Down Under Investigations
professional, discreet, trusted and passionate about obtaining the results you require.
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Is hiring a Private Investigator Legal?

We’ve been asked this a few times by clients and friends, and the short answer is yes. 

The long answer is this:
In our recent blogs we’ve spoken about the vast amount of training and security checks that a private investigator needs to go through in order to be Licenced. This means that all Licenced private investigators are trained, of high quality, and that they must abide by the laws and legalities of this industry.

But some aren’t quite like that. One of the things a private investigator needs to do is to gain information, but the methods in which some gather said information, can be a little bit dodgy. 

For example some have been known to:

  1. Tamper with Mail.
    A private investigator can use many means to find information, but tampering and searching through someone’s mail is not one of them. This is illegal, and would never be done by one of our investigators.

  2. Pretend to be a Police Officer.
    You might think that we’re joking with that one. But some untrained and inexperienced investigators will use any and all means to gain information. Some may try this method, even though it’s illegal. If you begin a conversation with someone who is a bit suspicious, always ask to see a badge, because you do have the right to ask that.

  3. Surveillance devices must be used in accordance with the law.
    In other words, the Surveillance Devices Act is the legislation which determines how and when electronic devices may or may not be used. This includes gathering of audio, optical, tracking, data collection through electronic devices. Certain circumstances may not be recorded, certain audio may not be collected and certain video footage may not be obtained. Should an agent (or any person) breach the Surveillance Devices Act, they can be subject to criminal proceedings which can result in a fine and possible imprisonment.

Needless to say, the private investigators at Down Under Investigations would never use these methods. They reek of inexperience and don’t sound like someone’s thought it through. 

So if you find yourself hiring a private investigator who uses these methods, potentially look for someone else who isn’t going to cause you legal struggles in the future, because you, and the P.I could be screwed. Sorry, we mean ‘sued’. 

Ryan Lim
Top seven questions to ask before hiring a Private Investigator

1- Are you licensed?

A license ensures the Private Investigator is aware of their requirements and legal conditions under the local laws. There are strict guidelines for Private Investigators which are designed to ensure safety to you, the agent and general public. 

If someone is unlicensed it means one or both of two things:-

A- never studied and passed the appropriate course requirements to become a PI.
B- failed the required Police Checks and may have a criminal record preventing them working in this area.
Asking about the license status of your Private Investigator will help weed out the wrong PI and help find you the right PI.

2- Are you insured?

Public Liability Insurance ($50mil) is a must for a Private Investigator. This insurance covers any and all operations you engage the agent to undertake and protects you and them from liability. Many unforeseen things can and do happen to a PI whilst on the job. What if they are injured while employed by you? Who is liable? Asking their insurance status protects you from potential damaging payouts.

3- Are you experienced?

Engaging a Private Investigator who is experienced gives you piece of mind. Agents are confronted with a huge range of situations and scenarios when in the course of their job, so knowing they have the tested ability to handle these situations is a must. 

At Down Under Investigations, we always have a newer Private Investigator work alongside an experienced PI. This gives a great on the job training environment. There is so much wisdom and knowledge a PI can acquire while on a job rather than was previously taught in they training courses. Experience is key. 

4- How much will your services cost?

There are way too many instances in our profession when clients are ripped off by a Private Investigator or there is confusion over pricing. We often have clients come to us who have been burnt by a precious provider.

You want to engage a Private Investigator who will commit to a price in writing, and not then slug you with extra costs and charges after a job is complete. Ensure you know what you are getting and you are getting what you pay for.

5- Have you handled a case specifically like mine before?

An agent with general experience is good, having specific case by case experience is better. Agents handle a diverse range of matters, so engaging an agent who has specific experience in matters such as your will give you great peace of mind. 

It’s the difference between a Doctor (GP) and a specialist. Choose the expert every time for the most detailed and correct result.

6- What is your preferred method of contact?

Most agents spend many hours away from the office and on the road. Often, contact is limited as they are focused on a task or file. Asking preferred method of contact will alleviate frustration as some agents require a text or email, others need phone calls. Whilst a surveillance operation is being undertaken, its often best to only contact the agent if there is immediate and urgent information you need to pass on.

