This question was raised, albeit paraphrased, on a website called Quora, an interesting question and answer forum, similar to the likes of Yahoo! Answers, and I thought it appropriate to share some insight into how you could, would and theoretically should feel if you were put under investigation, whether it’s related to insurance, business, love or anything else.
Technically speaking, being put under investigation is a strong sign that someone out there doesn’t trust you, or that something you’ve said or done has raised concerns about your integrity, or the integrity of your story at least.
Obviously, if you feel that you haven’t done anything to warrant such notions, then you’re likely to be offended if news of the investigation ever came to light. Is that fair though?
Trust is an immensely important sentiment, undeniably, and it swings in more than two directions, especially when taking into consideration how many sources we rely on to gather information these days. An insurance company, for example, relies on data provided by the claimant, medical officers, investigators and their internal claims adjusters before any decisions can be made. Any inconsistencies in that information would usually result in more money being spent to get to the most unbiased and statistically viable outcome. Alternatively, when considering a romantic relationship, it’s your partner’s word, then that of your friends, family, co-workers and then social media that help to give you some idea of what’s really going on.
So, let’s take a look at the same question, phrased specifically to suit common investigative practices, and then decide on how you would react;
Insurance companies don’t like to run investigations because they are relatively resource-heavy, in the sense that it can take hundreds of man hours to gain an accurate insight into the true nature of a claim. However, most insurers would have no choice but to follow up with an investigation if the details of your claim are inconsistent with the findings of other related parties, such as doctors, mechanics or eye witnesses, for example.
Added to this, if your claim is set to pay out a substantial amount of money, then an investigation may be initiated for the sole purpose of mitigating risk. Even if your story stacks up, but you’re claiming for millions of dollars, you will likely be investigated to ensure that what you’re claiming is justified – after all, you are essentially taking money from a huge reserve that’s used to pay out hundreds, if not thousands of claims every year.
Your initial reaction to finding out that you’ve been investigated may be a sense of violation and distrust, but when you take into consideration that Australia boasts one of the highest rates of fraud in the world, the companies that try to play by the rules need some form of protection. In cases where the claimant has lied, of course they will be angry that they were investigated… but only because they were caught. In many cases, investigators can actually bring information to the table that supports your claim, in which case you would likely not be angry at all.
This is ambiguous, granted, because there are so many reasons as to why your employer may decide to run an investigation, the most common of which include; theft; malingering; double-dipping; corporate espionage, and; drugs and alcohol abuse.
We have to take into consideration that companies of all sizes take on immense responsibility when they agree to employ a person; the monthly salary being a relatively small factor in the greater scheme of things, but the work you produce and the image you reflect of that company being far more relevant.
If a company believes that something you are doing may jeopardise their market position, then that belief stems to the fact that if that company suffers as a result, so too will all of its employees. So, it’s only natural to inspect the roost for bad eggs and ensure you have the means to get rid of them quickly and quietly.
In Australia, as with most developed countries around the world, it is becoming increasingly difficult to remove people from an organization (by firing them) because of how much evidence is required to support such an action, where it may appear unnecessary. For example, a sales representative with “valid” excuses for failing to reach their monthly targets may appear to be an employee in need of additional training, or perhaps they’d be better suited to a different role within the company? Running an investigation on this person may reveal that their “valid” reasons are lies, which the employer is ultimately paying for through ignorance.
We were recently tasked with a case where a real-estate agent was thought to be taking a number of prospective clients to see various properties around town, only for an investigation to later reveal that he was actually using that time to indulge in copious amounts of cocaine with a few mates during office hours.
Was he annoyed that he was put under investigation? Yes. Why? Because he was doing something that he shouldn’t have been, and he was caught.
On the other end of the spectrum, we carried out an investigation where a woman was believed to be double dipping, solely from her time spent away from the office and her secrecy, when it later turned out that she had been working on bringing in a huge client, which she succeeded in doing – spending her time taking the client to lunches and working on small trail-based projects prior to signing any contracts.
Was she annoyed that she was put under investigation? Yes. Why? Because she felt mistrusted, but it was her own actions that resulted in the investigation taking place, and once she understood that, she accepted the decision and still continues to work for that company.
When so much compromise, sacrifice and emotional investment is put into something, it’s only natural that people become incredibly defensive when they feel that they could lose it… or that they’ve been taken for granted.
It’s not uncommon for people to feel as though their partners are lying to them, but it takes a higher level of distrust to push a person to instigate an investigation – a decision that should never be taken lightly because of the repercussions.
What repercussions? Let’s take look at three examples below:
If you really were cheating on your partner: You would likely be angry more than anything, angry at the fact that your lies weren’t as bulletproof as you’d expected. Angry, perhaps, at the idea that they used outside help to expose you… angry that they didn’t give you the opportunity to lie more. Had your cheating been a one-off incident, you’d likely be ashamed more than angry if you were caught, following which you would have the potential to remedy the situation through explaining your actions.
If you weren’t cheating on your partner: You have to take into consideration the reasons for why your partner had you investigated; were you lying about something to cover something else that had nothing to do with love or infidelity? Were you trying to spend time away from your partner for a little solitude? Or perhaps you were trying to organize a surprise for your partner that now won’t work because it was discovered? No matter the reason, if you were wrongfully investigated, the findings of the investigation and the notion of having instigated it, in itself, are discussion points that any two people can use to make their relationship(s) stronger.
Not wanting to spend all your waking hours with someone is not a crime, and some people have trouble explaining to their partners that they need their independence – an investigation may shed light on this and allow for that person to explain their actions and thereby build on their relationship.
Finding out that something you did caused your partner to lose trust in you can be a powerful tool on many levels; you can learn which of your behaviours led to those outcomes and then improve on yourself and your approach to your relationship to ensure that things like that don’t happen in the future – transparency and the truth, no matter how hurtful sometimes, creates a much deeper bond than lies and deceit.
On the other hand, if there was no reason whatsoever, in your mind, for you to have been investigated, you may begin to realize that no matter what you do or where you go, your partner’s insecurities are going to have an impact on your life. The decision then is whether you confront those insecurities and try to help your partner overcome them, or cut your losses and find someone that doesn’t need constant proof of your good nature. Again, something that may not have come to light had you not been investigated in the first place.
I’ve been an investigator for over thirty years now, and in all that time, I’ve seen people reacting in a wide range of emotions, from absolute rage (guilty people) through to being hurt or feeling misunderstood (innocents).
The real question, therefore, is not how would you feel, but how should you feel if you were investigated?
The answer depends on the specifics of your case, but all-in-all, if you feel that you have been wronged, make that opinion heard. If the response to that opinion is negative, then you need to make a change in your life. If the response is one of compassion, then understanding the reasons behind those initial decisions becomes easier, and the chance to make improvements in your circumstances becomes tangible.
Nothing in life, love or business is black and white and it’s our job, as private investigators, to add some colour, define shading, deepen the texture and broaden the strokes so that our clients can see the bigger picture.
I hope this article helps those of you who’ve found yourselves in a position where big decisions need to be made; decisions that could affect your love life, your career and your future.
If in doubt, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me or any of the helpful staff here at Precise; you can reach us at any time by clicking here or giving us a call on 1300 856 011.
We look forward to hearing from you!