Avoid Private Investigators

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How is it that
the most nutty character, Dory, in the movie Finding
Nemo
actually teaches a very valuable principle? Let me
assure you, it is not how to speak whale, it is what to do when
you realize that you are being followed by a private investigator.
There are certain times when it is most likely
that you will be the subject of an investigation, ways to recognize
surveillance, and ways to avoid
private investigators
or “burn” the investigator.

When Is
Investigation By A Private Investigator Likely

Even the Hollywood
image of police or private investigators conducting surveillance
on a subject make one thing very clear, there must be some reason
to investigate the person. The most likely reasons for investigation
include when you have filed a claim with your insurance company
for personal injuries, if you are involved in litigation, or for
divorce or child support/custody issues. Essentially, there must
be an incentive to discover some detail of your private life, such
as breaching any sense of bank
privacy
you think you have, before you need to think about avoiding
private investigators. Otherwise, hiring a private investigator
to do surveillance on you is just a very expensive hobby.

The economic
resources of the person or entity that might be investigating you
is also a clue to how much surveillance is actually being conducted
on you. In a small lawsuit or in an average divorce proceeding,
there are probably only a handful of days, 4-5, over the course
of several months in which surveillance is actually being conducted
and the instruments of surveillance are probably low tech. The higher
the value of the case or divorce, the more resources are likely
to be allocated to the surveillance, thus more days in the same
period of time devoted to it and the more sophisticated the surveillance
is likely to be. If there are specific events that are the subject
of the underlying dispute, such as visitation days of children when
the fitness of the parent is at issue, the likelihood of having
to avoid surveillance on those occasions is much higher. Common
sense is a good guide as to when, how and how often a private investigator
might be following you.

How To Recognize
That You Are Being Followed By A Private Investigator

Far from the
image of two guys parked in front of your house for hours in a sedan,
drinking coffee and eating fast food, investigators use much more
sophisticated methods to avoid detection because avoiding detection
is the name of the game for them. The most obvious signs that you
are being followed by a private investigator are that you see an
unfamiliar car in the neighborhood, you notice a car or a person
following you, or if you notice a stranger taking pictures or video
of you, your property or your neighborhood. Some other signs that
a private investigator is following you are that your friends and
acquaintances tell you they have received phone calls or visitors
asking about you or you get an increased number of wrong numbers
or hang-ups. You may also want to check under your car for any tracking
devices that might be attached to it. Once you suspect that you
are under surveillance by a private investigator, you may then take
action to disrupt or avoid surveillance.

How To Avoid
An Investigator

Many people,
upon discovering that they are being watched, immediately engage
in evasive action, either overtly or covertly, to lose their investigator.
This is especially useful if you think you are being watched but
haven’t identified the snoop. If the investigator doesn’t
think they have been discovered, they will simply return another
day and probably still get the information they were looking for.
If you have identified an individual as a suspected snoop the best
way to avoid being followed and ruin their case is to confront them
about it. This takes some guts, especially if you aren’t certain
about their activities, but it lets them know that they have been
burned. Keep in mind that the investigator will never admit that
they are investigating you. Even if you catch them taking pictures
of you they will come up with some lame story about how they grew
up in your house and are just reminiscing about old times or something
like that. If you are wrong about being followed by a private investigator,
you may look weird but there will be no real harm done to the other
person.

The key to
ending surveillance and avoiding surveillance by private investigators
in the future is to then follow them until they leave. I
have no qualms about recommending this because if they can do it
to you, you can do it to them. You do not need to hide the fact
that you have reversed the roles, it is actually better if they
know you are watching them. You may either be up front about suspecting
that the private investigator is following you or pretend that you
believe their story and pepper them with questions about the details
of what they are doing and why. If their behavior is truly suspicious,
you may even be able to notify the police. In either case, the investigation
is probably going to end because the investigator has been burned.
You can also think about becoming
a resident of Uruguay
.

Conclusion

If you suspect
you are being followed, play the game and follow your follower.
The best way to do this is to openly confront them about following
you, much like Dory confronting Marlin, and then openly follow them
until they leave. This will keep your private life a little more
private from any investigator that might be following you. You can
also avoid
surveillance cameras
, keep out of transactional
databases
, avoid
pretexting
, and protect
your phone conversations
to make private investigators jobs
much more difficult. The book How
To Vanish
has lots more tools and techniques you can use
to avoid private investigators.

Reprinted
with permission from How to
Vanish.

December
6, 2010

Bill
Rounds, J.D. is a California attorney. He holds a degree in Accounting
from the University of Utah and a law degree from California
Western School of Law
. He practices civil litigation, domestic
and foreign business entity formation and transactions, criminal
defense and privacy law. He is a strong advocate of personal and
financial freedom and civil liberties. This is merely one article
of 73 by Bill
Rounds J.D.

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