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can a private investigator...?

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What is the name of your state? TN

My son lives with me and he has a son who is 5 with his ex-girlfriend. They haven't been to court to establish anything as far as custody, apparently they feel that since they get along they aren't going to bother. I'm trying to find a way to change his mind.

I heard through some people that this ex girlfriend may have gotten a credit card or utilities to her home put under her name but using the child's SS#. Can I hire a private investigator to check the child's credit report? If he finds something, do I report it to the police for identity theft? Or because she is sole custodian, would I get in trouble for having it checked without her knowledge?


Senior Member
You likely can have your son, who as a parent has a legal tight to know, buy an online search of activity using his child's SS number. There are some identity theft type programs that alert to activity under your SS#. I'm not sure which is better than what, but the AMW website, for example, offers this.


I doubt a private investigator is needed.


my son won't. He doesn't care if she did or not. And I'm not so sure he can do a search himself as he is not on the birth certificate and they haven't established anything in court, so he really isn't the "parent" in a legal sense then, right?

(and yes, it is his child, neither of them are promiscuous, there are other reasons it didn't work - my son's fault)

And even if he pays for it, and does find out, I assume this means I can't take it to the police either...

I thought maybe if a PI was hired, regardless who paid for it, they have an obligation to report illegal activity to the police, and we won't get in trouble for it. Was hoping an attorney could give me a low down on PI's can and can't do. I called a few here, and they won't speak to me w/o getting some $$ first.


Senior Member
I think this may cause more trouble then what it is worth: the way you are going about it will anyway.

Have your son ask the mother of the child to bring a copy of her utility bills to him for some reason, see whos name is on it. Most utility companies have gotten "wise" to the trick of childrens social security number to get utility scam. This is why you will often find you must have a picture ID when establishing service.

(I mean can you imagine all the twelve year olds out there with $600.00 electric and $1200.00 phone bills)

But really what is your motive?

You do not like the woman and you don't want your son to either, correct?


it's not that I don't "like" her...it's more about my grandchild. It just really concerns me what she can possibly get away with and potentially cause trouble for my grandchild down the road.

My son needs to wake up and figure out he needs to establish his rights to be able to protect the interests of his child if need be...before it's too late. He's so apathetic about it.

I figured if I had something on paper, saying THIS IS WHY YOU HAVE TO he'd get off his butt.



If it doesn't bother him, leave it alone. He is a big boy and it is his responsability to take care of this crap. If he gets burned it is his fault. TOUGH LOVE


this isn't about what does or doesn't happen to my son, it is about what does or doesn't happen with my grandchild.

I don't want his parents to screw up his future by their stupid actions, and if I have a legal way of opening their eyes, I'd like to do it...for the best interest of the child.

I'm surprised that people on this forum are so quick to brush off potential illegal activity when it comes to a child.


Under the Radar Member
In all honesty, you need to remove yourself from the situation. It's more likely that your getting involved and sticking your son's nose in whatever you find will do nothing except make him resent you - ultimately harming your relationship with him AND the child.


In all honesty, I'm not interested in anyone's personal opinion on what I should or shouldn't do, I realize this is a public forum and everyone's 2 cents is going to get stuck in regardless, but I'm still looking for the LEGAL side of it, of which this site is supposed to provide....

In all honesty it's impossible to "leave myself out of it" because I am very actively involved in the lives of all three of them, by their choice. Someone said something about the father getting burned and calling it "tough love", the only person who will get burned in the long run for this is my grandchild. I'm not interested in dosing out tough love to a 5 year old who can't defend himself.

in all honesty I'm not sure I'll do anything but I have the right to ask about it...

in all honestly I'm just looking to find out the legal ramifications if and when I do choose to go the route I'm suggesting....if I want moral opinions, I'll find a site that gives advice based on that criterea.

in all honesty I could find out that my son is being apathetic because he is utilizing the child's SS# too, in that event I'll have both of them arrested and take guardianship of my grandchild...

thank you for your 2 cents...but I still want a legal opinion.

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