VITAL INVESTIGATIONS REQUIRE
INFORMATION ACCESSThe private sector provides many invaluable investigative services to consumers, businesses and law enforcement agencies. In order to provide these essential services, it is vital for private investigators and security professionals to maintain their access to personal and unique identifying information.
These essential services include, but are not limited to:
Private investigators help insurance companies, banks and others uncover or prevent fraudulent activities. They perform the necessary surveillance to establish the extent of the truth to any claims or to identify any fraudulent activities before they go too far. They are often hired to investigate life, accident, malpractice, compensation and other claims to ensure that they are not fraudulent.
The cost Intellectual property theft may exceed $240 billion annually
$67 billion is lost each year due to fraudulent claims
Employee dishonesty and theft costs American businesses over $50 billion a year
Helping Identity Theft VictimsIdentity theft is a growing national concern. The General Accounting Office has found that insufficient resources are allocated by authorities to investigate such crime and police face jurisdictional issues. Victims often turn to private investigators to help them recover their credit and good names.
FTC reports that from 2000-2004 over 27 million Americans were victims of identify theft costing close to $48 billion in 2003
Investigating Casualty ClaimsPrivate investigators are often hired to prevent business ruin and job losses by investigating embezzlement, robberies, burglaries, thefts, losses, fires and other casualty claims. Without private investigators, corporations and other injured parties would be limited to the resources law enforcement can expend on the investigation.
3% of the nation’s annual health care costs, or $51 billion, is outright fraud; others have placed this figure as high as 10% or $170 billion a year
Investigating Grey Market Activity
Today’s advanced technology has increased opportunity in the grey market. American companies are susceptible to loss of intellectual capital through copyright infringement, patent theft and other diversions. They require the services of private investigators to assess how much money is being lost through tactics and to help identify and resolve some of the main sources of the diversion and infringement.
Economists estimate that 25 million Americans earn a large portion of their income from underground (grey) markets.
Investigating Workplace Allegations
Businesses must be very sensitive to all types of claims, including discrimination, harassment and other allegations. Businesses often employ private investigators to determine the accuracy of such allegations. Private investigators can expose dishonesty, waste, carelessness, inefficiency, willful neglect, and violation of safety rules, favoritism, sabotage and all other irregularities. Resolving these workplace issues helps protect consumers, employees and business owners.
EEOC received nearly 250,000 charges of various discrimination cases in 2004 including Age, Race, Religion, Pregnancy, Sex and Sexual Harassment resulting in nearly $500 million in monetary benefits
Securing Evidence and Surveillance
In preparation for filing suit or the actual trial, attorneys rely on private investigators to secure evidence and perform necessary surveillance. Law enforcement officials do not have the necessary resources to perform elaborate surveillance activities for every case in which they are involved. Instead, private investigators pick up where the law enforcement officials leave off to gather information through physical evidence and surveillance.
Locating WitnessesFrequently, witnesses to crimes or events under investigation do not come forward to authorities. For this reason, attorneys preparing for trial or adjudication frequently turn to private investigators to find previously unidentified witnesses or those who have retreated and decided not to come forward with testimony. Investigators often locate witnesses to assist defendants to prove their innocence.
Locating Missing Persons or Heirs
Today, private investigators are often hired by private citizens to help find missing persons. A persistent problem in the United States is family members disappearing with children during custody battles to other parts of the country. In these circumstances, access to records is essential for help parents find their missing children.
In addition, these services are also requested by will executors looking for lawful heirs. Current technology and search methods allow investigators to resolve many of these cases, reuniting families.
In 2003, it was estimated that $41 trillion in wealth will transfer from one generation to the next
In 2002, an estimated 58,200 children were abducted by a non-family perpetrator
Locating “Deadbeat Parents”Parents who chose not to support their own children, either because they are not paying alimony and child support, or they have entirely abandoned their children—”deadbeat parents”—often inflict poverty on their own children. Critical personal information is vital to assist in recovery of delinquent child support payments. Investigators are frequently able to make recoveries of more than $20,000. The private investigators recover important resources for the children while reducing the toll on the public. U.S. Census data from 2002 show that of the 7.9 million custodial parents receiving child support, only 44.8 % received full payments.
Locating DebtorsWhen the trail comes to an end, private investigators are employed to locate those against whom judgments have been made. Decisions of courts become meaningless if the aggrieved party cannot recover funds awarded by a judge or jury. Private investigators are often the only method for the creditors to pursue and capture their debts.
Locating Pension Beneficiaries
By the time pension distributions are made to former employees, many of them have already moved several times. Employers or private investigators must then be able to use Social Security Numbers to locate pension beneficiaries.
Performing Due Diligence/Protecting Consumers and Corporations:
Corporations hire private investigators to investigate applicants and employees considered for advancement to positions of trust and responsibility. These services are also requisitioned for building partnerships among corporate entities. Investigators work with both consumers and businesses to verify the backgrounds and licensing status of doctors, lawyers, and providers of child and elderly care. Information obtained by investigators can be used to determine if an individual has had a license suspended or a criminal prosecution pending in another jurisdiction. Due diligence must be performed in order to make sound investments and decisions.
ConclusionWithout access to personal information, many services, including all of those listed above, would be drastically restricted. Fewer families would be reunited, court judgments would be harder to enforce, and juries may miss hearing from important witnesses.