Skip Tracing & Investigations- Who are you? and What do you want?
In the past weeks, the Edwards murder trail high lighted the importance of knowing who your client is and what is their real purpose?. Edwards Murder Trail
This has never been more important than accepting instructions from private clients. Every week our SWA’s investigation team is asked to conduct investigations or skip tracing into people’s whereabouts or background.
When you agree to engage with a new private new client, a smart investigator or skip tracer understands the importance of being as thorough as possible in gathering information from the client as to their identity and intent.
There are ample reasons for performing due diligence to ensuring that no conflicts of interest exist or more importantly possible breaches of court orders or AVO’s
Unfortunately, this strategy isn’t foolproof. A client intentionally omits essential facts, that could jeopardize an investigator and bring unintentional harm or distress to the other party.
Consequently, investigators would be wise to conduct their independent investigation into a client’s identity and background – perhaps even prior to accepting the individual as a client at all.
A search of court records should give you some level of comfort as to the client background. A contract setting out the terms of engagement will also be of benefit should it go wrong.
When you get it wrong!
Investigation Case file:
Some time ago, two Malaysian men walked into our Sydney office claiming to be the uncles of a student that was studying in Australia. They were well dressed had the appropriate ID and family papers to prove who they were. They had an address in Australia which existed, but we later found to be false.
We became a little suspicious when they were insistent on paying cash.
We took the assignment and the cash and got our skip tracers on the job. It was not too long before we located the student at UTS.
In most normal skip tracing assignments we don’t like to make the subject of our searches aware we have located them. We are thus giving the creditors or solicitor the element of surprise if needed.
There was something NQR (not quite right) about this file. Our investigator’s spidey senses caused him to make one final call. So instead of racing back to the client bosting about how wonderful we are. Our investigator decided to talk to the girl and check the men’s identity and story. Low and behold, one of the men was the girl’s uncle the other was a man that her family had arranged her to marry. Unfortunately for the prospective husband, the girl did not want a bar of the marriage. She had elected to stay in Australia to avoid her family and not return to Malaysia.
Investigators-make the decision of conscience
The girl pleaded with our investigator not to disclose her whereabouts which we respected.
Given the circumstances, we returned the men’s money and told them we could not help them. They became very insistent until a few of our team escorted them to the exit. As they left the office, we provided their details to the police and the background of the investigation.
Now we know not every investigation company would have done this, but who would want to be held responsible for a case like the Edwards matter.
Knowing who your client is is just as important as knowing where the person of interest is.