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Category Archives: Investigation Services

May 19, 2020

Working as a private investigator, one of the first lessons I’ve learned is that whenever someone does something wrong, their wrongful actions will eventually become a normal part of their behaviour.

Several years ago, a woman contacted us here in Australian Investigation asking us to investigate her ex-partner. The man was said to be a sociopath and had stolen a huge amount of money from her before they split up. Six months later, another woman contacted us sharing the same story and apparently, the same man was involved.

What’s more, each woman managed to get in touch with another woman who had dealt with that same man and suffered in the same circumstances. With everyone’s consent, we placed the women in touch with one another until we were able to piece together the entire story. It appears that this man had stolen more than $200,000 worth of money from these four women, which also included expensive things, such as engagement rings.

In fact, he had even stolen a cat from one of them and gave it to another woman as a gift. Australian Investigation was able to contact another woman who got victimised by the same man. In her case, the man took an unjustified AVO against the woman.

So, we informed the police about the man’s chequered past. He was clearly a troublemaker who duped several women he had a relationship with. But this case is just one of the many cases that we investigate on a daily basis.

Recently, there was an interesting story that was been making rounds on the Internet this week. It was regarding a hotel worker who had stolen more than a thousand underwear and bras and was also accused of stalking teenage girls.

The accused, named Sutan Achmed Daniel Al Hamilton was a 37-yr old hotel employee who stole more than a thousand pairs of undergarments from Ibis and Rydges hotels in the past few years. He admitted his crime in front of the media outside the court and claimed that it was due to his “fetish.”

The cases illustrated above are examples that impropriety is indeed a pattern of behaviour. Trivial incidents such as stealing underwear or telling lies to a spouse or partner may not matter to most people, however, these are indications of a much deeper problem in the future. For instance, in the case of the hotel worker, he has not only been stealing undergarments, but he was also stalking teenagers, aged 15 to 17 years old.

Behavioural patterns are also present among those who have committed serious crimes. Examples are serial killers who engaged in other criminal acts at a young age, such as harming of animals and arson.

In fact, convicted killers like Russel Williams and Jeff Brudos are said to be stealing women’s undergarments before they committed sexual assaults and eventually resorted to killing people.

Intuition is Nature’s Insurance Policy

If your instinct is telling you that something is wrong, then it probably is. Most of the time, our intuitions are right even if it’s somewhat trivial. So always pay close attention to your instincts. If you find the behaviour of a particular person doubtful, then you should do something to address your doubts.

Background checks are very useful during these situations. This is especially applicable in cases involving intimate relationships and when hiring a new employee. Having evidence of past wrongdoing is an indication that special attention must be given to the person.

What Leads to Criminal Behaviour

In one study, it was found that an individual could have up to eight different traits. Other studies have also established that a person can have up to six traits. Below are the six different traits that a person can possibly have.

  1. Criminal Peers

Those who have this trait are individuals whose peers are linked to criminal activities. Most of these people are involved in substance abuse, either alcohol or drugs.

Peer influence is the number one reason why individuals will engage in criminal activities. This is a common trait among individuals who lack community involvement.

  1. Anti-Social Personality

This trait usually includes atypical behaviour that’s been acquired before reaching the age of 15. It could include running away, fighting, skipping school, lying, damage to property, hurting animals, etc.

  1. Dysfunctional Family

Some people resort to crime due to a dysfunctional family relationship. These are people who don’t get enough emotional or financial support from family members.

This can also happen if the family of the person involved doesn’t have the ability to solve problems and is unable to communicate with each other effectively.

Some family members are usually not good at expressing emotions in the most appropriate manner. Sometimes, the family members themselves are also involved in criminal activities.

  1. Lack of Self-Control

This trait refers to the inability to control one’s impulsivity and temperament. Those who possess this trait tend to do things without carefully thinking about it. Their mindset is to do things here and now and will not consider the consequences of such behaviour.

  1. Anti-Social Values

This trait is also called, “criminal thinking.” It’s usually characterised by a belief that their actions are justifiable even if it’s criminal in nature.

Individuals who have this trait tend to blame others for possessing such negative behaviour and will not even show any remorse for what they have done.

  1. Substance Abuse

This refers to those who have been addicted to alcohol or drugs to the point that it affected their ability to engage in a productive lifestyle. People should normally have an increased tolerance to substances and should know when to stop drinking or using.

The normal process of assessment will normally take six days to be completed. If it takes more or less than that could lead to inaccuracies. As soon as the officer establishes an idea on the level of risk involved and has recognised the subject’s criminogenic traits, they should immediately start with the supervision.

They should come up with tactics that can help to motivate the individual to achieve success while also holding them accountable and impose proper sanctions to address the negative behaviour.

May 15, 2020

Statistics show that the infidelity rate in Australia and some other developed countries has increased in the past 50 years or so. This may be due to the fact that more and more women are entering the workforce, which many believe is an opportunity for them to cheat.

And now that we’re in the age of the Internet, it’s easy for anyone to meet someone online, with the help of social media and dating apps. These tools have made cheating easier for everybody. In fact, studies show that sexual and emotional affairs are present in almost 70% of all marriages. This is pretty upsetting.

