If you asked 100 people what private investigators do, I’d guess the majority of them would say we follow cheating husbands or wives. In reality, that part of the business represents only about 6% of our total overall business revenues. Still, it’s part of the job.
COVID-19 has been a lonely time for singles.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March, requests for these marital surveillance jobs just stopped coming in – for the first time ever.
Of course, people are still having affairs and the virus will not stop them or their activities. What the pandemic has done is cause havoc with their rendezvous spots. With the closure of hotels, bars, restaurants and clubs, meeting spots have become very limited. Visits to a either home has been taken off the table if a spouse is now working at either residence.
But when one door closes, another one opens.
For singles, COVID-19 has been a lonely time. Dating web sites and apps have reported a tremendous increase during this time.
My private investigators have seen an increase in calls requesting us to confirm the identity of people they have met online.
I do think it’s a good idea to determine early on in the dating process if person they are engaging is not an out and out fraud. There’s a lot of time, money, emotions and energy spent in dating. But really, if one has common sense, most of the time they can verify who they are dating without the need to hire a private investigator.
If you find yourself in this position, I’d like to share some tips:
- Photos: Do they look like a model? It this a normal photo one would post? You can use Google to perform a reverse image search, and pull up a wealth of information.
- Slow Down: Be your own investigator. In general, people like to talk about themselves, so let them: Ask a lot of questions. Don’t be afraid to interview and interrogate someone. Are you seeing inconsistencies?
- Key Items: Make sure you eventually get answers to the Big Three: You’ll need a date of birth, current home address or business name and address if you’re going to any sort of background check in the future.
- Red Flag: If someone is eager to quickly leave the dating website and communicate through email or other messaging services.
- Never send revealing photos. Once a photo is out of your hands, it’s out there, and can never be erased.
- Never send money or gift cards. That includes funds for their sick mother, help with being in the military, medical expenses, paying off custom duties, working out in remote oil fields, plane ticket to visit you or helping their relative with bail money.
- Narrow your search field to people that live in your area. If you’re going to meet now that the stay-at-home is relaxing, only do so in a very public place. Let other friends or relatives know of the meeting.
- Listen to your intuition/gut. If your female intuition spikes, or your gut tells you this is a scammer, you’re probably right.
- Consider your loved ones. If your best friend or relative is warning you about a person, listen.
- Is this the best I can do? This is a good question to ask in many different situations.
As a career Federal agent and private investigator, I’d suggest that if you are mindful of these ten points, you will have a much better chance of finding the right person.
Don’t be squeamish to ask the tough questions and to confront inconsistencies. Be mindful that if someone will lie about their birthday or where they live, they’re going to lie about other things.
Our investigators stand ready to help you if you want the professional assistance, but again, you can likely do a lot yourself.
If you’re engaged to be married, or if you’re a father/mother of the bride / groom to-be, I do highly advise running a professional engagement background check on the other party without fail. This is all about being well-informed and providing a little insurance to the process and will uncover such things as civil and criminal record history, sex offender status, a brief snapshot of their social media platform, and much more.
Call our toll-free number below when the need arises.