We’ve all been there, we’ve been sleeping and all of a sudden we enter a dream where we either cheat on a loved one or see them cheating on us. We wake up often confused and angry, and sometimes couples even argue about this fictional scenario that never happened. But what do dreams about your partner cheating mean?

Firstly, it doesn’t mean you want to cheat or your partner is cheating. But dreaming about cheating is one of the most common dreams that people have.

In this article, we will look at the reasons that experts believe we think of cheating when we dream.

Something is missing in your relationship

lie detector test location

Experts believe that we sometimes dream of our partner cheating on us because something is missing in our relationship. This can be anything from feeling ignored or you have spent less time with your partner recently. If you feel like you haven’t spent time with them or they are prioritising other things in life then this can lead you to dreams about being cheated on.

Increased work hours, spending time with friends, working on side hustles or anything else that takes up your time with your partner can lead you to feel left out. Our advice would be to talk to your partner about ways where you can spend more time together.

You have issues

We all have some issues, but when it comes to dreams about cheating it could be down to your insecurities and trust issues. If you have been cheated on in the past and know the signs of cheating then you could be manifesting past relationships into your current one and this is spilling over into your dreams.

We aren’t saying don’t trust your gut, because from experience we know that if you suspect your partner is cheating there is a good chance that they are. If you do think this is happening and would like some advice our private investigators can help you. However, don’t think your partner is cheating on you because of a dream, that isn’t healthy.

You’ve been cheated on before


Being cheated on is a terrible experience and can have a huge impact on your life. If you have been cheated on in a past relationship these feelings can come to light and show in your dreams. You may not have any reason to expect your current partner of cheating and they probably aren’t. Our brains are powerful though and can take past experiences and intertwine them with our current situation.

Being cheated on especially if it caused you trauma can be a reason for you to dream about cheating.

You aren’t official

To the older readers among us, being official means that you haven’t declared your relationship for each other on social media so the relationship technically isn’t set in stone. This is also new to me so from my understanding is that if you aren’t official you are sort of seeing each other but you could be seeing other people too.

If your relationship isn’t defined then it leaves a lot of room for uncertainty and dreaming about cheating could be your brain processing your current situation.

You have been unfaithful

Unfaithfulness doesn’t have to mean having an affair. Your body and mind can interoperate being unfaithful as many different things, it could be you flirted with someone else recently, or liked it when someone flirted with you. It could be you find someone else attractive and can’t stop thinking about them.  

Your mind can then take these thoughts and feelings and make you feel like you have been unfaithful when you haven’t. These feelings can then make it into your dreams where you think about yourself or your partner cheating.

Dreams about cheating on boyfriend with an ex

If you know the person in your dreams or it’s your ex then this could indicate there is something you aren’t quite over in your last relationship. This doesn’t have anything to do with your current partner and you probably don’t want to get back with your ex.

You may on the other hand have resentment, anger or trust issues that have occurred because of your ex-boyfriend and now it’s spilling into your dreams.  

Should you tell your partner about your cheating dreams?

Some experts think you should as it can clear the air and any issues you may have, but if the other person doesn’t think there are issues this could come as a shock to them and cause more issues.

In my experience, I would say to keep the cheating dreams to yourself. They are just dreams and we don’t have control over them. We don’t tell our partners about other nightmares we have had so I don’t know why you would start now. In my opinion, there is no upside to telling your current partner that you dreamed about cheating on them with an ex.

Final thoughts.

Dreaming about your partner cheating usually has nothing to do with them actually cheating. It’s more commonly down to the relationship you have with them and even your past relationships getting into your dreams.

If you do suspect your partner of cheating, get in touch with us. Our private detective and surveillance services have given many couples peace of mind when it comes to cheating partners. Get in touch with us for a free quote today.

Men and women cheat for many different reasons and as private investigators, we often get called to catch cheaters in the act. In this article, we aren’t here to judge, condemn or even promote cheating. This article is going to show the most common excuses for cheating that we have heard in our experience.

Common excuses cheaters use.

Here are the most common excuses for cheating we have heard in our many years of experience.

Excuses for cheating reason #1 – I just can’t help it.

People with higher sex drives than their partners will use the excuse that they simply just can’t help it as their sex drive is too high and if sex life at home has stopped then they feel this is justifiable to them.

People also argue that from an evolution point of view that men are “programmed” to sleep with as many women as possible to procreate so this is often factored into an argument.

This may have been the case when the cavemen and women were around, but in modern society, it doesn’t work and it’s just an excuse.

