Business owners in Tampa, Clearwater, St.Petersburg, and surrounding areas sometimes call on private investigators to conduct workplace undercover surveillance. There was a TV show on the Food Network called Mystery Diner. The show’s star was a former restaurateur who, when invited by a restaurant owner, places hidden surveillance cameras and undercover operatives, as employees, to find out who is stealing from them, giving free products (mostly alcoholic drinks) to friends, and investigate allegations of harassment and abuse. The show was a textbook example of ways that undercover workplace surveillance works and some of the reasons business owners use private investigators. So, let’s take a look at the reasons for hiring private investigators to run undercover surveillance in business.
Why Businesses Need a Private Investigation Firm as a Partner
One of the most common services businesses use private investigators to perform are financial investigations. On the show Mystery Diner, financial investigations were directed at uncovering people who steal from the restaurant. But, financial investigations are done for other reasons too . These reasons include:
1 Due diligence investigations for mergers and acquisitions
2 Gathering facts to resolve disputes between shareholders or partners
3 Investigating instances of employee fraud or theft
4 Determining the cause(s) of incidents causing a business interruption or a loss of property.
Due diligence investigations are performed before a company completes a transaction, or hires a key employee. A due diligence investigation is an effort to reveal before a merger, acquisition, or a major project, the following:
- Company management details
- Company financial details
- The detailed company history
- Company mission and goals
- Company suppliers
- An industry review
- Finding potential lawsuits, past lawsuits causes and verdicts or settlements
- Determining if there are potential scandals regarding the target company and its executive suite personnel
Other reasons to hire private investigators for your business include:
Loss prevention in retail stores is another instance where private investigators are called upon. Some businesses hire a PI firm to find holes in their in-store security against shoplifting or employee theft. If there is inventory shrinkage, a private investigation firm can perform undercover investigations to help determine the source.
TSCM (Electronic DeBugging)
Companies of various sizes sometimes find out they have been the target of theft from both internal and external sources. Does it seem like your competition is always one step ahead of you? Have you lost clients/bids or new business? Your information may be walking out the door as a trusted employee. Or you may have an electronic spy within your office providing competition with product or service related information.
Professional athletes, celebrities, as well as business leaders, hire private investigators to keep them and their families information safe. They also use The Grafton Group to vet information and people entering into their lives.
How to Hire a Private Investigation Firm
If your firm chooses to hire a private investigation firm there are a few things you need to do first.
1 Make sure the firm, and its investigators, are licensed if your State requires it (most do). Ask for proof of licensure
2 Make sure the firm is bonded and insured
3 Be sure the firm, and its investigative team, have experience in your type of case
4 Check references, particularly from clients who had a need similar to your firm’s for using a PI
5 Payment arrangements should be in writing, and agreed upon, before the PI firm begins its investigation