Our job as private investigators is to help individuals who suspect their spouses of cheating. We’ve handled these cases several times before and are very familiar with this.

Here, we’re going to share with you some surprising facts about cheating partners:

  1. Cheaters are narcissistic and some are even sociopathic

Cheaters have the tendency to show sociopathic traits and have a tendency to display a general lack of empathy.

Some of the most common behaviours that we have observed in them are callousness, pathological lying, and manipulation. One of the subjects of our investigations even took advantage of six women and these were the only ones we knew about!

  1. Some religions accept infidelity as basis for divorce

In case you’re not aware, different religions actually have different rules on granting divorce. For Maronite Catholics and Coptic Christians, evidence of infidelity is enough to grant the divorce.

This is why if they suspect their partners of cheating, they immediately hire private investigators to gather evidence that they can use as grounds for divorce. Once the evidence is presented to their high-ranking priests, they will review and eventually grant the divorce.

  1. Infidelity doesn’t affect divorce according to the law

This might come as a surprise but infidelity is not ground for divorce in Australia. Just because your partner has been unfaithful doesn’t mean you can already divorce him or her.

Furthermore, your partner’s infidelity will not play a part in the splitting of your assets.

  1. Some couples don’t separate despite obvious cheating evidence

Interesting enough, it’s common for partners to still go on with the relationship even when there’s already a clear evidence of infidelity.

Some couples are willing to ignore what their partners did and will continue with their relationship due to various reasons, one of these being financial. Also, those with children try to forgive and forget for the sake of their kids.

But in our many years of experience as private investigators, we can say that every individual has different thresholds when it comes to tolerating their partner’s infidelity and it’s merely up to the parties involved to decide on how to handle the issue. Our role is to simply assist people in making informed decisions.

  1. Private investigators can sometimes catch the cheating partner in the act!

As private investigators, our main task is to gather enough evidence that will prove the cheating partner’s wrongdoing. We are so good at what we do that we have been able to catch them on the act several times!

These include kissing, holding hands, and even being intimate with each other. In one occasion, our investigator was lucky enough to be at the right place and at the right time and was able to gather actual footage of the act!

  1. Cheaters slip up often

In our experience, we have found out that cheaters are not actually as smart as they think they are. They tend to develop a pattern of behaviour that makes their partners suspect them.

And once the seed of doubt is planted, these suspicious partners will become more wary of them and will be very watchful of their action, which causes them to get caught.

  1. Cheaters usually have a conservative Christian background

Ashley Madison, a controversial dating site that’s geared towards married people who are interested in having an affair, conducted a survey that revealed more than 70% of the dating site’s users are Christians.

We’re not really surprised by this because in our job as private investigators, most of those we investigated for infidelity were Christians. This is probably due to the fact that the religion encourages people to marry at a younger age and they realise at a later time that they weren’t yet ready for commitment.

  1. Putting matters into your own hands is never a good idea

We’re not promoting our services so that we can earn good money. But we are promoting it since we know it’s what people should do.

If you’re not trained for this job and you attempt to do it yourself, you might just make things worse for you and your relationship. You cannot just hack into your partner’s device to look for evidence because that is illegal. Doing this might just turn the tables.

Your partner will use it against you. Sure, it’s possible for anyone to do surveillance but it can be time-consuming and is not practical if you have your own job to attend to.

  1. There’s a good chance that the cheating party is lying about other things too

Another thing we have learned about cheaters is that lying becomes a pattern of their behaviour. So, if your partner is cheating, he or she is more likely to be good at lying too.

Over the years, we’ve come across several individuals who have not only cheated, but also lied about their financial matters, addictions, career, etc.

  1. Some won’t admit they are unfaithful even after decades of cheating

People who cheat will never admit their wrongdoing even if you catch them or have pieces of evidence to prove their infidelity.

Even if they have been unfaithful to you for decades, they will never admit their mistakes. And if the cheated party will continue to ignore the behaviour or remains in denial to their partner’s wrongdoing, this behaviour will go on until forever.

We have cases where they have been suspecting their partners to be cheating on them for decades, but it’s only now that they decided to have him or her investigated.

May 9, 2020

Unclaimed money refers to money that has been lost from bank accounts, shares of stocks, investments, life insurance policies, etc. Usually, the money gets lost when people move to a new house and have totally forgotten updating their information with the bank or financial institution.

Any unclaimed money that the ASIC has received will usually be given to the Commonwealth of Australia Consolidated Revenue Fund. Whoever is the rightful owner should be able to claim the funds any time and there’s no time limit in claiming these funds.

Funds from bank accounts that have become inactive for 7 years due to no deposit and withdrawals are also considered unclaimed money. Furthermore, insurance policies that have matured and were not claimed for 7 years already are also considered unclaimed money.

State governments are known to keep unclaimed money from different sources, like salaries, share dividends, and trust funds. Refer to this link for a list of state-specific agencies and contacts that can help you search for your unclaimed money – https://moneysmart.gov.au/find-unclaimed-money/money-held-by-state-governments

Here’s everything you need to know about unclaimed money.