7- When can I expect an update or report?

Some agents take a day to compile reports, others take a week. Some prefer to keep you updated with little pieces of information along the way, others prefer to give you one big batch of information. Asking this question will definitely give you a better picture of how this private investigator operates. 

Finally, there are some really great Private Investigation Firms. Don’t be dismayed by the above questions, but use them as a guide to choose the best provider for you.
If you would like to contact us for a free quote, call 1300849007, or email info@downunderinvestigations.com or simply use the form on the Contact Us page at www.downunderinvestigations.com - we would love to hear from you.

Ryan Lim
Things to do before installing a Dummy Camera

Dummy Camera’s, we’ve all seen one. Or have we? Can you tell the difference between a dummy and a real thing? For those who don’t know, a Dummy Security Camera is - as it sounds- a fake security camera that wards off potential vandals and thieves. 

They don’t take any footage or audio, but act as a deterrent so that potential thieves and vandals will think twice before acting upon their decisions. 

They’re a nifty tool that can create a safer space for you,  your home and your business. They can work both in and outdoors, have motion sensor with a red activation light and are realistic and easy to install.
BUT. Before you install them, you need to consider a few things.

1. You are now creating a ‘SAFE SPACE’. 

Say someone gets into a fight in front of you business, or and employee has something stolen from their car.
They would then notice that you have a security camera, and ask for that footage.
Some business’ in the past have been sued by their employees, because they were under the impression that they were in a safe surveilled space.
So, before installing anything, ensure that all employees and family members are aware that it is fact a dummy. 

2. It is not a criminal Repellant, but a Deterrent.

Just because you have a security camera, albeit real or fake, does not mean that criminals will not come to your business or home. They do no guarantee that criminals will walk away.

If you’ve ever seen crime stoppers footage, you’ll notice that the security camera didn’t stop the thieve or vandal. They don’t walk up to the counter, ask for money and then realise there’s a camera, so give it all back. But that’s a crime that has been somewhat thought out.
If you have a security camera (real or dummy), it can and will decrease the likelihood of criminals targeting your space.

So, if you’re looking to create a safer space by using a dummy security cameras, make sure you keep these things in mind.
Dummy Security Cameras can assist your overall safety in a big way, so if you’d like to purchase one, head to our online store to get one for yourself.

Ryan Lim
3 Reasons Why You Should Never be a DIY P.I.

Maybe you’ve watched a lot of Sherlock Holmes, or have just binge watched Dirk Gently, or just really like spy movies and saw a little bit of yourself in Daniel Craig. 
But if you’ve found yourself saying ‘maybe I could do this myself!?’ in regards to a circumstance or situation you’re currently going through, we’re going to stop you right there. 

Private Investigation is an incredibly serious industry, which is we want to do all we can to protect you by making sure you don’t become a ‘Do It Yourself Private Investigator. Which is why we’re going to give you our top three reasons as to why you shouldn’t make that mistake. 

  1. You need to be qualified.

    Australian Law dictates that all Private Investigators must have a Certificate III in Investigative Services. This also needs to be through a registered Training Organisation, and can take up to 6 months to complete. All of our people have gone through rigorous training to ensure that they go above and beyond the industry standard. This means that they know their stuff, and know what to do in all situations, and they wouldn’t have without their training.
     
  2. You need to have a licence to legally practice.

    You can’t drive without a drivers licence, you can’t perform surgery without a medical licence, so what makes you think you can perform investigative task without a private investigation licence? As well as that, like both of those fields, you cannot obtain a licence until you have been trained and qualified, meaning that you can’t just go doing your own investigate work, because it is therefore illegal. Our staff are all fully qualified and fully licensed investigators. So not only do they get the job done well, but the get it done legally.
     
  3. Experience is key.

    There is no amount of TV show’s you can watch that will make you prepared for the actual Private Investigation industry. You can’t just go follow your partner if you suspect they’re cheating. You’re not qualified, you’re not licensed and you’re not experienced enough to do it safely, carefully and subtly.
    Our team is made up of highly experienced, workers, who have been in the field for years. They know what to do in all situations, and know how to react when things go pear shaped. They know the intricacies of the industry and how to deliver the greatest result possible, because of experience.

