Every checking account number contains a nine-digit ABA routing number that identifies the financial institution that the account is at. When a check is presented for payment, it’s ultimately guided back to the issuing bank for payment. But how can an investigator identify the bank when he just has this nine digit number but not the bank name? Here’s two options:

Run ABA numbers online at this Federal Reserve website to identify the banking institution:

Or you can get the same information by calling the Reference Desk at the American Bankers Association. Call 800/BANKERS.


Three "Super Bureaus" collect and disseminate personal financial information on millions of Americans. Release of the information is regulated by the Fair Credit Reporting Act and various state statutes. Note: Subpoenas must be signed by a judge. All three bureaus accept service by mail at the addresses below. None charge a fee. Be sure to include the subject’s social security number and current address when requesting a credit report by subpoena or search warrant.

EQUIFAX: Mail subpoenas/search warrants to: Equifax, Attn.: Custodian of Records, 1600 Peachtree Street, Atlanta, GA 30309. Call 770/375-2613.

EXPERIAN: Mail subpoenas/search warrants to: Experian, Attn.: Custodian of Records, P.O. Box 1240, Allen, TX 75013. Call 972/390-4016.

TRANSUNION: Mail subpoenas/search warrants to: TransUnion, Attn.: Custodian of Records, 555 West Adams Street, Chicago, IL 60661. Call 312/985-3978.


All toll-free numbers in the United States (800, 877, 866, etc.) are managed by the 800 Service Management System. When calls are made to a toll-free number, the 800 SMS figures out what phone carrier (or Responsible Organization, in their terminology) should pay for the call. The phone carrier then, in turn, will bill its customer to whom the toll-free line is registered. The 800 SMS therefore maintains a database of all toll-free numbers and knows what phone company operates each. They don’t maintain information on the actual customer to whom the line is registered by the phone company. If asked properly, the 800 SMS customer help section will tell you what phone company handles any particular phone line. What is the value of this to investigators? For one thing, when a subpoena is in hand for phone records, this will help determine where it should be served. Call 888/SMS-3300.

But wait — have a case of laryngitis and can’t speak? Don’t call 800 SMS direct and speak with their customer service department. Rather, call this automated "Responsible Organization" line from Ameritech. You’ll punch in the 800 number and hear back the name of the carrier! Call 800/337-4194.

Hey - When You've Got THOUSANDS of sources you can afford to give another freebie...


Need a serial number for a lost or stolen firearm? Then contact the gun dealer from whom the firearm was originally purchased. If the gun dealer is out of business, contact the ATF, which will search its records for a fee of $37.50. Include the name of the person who purchased the firearm; the name of the out-of-business dealer; the dealer’s city, state and zip code; date of purchase or at least a three-year time span when the purchase was made; make, model and gauge of firearm. Include both your name and address as well as a daytime phone number. Direct your request to ATF, Disclosure Division, 650 Massachusetts Avenue, Washington, D.C. 20226. Call 800/788-7133 or 202/927-8480.