How to Find Out If You Have Any Unclaimed Money Out There?

It’s common for funds from shares, investments, insurance policies and bank accounts to get lost especially if the person has totally forgotten about it or if they’ve moved to a new place and did not update the account.

The Australian Securities and Investment Commission, more commonly known as ASIC, can assist individuals in conducting searches for unclaimed money using its database, with the use of a transaction number or name.

If the money that was lost has been found, the owner has to lodge a claim in order to get it. It’s easy to check if you’ve got any funds that have not been claimed. Simply go online and refer to this link – https://moneysmart.gov.au/find-unclaimed-money.

If your ASIC search doesn’t reveal anything, there are other ways to look for unclaimed money. You can refer to the Fair Work Ombudsman, the Australian Taxation Office, or the state government’s website.

How to Look for Lost or Unclaimed Superannuation

To look for lost or unclaimed super, you can refer to ATO and AUSfund. They both have superannuation tools that can help with your search.

All you need to input is your Tax File Number (TFN). And if you decide to move your unclaimed super to any of your preferred funds, you also need to key-in your fund membership number.

What is Lost and Unclaimed Super?

If you decide to switch jobs or perhaps you have a second job that pays for your superannuation, it is highly possible that you’ve got some unclaimed or lost super out there that you don’t have any knowledge of. As a matter of fact, the Australian Tax Office or ATO is holding billions of dollars of unclaimed or lost super.

Usually, super is stored in the fund where it is paid and could get idle eventually, especially if they are unable to locate or contact you. In this case, the funds will be referred to as lost super. Before, super funds that were holding small and inactive accounts were being transferred to the AUSfund where it will be kept until someone shows up to claim it.

Inactive and small accounts with a value below $6,000 and have not been receiving any contribution for 16 months will be moved to the ATO. They will then attempt to compare the funds to the active account of the member.

This is the account that’s been receiving the contributions. If in the event that they cannot find an active account, the funds will remain in ATO until someone shows up to claim it. This is called the unclaimed super. This will still be your super and you can still claim it or have it transferred to the super fund that you prefer.

States with the Highest Amount of Lost and Unclaimed Super

The ATO released a report outlining the total value of unclaimed and lost super through postcode, including a breakdown per territory and state.

Here are the figures from such report:

  • WA has $2.2 billion
  • VIC has $4.7 billion
  • TAS has $404 million
  • SA has $1.4 billion
  • QLD has $2.8 billion
  • NT has $258 million
  • NSW has $6 billion
  • ACT has $438 million

7 of the postcodes on top of the list of lost or unclaimed super came from NSW and the other 3 are from Victoria.

Liverpool holds the top spot, having 13,251 lost or unclaimed super with a total value of $81,085,282.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What results come up?

The data that will appear on your search for unclaimed money is a result of lodgements that came from several banks, credit unions, building societies, life insurance companies, registered Australian companies, and friendly societies.

However, ASIC will not guarantee the overall consistency or quality of the data inputted due to the fact that the given data is provided by several institutions.

  • What is Original Transaction Number (OTN)?

The unclaimed money on the database will be provided with a unique OTN or Original Transaction Number. If you found a relevant record when you search using your name, take note of the OTN since you’ll need this when making a claim.

You will also need this number whenever you decide to relocate the record later on. It will also help ASIC whenever you need to consult your claim.

  • Will I have to use my name or the name of the deceased person when searching for a life insurance policy?

Records that relate to the life insurance policy will slightly differ from that of the companies and banks since the policy owner might be different from that of the life insured. If you’re going to do a search using the name, both names will be searched.

For instance, if you’re going to locate a policy under “Robert Smith”, any life policy that has this name, whether he is the owner or the insured will show up in the database.

May 5, 2020

It’s truly unfortunate to hear reports about elders being abused by their own carers and even family members!

We’re not only talking about physical abuse or mental abuse, but also about deceiving them of their assets and pensions. In fact, this is one of the most common cases that Australian Investigation deals with, which is truly upsetting.

To fully understand what elder abuse is, we’re going to share some of the most shocking facts we’ve discovered after many years of handling these cases.

  1. It’s very common

Society dictates that we should care for the elderly and treat them with the utmost respect. But you might be surprised to know that elder abuse is pretty common.

Even though there’s not yet an established measurement on how prevalent elder abuse cases are in Australia, International figures say that about 2% to 15.7% of the elderly are victims of abuse.

The real figure may actually exceed these estimates since there are plenty of elder abuse cases that have not been reported. And in countries like Australia where there is a rapid increase in the ageing population, there may be several of these cases.

  1. It comes in many forms

There are many forms of elder abuse cases. Since this crime has a broad category, the abuse can come in many forms. Furthermore, the implications of each of these cases would vary wildly.

Although mismanaging finances is the most common, elder abuse can also come in the form of physical, social, psychological, and even sexual abuse, done by the carers themselves.

Different forms of elder abuse cases can also co-occur. For instance, financial and physical abuses are inflicted together.

  1. The victim’s child often carries out the abuse

One of the most common elder abuse cases that we’ve handled has something to do with financial matters. And surprisingly, this is usually carried out by the victim’s own child!