If you do feel yourself feeling that your sex drive is too high and your partner’s sex drive is too low then you should communicate this with them. Sex drive can be affected by:

  • Stress
  • Birth Control
  • Medicine
  • Chronic Conditions

None of these situations would be the fault of either person too, so communicating the feeling of not being wanted due to a lack of intimacy could improve your current situation. If you find it difficult to bring these issues up you could go to a marriage counsellor and work through your problems together.

By cheating, you are eventually going to get caught and you are going to break the heart of someone you love. If your situation is bad then tell your partner and end the relationship. Or you can help your partner improve their sex drive by reducing their stress, eating healthier, hiring a personal trainer to help you lose weight and have more energy and making sure you are both getting enough sleep.

A low sex drive doesn’t have to ruin a relationship, if both partners are willing to work on the relationship it can be saved.

Excuses for cheating reason #2 – They aren’t the same person I married.

People change over time, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. If you don’t grow together as a couple then a relationship can be in trouble.

When you first start dating, people only want to show the best side of them but over time people’s flaws can become apparent. If you haven’t cheated but you are on the edge of doing so, it’s once again advised to talk to your partner.

Some people choose to cheat because a person’s looks have faded, whereas others cheat. After all, the same effort isn’t there before and maybe the romance has died.

Having a discussion where you have to tell someone you have lost attraction to them because of their looks fading is no doubt going to hurt them but then again so is cheating. If a partner has put on weight or doesn’t make an effort to dress nice anymore then you could work on that but if you choose to cheat that could be the death sentence for your relationship.

Excuses for cheating reason #3 – My partner doesn’t spend time with me anymore.

This is usually the excuse used by women when their partner is “working all the time.” However, it can be used when male partners go out binge drinking with their friends too. 

In the first instance, it can be a tough pill to swallow for the man in that relationship as they are often confused as to why their other half would cheat because they are working hard to provide for their family.  

If you feel your partner is working too much then talk to them about this as men are quite oblivious to this problem and often don’t know it exists.

In the second situation where your partner is binge drinking if the simple talk doesn’t stop them from binge drinking then it may be worth talking to an addiction specialist, we see many couples suffering from the effects of alcohol and drug addiction so seeking professional help is advisable.

As private investigators in London we have seen many couples suffer from addiction problems and if you are in the London Area here are a few addiction clinics you could go to:

Excuses for cheating reason #4 – They give me more attention.

This is an excuse used by both men and women and it often occurs with work-based cheating. If you aren’t getting attention at home and someone at work who you spend long hours with is starting to flirt with you and make you feel good then it can lead to an affair taking place.

Getting attention from someone new may give you that new relationship feeling and can make you feel excited again. However, it’s up to you as a couple to work on your relationship to put fun into it and keep each other interested.

Excuses for cheating reason #5 – I was drunk.

Being drunk is one of the most common excuses for cheating and we hear it all the time. Being drunk in our opinion doesn’t cause people to cheat it just gives them an excuse for doing so.

Being drunk also doesn’t hold much weight in people who continually cheat while drunk as one time may be an accident but repeat offences aren’t.

Excuses for cheating reason #6 – You cheated before.

If someone in a relationship has cheated many couples can then use this as an excuse for cheating on the other person. If you do cheat and your partner forgives you there is a very real chance of this happening to you.

If you are in a relationship where you are seeking revenge on each other it doesn’t look good for your relationship. If you have cheated and the person has forgiven you they don’t then have a free pass to cheat on you. The opposite is also true, if someone has cheated on you and you forgive them you don’t then get a free pass to cheat.

Either forgive and move on or end the relationship. Revenge cheating is never going to work.

Excuses for cheating reason #7 – Everyone does it.

We’ve heard this excuse for cheating a lot over the years and it still baffles us to this day. Not everyone cheats, if the people around you do then you are dating the wrong people. 

Excuses for cheating reason #8 – It didn’t mean anything.

This is another common excuse we have heard from cheating partners and logically it doesn’t make sense. Maybe it didn’t mean anything and it was “just sex” as some have said to us but you have ruined a relationship with someone you have loved and possibly destroyed your family too, so using the excuse of it didn’t mean anything can be a kick in the face to the partner that has been cheated on.

Cheating husband excuses

Husbands who cheat often use a mixture of not getting enough attention, and getting attention at work, their partners have lower sex drives, they were drunk or it didn’t mean anything.

Cheating husbands may also use the other excuses above but in our experience, those are the main reasons they give for cheating.

