How To Beat A Surveillance Investigator At His (Or Her) Own Game

How To Beat A Surveillance Investigator At His (Or Her) Own Game

If you want to beat surveillance, let’s assume a few things first.

Let’s say you get hurt at your job and go on workers’ compensation (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 go to medical checkups and visits, but that’s it.

You like your new life.

What you don’t know is that your employer has hired a surveillance investigator to find out 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.

Here’s how to get away with a workers’ compensation fraud and not get caught by a PI like me.

Before we get started, we have to assume that you aren’t working another job. In this line of work, a PI 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 that are already coming to you. Once you understand that, follow the steps below.

Here are 8 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!

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 who is 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 also 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 do drive-bys of your house or are parked for long stretches of time on your street. 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 we 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 name, or both you and your spouse’s name, we could get it easily. However, if we run the vehicles under your name or even your current address, nothing would come up 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. We can (legally) dig up anything you make public on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. Don’t geo-tag your posts. Just delete everything you had online. Ever.


Deleting your online profile = arguably the best part of the fraud

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, much of the 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 online delivery service for your milk, pet food, detergent, etc. We 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.


True Fact: Pimps have been on workers’ compensation for decades. They invented it.

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.


Netflix and Chill – the Way of the Scammer

The Conclusion

If any private investigators, insurance adjusters, or safety managers read this blog, this is not an endorsement for workers’ compensation fraud. We private investigators very much enjoy our jobs and can’t stand people who cheat the system. So when we catch people abusing this, we relish the fact 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.

But, is this the way you’d want to live your life???

Picture it – 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.

Wouldn’t you rather pay your dues and live a long, fulfilled life?

I know I would.

5 replies
  1. Sickofthe Wholeshebang
    Sickofthe Wholeshebang says:

    The problem is… depending on the injury, life goes on.. Most people who are injured on the job, aren’t salaried and get into deep- or further financial troubles so can’t afford to ‘pay’ all this extra money for everything from lawn mowing to grocery shopping! Get real!! Someone can have a physical issue that is NOT a ‘spinal’ issue or ‘bone involved’ but an internal organ. I suffered a heart attack ( on the job AFTER protesting doing physical labor by myself, that took 3 people and a forklift! ) The employer did what MOST do these days.. They denied the claim. So, the first 6-10 months.. I was recuperating and relatively weak. My Cardiologist told me he’d ‘like to see me get more heart function back… and to be as active as I reasonably could- but to know my limits’… So, I do my own grocery shopping perhaps 3-4 times a month, wheel my trash barrel ( with over-sized wheels ) 25’ to the curb ( & slowly ) once a week. I mow my lawn, with a self-propelled lawn mower perhaps once a month or so ( the neighbors hate me! ).. I take walks when the weather permits ( not winter-time and not hot/humid/bad air quality) etc. Due to the damage done to my heart, I have a low ejection fraction ( official heart failure) but am ‘stable’.. My Doc tells me ‘use your head whatever you do.. and know your limits’ ( I do ).. So 2 yrs. 7 months later.. I’ve never collected a dime, have virtually NO restrictions but am still considered a ‘total disability’ because the heart can fail- anytime.. watching t.v.! But life goes on… I’m broke, getting in the whole more & more every month, haven’t received a DIME from workmen’s comp despite total backing from Doctors, and just recently.. the ‘other side’ inferred’ they have surveillance?? Of what?? Heart ( and certain other patients ) are unique unlike other catastrophic injuries. Oh, by the way.. they NEVER asked those ‘dangerous’ questions at my TOO long deposition like, ‘Is there anything you can’t do anymore that you once could before you were injured?’ Nor did they ask anything LIKE that.. In May of 2018, the other side stated at a hearing they ‘wanted to settle my case’… now this B.S.?? While I can’t go back to work due to the ‘officially weak heart’.. I still have to get by ( without official outright restrictions from the Doc ) and in fact he’s said ( twice ) in 2-1/2 years.. I prefer you do not do any kind of heavy shoveling of snow as the cold air constricts blood flow to the heart & such activity could do you in.’ He’s also told me ‘no salt’ eat well etc.. Your article WAS excellent, and definitely is geared towards 80% of injured workers who have the types of injuries ( like back injuries etc ) who’s pain level would be severe ( thus proving they aren’t injured if the least bit active ) but many heart patients- simply do not fall into this category. I NEVER have ‘angina’ or other ‘difficulties’.. yet, at any point in my day- I can suddenly feel exhausted or lose my breath. It is not ‘constant’ and in fact- I AM inside 98% of the time except for those ‘absolutes’ that MUST be done, and which I have no official ‘restriction’.. So, what can the other side possibly prove?? And, they STILL haven’t come clean on what they have for ‘supposed surveillance’..

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