The reason behind this is that it is usually the family members that have easy access to the victim’s financial resources.

According to the data gathered by Victoria’s National Ageing Research Institute of Seniors Rights, the perpetrators behind the 92.3% of elder abuse cases are the victim’s family members. Meanwhile, 66.8% of these are done by the victim’s own child!

  1. The victim and the perpetrator sometimes are not aware of the abuse

As mentioned, people who are close to the victim or a family member are often the perpetrators. Because of this, the victim may not consider the act as something abusive. There are also cases where the victim would refuse to accept the fact that someone they trust or love is already abusing them.

Meanwhile, the perpetrator of the act will sometimes fail to acknowledge that they are already being abusive to the elderly person. There are also instances where they will neglect their needs. Carers are often the ones who are more prone to abusing the elderly due to stress and frustration that comes with caring for the elderly.

Short temper and emotional disconnectedness are some of the most common reasons behind elder abuse among caregivers and carers.

  1. An investigator can assist with elder abuse cases in many ways

If you suspect a person is abusing your parent or an elderly person that you love, you can consult with Australian Investigation for assistance on this case. As private investigators, we will closely monitor the person whom you are suspecting of committing elder abuse.

We are able to perform many things when handling elder abuse cases. First, we will do a background check of the suspect. This will reveal if they have a history of similar cases or has been accused or convicted of criminal acts in the past.

When it comes to financial matters, our forensic experts will conduct an analysis of signatures and handwriting. This is the best way to determine if there has been any forgery committed.

Our investigators can also prove claims of any allegations made regarding a dispute over the estate and provision claims of the elderly family member. Furthermore, if an elderly relative has gone missing, our private investigator will be able to conduct an investigation to locate the person.

If you suspect that a carer is abusing an elderly relative, we will immediately conduct close monitoring in order to gather evidence of the wrongdoing which can be used as court evidence to implicate the suspect.

Common Risk Factors

Below are some of the factors that could increase the likelihood of elder abuse.

  • Individual

In most cases, those who are accused of abusing an elderly are suffering from poor psychological problems. Others have poor mental health and are suffering from substance or alcohol abuse.

Other individual factors that could increase the likelihood of abuse is the gender of both the abuser and the victim, especially if they are in a shared living condition. Although elderly men have the same risk as elderly women, elderly women are usually more prone to abuse.

They are also at risk of financial abuse and neglect, where their assets and properties are seized without their knowledge. Women have a higher risk of physical and sexual abuse.

  • Community

The consequent lack of social support and isolation of older persons in society are also risk factors for elder abuse.

A lot of elderly people are usually isolated either because they are suffering from mental or physical illnesses, or mainly because most of their family and friends have already passed away.

  • Relationship

One of the most common risk factors for elder abuse is a shared living condition. It’s not yet known if the adult kids or spouses of the victims are the most common perpetrators.

However, the dependency of the victim to the abuser is another factor that increases the likelihood of abuse.

In some instances, a long history of conflicting relationships with the victim could make the situation worse. Also, as more women are choosing to work and have less time to spare, caring for elder relatives has become an even bigger burden and this could increase the possibility of abuse.

April 6, 2020
April 6, 2020

Biometrics is a technology that has human characteristics. It can recognise individuals and harvest essential information about the overall human physiology. Some of the most commonly used biometric identifiers are capable of facial recognition, fingerprints, and heat signatures.

Businesses and government units have started using biometrics for a wide range of purposes. There’s also a wider opportunity for the use of data gathered by the biometric identifiers in the future. Most of these technologies are unique to each individual and can also be used in combination in order to achieve better accuracy.

Over the last few weeks, some airports have already utilised biometric testing on arriving passengers to identify if they are positive with the coronavirus. Also known as COVID-19, the virus started in Wuhan, a city in China’s Hubei province. The virus spreads very rapidly and has already killed thousands around the world.

In response to the outbreak, thermal cameras have been installed at the airports to check arriving passengers. These cameras are capable of scanning a huge crowd of people and detect who among these has a higher temperature, which is an indication that the person might be infected.

Some airports in Singapore and China had already been using thermal cameras years ago, during the 2003 SARS Outbreak. Countries like Nigeria and India also followed suit during the Ebola and Swine Flu outbreak.

But it’s important to note that thermal cameras are only useful in identifying who has high temperature or who has developed a fever which is a common symptom of the coronavirus. Studies show that the thermal scanning that was conducted at the airports was able to detect no less than 20% of infected passengers.

As a matter of fact, even the World Health Organisation doesn’t recommend testing every traveller since it provides little benefit but requires a considerable amount of resources. Biometrics such as fingerprint scanning and facial recognition are some of the most effective biometric identifiers.

With regards to biometric data, we believe that everyone should campaign for greater access to this data.

Meanwhile, thermal imaging technology has already been used widely by militaries and law enforcement agencies around the world. It was actually first used in the 1950s during the Korean War, which helped identify enemies in the dark. In the US, firefighters have also used such technologies to locate people during a rescue operations in the middle of dense smoke. Last year, US police forces used the technology in detecting and nabbing a gang of thieves in the middle of the night.