Cheating wife excuses

Cheating wives often make the excuses of they weren’t getting enough attention, their partner doesn’t spend enough time with them, their partner has changed and it just happened (often at work).

Wives who cheat may use other excuses too but these are the ones that we have found to be the most common.

Excuses to get out of the house to cheat

If you do suspect your wife or husband of cheating you may want to hire a private investigator to help catch them. We have offices in Cardiff, Manchester and London but we do service the entire UK.

With that said you may be able to catch a cheater yourself as they will use some of the most common excuses to get out of the house to cheat which can be seen below.

Staying late at work to get out of the house to cheat.

One of the most common excuses to get out of the house to cheat is by staying late at work. Of course, many of us have to do that on occasion but if this is new to your relationship and your partner has no additional job responsibilities then this could be a red flag.

In our experience, men will use this excuse more than women.

Using business trips as an excuse to get out of the house to cheat.

A business trip is an easy way to get out of the house to cheat as often they are scheduled far away from the home and it’s very difficult for someone to check if a person is actually where they say they are.

Some smart cheaters may take their new lover on a vacation elsewhere and order a souvenir online from the place they were supposed to be to give to their partners.

A private investigator can conduct surveillance and catch a cheating partner on a business trip so if you think this is happening to you feel free to get in touch with us.

Using the gym as an excuse to get out of the house to cheat.

The gym is also a common excuse used to get people out of the house to cheat. If your partner has suddenly started going to the gym it may be the case that they want to improve their health and fitness which should be encouraged but if after a few months no improvements are being made it could be the case that your partner is cheating.


Above we have covered the most common excuses for cheating along with some of the ways a cheating partner may get out of the house to cheat. We have also looked at excuses husbands and wives use when cheating and have suggested some ways of improving your relationship instead of cheating.

If you suspect your partner is cheating get in touch with one of our highly skilled private detectives and we can give you peace of mind either way with our cheating partner investigations.

Most of us who have been in a relationship for a while can tell when something is up with our partners, but it doesn’t always mean they are cheating. Today we will be looking at some of the most common signs on how to tell if your partner is lying about cheating.

Cheating happens in many relationships, as private investigators in London and Manchester and the rest of the UK we have seen it happen time and again. Often spouses have a gut feeling which results in them contacting us, and the majority of the time they are right.

So what are the common signs your partner is lying about cheating?

Behaviour change

A behaviour change can be a sign that your partner is cheating, especially if they lie about it when confronted.

For example, they may start eating new foods or going to new places and staying out more often than usual. If confronted and they brush it off to make you look like you are insecure then it could be a sign they are lying about cheating. I believe this term is called gaslighting.

Now changes in behaviour are not always a sign of cheating so don’t be confrontational. For example, after catching Covid this year I changed my diet and exercise routine to become healthier. I stopped eating takeout and swapped my foods to healthier ones.

Some experts would consider that a behaviour change and would say there’s a high chance of me being a cheater. But that isn’t the case. Covid made me unwell and gave me breathing issues weeks after it. Because of this, I started exercising a lot more to get my health back. Your partner could have reasons for the changes so ask them.

Schedule changes

Is your partner working more or going on more business meetings or travelling more for business? It could be that work has got busier but if the other members of staff aren’t doing it then it could be a sign your partner is lying about cheating.

One or two nights here and there aren’t typically a sign of cheating but if it happens more often than it used to then your partner may be lying.

One way to test this is to ask if you can visit them at work or go along with them when they are travelling away for business. Their reaction to these questions often gives you a sign of whether they are lying or not.

You no longer talk


Talking in a relationship is key to any healthy relationship and if there is a sudden breakdown and you no longer talk it could be a sign that your partner is giving their attention to someone else. At this point, you may want to consider marriage or relationship counselling, or you can ask them if anything is wrong. Once again their reaction should give you an indication either way.

Liars aren’t going to tell the truth about their cheating habits but you may be able to get a reaction from them which seems odd. From there, you can hire a private investigator as the fees for catching a cheater aren’t too high compared to what you could lose in a messy divorce.

Do they change the way they speak when confronted?

Liars often practice and rehearse speeches in case of being caught by their partner and often have a “good” answer for everything. However, when people tell the truth their answers aren’t perfect and you often hear them use pause words like “um” when thinking. This isn’t them thinking of a story, this is them usually thinking of what happened.

