In the past, it would have been difficult to source, and costly to purchase. Now though, a new range of retail outlets selling spy equipment is becoming popular with general consumers, and private investigators.
The Bureau of Labor and Statistics puts the median pay of a private investigator at $59,380 per year, and there are currently around 33,700 individuals employed in this manner across the states. These detectives are normally employed by either law agencies, or private agencies, or work independently for their own clients.
Anyone can choose to be a private detective, and with professional surveillance equipment easily available, legal investigations can be conducted in many areas. Although, licensing will be needed in most cases.
Firstly you must understand the law
Before you can start to use spy equipment in any form of legal investigation you will need to understand the law, and you will need to have some type of permit.
In most states, you will be required to be licensed. Indeed, the recruitment firm lists the requirements for becoming a private investigator. You must be over 18, not be convicted of any felony, and be a US citizen. If you are based in Idaho, Mississippi, or South Dakota, you may not have to acquire a license to become a private investigator, although it is likely to help you obtain more clients and cases.
You will also need a clear understanding of privacy laws and those surrounding trespass. Using certain spy equipment in certain circumstances will mean you need to know your rights and those you are eavesdropping on.
In what legal investigations could spy equipment be used?
The founder, Michael Dear started SpyCentre to make spy equipment accessible for everyone. But some responsibility comes with the use of this equipment.
The law must be followed when images, video, and audio recordings are made. If the law isn’t followed, not only can evidence become inadmissible, but you could find yourself in trouble instead of your suspect.
These are some of the more common areas that private investigators work in, and use spy equipment for.
Employee fraud and theft
Spying on employees may not be desirable but there are occasions when it is necessary. For example, if deliveries are not arriving intact, or items are going missing, some surveillance may be needed.
GPS trackers can be used to monitor supply routes, and see if any drivers are deviating to make unscheduled drops.
Personal injury claims
Anyone who has had an accident will need to gather evidence for a personal injury claim. But, thousands of injury claims each year will be fraudulent. Sometimes insurance companies will employ private investigators to capture evidence of false claims.
Around $80 billion is lost each year due to false insurance claims across this board including ones for injuries. However, sometimes investigators aren’t needed to sniff out fraudsters.
One New Jersey man faked a slip ‘n fall in 2018 after throwing ice on the floor himself to create a hazard. Unfortunately, he was caught on camera, received probation, and community service, and had to repay $563 to his insurance company.
Bug detectors and hidden camera finders can be used to sweep rooms for any covert surveillance equipment. Mergers and acquisitions are prime areas for industrial espionage as highly sensitive material is shared during the due diligence process.
Private detectives don’t get to be involved in crime scene investigations and reconstructions usually. A P.I.’s bread and butter will often involve divorces and family matters.
In this area spy cameras, hidden video cameras, and miniature voice recorders can prove handy. Long-range parabolic listening kits may be used also. Depending on the state’s laws, and what is recorded, the evidence here may not be admissible, but detectives can use it as grounds for establishing that there is a case to be investigated.
Nanny cams have grown in popularity as a way to ensure children are kept safe when being looked after by other family members or carers.
In 2015 in Wisconsin, a 63-year-old nanny was caught on camera abusing two infant children. And in Pennsylvania last year, a nanny was filmed hitting a child in her care.
The nanny in the last case tried to get the evidence thrown out as inadmissible under the Wiretap Act. However, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court judged that nanny cams do not violate this act, and are valid sources of evidence.
Private investigators can utilize spyware in many different investigations. As long as the law is followed, spy equipment can provide valuable tools to gather audio and visual evidence to prove infidelity, fraud, theft, physical and emotional abuse, and even corporate espionage.
With spy shops providing this equipment online and in retail stores, almost anyone can conduct their own investigations. Finally, the mystery of who is stealing your yogurts from the staff canteen can be solved.
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