The use of biometrics by businesses, governments, and law enforcers is important. However, we cannot deny the fact that entrusting our data to the government would give them a chance to misuse them. But of course, privacy advocates don’t challenge the use of scanners to detect anyone who is positive of the virus. Is it reasonable enough to charge someone of disorderly conduct for deliberately covering his face when passing through facial recognition technology?

Here at Australian Investigation, we are fully aware of the fact that having more data will make it easier to solve certain problems. We sometimes refer to public record databases to uncover details about a particular person we are investigating. Thankfully, we have access to the ASIC database, which contains government-stored data. This is very useful for when we need to conduct an investigation. We also rely on databases owned by private companies, such as Equifax. This is what we use when looking for important information, such as addresses of certain individuals.

We truly believe that private citizens should be given access to government-owned data, whether it is to protect their financial interests by going after a debtor, identify if a potential employee is high risk, to learn about the deceptive behaviour of a partner, and more.

Today, governments are actually using biometric data as a way to lobby financial aid and ask for donations from big corporations. As for metadata, keeping biometric data by some powerful organisations and the government is something that’s truly useful in certain situations, although citizens should fully understand how to precisely use the data. They must also be given access to government-stored data that they can use for legal purposes.

For instance, the outbreak of coronavirus is a perfect opportunity for the government to explain how the biometric scanning will be implemented and how it has helped to curb the spread of the virus. They should also reveal whether it has worked and what type of data is being collected during the process.

The government should provide registers that are accessible to the public, that’s capable of anonymously storing information. That way, it will not reveal any information about certain individuals. This is to set guidelines for a more aggressive form of data collection that’s being done now.

This is also applicable when capturing a certain type of data. ASIC has recently started allowing media personnel to have free access to its databases, which we believe is heading in the right direction. However, this should actually be freely available to everyone, especially companies that are proprietary limited and licensed investigators like us. This can ensure greater transparency in the country and will encourage more overseas investors to invest their money in Australian-based companies.

Data of any kind must be obtained and kept in a transparent way while also considering any possible risks to the person involved. In a way, the data belongs to the person and they should know where and how the data is being used.

The comprehensive use of technologies for surveillance and biometric has questionably resulted in the government upturning the principles behind the presumption of innocence. It seems that the battle might have been lost in respect to metadata, where citizens won’t be able to have access to the compulsorily acquired metadata from ISP to be used for civil cases. Yet, the fact that the government has the freedom to use the data against its citizens is deemed as a threat.

April 5, 2020

Whenever you hear the term “private investigator”, what usually comes to your mind?

Are you thinking of a guy wearing a trench coat while sitting in a dimly-lit room and is focused on solving some mysteries while puffing a cigar? This is usually what comes to people’s mind about an investigator, and that’s thanks to those spy movies from Hollywood.

But over the past few years, investigators have actually evolved into a commercial sphere. In Australia and in the rest of the world, the role of a Private Investigator is now better understood.

Still, some people are not aware of what a modern-day investigator is capable of, especially these days when private investigators are tech-savvy and have access to innovative tools that can help them with their investigation.

What is a Private Investigator?

Private investigators are known for their excellent skills in observing and their keen eye for detail. Above all, they have a brilliant analytical skill. Sometimes called private detectives, these agents utilise different surveillance tools and investigative techniques in order to harvest accurate information about a subject and gather evidence.

Before private investigators can practice, they must first be licensed by the state where they are based. Most of them work as a full-time investigator and others are only on a contractual basis and are hired by private detective firms, organisations, businesses, and any individual who needs help investigating a person.

Although the services of the private investigators will vary from one case or another and will also depend on the industry they are working for, they usually have similar skillsets. Most of the time, these investigators are hired to uncover facts, gather pieces of evidence, and analyse information. They are also required to submit the results of their investigation to their clients.

Areas Where Private Investigators Are Useful?

Several industries can benefit from the services of skilled investigators.

Their knowledge, expertise and skills are valuable and are usually in-demand in the following areas:

  • Undercover investigations
  • Screening vendors and employees
  • Retail loss and prevention
  • Pre-employment screenings
  • Polygraph services
  • Offering personal protection services
  • Locating missing persons
  • Crisis intervention
  • Criminal investigation
  • Computer forensics services
  • Personal investigations

Short History

According to history, the first private investigation firm was established in France around the early 19th century. The man behind it was a Frenchman named Eugene Francois Vidocq who was an ex-criminal. He named the agency, “Office of Intelligence,” and most of the detectives he hired were ex-criminals. In fact, Vidocq is dubbed as the first criminologist. Using his printing company, Vidocq started producing a bond paper that couldn’t be altered.

Around the mid-1800s, a Scottish man named Allan Pinkerton who immigrated in the US established his own detective agency that he named “Pinkerton National Detective Agency.” The agency was based in Chicago and was launched after the local sheriff awarded him the role of a private detective. Pinkerton was doing well in his role. The highlight of his career was the foiling of former US president Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. It’s worth noting that the agency is still in existence today.

