NEVER WONDER, ALWAYS KNOW!
Every investigation is different. Therefore, the appropriate determination methods and tools must be carefully selected for each case. In this article, we would like to introduce you to the basic principles of investigation used by private investigators at corma GmbH.
Choosing the right methods requires a high level of attention at the beginning of an investigation, in order to ensure that the correct steps are executed in an appropriate order throughout the course of the investigation.
Case Analysis – What is available? What is missing?
The first step is a case analysis of existing information on the client. This gives an overview of what is available and what is missing. Often, the transmitted information is not in order and the data will then be sorted, evaluated, and structured accordingly by the investigator.
Perhaps the most important part of this early process is capturing evidence that must be saved immediately to prevent information from being irretrievably lost.
For example, this could include securing the content of websites and emails, or even to carry out forensic backups of computers and mobile phones. An important part of the case analysis is also to define client objectives.
The Next Step – Investigation Plan
These investigative targets are then presented in a plan with the appropriate and possible methods of investigation. In doing so, the legal and financial limits are also taken into consideration.
The investigation plan is then discussed with the client, outlining specifics on the required budget and a corresponding timetable. Of course, you can find the used investigative techniques inside the plan. corma GmbH often structures plans in a modular manner so that the client can decide on steps for successive modules.
This also ensures accurate budget control and a clear understanding of the methods used by investigators.
Many of our corporate clients have their own investigation guidelines. These are known to us and will be incorporated into our strategy. In addition, corma GmbH has also developed its own binding investigations guidelines.
The development plan can, therefore, contain various modules, even for the investigation of existing evidence. These could be, for example, forensic investigations of PDF documents. This makes it possible to detect manipulations and counterfeit PDF documents. It is also possible to examine JPEG images for changes, manipulations, origin, and authenticity. This so-called “image forensics” is an important part of our investigations toolbox.
Handwriting Analysis – Language Proficiency
The investigation of physical documents, such as signatures on contracts or anonymous texts by external writers and language profilers, is also a possible method of investigation. In the end, existing information must further be checked for its authenticity and source. The investigation of evidence is thus a very extensive and substantial part of any investigation.
Interview and Survey
Another method of investigation is, of course, the interview. Here, information providers or witnesses to the circumstances of the case or its background are interviewed in person or by telephone. For this, the investigator needs proper training and corresponding experience in order to gather court-relevant findings from these conversations.
An important building block is the internet investigation. All publicly available information on a person, an alias, an email address, or a company can be researched, documented, and displayed. Following intensive internet research, corma GmbH also provides clients with monitoring of selected online information. This 360° monitoring ensures that any changes to the information (changes on a website, new hits on search engines, etc.) can immediately be forwarded to the client.
On-Site Research and Identification
We also work for our clients outside of the internet. This is the case, for example, with on-site searches or address checks throughout the federal territory and in other European countries. This simple step is an important building block to prove the existence and proper address of individuals and companies. Likewise, this on-site research can be a preliminary to possible observation. The information obtained during this process is then incorporated into a corresponding observation plan.
Investigative Due Diligence
From the information collected so far, reports on persons or companies can then be produced as a further investigation step. corma GmbH offers a so-called “Investigative Due Diligence.” All online and offline information is collected and local searches, reputation checks, and surveys of customers and suppliers are carried out as necessary.
Particularly in cases of fraud, the analysis of large amounts of data is an important part of an investigation. corma GmbH has excellent analytical tools, which can be used to perform these analysis tasks quickly and in court.
Observation and Surveillance
One of the classic methods of investigation is observation. Observation measures are time-consuming and cost-intensive. Therefore, they are only used when absolutely necessary. Surveillance requires at least two investigators per observation team and thus create a subsequent high cost.
Another investigative method is covert (undercover) investigations, both via the internet and in the real world. Concealed test purchases are especially useful in the areas of product piracy and counterfeiting, and are an important part of the process to obtain necessary proof to use in court.
Criminal or Civil Law Measures
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