Private Investigator Methodology & Other Industries

Private Investigator Methodology & Other Industries

Private Detective Taking Photos Of Man And Woman

In recent years, the number of working private investigators in the United States has grown exponentially. As of 2020, in excess of 30,000 private investigators are believed to be working in the U.S. alone. Private investigators operate on the edge of society, observing from a distance, blending in with the fabric of society to surreptitiously document the unseen factors in any situation. Private investigators can also come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and genders, as more and more individuals are realizing, the capacity for applying private investigator methodology really depends on a professional’s style  and how their prior experience informs on that style.

Persons who might have a natural inclination towards intelligence gathering and other types of private investigation work might not begin their careers in the private sector. Many of these professionals start with public service, working in law enforcement. Members of law enforcement are typically natural-doers, individuals who like to keep their time and minds occupied with productive and fulfilling projects. When members of law enforcement retire, it is not uncommon for them to seek a new career in private investigations. This tracks with private investigator Tyler Maroney’s assertion that private investigators are “refugees from other industries.” In his new book, The Modern Detective: How Corporate Intelligence is Reshaping the World, Maroney examines how the growing private investigation profession has the potential to cause ripple effects around the globe.

The migration of professionals from other industries to private investigations is not unique to the United States. One of the most famous former law enforcement officers to apply their trade to private investigations was Christopher Steele, a former agency with London’s M.I.6. After leaving M.I.6, Steele founded Orbis, a business intelligence firm based in London, England, most famous for “preparing a dossier on connections between the Russian government and Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign.” Despite the cartoonishly vast heroics that can sometimes be associated with private investigations, Maroney claims that this power should not be blown out of proportion, “The tool kit available to private investigators is considerably less potent than the one available to spies and cops and prosecutors. We cannot flip witnesses, blackmail agents, develop confidential informants, bug phones, offer protection, send subpoenas or bribe sources.”

The highly-fictionalized profession comes with so many stereotypes, we might underestimate the variety of professionals who might translate their industry skills into private intelligence. Another profession that commonly applies private investigator methodology to their work is journalists. After all, a journalist’s job is to search out the story and find the truth. The principal difference between a journalist and a private investigator is the intent of a journalist is to publish the truth to as many people who find interest while a private investigator discretely hands the findings, or truth, over to their clients for their purposes. Journalist, Ronan Farrow, son of Hollywood actress, Mia Farrow, recently came to fame for using private investigator methodology to expose the criminal activities of Hollywood producer, Harvey Weinstein. Farrow had to fight fire with fire as Weinstein was simultaneously using private investigators on retainer to dig up dirt on the women who made allegations of sexual assault against him and to intimidate the journalists who were his detractors. Ronan used private investigator methodology to track down survivors, document their allegations against Weinstein, and create a record that would become the basis for Weinstein’s criminal conviction last year.

Maroney claims in his book that a private investigator’s role in society is to “keep the fish tank clean,” or in other words, serve as a watchdog against pervasive issues within our society that can easily get our of control with devastating consequences. When you have a complex corporate or personal issue, turn to the assistance of a private investigator to get crucial context. Call Lauth Investigations International today for a free quote on our private investigator services at 317-951-1100.

How to Save Money When Hiring a Private Investigator

How to Save Money When Hiring a Private Investigator

Under ideal circumstances, no one will ever have to hire a private investigator for their personal or professional crisis. In the event that the need for a private investigator should arise, prospective clients should know that there is a way to save money when vetting professional private investigators for their needs.

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Private investigators provide a valuable service to both businesses and private citizens by providing them with the intelligence they need to make complex decisions in their lives. That being said, individuals who are looking for a bargain bin deal when hiring a private investigator find themselves highly dissatisfied with the end result. These are sophisticated investigations that require the best tools and the best expertise available in pursuit of the truth. That doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to save money when hiring a private investigator. The answer lies in the pre-investigation phase before you’ve officially contracted the private investigator.

Quality fact finding is the basis of any quality investigation. Private investigators spend hours at the beginning of an investigation combing verified databases comparable to the ones used by law enforcement every day. Private investigators run names of all relevant subjects through these databases in order to build comprehensive background checks on the subjects in the case. These background reports have to be cross-referenced with multiple sources in order to perform due-diligence. Private investigators must take extra care to ensure that they have found the correct person in the database before This can become expensive, both in billable hours and in the cost of these verified reports.