During the olden times, the services of a private investigator are in-demand among the wealthy people, usually businessmen and aristocrats, mainly for solving disputes on labour. The investigators during that time were tasked to perform things that law enforcers were unable to perform. Although the conduct was questionable, it took several years before the private investigation was considered a profession with ethical guidelines in place.

The Evolution of Private Investigators

Pinkerton deserves to be given credit for the evolution of the industry of private investigation since he did a great job of ensuring that the investigators he hired were able to adhere to the codes of conduct and ethical values of being an investigator. The skilled agents of Pinkerton swore never to accept any bribes. They were also advised against accepting reward money. They should be willing to work with law enforcers.

When the middle class started seeking the services of a private investigator, the roles of the investigators slowly shifted. Over time, several people were recognising the valuable work of private detectives since they saw them recovering lost property, solving complex issues in the society, providing answers to complicated questions, and many more. In addition, the private investigators were also very helpful during legal disputes and in cases where a client wants to achieve peace of mind by uncovering something suspicious.

As time went on, the public started to gain a better understanding of the services that private investigators provide, either through the media outlets, word of mouth, and portrayals on Hollywood movies. This resulted in a significant increase in the demand for the services of private investigators. These days, it’s common to hear individuals, organisations, businesses, and law firms hiring investigators in solving all sorts of issues, from personal problems to the most complex commercial problems.

With the advent of technology, the roles of private investigations were transformed. Thanks to the Internet, it’s now easy for investigators to get access to powerful databases for research. They also rely on the World Wide Web for resources that can help them to locate and identify profiles of the person they are investigating.

The private investigators of today are also equipped with tools and devices that can easily record evidence, although there are laws that must be followed when it comes to using these tools. These rules will vary from one jurisdiction to another. And although these resources have given investigators an advantage, the criminals have also taken advantage of these. Con artists, stalkers, and other people with malicious intent use these tools to carry out their illegal activities.

Because of the increasing demand for private investigators, there are now colleges and universities that train students who are interested to work as private investigators. And as with any profession, the private investigators must undergo rigorous training and must be familiar with the ethical codes that are expected to be followed.

April 3, 2020
April 3, 2020

Whenever a client come to us to hire our services for surveillance, we want our clients to know that hiring a private investigator is not like hiring a plumber or getting your car serviced by a mechanic. If you hire a plumber or a mechanic, you may already have an idea of what they are going to do. But with an investigator, there’s some level of uncertainty on the process.

Having worked with thousands of clients in the past, from law firms to insurers, government agencies, multinational corporations, and high-profile individuals, we at Australian Investigation are fully aware that planning for surveillance is essential in the overall success of an operation.

In every investigation, we are going to deal with the unknown so it’s important that we carefully plan our strategies. We need to understand what is suspected and what’s not known so we will know exactly what we’re trying to uncover. It is only by reference to what’s known that we can figure out the best course of action.

We have some clients that are not keen on providing confidential and personal details needed for our investigation. But we actually need to know the full details in order to be successful with our operation. Sometimes, the reason why our investigation may lead to failure is because of the client’s lack of communication and their unwillingness to give full disclosure.

We would suggest doing your research before you get in touch with a private investigator. That way, you will know what to expect and you’ll feel comfortable in providing us with the information that we need for our surveillance.

For instance, logistical considerations will have a huge impact on the way the investigation has to be managed. Just take for instance an apartment block. We’ve conducted monitoring at apartment blocks several times before. In one of our surveillance, the apartment block has more than 5 entry points and exit points. If there’s no line of sight in between the exit points, it may be necessary for us to use five surveillance operatives.

But this will not be the case if the subject we are monitoring is living in a suburban location and living in a detached house. In this case, 1 or 2 operatives should be enough to handle the operation. But sometimes, even when the location is in a suburban area, there are still logistical challenges that we have to take into consideration, such as the neighbours, unsuitable terrains, and more.

In addition, the ease in which we would be able to identify the subject person that will be investigated will surely have a big impact on our surveillance plan. If we only have limited information about the subject, then this will surely make the job even more difficult. Are you aware that people generally can’t identify faces of strangers?

In our many years of experience in the field of surveillance, we have built a reputation as the leader in the industry. Thus, we should protect this reputation by seeking enough details to successfully carry out our operation. Without the relevant details, we cannot come up with a plan and provide an appropriate quotation.

When it comes to the matters of confidentiality, we would highly recommend our clients to take time to scroll through our website. It has all the relevant information about us as well as our services. If you still want to know more just go to Google and search Australian Investigation.

We really do not require our clients to provide us with all the details involved in the case. Just provide us with whatever details you already have. The more info you can share, the higher the chances of getting a positive outcome in our investigation.

Types of Surveillance

We provide several different types of surveillance, from the use of surveillance tools and electronics, physical observation, and conducting interviews to the involved parties.

There are a variety of ways to carry out surveillance, including the use of electronics,

  • Electronic

Using electronics is important for our job. This is how we would document the pieces of evidence that we have gathered from our surveillance work.

During surveillance, we use electronic devices such as radios, television, video recorder, and if needed, we may need to wiretap phone conversations. Sometimes, we will have to intercept emails.