Cheaters will generally have a story ready and it will often sound perfect to try and move your suspicions away from them. Catching a cheater is hard so if you do need help, contact one of our private detectives today and we can help you catch a cheating partner.

Deflecting and projecting 

we help businesses in manchester cut down on fraud

Innocent people don’t tend to deflect or project onto you, but cheaters do. As we mentioned earlier, cheaters will try to manipulate you to make it look like you are insecure or you are going crazy, but your suspicions are often well-founded.

If you confront your partner and they deflect or project onto you then this is a good sign your partner is lying about cheating. If you would like to learn more about our cheating partner investigations click here.

The thought of your partner cheating can make most people feel sick to their stomachs. Being cheated on and sometimes worrying that your partner is cheating on you can even make you ill. Our cheating partner investigations can help. 

Over the years we have helped many of our clients catch their cheating partners and we can help you too.

Investigating a cheating partner

lie detector tests

For most, having the worry and the doubt in their mind that their partner is being unfaithful can leave you feeling anxious and upset. Our private investigators have many years of experience in surveilling and catching unfaithful partners and even though it’s not nice to confirm your suspicions at least you can move on with your life.

In some relationships catching a cheating partner can save it as weird as it may sound. This can be done by going to marriage counselling. Not all relationships can be saved and the majority aren’t but for some, being caught cheating can put them on the right path to fixing a relationship.

Can you hire someone to spy on your boyfriend/girlfriend?

Yes, you can. You can hire a private investigator to follow and watch your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband or wife and document their whereabouts and who they meet up with.

Our cheating partner investigations involve our detectives monitoring your partner closely without them knowing we are there. From here we can document their location and their actions and then report them back to you.

This is the quickest way to catch a cheater as comparing where they said they were to where they were is a sign of something not being right. For example, if they are telling you they are at work but we have evidence they are in a hotel room at the same time then they could be cheating.

What to expect with a cheating partner investigation

Cheating partner investigations need to be discreet because your partner may change their habits if they know you are on to them. We have years of experience in catching cheating partners as well as surveilling criminals and scam artists. When you hire us you can be assured of discreet and professional service.

Our private investigators will follow, record and report all of our findings to you in a discreet manner so your partner will never know this has taken place. From here you can decide how you want to proceed with the relationship going forward.

Should you hire someone to catch a cheater or do it yourself?

In our experience, cheaters get found out eventually but in some instances, this can take years. Do you want to be with someone who has cheated on you for years thinking they are smarter than you and you will never find out? I wouldn’t want to be with someone like that.

I’d rather find out as soon as possible and I bet you would too. So if you do have your suspicions you can either try to catch a cheater yourself or hire someone like us to do it for you.

Catching a cheater is hard and while there are signs of cheating to you they may not be that clear. In our experience, cheaters are very skilled liars and they are hard to catch if you don’t have experience in doing so.

Hiring a private investigation company like ourselves gets around that problem and catching cheating partners is our speciality. We have heard all the lies and cheating excuses but the truth is you can’t lie yourself out of hard evidence.

How much does it cost to catch a cheating partner?

Our private investigation costs vary between projects as each one is different. For example, if your partner was claiming to be working away in different cities or away on business trips then we would have to follow them where ever the investigation takes us. This would be more expensive, however, we will talk to you beforehand to make sure you wouldn’t be met with any expenses you aren’t expecting.

Is your husband or wife cheating? Sometimes not knowing is the worst part.

The numbers behind suspicions and cheating partners are quite scary and if you suspect your partner of cheating then statistically there is a good chance that it is happening. Wives who suspect their husbands of cheating are correct 85% of the time while husbands who suspect their wives of cheating are correct 50% of the time.

However real life isn’t controlled by statistics so if you do suspect your partner of cheating it’s advisable to hire an expert like us to find out if they are.

Methods private investigators use to catch cheating partners.

Catching a cheating partner is difficult but as professional private investigators, we have years of experience in carrying out surveillance and recording the evidence.

Online investigations to catch cheaters

For cheating partners, a private investigator may look at social media usage to determine where a person may hang out, who they interact with and if there has been an uptake in activity between accounts. Cheating couples on social media may start liking people’s pictures and statuses more and this is something a private investigator may document when trying to catch a cheater.

A private investigator can also use specialist software to know where photos were taken and they can track whether a photo was taken in a location where that person wasn’t supposed to be at that time. Often cheaters will go to new locations to avoid being spotted so if a husband or wife is supposed to be on a business trip in London but a photo surfaces at the same time where they are in Manchester or Liverpool then that can cause a red flag.

