Normally in these articles, we like to talk to the type of people that hire us, but today we’re doing something a little different.
This is aimed at those of you who are considering doing something they shouldn’t, and it’s a sort of gentle warning. Because if we’re hired to investigate your behaviour and we catch you, you might end up in a lot of trouble.
Here are six areas we commonly work on, and the advice we have for you instead.
Don’t commit adultery
One of the most common private cases we can be hired on is surveillance of a partner to see if they’re cheating.
You already know that you shouldn’t cheat – it’s basic morality. But you may be arrogant and think that you can get away with it, and that if nobody finds out then no harm done, right?
Unfortunately, private investigators are excellent at surveillance and determining where you’re going, and what you’re up to. We can also gather plenty of evidence to present to your partner.
And if you’re married, that adultery could be a serious problem. You may end up divorced and with a much poorly financial agreement if you are the at-fault party. And if you have children, your decisions could impact your relationship with them.
If things aren’t working with your partner, just talk to them.
Don’t lie about your living situation
If you’ve already separated from your partner, and you have a financial agreement in place (particularly for ongoing child costs), you really shouldn’t deceive the courts about your living situation.
It’s the same if you’re claiming benefits.
And yet a lot of people do. They think it’s fine to claim that they live alone, but then move in with a new partner and reap the financial benefits of that.
But this is something else we’re often hired to prove – and we’re good at it.
If you misrepresent your living situation and it’s a divorce case, you could suddenly find yourself getting a serious financial hit.
And if it’s benefit fraud, that can be viewed as a criminal case and you could end up with more than a hefty fine – you could be jailed.
If your living situation changes – update the courts/benefits office. It’s that simple.
Don’t leave debts unpaid
We understand that times are hard for a lot of people and you may end up falling behind on your payments to someone. But if that’s a business client or someone else you work with, that directly impacts their own financial situation too, of course. And they may seek the help of a private investigator to enforce that debt.
A lot of debtors go into hiding, thinking that they can ignore the debt and it’ll go away. But then by the time a private investigator gets involved in order to find you and pass on your details to the person you owe money to, those debts are going to have risen.
Because there’s no way someone’s hiring a PI to help with debt if they aren’t also adding interest to your debt as well.
So, what’s the alternative?
Just speak to the person you owe money to. Be upfront about your situation and agree a payment plan that is affordable.
You aren’t saving money by running from the debt – quite the opposite.
Don’t fake an injury claim
False injury claims are taken very, very seriously by businesses and by the tribunals that make the decisions.
Again, we at least sort of understand why people think they can make these kind of fraudulent claims. There’s the appeal of a large financial settlement, which could massively improve your life situation, and you’re also bombarded with advertising pushing you to go after an employer or an independent third party to get the money you ‘deserve’.
But whether you’re exaggerating or completely faking an illness, you may well be found out, especially when a private investigator is hired by the defending party.
False injury claims are often categorised as hard fraud, and that means you can be hit with a jail sentence. There’s plenty of precedent – people are often jailed for up to 3 years for trying to fake an injury.
That’s a risk that’s too great to take. Speak to a doctor, find out how you are genuinely impacted by any accident, and then pursue a claim based on those facts alone.
Don’t skip work illegally
Unauthorised absence can be very costly to a business, especially one with a smaller team that relies on all hands being available as much as possible.
But you only get so many holiday days to take each year, and you can easily use them up. You might want to fake a lengthy sick leave to give yourself more time at home, or you could even be moonlighting at another business, and trying to find enough time to handle both jobs.
Private investigators are often called in to look at unauthorised absence cases, especially in some high value roles. The money a business spends on hiring a PI can often be recouped just by having the staff working, and in some cases it can even be recouped from the person falsely claiming sick leave.
Not only that, but you’ll obviously lose your job if you’re caught faking an illness for a sustained period of time. If you need extra leave, ask for a flexible working situation.
Don’t fly tip
Fly tipping is an unpleasant crime because it impacts a lot of innocent people who have to look at dumped rubbish and can even be put at risk by it.
If you’re someone who’s having a clear out, make sure your waste is taken to the tip responsibly. If you can’t get it there yourself, hire someone with a waste management license.
And if you’re a trader who offers rubbish removal services, but then fly tips, just pay for the license. It costs around £150, whereas the fines when we help to catch you now go up to £1,000.
We know that sometimes a shortcut seems like a good idea, but it never is. And while we know you may not listen to our advice, just know that the people you’re cheating are listening, and they know to call us on 01772 334700 to help catch you in the act.