learn the company he “owns” doesn’t exist, and his arrest mugshots show he’s driving on a suspended license-a license he lost after his second DUI.
He’s also lying about his wealth. Court records on PACER show that less than a year ago he filed for bankruptcy. Looking at the bankruptcy petition, it’s obvious to you what happened. With his minimum wage job at the gas station, he couldn’t make the payments on his flat screen TV and the Jet Ski he bought on credit.
Smug and self satisfied, you tuck away his business card and can’t wait to tell your daughter the good news. Ain’t life grand!
A Sample of What You Can Find Out From A Business Card
Why A Background Check Through Their Business Card?
As you can see, a business card is so packed with information that it screams out: PLEASE DO A BACKGROUND CHECK ON ME!
The typical business card has:
1. The names of the person, business and website; and also
2. Contact information such as their address, phone number and email address.
Even if you’re not a protective parent, there are plenty of good reasons to do a background check. And what better way than with their own business card!
People use business cards to inspire trust. They hand out them out in the hopes you’ll feel they’re competent, dependable and professional. So at the very least you can investigate these claims before you date them, hire them or introduce them to your friends and colleagues.
What To Look For In A Business Card There’s only two reasons to check out a business card:
Confirm The Person Is Being Truthful About Themselves
Are they really a doctor or a lawyer? Are they truly a licensed CPA? Do they own that company or work for someone else? Is their physical address an office, a home or just a concealed mail drop made to look business like?
Learn The Things They’d Never Dare Tell You On Their Own
Is the person reputable? Have they had complaints, been sued, or ever been convicted of a crime? Did they drive their former companies into bankruptcy? Do they own the property or just rent from their mom? These are the things they won’t volunteer. And unless you background them, you’ll never know what to ask.
Where To Plug In The Information
Google everything. This includes their name, the name of their company, the phone number, address, email address and website address. Make sure to Google with and without their middle initial.
For more on name searches see:
Leverage what you find to get even more information. For example:, if your search turns up more companies or prior phone numbers and addresses, Google these too. After all, you don’t know what you don’t know. It could be these lead to other failed ventures, or to lawsuits and arrests that reveal their rotten character.
Check Licenses and Certifications and verify they own the company they claim to own. For example, all doctors and lawyers better be licensed in the state they practice. Same with CPAs, realtors and financial advisors. If you’re unsure if they need a license, Google their profession and your state to see if such is required. For more, see the Sleuth For The Truth blog on Backgrounding A Contractor.
Do reverse lookups to see who’s behind any of the contact information on the business card. Learn who is behind the phone number, the email address, who owns the property and whether its a real address or concealed mail drop. Often a reverse lookup will tell you other things such as lawsuits, who their associates are and if there are complaints against them. Other red flags include connections to criminal activity, and the business being “theirs” but you can’t find them as an officer or registered agent.
Finally, see what else you want to know about them at Consumer-SOS.com below:
For anyone who would background the house or car they buy, but not their date…
Are Public Records A Bad Thing? Are you a privacy nut? Or someone convinced that free public records mean the end of the world? Or maybe you’re less extreme than that, but just a little alarmed because there’s far too much public information freely available online.
Well, to quote Bill Clinton: I feel your pain. There’s a lot on the Internet that can be used to stalk people, defame people, or simply harass people. Too much hate, too much bullying, too much social media. And yes, too many YouTube videos with annoying pop up ads.
So what are you going to do about it? Without a time machine, we’re stuck in the here and now. And like fire, which is good in the oven but terrible on the curtains, so is the free information you’ll find on the Internet.
Think back to all the amazing inventions. And the opposition they all received. The VCR allowed you to illegally copy. But with it you could watch all your favorite programs without the commercials.
And what about the Internet? It made huge numbers of teens more isolated, more asocial and even more into pornography. Yet it also allowed bedridden grandmothers to Skype their distant grandchildren. I could talk about the car, the iPod and the smartphone. But you get the gist. The technology is neutral. What counts most is what we do with it.
So let’s stop the complaining. It’s now time to make the lemons into lemonade.