Clients who are looking to hire a private investigator can save money in these investigations by having a much information available as possible about all subjects involved at the onset of a case. When you hire a private investigator, private investigators will sit down with clients and begin taking an intake narrative. Here is the type of information you can have available to save the investigator some time and money.

Name

Ideally, you would know the full name of the subjects involved in the case. This is not always possible—clients may only have a first name, or a nickname, which will lead to more fact finding on the part of the investigator. Having a person’s full name (with the correct spelling) is one of the most relevant pieces of information you can have for an investigator at the onset of the investigation so it can be accurately cross-referenced during due-diligence.

Birthday

A subject’s birthday is the second biggest piece of information you can have when you hire a private investigator. A subject’s birthday is cross-referenced with their name and other pieces of information to ensure private investigators have identified the correct report in their verified databases.

Address History

It is not necessary to know the exact address of a subject in order for the information to be valuable to the private investigator. Private investigators can use an approximate location to cross-reference other information on the subject and develop additional leads.

Work History

Knowing a subject’s trade, the cities where they’ve worked, or what companies they’ve worked for can provide the same context as an address history. In a skip trace (subject location) investigation, a private investigator can use knowledge of the subject’s trade in order to predict where they might go next to find work. A subject’s occupation and how it affects their daily schedule can help a private investigator develop leads and identify possible surveillance locations.

Make and model of relevant vehicles

A subject’s vehicle, whether it is legally owned by them or otherwise is a useful piece of information for a private investigator to track a subject’s movements. Depending on the location of the investigation, it may be legal for a private investigator to track a vehicle’s movements with a GPS tracker. Using this information, private investigators can document a subject’s movements for the investigation.

Existing evidence

In addition to word of mouth information you might have regarding an investigation, the tangible evidence is also important. Any relevant documentation to the investigation, including financial records, court documents, social media screenshots, or voicemail and text records, can go a long way in saving a private investigator time during the onset of an investigation.

At the end of the day, the best thing you can do when hiring a private investigator is gathering as much information as you possibly have for a private investigator at the onset of the case. It saves billable hours, resources, and frustration in any investigation. When you have your information ready, you’ll need a private investigator who always sweats the details. If you have a personal or corporate crisis in your life, call Lauth Investigations International today for a private investigator who will leave no stone unturned. Call 317-951-1100 or visit us on www.lauthinvestigations.com

Collectors Hire Private Investigators to Assist in Asset Recovery

Collectors Hire Private Investigators to Assist in Asset Recovery

When someone owes you money, no one ever said they had to make it easy to collect. Debtors have been developing new ways to dodge their debts for as long as anyone can remember. In turn, collectors across all industries have had to develop methods of collection to prevent people from hiding an asset. One of a collector’s greatest assets in this modern age is an independent private investigator. While collectors deal with the paperwork, private investigators do the legwork, using proven methodology to unearth the hidden assets of debtors in arears.

Private investigators work with some of the same tools and the same methodology as law enforcement when looking for debtor assets. As part of their licensure, private investigators have access to verified databases that allow them to develop comprehensive, cross-referenced background profiles on a Subject in any investigation. Private investigators have diverse experience in analyzing a person’s criminal, financial, address, and litigation history in order to build a contextualized picture of a debtor’s circumstances. Private investigators can unearth unseen assets like property, financial accounts, vehicles, and other valuable assets that have been previously concealed. Human sources are less common in asset searches, but private investigators also have the training to build rapport and garner testimony from relevant human sources in the case.  Private investigators are also highly skilled in obtaining and reviewing litigation records to document a debtor’s history of litigation in a court of law. Pervasive lawsuits, especially involving large judgements, can be a red flag in an asset search investigation.

Social media has become a more valuable resource than ever in many types of investigations. The amount of information people unwittingly give away on social media is staggering. Private investigators can get information about the sale of personal belongings, photos of assets like property and vehicles, and can document the type of lifestyle a debtor is currently enjoying—like lavish vacations or expensive home renovations. Private investigators carefully document their findings to compile into a thorough report for the client as another building block in their case against the debtor in arears.

If you’re a collecting party trying to reap your due, don’t hesitate to reach out to private investigator for a quote on their asset search services. Through open-source intelligence and transparent investigation methods, private investigators can get to the bottom of a debtors hidden assets.