So, leave it to the professionals, like us. Because although you might think you’re the next Magnum P.I, get the clippers out, shave that moustache, and give us a call instead. 
Surveillance without a proper license is referred to as stalking, and is punishable by huge fines or a term of imprisonment. You could also be hit with an Intervention Order (or “apprehended violence order” in some states). The risks of being caught and charged by police are simply not worth it.

For more information on our services, and to see how we can help, head over to What We Do section of our website. Because we’d love to se how we can help. 

Ryan Lim
The Benefits of a Dash Cam

What is a Dash Cam? 
You may have been scrolling through Facebook or YouTube and come across certain compilation videos taken from a drivers perspective. These videos are often of fender benders, car and bike accidents or if you’re lucky, just funny videos of people. 
They make us laugh, they make us cringe, and some of them (we highly recommend looking them up by the way) are nuts! You may have also seen them on some TV shows that highlight all of the above. 
However, no matter what you’ve seen or where you’ve seen it, these were all taken with a Dash Cam. Essentially a Dash Cam is a camera that sits on the dashboard of your car, and commences the recording the moment you start driving.

And although they can be funny and create some cringe content, it could be the difference between you getting an insurance claim or losing finances. The best way to prove your innocence in a vehicle accident is through video/audio evidence. These Vehicle Dashboard Cameras are the best way to show exactly what happened and who is liable.

However, you might be asking is this legal? 

The answer is yes.

In Australia, recording on public roadways is allowed as long as the recording does not infringe upon one's personal privacy in a way that may be deemed inappropriate in a court of law. 
So as long as the content relates to the accident at hand, you can use it. 
They ensure that the truth isn’t distorted, and that all the facts can be proved. 

For example, have a listen to Maryanne’s story:
“When I was accused of running a red light and causing an accident, I was horrified! It was only due to the clear footage this dash cam took that I could prove to police, insurance and the solicitors that I had not broken the law and I had clearly not caused the accident. The matter was settled in my favor with the other drivers insurance repairing my vehicle. Without the dash cam footage, the truth would not have come out.” - Maryanne, 38.

If you’d like to purchase a Dash Cam, head over to our online store to grab one. It could potentially save you from great financial loss.

Ryan Lim
What to do if a loved on goes missing?

As soon as you become aware that a friend or family member might be missing you can contact police. Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to wait for 24 or 48 hours to make a missing person’s report.
Missing Person reports must be made in person at any police station or you can contact the Police Assistance Line on 131 444 (24/7) to request a police car to be dispatched to your location. In Victoria, contact your nearest police station. 

However, when making your report, it will help Police if you bring along the following information:
 

1.  A recent photograph of the missing person

2. A list of the names, addresses and phone numbers of friends and associates

3. Likely destinations such as favourite places, work locations or places with past connections

4. Any medical requirements or medications they need

5. A full description of the missing person including height, weight, colour of eyes and hair

6. Bank account details.

7. Always call Triple Zero (000) in an emergency.

***************************************

If you have information regarding a missing person, you can report online at www.crimestoppers.com.au or call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
Source: Australian Federal Police

Down Under Investigations can also assist you. Our team of Private Investigators are experienced in locating missing persons. We work with you and police to make sure no stone is left unturned and every possible enquiry is made. Our locate services are not as expensive as you may think. Use the form on our contact page if you have an enquiry. 

National Missing Persons Week is from 5th - 11th August 2018. Make sure you check out the images and posters produced by the National Missing Persons Unit (see our social media to view) to see how you can play your part.

Ryan Lim
The Benefits of Using a Hidden Camera

Here at Down Under Investigations, we often utilise hidden cameras as a tool to uncover what was once hidden, provide evidence, and to bring to light many things that are kept in the dark.