In-person surveillance to catch a cheater.

Private investigators will use in-person surveillance services to catch cheaters. They will monitor where a person goes, who they talk to and anything else that is out of the ordinary and then present this back to their clients. Quite often it soon becomes apparent a person is cheating when they are supposed to be in one place but turn up at another with the same company present.

Using technology to catch a cheater

Private investigator powers aren’t like what you expect in the movies but with the right permissions, they can use technology to bug and track the movements of an individual. This is often done through covert GPS tracking or covert camera installation.

Technology is a great way of catching a cheater as it’s hard to say you were at work when a GPS attached to your car is showing the exact times you left work and the exact time you arrived at a local hotel to carry out your affair.

Using a private investigator service like ours is a great way to collect evidence which can then be used in Divorce courts. Having evidence collected legally will help your situation when it comes time to end the marriage. It can help you win more in your divorce, the only problem is you may need a bigger storage unit to keep more of your items when providing evidence of infidelity.

Common signs of a cheating partner.

As private investigators, we have years of experience in catching cheating partners and often the victims kick themselves when the signs are shown to them, so if you suspect your partner from cheating here are the signs we have noticed over the years.

  • Your partner starts to spend more time away from the home, this could be a “new” hobby or having to spend more time working late in the office.
  • A change in intimacy, a partner may not want to become intimate with you as often they are getting intimacy elsewhere. Partners may also start ignoring you too.
  • Phone habits have changed. Cheating partners will change how they use their phones. They either start using it a lot more or will not answer it when you are around. Cheating partners may also be more guarded with their phones and often put their screen side down to stop new messages from being seen when they come through.
  • Their clothes smell different. Not all partners will be covered in a different perfume as one would expect. Often it could be smells of tobacco or alcohol. One cheating spouse we found over the years would buy his wife and his girlfriend the same perfume so he could get away with cheating for years.
  • Different bathing habits. Partners who cheat try to get rid of the evidence of smells by bathing more, it may seem strange but if your partner has started taking more interest in their hygiene then it could be a sign.

Of course, all of the above can be explained easily and may not indicate a cheater. If you are worried then we would recommend hiring a private investigator. We have offices in Cardiff, Manchester and London and we service the entire UK. You can see a list of our private investigator costs here too.

One of the main questions we get as a private detective agency is “how much does a private investigator cost?” Today we will be looking at that question in more detail and we will explain the different circumstances that can increase or decrease the price.

Hiring a private investigator is a choice that people usually take when they feel desperate, but one thing that may put them off is the price of hiring a private investigator. Hiring a private investigator isn’t the same as going to an online shop and buying a product as there are so many factors that can influence the price.

At Bond Rees, we can give you a rough guideline on the cost of hiring a private detective but ultimately the final cost will depend on how much time is spent on your project and if there are any expenses accumulated on the way. You don’t have to worry about these costs being too much for you though as we will explain all of the costs involved before taking on your project.

As always, if you have any questions and would like to speak to one of our private detectives get in touch with us and one of our detectives will walk you through the entire process.

Services provided by Private Investigators

private detectives

When someone searches for the price of hiring an investigator there are so many areas of private investigation so the cost of hiring a detective is different for every job. For example, a private eye can carry out the following work:

  • Covert surveillance
  • Vehicle tracking
  • Polygraph Testing
  • Fraud investigation
  • Listening devices
  • Serving of Court papers/Process serving
  • Person tracing/Missing persons
  • Bug sweeping
  • Data recovery
  • PC Tracking
  • Mobile phone tracking
  • Smart Phone Apps
  • Personal background checking
  • Location checking
  • Witness statements and Court attendance

Each of these jobs is going to take different resources and manpower so looking for a one size fits all solution isn’t going to help. Therefore we will break down some of these services and how much they will roughly cost.

Lie detector tests for example is a one-time fee service while an employee fraud investigation could take months of monitoring and investigating.

How much does a private investigator cost?

private investigator

The cost of hiring a private investigator per task:

  • People tracing services from £99 to £389.
  • Surveillance ranges from £389 to £780.
  • GPS Tracking Devices from £99 to £988.
  • Lie Detector Testing from £450 per test.
  • Corporate Investigations starting from £740.
  • Bug Sweeping Services starting from £998.

As you can see a private investigator can cost between £99 and £998 depending on the task you hire them for. The most accurate way of knowing how much it would cost you to hire Bond Rees would be to talk to one of our agents.

