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Spy Equipment in the Business World

Adrian Mudd   June 9, 2008

More businesses than ever are embracing the world of spies, private investigators and spy equipment. The world of private investigators is often associated with the film noirs of Humphrey Bogart and the taut novels of Raymond Chandler – a world of infidelity, estranged wives, intrigue, deception and murder. But now, private detectives and their high-tech spy equipment are being used for businesses – helping to uncover false insurance claims that are estimated by the BBC to cost around £20m every week.

World class surveillance

Private investigators and their spy cameras and surveillance spy equipment are being used by:

  • The legal profession
  • Financial institutions
  • Industry and commerce
  • The general public

Uncovering evidence

The reasons why companies and individuals invest in spy equipment are to uncover evidence for:

  • Insurance fraud
  • Corporate fraud
  • Due Diligence
  • For court evidence on anti-social behaviour

Spies at work

Insurance is a huge area for fraud and examples include using spy equipment and surveillance to investigate employees claiming sick benefits – one investigation revealed an employee claiming to be sick was, in fact, working elsewhere as a taxi driver. Spy equipment was used to obtain fool-proof evidence and the taxi driver was caught using covert filming.

As well as uncovering fraud, this kind of technology can be used to uncover information on competitors as well as help contain any leaks that could be embarrassing for a company.

State of the art equipment

A famous case that hit the news headlines in 1999 was that of Benjamin Pell – he was leaking confidential stories regarding celebrities to the tabloids. Using state of the art spy equipment, investigators discovered he was raiding bins for the information. The evidence was used to convict him of stealing waste from a London law firm who had Jonathan Aitken and James Hewitt among its clients.

Undercover agent

Workplace theft apparently costs around £200m a year, and more companies are using moles to uncover the perpetrators. Although high tech spy equipment is necessary to obtain visual or audio evidence – a mole is an effective way to uncover crime in the workplace. Being a mole demands nerves of steel and the ability to live a double life – undertaking the job at hand and to do the snooping. As well as operating covert spy equipment, they need to build trust and confidence and have exceptional acting skills.