What can a Private Investigator do for you?
The role of the private investigator is varied but what do they really do and how can they help you with a variety of challenges?
Firstly, it’s important to understand the difference between the Hollywood fantasy portrayal of the world of the private investigator versus the reality of conducting enquiries and investigations. Films and TV would have you believe that it is all high-speed car chases, shootouts, murders and martial arts which could not be further from the truth. Oftentimes, an investigator will spend a large time behind a desk researching online from open sources coupled with long periods waiting in a car or location for something to happen. In fact, if what results IS a high-speed car chase, shootout or physical confrontation – it has all gone wrong!
Now that we have dispelled the media myth – let’s look at what a private investigator does and what they can actually do for you.
· Infidelity Surveillance – a private investigator’s key skill is their ability to gather ‘evidence’ without the subject’s knowledge. In infidelity cases, the private investigator will work on behalf of the client who suspects their significant other to be having an extra-relationship affair. The investigator will gather as much information from the client and target covert surveillance to gain video, picture or audio evidence to confirm or deny the suspicions. This evidence can then be used to confront the cheater or later in legal proceedings if the infidelity is proven.
· Process Serving – This is the delivery (usually by hand) of legal documents to named individuals. These can be anything from divorce petitions, financial demands and court documents to winding up petitions on businesses. Why use a private investigator to do simple delivery of documents? Each delivery is supported by evidence of delivery in the form of a statement or affidavit meaning that the recipient cannot claim that it was never received or did not know what they were being delivered. The private investigator may in fact be called to court to attest to the fact they did deliver the documents at said place, date and time leaving the respondent with no excuses.
· Background Checks – The private investigator will use a variety of resources to build a profile on a subject at the client’s request. This could be supporting a business in the recruiting process by fact-checking applicants’ information or for private clients especially with the rise of online dating. This could save the client from making financial or emotional investments in people who are not all they claim to be.
· Litigation Support – This is a broad area where the private investigator lends their expertise to supporting a claimant or indeed victim OR working for the defence to find information that would acquit them if wrongly accused. This work can come from lawyers but can come direct from private clients - especially if the police have ceased investigating or run out of resources to dedicate to enquiries.
· Insurance or Employment Fraud Surveillance – Private Investigators save the insurance industry money (and subsequently its customers by keeping premiums down) by investigating fraudulent claims, often in personal injury cases. Most fraudulent claimants are not terribly sophisticated and can be recorded engaging in physical activity that is inconsistent with their claims. This evidence may need to be verified by a qualified medical professional to support the insurance company but could negate large pay-outs from those intent on cheating the system. Similarly, those individuals who are being paid sick pay from their employers whilst engaging in secondary employment can easily be stopped and potentially reported for fraud.
Whilst not exhaustive, these are just some of the ways that a Private Investigator help their clients with resolving large problems and saving them from exposure to further risk or damage. There is crossover in the skills and techniques that the private investigator will use to conduct their investigation combining open-source research with surveillance and good ol’ fashioned knocking on doors but 99% of the time, they’ll leave the drama to Hollywood!