Fees for hiring a private detective can range between detective agencies. Some are more expensive than us and some are cheaper. What you will need to take into account is that a more expensive agency may not leave you with enough budget to carry out the work at hand and see it through to completion.  

A cheaper private investigator agency may not have the skills, knowledge or manpower to get the job done. Most private-detective agencies are a 1 or two-person operation so travelling the country for them is expensive and as a result, you get charged this.

locations we cover

Bond Rees on the other hand is a national private detective agency and we have offices in London, Manchester, Birmingham, Cardiff and many more.

We provide our services UK wide without putting those travelling expenses on to you. This allows all of your budget to go into the job at hand rather than additional expenses.

If you are looking for affordable private investigators in the UK that can get the job done, get in touch with us.

People tracing investigation fees.

tracing agents

Our private detectives can provide you with people tracing and asset tracing services. These fees start at £99 and can increase depending on the complexity of the job and the duration. All costs will be discussed beforehand so you are not left with any unexpected fees.

Surveillance costs

If you need our private investigators to provide you with surveillance then you can expect to pay between £389 to £780 on average. Once again the duration of the surveillance along with the complexity will increase or decrease the cost of carrying out surveillance.

Process Serving Costs

we provide process serving services to law firms

Our process servers can deliver your documents legally and professionally for £389. It’s important to note that handling legal documents needs to be done in the right way otherwise any evidence or documents may not be used in the court of law.  

You may find process servers for cheaper in the UK but we have never had any problems in court with our legal document delivery.

Lie detector fees

lie detector test

Our lie detector tests are something our private investigators carry out for a flat fee of £450. Our detectives and expert polygraph testers can travel the country to perform a polygraph test to give you peace of mind or help clear your name.

GPS tracking fees

We can provide both GPS tracking devices and services from £99 to £998. The devices needed, the number of private investigators and the length of the job will all determine the final cost of our GPS tracking services.

Corporate Investigation costs

If you suspect corporate fraud is happening in your business our private detectives can help. Our corporate fraud investigations start from £740 and can rise depending on the length of time you need our services.

At Bond Rees, our detectives are highly skilled and can spot corporate fraud very easily so we will get to the bottom of your problems quicker than any other private detective agency.

Bug Sweeping costs

Our bug sweeping services start from £998 and can rise depending on the number of locations and rooms you need to be swept. To get an accurate quote please get in touch and one of our private detectives can find out more about your bug sweeping needs.

Private Detective fees explained

Hiring a private detective can seem like a big task, it can also be confusing because of the number of services that fall under the private investigative umbrella. You should now know what you can pay when hiring a private detective, but we always urge our clients to speak to us first before making their minds up.

Some detective agencies will look cheaper to begin with, but add on costs to the back end of the investigation. Bond Rees, will never do that and will discuss the cost of hiring a detective before any work starts.

At Bond Rees, we don’t price match because of this exact reason. We would rather be upfront with you so you know exactly what you need to pay so that we can complete the job in a professional and timely manner.

Some of our services such as polygraph testing are fixed fee, but the majority of our services will range in price because every job is different. If you would like to hire Bond Rees as your private detective agency please get in touch with us by using the various contact details on this website.


You need to know that an applicant is using their real name and that the personal details they have provided, including their date of birth and current address, are genuine. 

You can confirm this information by requesting identification documents from the person. These need to be official and verified documents, and you need to obtain at least three so that you can cross match and check that older documents (such as perhaps a passport or driving licence) are backed up by more recent documents such as a utility bill.

The identification documents need to prove name so a passport or driving licence are ideal. However, it is still important that you look carefully at the documents to detect any potential forgery; do they look odd in any way or different from your own? Are they very worn and difficult to read? 

If the documents have been provided by a different country, look online to check that they correspond with those that are produced by that country. Also, look at issue and expiry dates; if a passport or driving licence are out of date, or if a person has had their driving licence revoked temporarily or permanently, these documents are not sufficient, and the applicant will need to request new and current versions before you can proceed.

You will also need to request address verification documents from the applicant; these again need to be official and can include council tax bills, utility bills or bank statements. 

Proof of address documents need to have been recently issued and should not be older than 3 months so you can ensure that the address identified on them is up to date. 

You need to check that these documents tally with the address on the driving licence or with another bill provided; you require at least 2 forms of proof of address in order to do this. If the addresses don’t tally or there is something concerning you, explore this with the applicant and request further documents to support identity if need be.

If a person has changed their name for any reason such as marriage, an employer will need to request proof of this and the date it occurred, such as a marriage certificate or deed poll confirmation.