We’ve used hidden cameras over the years for many different reasons and for many different clients. Some were suspected cheating partners, some were to ensure that a hired babysitter or Nanny was looking after the kids. One client we had, let’s call him Sam, needed evidence of how his employer was treating him and his fellow employees. He wore a hidden camera pen on his jacket and attained evidence of what was occurring in their workplace on a daily basis. The pen got high quality images that was later used to lead to a settlement, which greatly assisted Sam and his fellow co-workers.

However, often there are two stigmas over hidden cameras.
The first stigma is that hidden cameras are an invasion of privacy and that you should have the right to know when you are being filmed.
However, for us, it comes down to integrity. More often than not, the people that make this claim, have something to hide.
So, what happens behind closed doors? Is it different to what people perceive of you? Is it the same? Do you have something to hide?

If you lead a life that is good both behind closed and in front of them, what worry do you have if someone’s filming you? In fact, there won’t be any need to film you in the first place!
So, lead a life that is good when people are watching, and when people aren’t, because then you won’t have anything to worry about.

The second stigma is that that using them makes you a person who is invading someone’s privacy. Maybe it’s because of the movies and TV show’s we watch, and the characters that use hidden cameras. But some people find using hidden cameras to be quite a daunting notion.

Many people are worried about what will happen if they actually uncover something. But if it’s going to help you uncover the truth, find evidence or move on from your tribulations, then it will always be a good thing. A hidden camera could save you from a broken relationship, an unfair work environment or from being harmed physically or mentally.

Here at Down Under Investigations, we have a range of hidden cameras that you can purchase. They’re discreet, high quality, and easy to use. If you have any questions, or would like help in any of these matters, feel free to call us on 1300 849 007. We’d love to see how we can help.
 

Ryan Lim
Bouncing Back From A Painful Breakup

The reality of life is that not all relationships will last forever. Most breakdown in relationships is painful. It is rare to see both parties end a relationship in a peaceful way.  Feelings of shame, regret, pain and loss are common.

We conduct surveillance for a whole range of issues, the most common being suspected cheating. Our clients span all genders, as infidelity and suspicions of cheating seem to not be confined to just one gender.

Many times, when meeting with clients and revealing the evidence of infidelity, there are tears and pain.

Whilst we are not accredited counsellors, thru our experience we have found some of the following tips to be useful to those who bear the pain of a breakup.

Retreat

This is often the most natural thing to do, and rightly so. Retreating and finding your safe place with safe people is a key to healing. It enables you to be you, without judgment and criticism as feelings need to be expressed in a supportive environment. Not everyone needs to know your pain and hurt, just those who you trust and truly love you. You are vulnerable after a breakup, so choose your place and people to retreat to very wisely.

Reconnect

Take some time to reconnect with family and friends you may have lost contact with during the course of your relationship. Parents and siblings can often be the greatest support when dealing with pain. They’ve known you the longest and you’ve already seen each other at your highest highs and lowest lows. Sharing some time and old stories together can be a key to dealing with current pain.

A friend from another city or town can be a great support also. Reach out and you’ll be surprised how old friends and family can be your strongest support.

Remit

Let go. Remit. Let go of pain. The best way to do this is to forgive, which is never easy. Forgiveness doesn’t deny you’ve been wronged and hurt, but it does help you move forward. Most of us know someone who has never gotten over a bad breakup. They have never let go of the pain. They have never forgiven the other person but have chosen to hold onto bitterness and feelings of revenge.

Holding onto hurt and unforgiveness will only hurt you. Sure, there’s a time for feeling hurt and grieving, but there is also a time to let go.

And don’t mistake forgiveness for trust. If someone stole cash from my wallet, I wouldn’t lend them my credit card or car. You don’t need to trust a person again, but you do need to forgive. It’s a process, and takes time, but is always worth it.

Refresh

Do something good for your physical self. What does your body need? Sleep? Exercise? Massage? Good nutrition? Spa treatment?

Care for your body and take care of your physical self. You are worth it.

Resolve

Feelings of regret and resentment are natural. “What if” I did this or that differently... “Why didn’t I” do this, say this, see this..

All natural questions at this time.

But don’t let those questions stop there. Use them to resolve what you could do, say, or see moving into your future. What can I learn? What are some warning signs? What character qualities do I seek in a future partner?

