Do Process Servers Wear Disguises? Yes!

Blog originally published on December 30, 2020. Last updated on April 5, 2024.

Anyone can serve 95% of Process, but only a professional process server can serve the other 5%

Serving court process is a job that keeps you on your toes, forces you to improvise and think in the moment, and may also require planning ahead to be successful. Many people can hand off court documents to agreeable individuals, but to succeed in this business, you must be able to serve papers to the hard to reach people by being creative in your approach.

You would be amazed at how many people we serve legal documents to complement our process servers on our unique pretexts used daily to get documents served. They will openly state that without the use of  “pretext,” they would never have accepted the documents or verified their identity.

As a vital part of the legal system, we are known for acting professionally and respectfully with those we meet, whether it is the security guard at the front entrance, a neighbor, or the person receiving the court papers.

A History of Process Servers and Disguises.

The intertwining of process serving and disguises has long captured the imagination, often perpetuated by media portrayals in films like "Pineapple Express" and "Serving Sara." Within this realm, professional process servers employ an array of disguises to execute their duties discreetly. From assuming the guise of a pizza delivery person or a flower delivery driver to masquerading as construction workers and beyond, the art of disguise is a pivotal tool in the arsenal of process servers.

Short Story of our personal experience acting as construction workers

We were hired to serve a political figure who had already evaded service from four other companies in the area. Each and every server who came before us failed miserably to serve him, so for this situation we recommended three different process servers stake out the subject’s known location to get the job done. Two servers covered alley entrances to the first property and one sat in front of the site. We staked out the property for approximately one hour before an informant gave us the scoop on the subject’s current location. The new information resulted in us having to quickly relocate. We had to rely on our adaptability to immediately run to the new location before the subject had the opportunity to escape.

We found that the subject had an advanced surveillance system including personal security, cameras, and a driver. Private Investigators and Process Servers in the DC Metro area had tried to serve the subject multiple times, but he always found a way around it, thus he was deemed a professional evader. He and his security developed a keen eye for spotting process servers while they were attempting to stake out his residence and the subject would not leave if he was suspicious a process server was present. All of the factors involved with the case proved to be a difficult situation that had to be handled with the utmost care and due diligence to ensure that security did not get spooked so that the subject would come out of hiding.

The three of us separated as the plan transformed, two positioned themselves in the new location’s back alley dressed as construction workers (the disguises were quite believable as you can see in the images above), and another server proceeded to stake out the front from a distance. We knocked on the subject’s front door and was immediately confronted by his personal security. The man who answered was intimidating to say the least and would have been described as a large, burly man wearing a full suit. I informed him that I was a part of a company hired to remove the overgrown trees from the alley looming over electrical lines and needed verification from the homeowner that we were authorized to block the alleyway. Security immediately asked for verification of the company we worked for. We had anticipated this response and already had the pretext ready to provide. He then asked for paperwork proving the authorization for the tree removal. We informed him that our foreman had the paperwork, but wasn’t coming to the location until we gained permission to begin the work. He believed our backstory but did not get the homeowner, stating he was currently busy and suggested we return later.


As we exited, we observed that he opened all of the blinds in the house and watched what we would do next. Knowing that we were being watched, we devised a plan to knock on every neighbor’s door loudly so that security at the location could hear and told the neighbors that we were removing trees from the back and we would be blocking the back alley and requested to speak with the homeowners for verification that we were in fact permitted to block the alley while we worked.

After talking to the neighbors within sight of the target property, we then proceeded back to the alley and took pictures of trees and electrical lines under them. While doing so, we observed and took photos of the video cameras at the back of the property and the vehicles without arousing suspicion. To ensure the believability of our cover, we made it seem like we were looking at the environment as construction workers and carried props such as notepads for taking notes as we spoke, this was especially important as the cameras at the back of the residence provided visuals of anyone who was coming in and out of the alley.

After sitting in the alley for a while, we decided to walk around to the front and knock on the door again to request to speak with the “homeowner,” who was the subject. At this point, we were able to recognize him from the many pictures online as he walked outside from his basement to the front staircase of his property. One of us then approached the subject, introduced himself, and shook his hand before stating that we had court documents for him. When the subject realized we were process servers, he turned around, ignored the fact that we were handing him legal documents, and forced us to state that he had been served. We left the documents by his feet on the stairs going to the first floor of his property.

He was properly served and the service held up in court.

What Does a Process Server Wear When Serving Legal Documents?

When not in a costume or a disguise, what should a process server wear?

We recommend that process servers dress professionally for business services between 9-5pm and to dress down for residential services. If our pretext was to courier flowers to the subject, we dress down because you do not typically see a courier wearing a clean, pressed suit or dress business casual. If you wear a suit when approaching a residential address, the individual being served may think you are there selling something, or worse, be alerted that you are a process server and will not believe you are couriering flowers and ask your real purpose. A general rule of thumb is to dress to match the environment you will meet the person to be served. 

