Saturday, December 20, 2008

Low cost short term private investigations

We have a lot of clients with limited funds that want investigative work done. Our agency has kept the rates as low as possible to help out as much as possible but to do a short term investigation with a good chance of success, it is best that the client has a lot of information. We have done cases where a workers compensation provider contracted with us to do 40 hours of investigations to do an activity check. We then do surveillance and document the subjects activity or lack thereof. We have also taken cases where we would do short term surveillance like when the client knew that their spouse was cheating and also was able to get information as to where and when the infidelity was occurring. Then we set up surveillance and have a very high success rate for a small number of hours. This of course saves money on investigation time. It is very difficult to catch someone on a short term investigation if there is no more information than someone thinks their spouse is cheating. It all boils down to the time involved to try and catch them in the act. We have put in over 100 hours on some cases before we were able to document someone meeting their lover. Some affairs are very easy. They meet regularly a few times a week and can be caught quickly. We have had others where we learned that they met only once a month and the target was paying for sex in an area far away from his residence. To save the expense of surveillance, we will use GPS trackers. That way we know when the target is driving and where they are. This can cut the cost of an investigation dramatically. When the target vehicle stops, we are notified of the location. The only problem with this can be if we are not watching the subject at the time. It does save big money doing it this way and a lot of the time you can get a pattern of where the target is going and be able to catch them. This generally takes more time, but the chance of success is higher and the cost is much lower than having an investigator tail and do surveillance on someone that may or may not be cheating. A GPS tracker can do the "tailing" for you.
We look at each case individually and try to come up with the best chance of success at the lowest possible cost. Not all investigations will be successful and not every suspected spouse is cheating, but if you need to know, why not do it at the best possible price. There are a lot of good investigators out there that really do care and will work hard to help you on any investigation.

Thanks for stopping by and Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!

Florida Private Investigator Services
Agency License #A 2700479

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Insurance Claim Investigations

As a private investigator, there is nothing I enjoy more than nailing someone that is cheating on an insurance claim. There are so many that are receiving benefits for injuries that are fraudulent and as the economy worsens, this situation typically gets even worse. We have busted people that have been collecting for over 25 years...that's right, twenty five years. Like the poor guy that hurt his back in 1981 and has been collecting ever since. Poor fellow can't bend, can't lift anything and even goes to the doctor hobbling on a cane and struggling to get in and out of the door. Why is he at home building a fence then? On video, carrying not just 4 x 4's but 6 x 6's that were about 10 foot long, using them as posts on his new privacy fence. Digging holes, lifting bags of cement and mixing it in a wheelbarrow.

How about the poor man that is wheel chair bound and has been since the early 90's? Poor fellow, can't even stand erect and hasn't been out of his chair for over 10 years. He even bought a wheelchair accessible van... as well as another car that wasn't accessible at all. I guess that explains why he used the van for doctors visits and the Toyota for other trips. I never saw a Prius that could fit a motorized wheelchair in it. I watched in amazement as a miracle occurred, the lame walked right in front of my eyes. He even walked the whole yard cutting his grass.

As I said before, I love this kind of work. Maybe it is from working in law enforcement for nearly 20 years or maybe it is because I have a handicapped daughter that is truly paralyzed and has been on a leg brace since she was a child with no hope of ever improving. Whatever the reason, we all need to do our part to combat this problem. The money that gets paid to investigate these can be well worth it.

Thanks for stopping by.
Merry Christmas to you and yours

Florida Private Investigator Services

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Drug dealing in apartment complexes

It happens all over. In places where you have hundreds or even thousands of people living in an apartment complex, drug dealing can become a thriving industry. Selling from apartments can occur and it can bring crime and other serious problems with it. How does an apartment complex owner combat this? One way is the common practice of using a private investigator. The complex provides an empty apartment to the investigators and from there the investigators can do surveillance or if the dealings are occurring on the doorstep of a particular apartment, the use of hardwired cameras and recording devices can be used. This has proven effective in the US and in places all over the world. A simple internet search will bring up a lot of stories about dealers being busted using these techniques.
With the economy getting worse, drug dealing will undoubtedly become more of a problem, as does most crimes. Users can start to sell to support their habits and dealers can get a larger selling network when people are financially strapped by a job loss or a cut back on hours. Some people who would have never even thought of selling, will do it just to take in some money. Anyone who knows about the drug market can tell you that the profit margins are typically fantastic and the downside risk is lessened in peoples mind when they are financially strapped.
The problem for apartment owners is that if the drug industry is allowed to take hold, their apartments will be much less desirable to potential tenants. This causes a dramatic drop in potential income and can even lead some apartment owners to bankruptcy.
With websites like you can get an idea of what the residents think of an apartment complex. Check the local crime stats with law enforcement before you move to an apartment. You are going to pay to live there, and being afraid at night is just unfair. Do your homework and be informed.
If you are looking to rent an apartment, educate yourself. If you are an apartment complex owner, you know the problems. Help can be found and will be cost effective in the long run.

Until next time
Florida Private Investigator Services

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Report Worker's Comp Fraud in Florida

We receive a steady flow of calls and emails from people asking where to report worker's compensation fraud in Florida. The state agency that handles this is the Florida Department of
Financial Services-Fraud Division. They have set up a hotline to take calls concerning workers fraud. The number is:

Call 1-800-378-0445

Their agents oversee and enforce Florida statue 440.105 which covers the three basic types of worker's comp fraud. The first two apply to employers. Employers who lie and submit an altered or false certificate as proof of coverage for workers’ compensation insurance or a false “exempt” certificate. The state does allow some exemptions from the workers comp laws and some employers will lie to save the money. This puts their employees at risk and opens them up to arrest and civil suits. The second are employers who "misclassify" their employees to save on rates. In other words, they state that their employees are in a job or position such as sales rep when they are really cell phone tower workers. The higher the chance of injury or death, the higher the rates that they must pay. These rates can be substantially higher and may cause some less than honest employers to try to save money by lying.

