I recently received a comment on one of my blog articles regarding surveillance safety. The individual whom we will call Joe, indicated that multiple private investigators had been following them for several months. Joe indicated that the private investigators had broke every law in the book while following him which included reckless driving and trying to run them off the road. Joe believed that they were either private investigators hired by a specific insurance company or in-house investigators. Joe was very confident that the private investigators were associated to an insurance company. I can assume Joe is either on a disability claim or workers compensation claim.
What Joe was describing was what investigators call, “Rough Shadowing”. Rough Shadowing is when an investigator continues to conduct surveillance even after the case has be compromised and the investigator is being aware that the subject knows they are being followed.
There are a variety of actions a subject will take if they determine they are being followed. Below is a list of typical responses in no particular order:
- They act as if they don’t notice the investigator
- Stop and make an obvious gesture as if they know they are being followed
- Stop their vehicle in a random location (like the side of the freeway)
- Follow the investigator
- Attack the investigator
- Threaten the investigator
- Have a neighbor scope out and possibly approach the investigator
None of the provided responses in my opinion are safe.
What would a typical private investigator do if you gave them an indication that you were aware of their presence?
In most cases a private investigator will cease conducting surveillance and leave the area. A private investigator does not want you to be fearful and they don’t want an altercation because they were caught following you.
There are some stubborn or inexperienced private investigators that believe that they can either continue to follow you undetected on that day or a later date. Either way they may return.
What you need to take into consideration is the possibility the individual following is not a private investigator. What if the individual following you was doing so to hurt you or your family? There are some crazy people out there. Maybe the individual following you was a private investigator however had mistaken you for someone else? You really just don’t know why the individual is following you. I am not writing this to put fear in your heart but it is a situation you should take very seriously.
So what do you do?
Before I make any suggestions let me first say that you do whatever you feel is safe. I am not a lawyer or a law enforcement officer. With that being said I would recommend that you call your local law enforcement and inform them that you are being followed. Give the authorities the best description you possibly can of either the individual of their vehicle. If you are capable of doing so in a safe manner, attempt to obtain the license plate of the vehicle. I would not go out of my way to do so but if the opportunity arises it wouldn’t hurt as the plate number will be an asset to local law enforcement. The police will make contact with the individual and determine their intentions.
Private Investigation is a Business
If you find out that the individual following you is a private investigator keep in mind that the private investigator is just doing his job. Someone has paid him/her to do this service and the private investigator is trying to make a living. Private investigators are not perfect and may not pickup on signs that they are compromised. That is why I believe calling law enforcement is very effective and safe.
If it has been made clear to the private investigator that you know they are following you and they continue to do so, I would seek some consultation by an attorney because at that point it is just plain harassment.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. Take care and be safe.