Sunday, July 10, 2011

Private Investigator Ed Opperman Wins National Publicity Cyber-Sleuthing for Celebrities

COLORADO SPRINGS — A Colorado private investigator is attracting boatloads of national press by identifying emailers and conducting other cyber-stalking investigations for a wide range of clients, including celebrities.Ed Opperman of

Ed Opperman of recently investigated the origin of an e-mail complaining about one of the producers of shock-jock radio talker Howard Stern. The case made national headlines, and it’s far from the only time Opperman has worked for celebrities.

Opperman offered some insights into his cyber-sleuthing in a recent e-interview with the Denver Private Investigator Blog.

Private Investigator Blog: What is your background as a PI? What types of cases did you work most often?

Opperman: I worked as an information broker in the 80′s and made a good name for myself. I got hired by PIs in NYC to do organized crime cases. Went on to do other things, then teamed up with some retired NYC cops in 2000 to do employment screening for UPS. Then I branched out into full-service PI work. Now I mostly do cyber-stalking investigations, computer and cell phone forensics to recover data in infidelity cases. I also invented a search to trace email address back to online dating services to catch people cheating online.

Private Investigator Blog: Why are you based in Colorado?

Opperman: I like the licensing laws, tax rates, climate, small town feel, inexpensive labor and rents.

Private Investigator Blog: What career path led you to form your current business?

Opperman: I went to school for paralegal studies, I worked for licensed investigators in NYC as an information broker and then in the telecommunications field. I expanded that into my cell phone forensics and email tracing. I partnered with retired LEO to do employment screening, but then took advantage of my experience in telecommunications to do email tracing.

Private Investigator Blog: How do you promote your business?

Opperman: Article writing, word of mouth, referrals. I don’t advertise at all. Most of my clients come to me from PIs or lawyers I worked with in NYC 25 years ago. I have a good reputation among my fellow investigators and law firms. I try to promote my business to professionals in the business for a flat rate fee.

Private Investigator Blog: You seem to attract a lot of the celebrity clients, and then you promote what you do for them on your web site. How do you attract them? And how do you get their permission to use them in your company promotional materials? Among the celebrity clients that you ask for permission to cite in your company’s promotional materials, what percentage turn you down?

Opperman: I fell into that. I did a few jobs for some high profile clients and word gets around. My biggest cases have never been publicized. But more recently in the Tiger Woods case I was retained by a talent agent/manager and all her jobs are for public release. The jobs are designed to be press-released. I never ask for permission to press- release a job. Those jobs that get press releases come to me initially as jobs that are intended for press-release.

I have worked and I am working for some other celebrity/political cases that I would never dream of press-releasing or ever asking to press release. In fact if you notice there are jobs I’ve done, like the one you initially contacted me about [regarding Howard Stern], that are widely reported in the press already but I have never press released.

I’ve also had several very high profile celebrity cases that were initially meant for press release but after the investigation, the results were not suitable for public release.

Private Investigator Blog: Are celebrities good clients? Are they more demanding than your “regular” clients?

Opperman: I work through the agent/ managers so it’s no different than working for a lawyer. In my opinion they are less difficult than lawyers. LOL I’ve consulted with many celebrities directly mostly in pre-litigation but all my consultations in those instances have been very friendly and amicable.

Private Investigator Blog: Without giving away proprietary information, tells us what you can about how you obtain the information you provide your clients The common understanding is that in order to get an Internet Service Provider (ISP) to provide the name of the owner/user of an email address, you have to have a subpoena. Do you get around that somehow, or do you simply provide the Internet Protocol (IP) address of the computer from which an email was sent? What do you tell your clients who want more?

Opperman: I never request information from an ISP unless it’s with a subpoena. But that’s not the only way to obtain information from an email address. I have my own database. I have access to many databases but I also have ways of contacting the e-mailer or luring them into traps that will reveal their identity. In fact the Howard Stern case was a very simple trace. If they had not mentioned on the air that I was tracing the email it would have been very easy to identify him. At the same time I was doing the exact same job for a city attorney in a California and it only took a few days to ID the e-mailer. The investigations were identical.

Your question is based on the misconception that identifying the person behind an email address begins and ends with an examination and trace of the e-mail header. I could talk about this for hours and hours. There is much more to an email trace investigation than just a header trace or examination.

Private Investigator Blog: Are there any limitations on what you can obtain with respect to emails and email users/owners? In other words, what do you have to tell your clients that you CANNOT get?

Opperman: Of course. There’s no guarantee. It’s an investigation like any other investigation. In fact I turn down or reverse many clients every week. Some cases are impossible and not worth wasting time. If I cannot get enough information to return a report then it’s a not a hit. If I return a report and they need further investigation or consultation with LEO or their attorney then I bill hourly. For instance in the Howard Stern case, I was able to prove the e-mail was only created a few minutes before it was sent and then I was able to trace it back to a city computer. So now that’s enough to report to the city and have it complete the investigation without contacting the ISP with a subpoena. But that’s just one example of how this kind of investigation is completed with successful results.

Private Investigator Blog: What do you like most about your work as a PI?

Opperman: I like helping people in trouble. If you look at my Facebook you’ll see people thanking me for helping to reunite their family. I like locating or identifying cyber stalkers after the clients have been told it was impossible. I’ve located run away kids, non-custodial child abductions. That kind of investigation is very satisfying.

Private Investigator Blog: What do you hate most about your work as a PI?

Opperman: I don’t like the billing and collections and clerical work on that end. I enjoy the investigation, finding information but I don’t like to have to ask for more money. I try to keep all my services at a flat fee. Then leave it to the client to request further work. I think that’s fair.

Tags: ed opperman, emailrevealer,, opperman investigations inc, howard Stern, tiger Woods, Aston Kutcher, Sarah Palin

 Ed Opperman
PO Box 777381 Henderson NV 89077
Phone:800-572-9762 FREE


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