So Who Actually Hires Licensed Investigators Anyway?

When you hear the term private investigator it usually conjures up visions of shady Mike Hammer or Sam Spade types who live a lonely and some say….. sleazy existence. In fact many people aren’t even aware that licensed investigators really exist, let alone play an active role in Australia. The truth is that they do and as an industry it’s most definitely alive and flourishing! With this in mind, let’s take a closer look at who would hire a licensed investigator and what roles they might undertake.

Licensed investigators can take on a number of roles in specialised areas. These range from child custody allegations through to Workcover claim enquiries and infidelity. However on the whole there are two main types of licensed investigators and they are…

  • Surveillance Investigators and…

  • Factual investigators

Many licensed personnel specialise in either one or the other, but sometimes a case requires investigators to cover both.

Surveillance investigator

As a surveillance investigator it’s normal to be hired to be someone else’s eyes and ears in exchange for time. The main responsibilities of a surveillance investigator are to take notes, get footage in the form of photo’s or video, and report back. It’s not a surveillance investigator’s job to make assumptions and instead they will merely report what they’ve seen to the client. As an example, a surveillance investigator may be hired by Workcover to keep a close eye on a subject because they’ve missed the last few doctor’s appointments and may be suspected of fraud. It’s a SI’s job therefore to get the surveillance on them which can be reported back to the relevant authorities.

Aside from fraud claim cases SI’s are typically hired by

  • Individuals who need help with cases of harassment, infidelity, child support matters, or issues related to gambling, drug, or alcohol addiction.

  • Finance departments, solicitors, and lawyers who need to gather information for a civil case

  • Banks, credit unions and building societies who need to find the whereabouts of debtors

  • Business who suspect fraudulent activity

  • Investors/developers who are looking to invest money into a company and they need to ensure that all is running smoothly.

Factual investigator

Conversely a factual investigator (or FI) is, as the name suggests, hired to obtain the facts. FI’s are normally contacted when legal action has been initiated by a company or individual and they are employed to find witnesses, take statements, and generally gather together as much information as possible to help with the case. Types of factual investigations include:

  • Workers comp

  • Motor vehicle accident claims

  • Public liability

  • Fraudulent activity

  • Burglary or theft claims

Skip tracing

There are times when the two investigative disciplines come together and one particular occasion is skip tracing. A skip tracer is a special type of licensed investigator who is hired to find someone who has ‘skipped’ town and simply doesn’t want to be found. Often this involves a lot of creative thinking on the part of the investigator but a good skip tracer can find just about anyone if given enough time. Skip tracers are usually hired by banks, loan companies, large/small businesses who need to recover debt, or alternatively they are hired by individuals looking to find missing loved ones.

As you can see, there are many scenarios where individuals, corporate companies, and government agencies might want to hire a licensed investigator. However this is only the tip of the iceberg. Other instances include brand protection, IP issues, employee or online dating background checks, mystery shopping, due diligence investigations, and hidden asset protection – the list is endless. As a result special investigators are more common than you think.

If you want to find out more information about hiring a special investigator or you have a problem that you think might need the services of an SI, then contact MA Security. We’ve been in the security industry for many years and are fully trained to carry out specialised security roles including SI duties. Why not give us a call on 1300 020 406 to find out more.

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