Trust But Verify
Too many times I get the question: Why do a background check? Sometimes I’m even accused of being a snooper or stalker. The people who ask these things tend to think there’s something shady when you look someone up online. Their concern is that the mere act of backgrounding someone creates inherent feelings of mistrust. And that it’s better to be ignorant than poisoned by unfounded suspicion. In some cases they may be right!
I agree that it’s what’s in our heart that matters. It harms us when we always suspect others of being liars or underhanded. But this doesn’t mean we throw away our intelligence or our caution. We live in an age where people are no longer in communities. A time when people are no longer accountable.
Unlike a century ago, people now have the power to run away from their own heat. They can escape their own bad reputations. So you’re an abuser, a liar or a cheat? Simply cut off old ties, move to another town and reinvent yourself. Who will know? Unless of course, there’s a trail of all the harm you’ve caused. A trail that can be found easily and for free by those with a need to know.
Your Need To Know As employers, parents and singles, we all have a need to know. We have a responsibility to protect ourselves, our friends and our families. We need to know who we’re going to hire or date or allow near our children.
As Ronald Reagan once said when dealing with the Russians, we should “trust, but verify.” This means we start out in good faith and with the best of intentions. But we’ve got to do our homework as well. We cannot close our eyes to the realities that surround us.
As the mom of little red riding hood, would you let your little girl wander alone in the forest? And what about the man you invited home for dinner? Are you so sure he’s not the big bad wolf? How can you tell? As in the story, the wolf wears many disguises. And the faster you know it’s a wolf, the faster you can protect those you love.
When Is A Good Time To Do A Background Check? So now you’re seeing wolves and want to do a background check. But when is a background check appropriate? It’s all about balancing your desire to trust verses the risk of being too trusting. The threshold of trust is different for everyone. It’s your life. So only you can answer that question.
But allow me to make a few suggestions. Do a background check whenever the stakes are high. At the the very least, I recommend it when dating, hiring, renting out your house, or when investing in someone’s business.
I also recommend a background check when you notice something is wrong. It could be that someone’s story doesn’t add up. Or that an employee has a pattern of acting strange or erratic and you’re unable to figure out why.
What Do I Look For In A Background Check? What to look for in a background check all depends on why you’re doing it in the first place.For example, if your dating someone, their age and marital status may be more important than their DUI of 20 years ago.
If you’re checking out a renter, take a look at any incidences of violence or prior evictions, destruction of property, etc. Also find out if they ever sued their landlord.
For investors, you’ll want to check out their honesty and their competence in financial matters. Do they have recent bankruptcies or defunct companies they ran into the ground?
Were they ever charged or convicted of fraud or embezzlement? How do they manage their assets? Checking out what they own tells you if they’re good managers. It may also reveal if they have undisclosed conflicts of interests. For example, are they asking you to invest in something they have hidden ties to? Is it a Ponzi scheme or a company secretly owned by their kid brother?
Lies, Omissions & Funny Business (My Law School Days at ASU) Often we have no clue what a person has done or even what to ask them. In other words, we don’t know what we don’t know. But if something suddenly appears fishy, it’s time to do a background check!
A great example of this occurred in my law school days when I met a a self proclaimed millionaire named Mike Davis. Mike was smart, affable and seemed like a really nice guy. But I should have suspected something fishy when I caught him waiting on the financial aid line. Law school was a lot cheaper back then. Millionaires didn’t need or qualify for student loans. That was my first clue something was definitely amiss.
Years later at a party, I confessed to him, “Mike I’ve known you for three years and you’re still f*n inscrutable! I know as much about you now as the very first day I met you!” Mike grinned at me and said “just ask away little buddy!” I was silent. What could I ask him?
A few years later Mike made national headlines. And I so badly wanted to go back to that party and ask him: “Hey Mike, by any chance, is your real name Walter Waldhauser? And before I knew you, did you ever flunk out of a Texas law school and serve 9 years in prison for killing people to collect on their inheritance money? And by the way, if you hadn’t plead guilty and ratted out your accomplices, do you think you too would have died by lethal injection as they did? Just asking little buddy. Just asking…“
But again, you don’t know what you don’t know. That’s why you should do the background check as soon as you know something’s fishy. If there’s water dripping from the ceiling, don’t sit around until the roof caves in.