Tuesday, October 14, 2014

What can a Private Investigator do for you?

There are so many misconceptions on what Private Investigators do - no doubt influenced, in part, by popular television shows and movies. Quite often we field calls from would-be clients asking us to undertake some course of action that we cannot do legally; isn't possible because we don't have access to that kind of technology (if it even exists); or shouldn't do because while TV PIs may get results that way, it just doesn't happen like that in real life.

Let's start off by looking at what kind of things we can't do. Or at least without the consent of the party concerned.

  • Intercept or trace phone calls or obtain phone records
  • Access banking or financial records
  • Personal information held by WINZ or other governmental agencies
  • Obtain criminal records
  • Access credit histories (unless they are a legitimate debtor to client)

Private Investigators have no statutory powers and no more rights than any other person.
So what does a Private Investigator actually do and do you really even need one? We can undertake such activities (by way of example) as:

  • Locate missing persons, skipped debtors, potential witnesses
  • Identify persons responsible for theft, fraud, or other criminal offending
  • Determine whether a fraud has taken place (usually claimant misrepresentation in insurance matters) 
  • Investigate workplace incidents or accidents
  • Build up a profile of a person's movements and activities
  • Obtain information in regards to a business competitor's operations

To put it simply, we are primarily seekers of information. All investigations are, essentially, concerned with getting answers to the who, what, where, why and how of a matter. Getting this information is usually a combination of deskwork (ie research, either online and/or offline) and fieldwork (making area enquiries, conducting interviews etc).

Depending on the goal of the investigation, methods might be covert (hidden from the party being investigated) such as with physical surveillance, or overt (done with the party's knowledge and even co-operation) such as with interviews or door-knock enquiries.

While we have no more powers than any other person, we do have experience in collecting information from a variety of sources, and may also have access to particular commercial databases that individuals do not. While anyone might be also able to obtain the information sought, professional investigators should be able to do so more efficiently, and with a degree of objectivity.

So, if you have a problem that needs a solution, feel free to contact us to discuss further. We will advise on whether that is a matter that we can assist with and, if not, where else you might enquire.

New Zealand's "most dangerous stalker" guilty of breaching parole

A man once dubbed New Zealand's most dangerous stalker has been found guilty of breaching prison release conditions by contacting women days after being released from prison.

Glenn Green, 44, wrote to or texted women he did not know, including a shop assistant at a South Auckland mall.

Green, also known by the names Glenn Corleone, Gino Versace and Holden, appeared in the Manukau District Court this month for a judge-only trial on charges of breaching his prison release conditions six times within 12 days of being freed from prison on criminal harassment charges.
Read the rest on Stuff
If you are the victim of stalking and have concerns regarding your personal safety, please contact us to discuss the matter in confidence. We may be able to offer you some assistance.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Dating app leads to gang-rape

Police are warning online daters to be careful of meeting with strangers after a tourist was gang-raped after being introduced to a man she met on mobile dating app Tinder.

Sex crime detectives say the 28-year-old woman had flown to Sydney from New Zealand for business when she decided to meet up with a man she initially met through the dating app on Saturday night.

Read rest on Stuff.
This is not the first time the dating app Tinder has courted negative publicity recently, specifically in regards to attacks on women using the service.

A few simple precautions should be taken to minimise risks when meeting people for the first time, particularly when the arrangements were made through social networking and dating sites or services that allow users to maintain their anonymity online.

Obtain personal details that can be verified 

If a person is unwilling to provide any personal details, ask yourself what are they trying to hide? In our experience, we have uncovered people who have lied about their age, martital or relationship status, and even gender! Not everyone is who they say they are and a little information to establish you are communicating with a real person is vital.

Meet in a public place for the first time

Keep your first date public and preferably let someone know what your plans are. Perhaps arrange to contact a friend after the date has ended and you have arrived safely home.

Ensure you have backup plan / way home

Make sure you have enough money home for a taxi or have arranged calling a friend to pick you up, particularly if the date ends early or unexpectedly.

Minimise alcohol consumption

Alcohol is the predominant 'date-rape drug'. Moderate your drinking, preferably purchase your own and do not leave half-finished drinks unattended.

If you feel unconfortable or unsafe, leave 

If that person isn't who they said they were, or who you thought they were, leave. You don't need to politely stay for the rest of the date - they have lied to you from the beginning.
Some of these steps would appear to be incompatible with the purpose of casual encounters, however, it would be sensible to have at least some kind of strategy in place for personal safety. 

We're not saying you need to hire a private investigator to check up on whether your prospective date is exactly who he, or she, say they are - but this is a task we have performed a number of times, particularly in regards to long-distance online relarionships where the parties have yet to meet in person.

At the end of the day, you are the person responsible for your own safety.

However, if you do want to talk to us about screening a date or some other service, feel free to contact us to see if we can be of assistance.