The final type of fraud is the one most seen and reported by the general public. Someone that is drawing a check from the comp program that isn't really injured. At times, they can even get doctors to go along with the lie and there have even been "rings" that do this that have been busted.

Worker's compensation fraud is very real and costs all of us dearly in the long run. Therefore, it is easy to report and may even involve a reward. You can learn more about comp fraud in Florida by visiting this website:

We all need to do our part and fight these fraudulent activities.

Until next time.

Florida Private Investigator Services

Monday, September 15, 2008

Dealing with employee theft

As the economy weakens, employee thefts, like all other crimes, typically rise. This can cause a small business to face bankruptcy and can seriously damage a large companies bottom line. There are new high tech ways to combat this problem. It used to be that one of the easiest ways was to get someone to watch the suspected employee if the business was open to the public, like a restaurant or a bar. Then, some companies would even hire undercover employees to see what was going on. As technology advanced, we started to use hardwired hidden video. This then gave way to wireless covert video and now one of the best tools we have is covert, self contained video. It is very easy to install, can be put almost anywhere and records internally so there is no need for an extensive monitoring system. This has opened up a whole new and less expensive way to catch a thief in the act. The camera systems are now "pinhole" size and are placed in such things as Teddy Bears, Clocks, DVD players, Lamps, and much more. These systems record for hours on a small SD card and many offer motion detection recording to extend the time that the unit can sit untouched. The SD card can be taken from the unit and the video reviewed on computers or even left inside the unit and plugged into a TV for viewing.
The costs, while not cheap, are typically lower than buying the covert cam as well as the receiver and the recorder. No longer does possible interference come into play or line of sight concerns like we had with the wireless video. The unit is simply placed where it is needed, activated and goes to work.
These have also been used to catch a cheating spouse that has rendezvous at their own home while there spouse is away. The possibilities are endless and the capabilities are many.
We have used this technology for our clients in numerous applications and I'm sure that we will see more and more of these types of cases since they up investigation success rates and are very cost effective.

Until next time
Florida Private Investigator Services

Friday, September 12, 2008

Becoming a Private Investigator in Florida

So, you think that you want to become a private investigator in Florida and you are wondering what you need to do. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Licensing handles the oversight and licensing of Investigators in Florida. If you are wanting to work as a private investigator, you must be licensed. The process also involves being fingerprinted, agreeing to a background investigation as well as providing proof that you have the verifiable investigation experience to be licensed. Don't panic if you don't, you can still become licensed but the road is longer. Let's start with the inexperienced future investigator.

The state offers a CC license or internship license to those that are not experienced. An agency can employ you as a CC licensee. You must carry this license for 2 years before you can get a C license. You will need the proof from your hiring agency that you have the two years of verifiable experience before you can get a class C license which is the regular private investigator license. You also must take a test and pass it before they issue the C license. The test is given in 8 different locations across the state and the locations can be found on the departments website. The fees associated with the test and the licensing, fingerprinting and all the other costs can be found on their site also.

If you have two years of verifiable investigation experience, you can apply for the C license. It should be noted here that by requiring two years of verifiable investigative experience, it doesn't mean two years of law enforcement experience. For instance, if you worked 5 years as an officer, one year of patrol where investigators handled the major incidents and then you were on a traffic unit for the 4 years, you would not qualify for the two years of investigative experience, and would have to go with the CC license. The state will want to see 2 years of investigations and trust me, when they do their backgrounds they are very in depth and will verify what you put down on your application. Do not lie because if they catch you in a lie, you are done. One of the requirements is moral character. You then have to go through the process as well as take and pass the state test.

Once you got through you end of the the process it can take the state a while to verify everything and issue your license. Months is not uncommon. While they do a great job there and have always been friendly and helpful when we have had to contact them, they are short staffed and so understandably, there can be a wait that sometimes seems like forever when you are anxious to get started.

Being an investigator can be fun and interested as well as dull and boring and even heartbreaking at times but in my opinion it beats the heck out of a desk job. If you really want to get into the field, we wish you all the luck in the world and hope that overall, you will enjoy it as much as we do. Check out the state website and go for it!

Until next time!

Florida Private Investigator Services

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

More Legal Games. GPS Trackers for investigations

Of course the next questions is what about the use of GPS trackers. Again, as with almost anything, the laws vary from state to state. In Kansas we have been told by another investigator there, it is legal as long as the device doesn't track when it is on private property. I assume that means that you cannot use any information obtained from the unit while it is on private property, but if that isn't the case, I am unaware of any tracker that knows when it is sending signals from private property and shuts down. May be an interesting situation. Also, it is always easier when you have the owner of a vehicle put the unit on a his or her own car even if a suspected cheating spouse is driving it. In a lot of states, you can put a tracker on a vehicle as long as it doesn't use the units power source. In other words, as long as it uses it's own batteries, then you can put it on any vehicle. I'm sure there are many court challenges coming on this issue all across the USA. As for me, you can put a tracker on my car anytime. That would just tell me how boring things can get.
For now in most states the trackers are legal and can save someone a lot of money on investigations. Of course, there is still no substitute for actually following someone and getting the evidence on video. The trackers just make it easier knowing where to look.

Until next time

Florida Private Investigator Services