Address History

An employer needs to know the address history of an applicant for the last 3 years at least, and can request this on an application form.

This can show if a person is stable in their lifestyle or if they have moved around a lot, and this could have indicators for employment in terms of how long they may stick at the job.

If a person has moved several times and not been at an address for a reasonable tenancy period, it may also be helpful to explore this with the applicant to identify if there have been any evictions which may indicate undesirable behaviours, or if there are genuine personal reasons behind the need to move so much. 

This can be helpful in getting to know the applicant better and assessing them more fully.

Employment and Education History

An essential check for any potential employer to undertake on an applicant is to obtain and verify employment and education history.

Some jobs require certain qualifications to be legally undertaken and it is important to verify an applicant’s claim that they have this qualification but viewing certificates and, if possible, obtaining a reference from the award provider.

Employment history shows an applicant’s experience and can also highlight any previous issues within employment such as tribunals, dismissals or general difficulties within the workplace.

A good means of ensuring this information is valid and comprehensive is to obtain at least 2 references from previous employers, and to double check that this company and the person providing the reference are real and who they are alleged to be.

The applicant will need to provide details of referees for you to contact. Do not accept references provided directly by the applicant; ensure that you make the request yourself to the referee so that you are able to verify the source.

Criminal History

For many job roles it is imperative that the employer knows of any criminal history or conviction for the applicant. This needs to be asked on the application form so a business can identify straight off if there is any risk or areas of concern regarding this.

However, not all applicants will be honest about any criminal past. 

Within certain industries such as those involving contact with vulnerable persons (including children, the elderly or people with a physical or learning disability) it is mandatory that checks are undertaken to ascertain any criminality in the applicant’s previous life. 

Businesses in other industries may also wish to have access to this information to ensure the safety of their other employees, assets within the business such as stock, revenue and information and their customers. All employers have a right to request this information as long as it is made clear that this will be part of the application process and the potential employee has provided their consent.

Criminal history checks can be obtained through a DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) request form and the employer would need to sign up to an agency that is authorised to provide these. There are options available online if you type in DBS check. 

There are different levels of DBS check available from the basic check that advises of any actual past or current convictions, to enhanced level disclosures that include police information about an individual, pertinent to the job role applied for. You can find out through the DBS provider website which level of disclosure is appropriate for the job role you are recruiting for.

Credit History

There are some employment roles where it is important to know that any potential recruits are financially stable and have a history of good money management, with no bankruptcy, high levels of debt or county court judgements. This can be particularly relevant to job roles where the employee is required to handle or manage large amounts of money or high value assets, or where they will be managing customer funds or providing financial advice.

Employers may want to obtain credit history details on an applicant for other reasons; a employee with a large debt may be struggling to cope or under high stress and this could impact on their performance at work; an employee who has shown a long term inability to manage their own finances may not be a person that you consider responsible enough or competent at a level that the job role requires.

Employers usually need to request the consent of an applicant to obtain a credit check and these can then be obtained through various online credit agencies such as Experian. 

A credit check will not commonly show details of current credit agreements but will report on any serious issues, bankruptcy within the last 6 years or county court judgements over the last 6 years.

A credit check can also provide further supportive evidence to confirm identification of the person and their address history.

Substance Use

In some job roles it is mandatory to undertake drug testing and, in others employers may want to conduct this due to suspicions or concerns or the nature of the employment role.

The applicant will need to give their consent and partake in this and there are laboratories online that you can contact to arrange this. If an applicant refuses to take part in drug testing, that probably tells you all you need to know.

If you need help with a background check our corporate investigator team can help.

There are situations in most peoples’ lives at some point where they want or need to know more about a person than is possible to find out through talking to them or than they may be willing to disclose. 

This could be a professional need and someone you are thinking about going into business with or someone you are considering employing. 

It might be more personal, and you are dating someone, or considering entering into a relationship with them or moving in with a partner and there have been a couple of low level red flags that you want to check out or you just want to ensure that you are making a safe and wise decision.

Potentially you could be worried about the safety of someone else who you care about and want to find out more about an individual that has come into their life; this may be a friend or relative that has got involved in a relationship with someone you might have suspicions about or a new partner your ex has hooked up with and you want to make sure they are an appropriate person to be having contact with your children.

Whatever your reason for wanting to know more about a person, a background check can be a useful means of gathering information and providing peace of mind or confirming concerns and helping you decide what to do next.

