Surveillance Investigators, otherwise known as secret service agents, plays an important role in maintaining confidentiality of corporate secrets and assisting in investigative activity within a targeted business or organization. Surveillance is sometimes used in conjunction with other disciplines such as computer forensics. Surveillance can also be used in large-scale investigations, often targeting corporations or the government. Surveillance can consist of anything from a single employee who is suspected of committing a crime, to a team of investigators that investigate crimes on an ongoing basis. The ultimate goal of the investigation is to gather enough evidence to present in court.
Surveillance Investigators works in many different organizations. Specific duties and responsibilities will vary, but most often there are some core tasks associated with this job, which include: Conducting Case Studies When assigned a case, surveillance investigators often consult with the client on methods of investigation and the target goals. In turn, they will collect enough evidence to determine if the case should be pursued and if so, which legal steps should be taken.
Identifying Targeted Customers Many businesses require surveillance investigators to conduct case studies that focus on determining which customer segments they serve and which products or services they offer. For example, a clothing store hires surveillance investigators to determine the demographic makeup of their customers, if employees use their dressing room facilities for personal care needs, and whether certain types of promotional items (such as pens) are popular among employees. Likewise, the same store would need to know the average number of times per month the front door is opened and whether customers frequently enter after hours. Other important findings could include the type of times the door is manned and whether the window of the store is left open or covered. The investigator’s goal is to determine what types of products and services best meet the company’s goals and which competitors are the most successful at doing so.
Case Studies and Surveillance investigators also use records research to track the progress of internal investigations. Internal investigations are extremely sensitive and often rely on highly confidential information such as credit card numbers and bank account numbers. Because of this extreme sensitivity of this type of investigation, private investigators who perform these tasks must follow strict policies and procedures to protect the information they collect from unauthorized use.
Case Study Collection Often, a private investigator conducts surveillance investigations in order to gather information and document patterns and trends related to specific businesses and industries. In doing so, it is important not to violate any laws or confidentiality agreements. Therefore, it is crucial that surveillance investigators adhere to established rules of professional responsibility while compiling their case files. One method private investigators use is compiling organized reports that present related case statistics over a given time period, identifying key players, and providing recommendations for changes. Another way is through private investigation reports and/or cases.
Background Checks Private investigators conduct a variety of background checks for their clients. These include criminal justice records, police records, education records, etc. Many private investigators specialize in conducting investigative background checks. With an abundance of available online resources, a private investigator can easily locate criminal justice, police, school records, employment, bankruptcy, and civil court records on individuals.
Criminal Background Checks Some private investigators specialize in conducting criminal background checks. If an individual has been accused or charged with a crime, they can find out if they have a criminal record by using search engines. In addition, they can research local, state, and federal criminal records. Because many individuals are allowed to freely express their opinions, criminal background checks provide an opportunity to find out personal information about neighbors, co-workers, and past employers.
Surveillance Techniques Many surveillance investigators use video cameras, video recording devices, spy cameras, secret listening devices, GPS tracking devices, cell phone GPS tracking, and handwriting or fingerprinting devices to gather information. Many times, the information they obtain is used in court as evidence against criminals. Cell phones, computers, video cameras, GPS tracking devices, and other tools are commonly used in investigations. If you’re interested in becoming an investigator, consider gaining a basic understanding of how such investigations work.