How to spot a fake company that was created by the Secret Services…

Last summer, the Associated Press working in the USA uncovered the fact that the FBI had been using fake companies in order to conduct secret surveillance on the unsuspecting public.

As they had heard reports of a number of low flying planes over major US cities, they decided to investigate what was really going on, with the support of experienced private investigators

What exactly were the FBI doing?

The Associated Press found that the FBI had used 13 ‘shell companies’ (there may have been more that weren’t found during the investigation) that had been flying over 30 cities in 11 states in the USA. These were low flying planes, branded with the fake company names and logos, that were in fact concealed surveillance planes. These planes were fully fitted with the audio/visual equipment necessary for picking up surveillance information from below. They were not authorised by a judge’s warrant, and when the company names were investigated, many of the company documents were all signed by the same name – potentially a government employee. Although these are currently the talked-about “front” or “dummy” companies, there are many more out there across the world that exist only for surveillance. And we’ve all seen movies with spies in a van with a generic name on the outside…

What effect does this have on the public?

The FBI’s response to these claims was that their teams were carrying out covert surveillance on specific, targeted areas in order to uncover information for ongoing investigations. This does seem plausible, as being as covert as possible is essential for successful surveillance, and when a team is as well known as the FBI, they would need to pull out all the stops to remain undetected. In any case, the general public don’t take kindly to being monitored in this way, with many responding to the AP’s report feeling it was a huge breach of privacy. We can’t help thinking there would have been easier ways for the FBI to conduct surveillance, especially if it was targeted towards specific people and locations, and we can totally understand why the population see this kind of mass surveillance as unnecessary and disturbing. No doubt the FBI isn’t the only government agency using companies as a front for investigation and surveillance. It begs the question; how many other companies are created by Secret Service agencies across the world in order to conduct surveillance and monitoring? How many do we come into contact with on a daily basis, without realising they have an ulterior motive? Perhaps a few individuals would be able to recognise a fake company, but when the best teams in the world are behind their creation, it must be hugely difficult to spot the signs! Let us know what you think are some of the major clues to lookout for when it comes to recognising these kinds of fake companies set up by investigating bodies – and if you’ve ever come into contact with one…

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