Private investigators aren’t confined to our TV screens. In movies, private investigators don a smart suit and have a cigarette dangling from their lips. But in reality, in far more inconspicuous clothing, they’re prowling our streets and hunting for their prey.
Feel like a mysterious private investigator is following you? It’s an unnerving thought so here are tips on how to spot one.
First, Why Would a Private Investigator Follow You?
There must be a reason a private investigator is trailing you but how does a private investigator work? A company or individual may hire one from a private investigation agency during a divorce case, about an insurance claim or due to other criminal cases or personal matters.
Many private investigators are ex-law enforcement or military officers and collect information by conducting surveillance. But before you imagine your ex-husband or wife Googling “find a private investigator near me”, watch out for these potential signs.
1. Strange Vehicles in Your Neighborhood
Not sure how to stop a private investigator from following you? Note any new vehicles parked near your house or your favorite hangout spots. If you see the same vehicle parked in your street, the grocery store, bank and near your work, you may have an investigator watching you.
Private investigators will use neutral-colored vehicles like a grey Ford Galaxy or black Holden Commodore. They’ll have dark-tinted windows or curtains pulled over them if they’re using a van. Many private investigators use a van with a company logo so, if there’s one displayed, call the number on the van to see if it is legitimate.
2. Check Your Phone
You may wonder “what do private investigators do?” Answer: bug the heck out of your home and devices.
Look at your phone. If it lights up or vibrates even though there are no messages, calls or notifications, chances are a private investigator has bugged your phone.
Further, if you use Skype and your calls randomly disconnect or you can’t send or receive messages, then the private investigator is tracking your phone.
3. Pretend You're Not Aware of Their Presence
If you’re in the shopping mall and you sense that someone’s following you, play along. Go around your business to pull them into a false sense of security and then look their way. Any abrupt movements such as quickly hiding their hands will show that they are a private investigator.
You could also spend a week sticking to a regular routine such as driving to a friend’s house every day after work and then change it up the next. If you notice the same vehicle following you, then it could be a private investigator.
4. Ask Around About Your Suspicions
Ask friends and family whether they’ve received any calls from someone asking about you or if random numbers keep calling and hanging up. Some private investigators interview people to understand their subject better and gather information.
5. Check Under Your Car
Like your phone, private investigators can also bug your car. Check under your car for any tracking devices and if there’s one there, you may take action to disrupt their search or surveillance.
6. Be on the Look-Out for Cameras
Can a private investigator take pictures of you in your home?
Thankfully, no. Private investigators don’t have the same authority as a law enforcement officer and if anyone catches them, they will be penalized for trespassing.
But private investigators carry two cameras. One is their primary to take the best shots, and the other is a back-up in case the first fails. These cameras come in different shapes and sizes but if you notice a camera with a huge lens on it and a smaller on the side? They’re busted.
7. Be Wary of Hawaiian Shirts
Many private investigators don disguises when they’re on the job. They could be baseball caps, high-quality prosthetics or fake mustaches. Or if no disguises are in place, they could wear a Hawaiian or Bowling shirt, shorts, and funky sneakers. This is so they can be swift on their feet and comfortable during their long stints in cramped spaces or cars.
8. Check Your Left-Hand Side
Whenever you drive or walk anywhere, look over your left-hand shoulder instead of your right. All private investigators are trained to follow people from the left as 92% of people look over their right. So if there is someone behind your left shoulder, it is most likely a private investigator.
9. Pay Attention to Other People's Actions
As you drive, watch out for any vehicles pulling out behind you and start following you. Private investigators stay one or two cars behind a target’s vehicle so they remain in your blind spot. To see if they’re following, do a U-turn.
Or watch out for someone following you on foot. Private investigators stay eight feet away from the target depending on the amount of foot traffic in the area. As they may walk on the opposite side of the street, go into shops or restaurants to see if they follow you inside.
10. Watch Out for the Sunglasses and Nod
When you walk the street and come across a sunglass-clad man or woman, pay attention to whether they’re lowering their heads, like a head bob, as they walk past. Private investigators do this to activate a shutter release in their glasses for a camera meaning they just took your picture.
How to Know If You Are Being Watched by a Private Investigator? Remember These Tips
So how to know if you are being watched by a private investigator? Make sure you check your car for a tracking device and whether your phone randomly glitches because a private investigator will target both.
Further, any suspicious vehicles appearing in your neighborhood or following you is another red flag. You should confide in your support system so they can help you during the time and also stay on the look-out. Good luck!
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