What does a Surveillance Investigator do? (with pictures)

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
A surveillance investigator may observe a person who is seeking compensation for an injury.
A surveillance investigator may observe a person who is seeking compensation for an injury.

A surveillance investigator uses observation techniques to conduct a variety of investigations. This person typically works to observe the subject of an investigation while remaining undetectable himself. A surveillance investigator may also perform research pertinent to a case and draft reports in an effort to get to the heart of an investigation and document its progress. Sometimes, a surveillance investigator also testifies about his findings in a court of law.

One role of a surveillance investigator is to testify in court.
One role of a surveillance investigator is to testify in court.

Often, a surveillance investigator puts his observation skills to work in investigating a subject. He may also use various types of surveillance equipment to accomplish this task. For example, a suspicious spouse may hire a surveillance investigator to follow his spouse if he suspects she is cheating. The investigator may observe her comings and goings and take note of the company she keeps. If he observes suspicious activity, he may document it with photographs or video recording evidence and then report his findings back to the person who hired him.

A surveillance investigator might investigate claims of infidelity.
A surveillance investigator might investigate claims of infidelity.

A surveillance investigator may also investigate cases for businesses, including those involving insurance fraud. For example, he may be called on to observe a person who is seeking compensation for an injury sustained at his place of employment. In this capacity, he may try to obtain evidence that the subject is not injured in the manner that he reported. For example, if he is able to photograph or video tape his subject moving furniture into his home when that subject is supposed to be incapable of physical activity, this can have a dramatic effect on a workers' compensation claim.

Often, surveillance investigators are depicted in exciting scenes on television and in movies that involve high-speed chases and heroic confrontations. This job is usually quite the opposite of that, however. A surveillance investigator usually uses stakeout techniques to observe his subjects. An individual with this job usually tries to avoid confrontations, as they can be dangerous and put the entire investigation in jeopardy. Additionally, an individual in this field works to stay hidden and obey the law, so high-speed chases aren't a typical part of this job.

An individual with this job also typically reports the information he finds. Often, this means creating written documentation of his efforts as well as providing photographs, videos, or other evidence. A surveillance investigator may also be called on to testify about his findings in a court case or to submit his documentation for use as evidence.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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    • A surveillance investigator may observe a person who is seeking compensation for an injury.
      A surveillance investigator may observe a person who is seeking compensation for an injury.
    • One role of a surveillance investigator is to testify in court.
      One role of a surveillance investigator is to testify in court.
    • A surveillance investigator might investigate claims of infidelity.
      A surveillance investigator might investigate claims of infidelity.