A private investigator can find your stolen art & jewelry

A private investigator can find your stolen art & jewelry

A private investigator is an ideal professional to track down your stolen art & jewelry
A private investigator is an ideal professional to track down your stolen art & jewelry

Even the most equipped and vigilant police department must prioritize casework—a triage in which violent crimes are placed at the forefront daily operations and receive the most resources from jurisdictional law enforcement. Crimes concerning only the theft of personal property like jewelry, art, electronics, and other valuable items are usually moved to the back burner. This leaves many individuals without recourse and without their valuable property, and leaves private investigators with an opportunity to provide clarity and solutions.

Successful and prolific private investigators typically have a background in law enforcement, working in law enforcement agencies, or in tandem with law enforcement. They develop a similar resume, and experience in forensic methodology, subject profiling, and making recommendations to clients regarding their case and how to move forward. They have a similar tool chest of instinct, rapport, and due-diligence that carries them from the intake call to the closing report. When law enforcement cannot pursue a non-violent crime for whatever reason, private investigators are ideal candidates to pick up the slack, and that includes the theft of art, jewelry, or other valuable property.

Typically, private investigators are completely independent, and do not rely on a chain of command. Their autonomy makes them an ideal professional to chase leads on stolen property. This means there is no valuable time lost to bureaucracy and private investigators spend billable hours serving their clients.

Witness location is one of a private investigator’s greatest skills when it comes to the theft of art, jewelry, or other valuable property. One of the most difficult parts of any investigation is identifying the unseen human sources in any case. Private investigators can canvass the surrounding areas—neighbors and businesses—asking relevant questions about suspicious activity or the regular faces in the neighborhood. Private investigators can also canvass the pawn shops in the area in search of art and jewelry that was pawned for a quick buck by the thief. Private investigators collect the witness statements, contact information, and include it as part of a comprehensive closing report.

Private investigators are also proficient in identifying the non-human sources associated with art & jewelry theft investigations. Due to the ubiquity of both internal and external CCTV footage, it’s more possible than ever for investigators to map a suspect’s movements following a crime. Private investigators identify these surveillance systems and pull the footage for review to identifying human sources and potential suspects.

Social media is also a valuable asset in any investigation, but particularly with regards to theft of valuable property. If the thief does not pawn the item, they might try to sell it online, possibly through Facebook Marketplace, or on an auction website. Private investigators also know how to gather geo-social data as further evidence of the theft, and can use the information found to recover the stolen item.

Private investigators are the ideal professionals to conduct an investigation into the theft of art, jewelry, or other valuable property . Their independence and their objectivity allow them to follow any lead and turn over every rock. Their access to verified databases and use of proven methodology means they can find the thief in your midst, and help you recover your treasure.

Hiring a Private Investigator for Insurance Investigation

Hiring a Private Investigator for Insurance Investigation

Hiring a private investigator for an insurance investigation can save your firm time and money!
Hiring a private investigator for an insurance investigation can save your firm time and money!

Private investigators have a cultural reputation for many things—surveillance, infidelity, undercover operations—the exciting things we’re used to seeing in movies and television. Many people are unaware that private investigators also take a huge piece of their corporate pie from insurance investigation. Private investigators use their unique skillsets and experiences to pursue the truth in insurance claims to establish their merit and prevent insurance fraud.

There are many ways to commit insurance fraud. For example, a homeowner might remove property from their home and then report it as stolen. They might deliberately cause damage to their property and then report a freak occurrence, or weather, as the culprit. When a suspect claim comes across a processor’s desk, they can hand it over to a private investigator to perform due-diligence and vet the claim.

Private investigators can use their famed surveillance methodology to track the homeowner to a secure location where “stolen” property is being stored. They could use their access to verified databases to look at an individual’s various histories, such as criminal, transience, and litigation. All relevant information is compiled and generated in the form of a comprehensive report in which the private investigator provides clear recommendations regarding the validity of the claim.

Sometimes insurance companies only want the private investigator to take pictures of an accident site, or an injury, or maybe they just want some spot-check surveillance on an employee claiming worker’s compensation. Another way insurance companies can rely on private investigators is with document review. Private investigators can comb repair receipts, financial records, police reports, and social media for evidence the claim is fraudulent.

Some insurance companies rely on their own internal investigators to vet and process their claims. It may be more cost-effective to keep the investigation in-house, or leadership might be more comfortable using an internal investigator. The inherent problem with any internal investigation is that any investigating agents who have a stake—direct or otherwise—in the insurance company cannot be completely objective. In an industry where litigation is not only possible, but likely, insurers and guarantors of benefits must be sure their investigations are comprehensive and will hold up to scrutiny.

