Techniques Private Investigators Use To Obtain Surveillance Video In Maryland Workers Comp Case

What are the 27 techniques private investigators use to obtain surveillance videos without being detected in a Maryland Workers Compensation claim or an auto accident claim?

  1. A private investigator will drive by the subject’s residence in the daytime the day before what would typically be an early morning surveillance. This allows the investigator to observe the correct address in daylight hours, observe what vehicles are present, locate a suitable area to set up and park, look for potential problems and scout ahead for likely exits.
  2. A private investigator will typically be in place for a worker’s comp or liability surveillance by 6:00 a.m. Any later and you risk the chance of losing the subject or wondering if they are even home.
  3. A private investigator Moves into position quickly, particularly in a residential area, and get set up. A private investigator will look for spots that tend to make you less noticeable such as parking between two residences, next to large trees, walls or heavy vegetation.
  4. A private investigator will make sure they can properly identify you, your vehicle, where you live, and how active you are.
  5. A private investigator doesn’t work from 9-5 on weekdays. They’ll also work on nights and weekends when you may not expect them to be watching.
  6. A private investigator will talk to co-employees about your daily activities about where you like to go in your spare time and may go to these places to check up on you.
  7. When injured on the job or in a car accident you should avoid activities like carrying heavy groceries, playing sports, family activities and caring for your home or car. It is critical to follow your authorized treating doctor’s work restrictions. Be honest with your doctor and listen carefully to your doctor’s work restrictions. If you are caught by the private investigator doing something that you were told not to, your case may become less valuable.
  8. The only income you receive should be from your weekly benefit checks. If you earn additional income, even from odd jobs like babysitting or cutting grass, it is considered to be fraud and the private investigators will catch you
  9. Surveillance by the private investigator is most commonly assigned around an injured worker’s medical appointments. This permits the investigator to confirm the injured workers identify, note their vehicle, verify the injured worker’s residence, and observe and record his or her level of activity to show the insurance company representative and potentially treating physician(s).
  10. When surveillance is unsuccessful, and the insurance company captures the injured worker doing nothing suspicious, often a second round of surveillance will be assigned.
  11. Surveillance is most common to be done on high value cases before insurers are ready to make a settlement offer.  Insurance companies seek reassurance that an injured worker’s symptoms are exactly as portrayed in the medical records and to their doctors often before making significant settlement offers.
  12. A surveillance investigator will look at the social media of the injured worker. Be aware of any friends or family posting photos of you.  Do not discuss your claim with anyone in any way on the internet.
  13. Private investigators often keep three or four ball caps handy when he is following someone in the car. Private investigators often will do things like switch caps or take his glasses off, put on sun glasses, and then go back later to his regular glasses. “I make my appearance look a little bit different,”
  14. Some private investigators resort to unethical ploys. The unscrupulous ones will spread trash on a worker’s yard at 2 or 3 in the morning on trash day so they can get video of the worker later picking it up. Other times they will flatten a car tire or throw quarters outside a house. Privacy laws limit what investigators can do, they say. There is no looking over high wooden fences. There is no trespassing.
  15. In rural areas private investigators often dress in camouflage clothes and watch a house from the woods of the neighbor’s property if the neighbor gives him permission.
  16. Surveillance Vehicle are usually completely forgettable including Beige and brown vehicles
  17. The surveillance vehicle will have no bumper stickers, no window stickers, no vanity plates, no handicapped plates, nothing attached to the antenna, no custom rims, no after-market accessories and no body damage.
  18. The surveillance vehicle is usually not too clean or too dirty.
  19. The surveillance vehicle often has tinted windows
  20. When a private investigator is following your car, they are watching slightly ahead of the subject’s vehicle and speculating what they will do. Will they make the light? If so, you’d better speed up. The distance you keep between your surveillance vehicle and the subject’s vehicle is dictated by the kind of traffic you’re in. Heavy traffic: stay close. Highway or rural traffic: you can allow some distance between you. When you begin following a subject try to look for anything on their vehicle that makes it unique, e.g., bumper stickers, window stickers, body damage, etc.
  21. Private investigators don’t give up their face directly to the subject. Private investigators Avoid eye contact — your eyes will tell the target more than you would ever care to. Remember, even if someone looks directly at you, that doesn’t mean they see you. Even if you think they might be on to you, don’t react; just carry on “normally.” And you should try to avoid driving (or walking) by the target’s residence more than once per day unless absolutely necessary.
  22. A private investigator will prepare a simple story explaining why you’re in the area. Have props on hand that back up your story and your character (such as a car seat/toys, laundry basket, dog leash, etc.). A private investigator will not leave anything in view that will give away your real purpose. Having a camera, binoculars, or a notebook on the dashboard are dead giveaways.
  23. A private investigator will rent a common vehicle like a Toyota Camry or a Honda Civic will cause you to disappear.
  24. No- one uses a camera anymore, so shooting photos or video with one will draw attention. Instead, consider using your smart phone. On some phones (namely iPhones), you can use the volume button to activate the shutter. This lets the private investigator shoot while you hold the device to your ear, as if you were talking on the phone – which works very well. A covert camera, such as a pen or button camera comes in handy in small areas, such as a restaurant.
  25. Binoculars or a monocular are useful in reducing the use of the private investigator’s camera.
  26. A private investigator will pack at least one extra set of clothes with a hat so you can change your clothing and accessories (hats, sunglasses, etc.) throughout the assignment – especially if you have had close contact with the target. Plan for all weather conditions.
  27. A vehicle with fog lights is a great asset. This affords you the option of changing the private investigators headlight pattern, which may reduce the chances of the subject identifying you over the course of the surveillance.

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