  • Physical Observation

Physical surveillance happens when we need to physically monitor and follow the subject. Sometimes, we will use several agents for the job and will involve stakeouts and disguises.

  • Technical

Technical surveillance would require the need to use digital photography and sometimes audio and video recordings. Examples are the CCTV used by businesses, as well as dash cameras on vehicles.

  • Interviews

In order to gather more relevant information that can help us with the case, our investigators will also need to conduct interviews. This involves interviewing neighbours, family members, colleagues, etc.

Surveillance Methods

Aside from offering different modes of surveillance, we will also utilise different tactics to gather relevant information about the subject.

  • Mobile vs. Stationary

Mobile investigation will require that investigators follow their subjects, either on foot or in a car. However, a stationary investigation is the type of surveillance that will require the agent to stay in one location.

  • Overt vs. Covert

Overt investigation requires the use of CCTV cameras that businesses install in order to deter employees and clients from stealing. On the other hand, a covert investigation remains undetected, which is just like an undercover agent that’s following the subject.

  • Mechanical vs. Human

A mechanical investigation uses video cameras for investigation. It will also utilise other devices, such as voice recorders and other related equipment.

How Surveillance Works

  1. First, an investigator will discuss with the client to get to know him or her before delving into the subject.
  2. After a thorough discussion with the client, the investigator will start doing extensive research on the subject. These include obtaining the phone number, complete address, work location, etc.
  3. Then the investigator will study the area where the surveillance takes place. He will normally use maps and photos for this.
  4. Next, the investigator will decide on the type of equipment to use for the surveillance, such as dash cameras, video recorder, etc. He will prepare all the equipment needed before starting with the operation.
  5. Then the investigator will start with his surveillance while making sure that the subject won’t recognise him. They will avoid making eye contact with the subject and will make sure not to walk by the subject’s house multiple times.

During the course of the investigation, the investigator will make sure to take notes, especially of the important details such as date and time. He will need to report this to the client at the end of the investigation.

March 31, 2020

Sometimes, it will be necessary to prove a persons whereabouts at a certain time. For instance, when investigating if a person was physically present at a crime scene in order to determine if they are responsible for the crime or any type of illegal acts.

During a dispute between domestic partners, providing the most credible alibi is the only way to absolve you from the eyes of your suspicious partner. In the case of criminal and civil matters, the evidence that will put a person at a certain place and time can certainly make a huge difference in the overall outcome.

An example of this is a recent case we handled that involved a washing machine repairman named Bill Spedding. His life was about to get overturned as a result of being wrongfully accused as a child abductor by the police in NSW.

It happened around September of 2014 when the entire country was shaken by the disappearance of a 3-year old boy named William Tyrrell. He was believed to be staying at the house of his grandmother in Kendall, NSW. The boy was playing with his sister while their mother supervised them.

After leaving them for a few minutes to get a drink, she began to worry when she couldn’t hear William’s voice anymore. At around 11 AM, the emergency services were alerted about the disappearance of the boy, and what began was a lengthy but futile search of the 3-year old boy.

During the investigation, it was established that Bill Spedding had visited their home on September 6 when he was hired to fix their damaged washing machine. This made him a person of interest. 5 years later, Spedding decided to sue the state of NSW due to malicious prosecution.

The police case that was filed against Spedding was merely based on the statement of the neighbour of the Tyrrells, who said that they found the van of Spedding travelling into a bush track during the time the kidnapping took place. The neighbour then recanted his statement in front of the court saying that he only saw a van that’s similar to what Spedding was driving.

Revealed in an inquest, Spedding’s wife claimed that they had actually gone out on that day to see their grandchild receive an award from school. She further revealed that they went to a café across the school at around 9:30 in the morning. Luckily, they were able to show a receipt during inquest revealing that coffee and food was purchased using their card, which was a joint account with his wife, at around 9:45 in the morning of that day.

In addition, their claims were confirmed by a parent from the school who revealed that she saw Spedding attend the assembly at that same time that the child was said to be abducted. Unfortunately, it took months for the police to conduct an investigation of such alibi. Aside from the shoddy evidence against the accused, there was a proof that he was not at the scene, which was in the form of a receipt from the café  and the testimony given by the one parent who saw them attending the ceremony.

The statement from the witness and the evidence in the form of receipts are some of the means that can prove that a person is actually at a different location at the time of the crime. Evidence like CCTV footage, parking tickets, metadata, timesheets, and even diary notes are all considered valid proof.

Time is essential when it comes to collecting location-based evidence, especially if you are trying to document digital evidence. Data from computers and mobile phones can also be used as proof of the person’s location at a particular time, by looking at the time of a call or text message. Applications that are capable of recording the location of a device may also be used as proof in cases like these.

Unfortunately, in the case of Tyrrell, the police seemed to have put more focus on accusing Spedding, which might have impeded on other important aspects of the investigation. According to Spedding’s lawyer, the police’s narrow focus affected the manner of how police would normally go about their process of investigation. It’s clear that Spedding was a false lead and could have ultimately affected other areas of opportunities which could have made a more fruitful and productive investigation.