A common unforeseen issue with handling insurance claim investigations internally is that it has the potential to slow down daily operations. Claims gather and bottle-neck at the choke point in the process, causing employees to feel overwhelmed and increasing their margin of error, which may result in more lost time and resources correcting those errors. One of the greatest advantages of hiring a private investigator to vet insurance claims is their valuable autonomy. They have their own databases, their own league of investigators, and their own processes. The investigations process can move quickly because there is very rarely a chain of command and little bureaucracy involved, leading to more closed claims and greater success for the company.

Contracting due-diligence out to private investigators means less stress on internal employees and another layer of credibility for the investigation. Whether as a replacement for an internal team or on a case-by-case basis, private investigators can give insurance providers the valuable information and expertise they need to close cases swiftly and effectively.

Hiring a Private Investigator for Your Internal Investigation

Hiring a Private Investigator for Your Internal Investigation

Private investigators can bring down the costs of internal corporate investigations.

There is a wide variety of events that could trigger a corporate investigation. Perhaps an employee files a sexual harassment complaint against another. Perhaps a whistleblower brings attention to a pervasive internal problem. Whatever the cause, it’s up to leadership within the corporation or organization to ensure that the problem is addressed. While some entities have the budget for an internal investigation team, the investigation itself still places a strain on a business and its resources.

In the interest of due-diligence with a corporate investigation, thousands of documents must be reviewed, processed, and itemized. Internal processes must be reviewed and evaluated by an internal investigator. It may be necessary to interview employees regarding their knowledge of the matter—those accounts must be cataloged, transcribed, and placed in context within the investigation. In addition to the tangible resources that are expended during the investigation, there’s hundreds of hours of labor hours that must be invoiced and paid out. The Fulbright Litigation Trends Survey presented data that indicated internal investigation costs were already on the rise back in 2011. Excluding the cost of settlements and judgements, they reported a median spend with American corporations of $1.4 million. Almost a quarter of those businesses reporting spent an excess of $5 million or more regarding internal complaints. For large companies with a wealth of resources, $5 million may seem like a drop in the bucket, but there are many smaller businesses who could easily be bankrupted by such a price tag. Those same companies also do not have the budget to maintain a specialized internal investigations team to address internal complaints when they arise.

Private investigators are the perfect professionals to conduct your corporation’s culture audit for a number of reasons. Just to name a few, private investigators have similar skill sets to investigators who work in risk assessment, can conduct internal investigations without disruption, and can offer you a more customizable program that will fit your business.

Private investigators build successful practices because they have a detailed eye for human behavior. When it comes to private investigation, it’s not always just about what a subject is doing, but also why they’re doing it. Because they have a wealth of experience in rationalizing and predicting human behavior, private investigators might have an edge over traditional corporate culture audits performed by risk assessment investigators. What we know about the cycle of corporate culture indicates that there is a cause/effect relationship between an employee’s level of engagement and how successful the company or organization is in their internal operations. We also know that an organization’s structure can directly affect how engaged employees are. This is why private investigators are so invaluable. They can look at characteristics of the workforce on paper and in real life to assess how employees feed into the current cycle of corporate culture.

Risk assessment firms specialize in internal investigation, but too often, leadership will neglect undergoing an audit because they believe that it will be too much a daily disruption to internal operations. By virtue of their profession, private investigators excel at blending in to their environment, whether it’s in a busy street, or a quiet library. Whatever the nature of their investigation, private investigators know how to conduct their due-diligence without drawing attention to themselves or others. This skillset is especially valuable if leadership wishes to conduct a covert internal investigation. After all, people behave the most naturally when they believe they aren’t being watched. In this way, private investigators can infiltrate businesses and obtain necessary information without piquing the curiosity or suspicion of current employees.

Another hallmark of a private investigation’s profession is their flexibility and autonomy. Sometimes private investigators can very quickly pick up leads that other investigators cannot because they have autonomy other types of investigators do not. This flexibility gives private investigators the ability to customize any corporate culture audit program to fit your business’s needs. Some companies may be small, but do not have the traditional structure of a brick-and-mortar business. Other companies might be large, but have a workforce where millennials dominate the majority. This is where a private investigator’s diverse experience can allow them to identify the problems and prioritize the most prevalent problems to right the ship of corporate culture.

If your business or organization needs a corporate culture audit, call Lauth Investigations International today for a free quote on our corporate culture audit program. We have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, 5-star ratings with Google, and we are staffed by former military and law enforcement personnel. Call 317-951-1100, or find us online at www.lauthinvestigations.com