PLEASE NOTE: Pretending to be a police officer or government employee is illegal. Remember to check your state’s laws regarding props and pretext. You can never impersonate a law enforcement officer, USPS, FEDEX, UPS, or government employee. Even wearing a disguise can go against the rules. In most states, props are legal and can help you make contact. You could try holding a pizza box or ordering one to hand off. The process serving industry go-to is flowers, which still proves to be successful to this very day. 

Serving Process with a Professional Company

At Same Day Process, we pride ourselves on being a trusted partner in legal support services. Our comprehensive range of offerings includes process serving, court filing, document research and retrieval, skip tracing, mobile notary services, stakeout & stings, and social media investigations. We understand the critical importance of ensuring that legal documents are delivered promptly and accurately, which is why we specialize in same-day service whenever possible. Our team is committed to upholding the highest standards of professionalism and ethical conduct in every aspect of our work. Whether you're a law firm, an individual litigant, or a corporate entity, you can rely on Same Day Process to handle your legal support needs with efficiency, discretion, and integrity. With our dedication to excellence and our willingness to go the extra mile, we've earned a reputation for tackling even the most challenging assignments and delivering results that exceed expectations. When you choose Same Day Process, you're choosing a partner who will work tirelessly to ensure that justice is served.

Call Us: (844) 737-8331

Send Us a Job


What Is Skip Tracing?

Originally posted on 09/10/2015 Sometimes finding someone is the biggest issue with having them do something! Process servers help deliver the legal documents that make the legal system operate. This system would not run nearly as...

Which Industries Most Often Use Process Servers?

Originally posted on 10/19/2015 At Same Day Process Service, our clients come from a variety of industries. With a combined 60 years of experience, every skilled process server we work with has successfully served individuals for...

How Is Skip Tracing Performed?

Originally posted on 12/21/2015 What do you do when you can't find something or someone? Do you call around? Maybe you check the place where you saw that object or person last. How does this search become more intense when you have...

Do I Need to Hire a Process Server?

Originally posted on 03/01/2016 Legal matters experience a better outcome through the hiring of a professional process server. Additionally, you’ll experience less frustration as well as time savings. Check out the reasons why you...

Serving Heavyweight Boxer Pedro Lovell

Serving civil process is often too exciting and is perpetually, non-stop OJT (on the job training). I received papers to serve on the heavyweight boxer, Pedro Lovell, often referred to as "KO King," "The LA Bomber," "The...

How Are Legal Documents Authenticated?

Originally posted on 04/04/2016 While a signature may be authenticated by someone who has reasonable familiarity with a subject's writing, the majority of legal documents require more than a simple statement stating that they are...

How to Choose the Best Process Server

Originally posted on 07/13/2015 Imagine that you want to take action against someone else in court, but you can't notify them because you can't find them. But since the law says that you must notify them, what can...

Serving An Evasive New York Attorney

I was asked to serve divorce papers on a New York attorney who had been avoiding service and was coming to Maryland to visit his parents to celebrate the Passover. He was supposed to be arriving between 2 and 5 pm Friday. Our client informed me...

What Are the Benefits of Hiring a Mobile Notary?

Originally posted on: 11/17/2015 Mobile notaries are notary publics who travel to a client’s location to conduct a notarial act. Almost anyone can benefit from a mobile notary’s services, but there are a few surprising benefits...

How Long Will It Take to Have My Papers Served?

Originally posted on: 03/14/2018 "Are we there yet?" We all remember hearing our kids or maybe or younger selves saying that at one point. We want to be at our destination without the wait on the journey. Serving processes is...

There are court documents inside that Pizza Box!

Imagine for a moment that someone shot you, robbed you, or burglarized your house, and some persons witnessed the crime but refused to testify about what they saw. On occasion, we receive legal documents for people who refuse to make themselves...

Serving Barack Obama: A Private Citizen

When Barack Obama was President, he had to be served legal documents by certified mail.  When he left office, he moved into this beautiful 8,000 square foot brick home on Belmont Street, overlooking Rock Creek Park. Since he was no longer...

A Most Ferocious Dog

I received a subpoena for a person living in Virginia's boondocks.  The trip was a long winding drive through the mountains where I eventually found the house, set back in the trees, 150 yards from the road.  There was a creek and...

5 Tips For Being a Better Process Server

Just like people, not every process service is the same. Some people are harder to hand papers off to than others. Many defendants believe that avoiding a process server means their legal troubles go away (this is false). This myth leads some people...

A Story of Patience and Persistence

The doctor we were trying to serve had been an enigma for over a month. Our servers made several unsuccessful attempts to serve him at his office in White Plains, MD. His door was always locked and no sound heard from within. The receptionist in the...
Page: 123456 - All