First, if you want to beat surveillance, let’s assume a few things.
Let’s say you get hurt at work, become an “injured worker,” and file a workers’ compensation claim (WC). And let’s also say that after you’re off work for a few days, you start to enjoy not having to get up and go to work every morning. You get paid about two-thirds of your weekly paycheck for sitting on your behind. Occasionally, your employer makes you attend medical checkups and visits, but that’s it.
You like your new life.
What you don’t know is that your employer and insurance company has hired a surveillance investigator to discover exactly what you are doing with this newfound free time.
There are tons of red flags that signal to an employer that a workers’ compensation claimant is fraudulent. To find out if an employee is abusing the system, employers hire private investigators to conduct surveillance to follow up on those suspicions.
We stake out your house, dig through your public records, and scour your social media posts for clues. We want to catch you, but you don’t want to get caught. You’ve become accustomed to your lifestyle.
Have you ever asked yourself, “Is there a private investigator near me?”
Well, here’s how to get away with workers’ compensation fraud and not get caught by a private investigator.
Before we get started, we have to assume that you aren’t working another job. In this line of work, a local private investigator will usually find out if you currently work or have worked a job by simply conducting surveillance on you. Don’t do that. Don’t get a job, whether legit or under the table. The goal isn’t to get extra money; it’s to collect funds already coming to you. Once you understand that, follow the steps below.
Here are eight ways to beat a surveillance investigator at their own game:
Stay inside your house
Seems obvious, right? We’ll most certainly be able to videotape you if you come outside. We’ll follow you in a covert vehicle and videotape your activities. However, a private investigator cannot legally enter your property, nor can we videotape on your property without your consent. This means we can’t go onto your front yard, we can’t set up a covert surveillance camera on your lot, and we’re certainly not allowed to enter your house. Become a hermit!
There is no such thing as a 24-hour private investigator. That would take two to three highly trained private investigators, not just one. So, you can get away with going out in the middle of the night when it’s not “working hours.”
Don’t answer your front door
And don’t answer your phone. Yes, people will think you’re a recluse, but if you aren’t expecting visitors or calls, don’t open your front door and don’t answer the call. Many times, we, as PIs, will ring your doorbell to find out if you’re there. We used to be able to get your landline phone number and get you to answer your phone. That’s not the case so much anymore. No one has landlines anymore, everyone has a cell number, and those numbers are hard to get.
Any door knock is a ruse to determine if you’re home. It’s called a pretext. We may fake being a friendly neighbor looking for a lost dog; we may pretend to be a mail courier or a contract cell tower repairman-all in the hopes that you’ll answer the door. This way, we can verify that you live at the given address and get a good look at you. Keep the door shut.
Live in a tight-knit neighborhood
You should be on a first-name basis with your neighbors. This way, your neighbors can act as lookouts for any vehicles that conduct drive-bys of your house or are parked on your street for long periods. Counter-surveillance is tough for us to combat. If you live at the end of a no-outlet street, this also presents problems for us. When conducting surveillance in a cul-de-sac, we’re forced to drive by your house numerous times rather than parking in a stationary spot. The drive-bys get suspicious after the 10th time. Know your neighbors.
Put your vehicles in an LLC and park them in your garage
This one might be tough to understand. When a private investigation agency attempt to use your social security number to determine your current vehicles, we only get your info. Limited liability companies (LLCs) are separate entities and won’t return any of your information if we search by your SSN. If the vehicle was under your or your spouse’s name, we could get it easily. However, nothing would come up if we ran the vehicles under your name or your current address because it’s “company property.” If the vehicle is under your LLC, we may never know what kind of vehicle you have without taking extra steps to find you as an “agent” of a company.
Also, if you have a garage and aren’t parked in the driveway, we may be forced to park within eyeshot of your house. This is tricky to do unless we have well-tinted windows and an unremarkable vehicle. We’ll park nearby but not in view of your house so that you can’t look out your front window and see us. So, if you leave in that “company” vehicle and quickly open and close your garage with a remote, we’d never know you left. (I know because I had this very scenario happen to me, and I wasn’t happy about it.)
Delete your social media and online profiles
This one should be a no-brainer. Professional private investigators can (legally) dig up anything you make public on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, TikTok, etc. Don’t geo-tag your posts. Just delete everything you had online. Ever.
Outsource all of your errands
Services like TaskRabbit, Angie’s List, a simple Google search, or just a friendly neighbor can help cut your grass for you, shovel snow from your driveway, or even wash your car. If you live in a condo, many outdoor activities (grass, exterior repair) are under your HOA, so consider yourself lucky. Don’t ever work on your roof or fix your picket fences. Get a contractor to do that. Use your grocery store’s online delivery service for your milk, pet food, detergent, etc. Experts in private investigations will get much of our incriminating video from our claimants’ shopping in the local stores.
Consistently walk with a limp
Or pretend whatever body part is “hurt” stays hurt. Some of the hardest injuries to prove are lower back or psychological disabilities. Always walk with a cane, crutch, or wheelchair. No exceptions.
Be a recluse
Yes, I know this was number #1, but it bears repeating. Order pizzas for dinner. Stay in and become the best video game player ever. Write a book. Watch Netflix.
If any private investigators, insurance adjusters, or safety managers read this blog, this is not an endorsement of workers’ compensation fraud. Private investigators enjoy our jobs and can’t stand people who cheat the system. We happily offer our private investigation services to combat fraud. So when we catch people abusing this workers comp investigations surveillance, we relish that we can catch them and save our clients’ money.
Why Give Away These Secrets?
Easy: If you’re cheating the system and getting away with it, more power to you. Congrats on avoiding workers’ comp surveillance.
Is this the way you’d want to live your life???
Picture it in your mind – it seems incredibly boring and unfulfilling.
That’s the point. You may be able to get away with workers’ compensation fraud for a while, but you’ll be living a miserable life. Eventually, though, a workers comp investigator will come around. With all the workers’ comp investigator tactics you have to enact…
Wouldn’t you rather pay your dues and live a long, fulfilled life?
I know I would.