For my brothers and sisters working as loss prevention officers, allow me to share with you this retail loss prevention tip for catching fraudulent returns and especially Organized Retail Crime (ORC) fraud.
You know, every store has a way to track excessive or suspicious returns (especially without a receipt).
Here’s the thing… consider what identifier you’re using to track these returns.
And here’s the trick… does that identifier you’re tracking changeable? Can it be manipulated by the bad guy?
If you store uses Driver’s License Numbers to track suspicious returns, ask yourself if that number can change!
Keep an eye on easily concealable items of high value that you we don’t normally consider big theft items because they don’t have great “street value” because they can be stolen then returned for store credit to buy items that are easily sold on the street or online!
Schools teach you to make your reports longer and (maybe) add a summary. And if they do want a summary, they tell you to put it at the end of the report. WRONG!
It the real world you make the report as long as it needs to be (and no longer) plus…
You include a summery at the beginning of your report to the client!
The summary is literally first. Top half of page one.
How long should the summary be?
I try hard to keep it to just one paragraph. If I find the summary going longer than one paragraph, I really have to look and make sure I have a good reason to add the extra details in it.
Clients love this. Especially attorneys and paralegals. And if they like your reports, the odds are better they’ll hire you for additional work!
If this free training makes sense to you and you want to lean more about how to follow someone as a professional investigator, then you’re a good candidate for my course The Investigator’s Ultimate Guide to Surveillance where I teach absolutely everything.
P.S. – And, of course, don’t miss my special report titled… If You Want To be a Private Investigator Give Up… Unless You Do These Three Things. You can get it right here…
Example of a Surveillance Report Summary
My summary concentrates on what I know is important to the client. While the full report might be several pages long, a four hour surveillance on a workers compensation cheater might be summarized like this…
On November 3, 2021, I, Larry Kaye, State Licensed Private Investigator, conducted surveillance on Johnny Scammer. I observed him drive from his apartment to the Piggly Wiggly grocery store and walk inside without a cane. He came out later pushing a cart loaded with 8 bags. He loaded the bags into his car and, reaching above his head, closed the hatchback. He drove back to his apartment and carried the bags up two flights of stairs to his apartment without using a cane or the hand rails. Additionally, I video recorded these activities.
Super simple. Just the basics.
If I was in the client’s office and he asked me, “How’d it go?” as I handed him the written report, the answer to that question is a rough draft of the summary. So, I might say, “It went well. I got him on video driving, lifting groceries and climbing stairs.”
Do you think you’ve found an eavesdropping bug listing in on you?
My buddy called me with exactly this problem recently. Here’s the inside information I shared with him from my experience as a private investigator whose done countermeasure bug sweeps before.
Are you a valuable target?
Ask yourself if there’s any reason a person would put money, time and effort into actually listening in on you.
I regret hidden cameras are becoming a bigger and bigger problem and the sickos who spy on people don’t always need a financial motive. So with hidden cameras, you may be an attractive target simply because your space is easy to access and the spy is willing to watch just about anyone whom he can easily spy on.
Location of the device?
In this case the device was outside and not near any business location or telephone.
Think you’ve found a bug? Remember a “bug” needs certain things to work…
storage device or transmitter
If what you discover is missing one of these elements, the thing you suspect is not a bug (or at least not a working bug).
Note: Ok, some high-end, nation-state devices don’t seem to have all these element, but the adversary trying to eavesdrop on you… well… he ain’t got that stuff.
Should you be an optimist or pessimist as a private investigator, process server or security guard?
I say be a big-picture optimist and a detail pessimist.
So have a back-up plan!
The Full Lesson:
That means, I am confident I am going to solve the case. I just know I’m gonna’ find the skip, get the dirt on a background checks or get good video on surveillance.
But… I imagine the small tactical things may go wrong. So, the lead I get on the skip’s address is going to have the wrong house numbers, the courthouse records I need aren’t going to be available online or the person I’m following is going to turn the “wrong” way when they first pull out of their driveway.
Note: If you’re an experienced private Investigator or you’ve gotten my Investigator’s Ultimate Guide to Surveillance, then you know what I mean about a subject of your investigation tuning the wrong way out of their driveway!)
That means you need to be prepared for the “details” of your case to go sideways. Have a “Plan B” to get over the speed-bump in your case and continue on to a successful conclusion!
In the meantime, this is Larry Kaye reminding you to do the right thing, even if it’s the hard thing.