Write these answers down and resolve the things most important to you.

Refocus

This is a good time to check the balance in your own life. Also a good time to see where you are headed. Is there a career or hobby you want to pursue? Maybe a friendship you’ve neglected or family member you haven’t connected with for a long time?

Now is a great time to work out where you are headed in life and plan the steps you need to take to pursue your goals.

Retry

One bad breakup doesn’t need to define your thoughts on relationships in the future.

Not all men/women are cheaters. Not all are abusive.

Not all are liars, thieves, controlling, manipulative, and so on...

There are plenty of great people on the planet. People that are caring, faithful, loving and kind. Don’t write off all because of a bad experience. Get back out there and be your best self. There is the right person out there just for you.

Ryan Lim
Siblings Separated. Reunited after 50 Years.

In 1963 and 1965, two siblings entered the world. John and Sarah never knew each other although they shared the same mother. Their mother loved them but knew she could not support and raise one child, let alone two. She decided to put both these young lives up for adoption.

John and Sarah were taken in by two different loving families however they never had any further contact with each other.

At a young age, John moved interstate with his family as his new father had found a dream job. John was well cared for, went to a private school, joined the army and travelled to numerous countries. He made many friends around the world throughout his travels. He eventually settled back in Australia, married and started a family of his own.

Meanwhile, Sarah grew up a strong, confident woman. She loved her family and felt secure in who she was. She worked part time while completing university and found her career in law. Commencing as a trainee in a firm, she worked long hours and progressed through the company to a senior management role. After a string of failed relationships in her 20s and early 30s, Sarah married and started a family of her own.

Throughout their lives, both John and Sarah kept a deep desire to one day be united with their mother, and also each other.

John spent thousands of dollars with a Private Investigator looking for his mother and Sarah, however was unsuccessful.

Sarah contacted us in early 2014 in an effort to find her mother and brother. In the law firm where she was working, she had found through dealing with hundreds of family law cases that she felt some missing pieces in her life. She dreamed of one day being re-united. 

Down Under Investigations met with Sarah and she gave us all the information she had. We immediately set about finding John and their mother. After weeks of our agents searching, we found John. When we advised Sarah, she was utterly amazed.

John and Sarah have told us that their reunion was simply amazing. Their similarities are unmistakable and they know that they will now be a part of each others lives forever. 

Down Under Investigations continue looking for their mother and we hope one day, to reunite this family in its entirety.

*Names changed for privacy reasons and stories of John and Sarah used with their permission.

Ryan Lim
Myth Busting Missing People

Every year, more than 38,000 Australians go missing. Of this 38,000, around half (44%) are found within the next 48 hours. However, of the remaining missing persons, 1600 often remain long term missing persons.

This is 1600 people too many, and we at Down Under Investigations want to help reduce this number.

But how do you ensure people don’t go missing? How can you help? Well, we have a few tips on how to ensure that your loved ones don’t go missing.

There are two reasons why a person goes missing.

The first, is because of choice.

Contrary to popular belief, many people actually choose to go missing. It can be because of suicidal thoughts, due to Alzheimer’s disease or even absconding. Many people feel as though the world will be better without them, so they take it upon themselves to remove themselves from the society they live in.

This is because some people are not receiving the proper assistance they need in their current situation. So if someone in your world needs assistance in any of these areas, ensure that they do, before they go missing. You might prevent them ever even considering running away.

The second reason as to why someone could go missing, is because they have no choice.

Many people that go missing are victims of crime, violence and mishaps, and believe that this is the only way to escape. This again comes from a feeling of being unable to speak up. So, if you know someone who is a victim of crime, be their voice. Help them get into contact with the correct authorities, and help them through their time of need, because you might prevent them running away.

Many people result to running away because they feel as though they can’t talk about it.  
So in order to look after your loved ones and assist in the never going missing,  talk to them. Listen to them. Help them in any and every way you possibly can before it’s too late.

Let’s start conversations, help our loved ones, and reduce the number of people going missing.

If you, or anyone you know is missing, please contact the police on 000 as your first point of call.

Simon & Sarah