This is usually the reason why several investigations end up unsuccessful. It’s extremely important that all possibilities are taken into consideration when investigating certain issues. Making premature judgment is a serious error that could jeopardise the entire process of an investigation. An important principle to abide by is to never discount any leads even if some pieces of evidence will point towards another direction.

This is why investigators often advise people to make it a habit to write their signature regularly so whenever it is forged, it will be easy to compare fake signatures to the real ones. It’s also a good idea to keep receipts, activate the location settings on your mobile phone, or keep a calendar or diary. Above all, you should always try to be mindful of where you went and whom you saw at those places.

That way, if you are accused of something, whether it is by the police, your employer, partner, ATO, or anyone, you will have these pieces of evidence to absolve yourself from these false accusations. If you don’t have any proof, then there will always be questions and you will most likely be considered as a key suspect in the case.

March 31, 2020

When it comes to civil or criminal disputes, it is sometimes essential to retrospectively prove the precise location of the person involved.

The purpose of this is to prove that the person was never responsible for committing the act, whether it’s sending an email, signing a contract, or engaging in the illegal activities that the person is being accused of.

There are many ways through which a person can prove that he or she was at a certain location at a particular date or time. When it comes to getting location-based evidence, it’s worth noting that time is essential, especially when documenting digital-based evidence.

These pieces of evidence can include the following:

  • Witness Statements

This is when the witness provides an affidavit of evidence that he or she saw the particular person at a specific place and time.

  • Data from a Mobile Device

If the mobile device has certain apps that are capable of recording the location, then the device can be used as evidence.

  • Tower Data of Mobile Phone

Towers could triangulate the location of the mobile device and telecom providers may be able to retain the data. However, a court order must first be secured before you can get access to this data.

  • Billing Statements of Mobile Phone

Billing statements of the mobile phone can reveal the location of the owner at a particular date and time through the calls made, which will show at the statement.

  • Computer Data

Data from laptop or desktop computers can also serve as evidence. The hardware of the computer could reveal if the person was working on the computer at a certain location and at a specific date and time.

  • Timesheets

It’s also possible to prove that a person was working at a certain date of time through the timesheets.

  • Diary Notes, Calendar, or Appointment Records

These pieces of evidence can come in physical or digital form.

  • Parking Tickets, Receipts, Toll Charges, and Transaction Records

These documents can also help to reveal a person’s location at a given time of the day.

  • Automotive Forensics

This can come in the form of a car’s GPS or even a standalone GPS that’s installed in the car, which is capable of keeping track of the vehicle’s whereabouts.

  • CCTV

Footage captured by the CCTV cameras installed on businesses, shops, houses, or any location can be used as proof that a person is in a certain place.

  • Visa or Entry Stamp to Australia, such as VEVO

These travel documents can also be used as evidence that a person was in the country or not.

  • Others

Depending on the circumstances or the nature of the case, other forms of evidence might also be used.

Why is an Alibi Important?

There are certain legal aspects that one could end up into, which is why it’s extremely important to be able to prove an alibi, such as where you or anyone else was at a certain place at a particular time of the day.

An example of this is in a divorce case, where one party is accusing the other of adultery. In this case, it’s necessary to prove that the cheating spouse was indeed at a certain place and time.

Another crucial scenario is that of a criminal case wherein a person is being accused of committing a crime because someone has spotted the person at the scene. When the accused is actually somewhere else.

The usual approach of most lawyers in cases like these is to ask the client if he or she knows anyone who can testify his or her whereabouts. However, if the client cannot find any witness who can testify, some lawyer will immediately end the enquiry.

But if you hire the services of a private investigator from Australian Investigation, we will do our best to gather as much evidence that can prove you are at a certain location. You can have the evidence preserved before you engage with a lawyer.

  1. People Who Are Regularly Present at that Location

You can try visiting the location of that place you’re trying to prove that you were there. Check if there is any person who would regularly visit the area and see if he or she can prove that you have been there.

Think real hard of anyone who seems like they are always going to that place at the same time every single day. This could be a cleaner, security guard, waiter, doorman, receptionist, and others who could be posted at that location when you were there.

  1. CCTV Footage

Request for a copy of the video footage gathered by the CCV cameras that are in the area. See if these cameras may have captured your presence while you were there. Ask the building security if he can provide you with video footage.

You should do this as early as you can because some of these tapes get overwritten regularly. They might ask you to pay a certain fee for asking for the video footage or getting a copy of the recording.

  1. Location History from Google Maps

If you were carrying your mobile phone on that particular day, you can refer to the location history of Google Maps, provided that it was enabled.

Google Maps may be able to provide a recording of your movement on that day with addresses of the places you have been to.

To check this, just log in to Google Maps, click on “your timeline.” You’ll find this on the menu that’s on the left side. Choose the relevant date. If you’ve enabled the location services at that time, then it will show you the places you’ve visited at a particular time of the day.

  1. Electronic Transactions History

Can you recall any transactions you made on that day? Perhaps, you withdrew money from an ATM and you have a receipt that can prove that. Or maybe you purchased something from the store and you have receipts that can back you up.

Think of anything that you have swiped, tapped, and signed on that day as they can serve as hard evidence.