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General Laws

Section 23. No person shall engage in, advertise or hold himself out as being engaged in, nor solicit private detective business or the business of watch, guard or patrol agency, notwithstanding the name or title used in describing such business, unless licensed for such purpose as provided in section twenty-five.

The provisions of this section shall not apply to an agent, employee or assistant of a licensee, to any corporation, if its resident manager, superintendent or official representative is a licensee, nor to the following:—

1. A person employed by or on behalf of the commonwealth, including the general court or either of its branches, any committee of the general court or either of its branches, any special commission required to report to the general court, any political subdivision of the commonwealth or any public instrumentality, while such person is engaged in the discharge of his official duties.

2. A charitable, philanthropic or law enforcement agency, duly incorporated under the laws of the commonwealth, or any agent thereof while he is engaged in the discharge of his duties as such agent; provided, that such agency is promoted and maintained for the public good and not for private profit.

3. A person employed as an investigator, detective, watchman, guard, patrolman, or employed or assigned to perform any of the activities described in the definition “watch, guard or patrol agency” or whose duties include an inquiry into the fitness of an applicant for employment, in connection with the regular and customary business of his employer and whose services are not let out to another for profit or gain, but only while so acting for his employer.

4. A credit reporting bureau or agency whose business is principally the furnishing of information as to business and financial standing and credit responsibility.

5. Investigations as to the personal habits and financial responsibility of applicants for insurance or indemnity bonds, provided, such investigations do not include other activities described in section twenty-two.

6. An attorney at law in the practice of his profession.

7. Investigations with respect to, or the compilation or dissemination of, any data or statistics pertaining to any business or industry, by any trade or business association, board or organization, incorporated or unincorporated, not operated for profit, representing persons engaged in such business or industry, or by any agent of any such trade or business association while he is engaged in the discharge of his duties as such agent.

8. An insurance adjuster or investigator while acting in such capacity as an employee.

9. Any trade or business association, board or organization, incorporated or unincorporated, which furnishes as a service to members thereof, information pertaining to the business and financial standing, credit responsibility or reputation of persons with whom such members consider doing business; provided, that an investigation conducted by such association, board or organization shall be no more extensive than is reasonably required to determine the business and financial standing, credit responsibility or reputation of such person.

10. A person engaged in earning his livelihood by genealogical work and the compilation of family history while so engaged.

11. A person hired by the owner of a residential dwelling for the limited purpose of inspecting the exterior of an unoccupied residential dwelling for storm damage.

12. Individuals who are independently and currently licensed by the commonwealth in a profession or field of expertise, whereby they are exclusively utilized and confined in conducting an investigation to that profession or field of expertise, inasmuch as the context and extent of their inquiry and investigation does not exceed the particular area of their profession or field of expertise in which they are independently licensed within the commonwealth.

Whoever violates any provision of this section shall be punished by a fine of not less than two hundred nor more than one thousand dollars or by imprisonment for not more than one year, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

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