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  • Writer's pictureRon Miears

Pretexting During Surveillance, Is It A Good Idea?

Is it a good idea to pretext a claimant when conducting surveillance for a potentially fraudulent workers’ compensation claim?

Insurance professionals and colleagues, I’d love to know your thoughts on this topic.

In my opinion, it’s not a great idea to pretext… at least, not as frequently as it is used with many of the “national” PI agencies.

I started the first three years of my career conducting surveillance investigations on workers' compensation claims. I’ve done countless surveillance investigations throughout California. I used to work for the “national” companies that believe in aggressively pretexting. And in my experience, pretexting can be valuable, but not as valuable as it once was. Today, fraudsters are more educated and coached on the possibility that they may be spied on. They are also more aware of tactics such as pretexting. Furthermore, a telephone pretext isn’t as valuable since landline phones have disappeared. And walking up to a claimant’s door can be risky due to security and doorbell cameras.

However, there are tools and tricks of the trade, often not used by the “national” PI agencies, that can get you the same information without potentially burning the case. A good investigator knows how to use proprietary and non-proprietary sources to discreetly obtain information, such as where a claimant is residing, what they are driving, or where they may be working.

Of course, there are times when a pretext is necessary. Over the years, I have developed pretexts that don’t raise a claimant’s suspicion or “heat up” a case. For one, I don’t like using pretexts that involve approaching a claimant’s provided address and asking for them by name. When is the last time an unexpected stranger came to your door and asked for you by name? It is not common and raises people’s suspicions. This type of pretext is often used, but there are plenty of other types of pretexts that a skilled investigator can use to obtain information without doing this! #surveillance#workerscompensation#privateinvestigator#claimsadjuster

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