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How to be Your Own Undercover Detective

Do you suspect that your fiance, boyfriend or girlfriend is cheating? Do you suspect they are going places they should not be? Perhaps you are lying awake nights, wondering if one of your employees is sneaking into the business after hours and taking things. Or, you may suspect a friend or relative of acting in such a way that could damage you, or result in a scenario you would sooner avoid.

Hiring a private, undercover detective can be expensive, and for many who are suffering from not being able to see activities that may impact them, the tension can keep them awake at night. There are obstacles to being able to see what is going on, and they are fairly common. They can be overcome, however, with a few tricks.

Let’s first address the issue of the morality of spying on someone. Depending on the situation, and what one may have to lose, this may not be a moral issue at all. Finding out the facts, and identifying possible persons involved may trump any ‘moral’ concerns one may have. For others, the idea of ‘spying’ is loathsome. No matter what may be happening, the idea of electing oneself to do the detective work is unthinkable. Few of us think much of someone who would skulk around, follow someone or hide behind bushes to see what is happening. That’s the lowest of the low, right? Well, if one could just ask the person or people in question for the information, and trust their answer, no one would ever need to be their own detective, in order to find out the truth. This is an individual decision, and it is important to know that there will be no regrets later, that if everything turns out fine, that undercover detective work is not going to come back as a really bad memory, or worse.

Being the honest and upfront people we are, we tend to confess things. Later, when we are assured that the suspects are innocent of all wrongdoing, we feel better, and we tell them or someone else what we did. Inevitably, the suspect is disgusted, as are those who know about it. They don’t necessarily blame the one who was spying, as they might know the reasons why. But, trust this – they will think less of you anyway, most of the time. If you had hired a detective, this would not be such an issue. However, no one likes to think that a person will ‘sneak’ around behind their back, for any reason whatsoever. Therefore, if becoming an undercover detective for a few hours is what is planned, make peace with the fact that the secret will remain with you, regardless of the outcome. It keeps peace with those who know you, and it is likely it is no one’s business, anyway.

These suggestions will not fit every scenario. But it will get the one who is spying closer than they could get otherwise, without being spotted.

Let’s see one reason we do not follow and spy on someone. We might be recognized, either our car or our person. Most people who are doing something unethical, are on the lookout. They are looking for the person they are trying to avoid. Most of the time it is the vehicle they drive. The vehicle must change. This does not need to be expensive. Check local car rental lots and find the cheapest car available for rent, for the day or the week, depending on how long the project will take. If you will have the car for more than a day, find a secure place to park it, away from your home, but accessible.

Select a car that is very different in color, size and style than the one you already have. Most people will only glance around, see a car they do not recognize, and not pay any attention. This alone will allow a closer view of the area one needs to view, without being suspected.

Buy some cheap window tint film that is easily applied and removed. This will only be necessary for the front windshield and the two side front windows. It doesn’t need to be a blackout, just a partial barrier to anyone seeing inside the car from thirty feet away.

Sunscreen shades in the down position also will help block any visual line of sight.

Hats, scarves and sunglasses are marvelous for disguising oneself, if exit from the vehicle is necessary. One could actually walk the area, in atypical attire, with floppy hat, sunglasses, loose clothing not recognizable by the target, and go unnoticed. Especially if one were performing an activity such as reading a newspaper, searching through a backpack, or packages. A wonderful visual block is an umbrella. On a hot day, many people carry them, and if it is raining, well, that’s an advantage.

For those who have been to a live play, and know someone really well in the play, recall how the character looked. Was it hard to recognize the person, even though you knew who they were? That’s because of the clothing and accessories and the makeup. It is hard to recognize someone in public, unless one is looking directly at them, and they are looking normal. Try it out first on someone else to get the feel for it. No need for disclosure. The undercover person is only trying to assure themselves that it works well. Once this is determined, confidence will build for the next setup.

Take your camera if necessary, especially if it may turn into a court case. Take pictures (discreetly) of cars being where they should not be, including backdrop evidence. Take pictures of other evidence, whether it be of people, animals or activities. Avoid being obvious, and keep a camera behind a book or other item so as not to be seen while holding it. Cell phones are good for this, as we are used to people talking on them, and pictures can be taken quickly. However, for court evidence, a better, more obvious camera may be necessary. Determine how far away you will need to be, and whether the camera is suited for that distance. If not, borrow one or purchase one that is.

Always remember to never risk injury, or travel to areas that are not safe. Always keep car doors locked, especially if it is nighttime. Make sure the rented (or borrowed) car is in good working order, and feel comfortable operating it. Make sure that while spy operations are transpiring, that cell phones are turned off. Ringing phones that have a familiar ring tone are a dead giveaway, and any ringing phone will call attention to the spy. Stay off the cell phone entirely, as voices carry, and it can only bring unwanted attention.

This is a fact-gathering mission only. When enough evidence (or lack of it) has been obtained, leave the area. Confrontations at that time are not necessary, as evidence has already been recorded. Use the evidence later, under less stressful circumstances, and in a safer environment.

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