Private detectives: The watchers who could get you fired for lying to your company

Paul Barbu 06/07/2019 | 10:11

There are companies in Romania who, in recent years, have turned to private detectives to solve certain customer or employee-related concerns. The detectives’ activity, most of the time, is carried out in multinationals, insurance companies, banks, lawyers or bailiffs.

Investigation requests are mainly related to obtaining information and evidence regarding fraudulent insurance, confidential information leaks from companies, unfair competition, misappropriation of clients, non-compliance with the work schedule, CV checks or sick leave fraud.

Business Review talked to two private detectives to learn more about what it’s like to do this kind of job in Romania.

“Our investigations can refer to information leaks from the firm or the solvency of a natural or legal person who is a potential partner in a business, goods that have been hidden for a particular purpose, specialist advice according to law enforcement – requests vary from one case to another,” said Lucian Vizitiu, the VP of the the Private Detective Employers’ Association in Romania.

Most of their clients are legal entities, and they are usually from from outside the country. “Every foreigner who wants to do business on in Romania uses our services, and here we can even talk about collaborating as early as during the recruitment phase – specifically, we are talking about checking CVs to get to know the person from both the professional and personal points of view. At the same time, there may be requests for misappropriation. That is, perhaps there is someone in your company who’s hijacking clients and sending them to another company. We also investigate insurance fraud,” Vizitiu said.

According to him, an investigation can save the company from unnecessary expenses that may in some cases amount to millions of euros. For example, in the case of insurance the damage can reach over EUR 1 million.

“The contracts that we enter into with companies can be punctual, paid hourly, but they can also last for months or even a year. Among our customers, 70-80 percent are individuals and businesses outside the country, and they typically contact us to check before opening a company here. We have such requests from both the Middle East and the EU too,” the private detective said.

Cyber ​​security – a sensitive matter

“On the cyber security side it’s even harder, because in this case, customers are affected, they may lose sensitive data, and then they do not want to turn to the police or other authorities just to keep things in-house,” said Ionut Cohen, managing partner at Cohen Investigations Agency.

According to Cohen, even investigating a CV requires cyber knowledge. “We check everything in that resume and we go to every employer who’s been mentioned. Along with checking the veracity of the written info, we ask for details about that person, and at the end we give the client a very detailed report about the individual. This is where the market changes. People invest a lot in an employee, but they prefer that they be loyal and committed to the company,” said Cohen.

Private investigators are also the ones who check the employee’s conduct if this is required by the client. “For example, we may be looking at someone with a pretty big job in the company, and we see that outside work hours they go to casinos and spend EUR 500 each day. Then we ask the client and find out that they have a salary of just EUR 4,000, so in eight days they would spend all of that money. That’s how we get to diversifying the research tracks to see where the rest of the money comes from,” said the vice-president of the Private Detective Employers’ Association in Romania.

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