TP Investigations Agency Issues Warning Over Bogus Private Investigators

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Pete Gresty of UK Investigators TP Investigations Limited warns unsuspecting clients of the potential risks of using private investigators, and describes the techniques, scams and methods to look out for.

Private investigators have been in business for as long as anyone can remember because there is always a gap between criminal behaviour and bad behaviour. Furthermore, as police resources get stretched further and further, there are less opportunities to report certain activities to the police, and expect them to respond appropriately,

As a result of this, private investigators have enjoyed a prominence in society for the work that they do, which is often in strict confidence, for many years. Agencies were around in Wild West times, and helped to protect business and individual assets from the lawlessness that was occurring at about that time.

There are certain practices though where it has been said that private investigators have ripped of customers and made significant amounts of money off vulnerable individuals and companies, who need their services. Pete Gresty, an investigator with TP Investigations Limited in the UK, explains:

"Examples of behaviour include providing reports where work has not actually been done - i.e. offering surveillance work, but not actually undertaking the surveillance, and making up a report at the end of it. Other scams include undertaking investigation work, but not actually investigating, and instead providing a false report to their customers. Process servers have been known to claim to have served individuals, but instead just faxed the bill through, without actually undertaking the work.

Tracing is another area, although often these days payment for tracing is by performance, rather than up front in cash."

So, how do you ensure that you do not get ripped off by a private investigator?

Gresty said: "The first step is to make sure you trust the private investigator you are working with. Correspond with them by email and telephone (use email if you are using them for an online investigation as it will give you an idea of their IT abilities) and see whether you would be happy parting with a lot of money where you cannot see the work that the private investigator is doing.

Is membership of trade bodies the way to ensure competent private investigations?

"It has been said that you are fairly well protected by going with private investigators that are in trade bodies, but a lot of the trade bodies are simply groups of friends, who refer each other to ensure there is work collectively. Such examples include groups of former police officers, where the only method of joining is to get a reference from an existing member, who of course is a former police officer. Other examples include trade organisations, where you simply have to fill out a form and click a button to join."

It is much better to work with someone you are comfortable with, and happy for them to be involved in your private affairs.

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Pete Gresty
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