Background checks can provide information about numerous aspects of an individual and their life:

The person’s real identity:

A background check verifies the true name of an individual and confirms or provides personal information including current address and date of birth.

This can be helpful in employment situations where you need to ensure you have been given the correct details and identity of an applicant or if you want to check out someone you are dating is who they say they are.

Past addresses:

A background check can provide the history of a person’s places of residence; this may again be helpful in employment processes to ensure a person has given correct information, for credit checking with customers who wish to open an account or if you are intending to let a property to the individual.

Criminal history:

A background check can uncover any past misdemeanours or convictions. More in depth checking can also reveal court attendances and even intelligence or police information about someone if the criteria are met.

Checks can also be undertaken to specifically gain information about any domestic abuse a person has perpetrated or has a history of, or any sexual offences.

This can help with determining whether a person is safe to be around vulnerable individuals or your children, appropriate to enter a relationship with or can be trusted to deal with financial matters or assets within a business.

Past Employment:

A background check can provide an individual’s employment history. 

This is obviously of use to confirm the experience, training and qualifications that an applicant reports to have in recruitment processes, so an employer can be sure that they are choosing the right candidate for the job.

It can also be useful to check on whether a person is really who they say they are in other situations such as if they have contact with your children or when entering into a relationship as any discrepancies will indicate the person is dishonest and there are probably reasons for this……

Finance or Credit Report:

A background check can provide information about a person’s financial situation, any past issues with money or unpaid debt and insolvency or bankruptcy.

This can be valuable information for a business that is considering providing credit facility to a person or other company, investing in the individual or company or entering some other form of business arrangement with them. It can also be useful when employing staff who are going to be dealing with finance or acting in a role that requires them to provide financial advice.

Financial history can help in personal relationships too; for example if you are considering giving someone a large sum of money or entering into a financial commitment with them such as a significant purchase or joint credit or a joint bank account. Even if you are just moving in with someone, knowledge of their financial history can be illuminating and let you know if your assets or property might be at potential risk or if this person is financially stable. 

Driving history:

A background check can let you know if a person has any previous significant driving offences or bans.

This is helpful to employers especially those recruiting for driving or machine operating roles.

This information can also let you know what kind of person they are, whether they are responsible and whether they are safe to be transporting people that you care about.

Background checking enables access to information about an individual that it would not be possible for members of the public to obtain through their own means.

Employers have the right to gain this information through application to various agencies but need the consent of the employee or applicant to do so.

Certain job roles cannot legally recruit without having undertaken comprehensive background checking and can be held legally responsible if an employee causes harm within their job role and the company’s employee background checking processes are found to be negligent.

It is more difficult for private individuals to access the information that background checking provides and find out personal information about a person they have concerns about or just want to know better.

Information around domestic abuse history or sexual abuse history can be obtained by application to the police but there is criteria around this and you will need to be in a relationship with that person or have a child or children with them.

The primary means of a member of the public obtaining a background check on an individual is to recruit the services of a professional private investigation agency; these are the experts in background checking and uncovering information about a person. 

Professional corporate investigation agencies utilise specialist software that enables them access to information, records and databases that are not available within the public domain or even through other background checking methods. 

Background checking by a professional private investigator will also be more thorough and comprehensive than that undertaken by other agencies or individuals due to the level of experience they have in this field and the wide range of skills they can employ to obtain information about a person including the use of covert surveillance and surveillance equipment.

Professional private investigators are also fully trained in the legal aspects of background checking and investigations into a person and so you can be reassured that you won’t end up with a harassment claim or accidentally committing an illegal act in your own pursuit of the truth.

If you want to find out details and information about a person in your life or in the life of someone you care about then your best option is to speak to a private investigator; they will be able to personalise their investigation to ensure they obtain the specific information you need to know and their experience in this field will enable them to get to the results you want quickly and efficiently. 

Background screening for employment is the undertaking of various checks and tests to verify information provided by the applicant such as their identity, address, education and employment history and other areas of their life and background that may be pertinent to the specific job role and industry that they have applied to.

Companies taking on new employees have the right and a duty to protect the business, other employees, customers, associates and investors from any potential harm posed by a new staff member. Background screening enables the business to be certain of who they are recruiting, that this person has the necessary experience, qualifications and competence to undertake the job role and that they are a safe and honest person and employee.

Background screening can be used to confirm or provide information about various aspects of the applicant:


Background screening proves the stated identity of the applicant by requesting proof that they are who they say they are and that they live where they claim to live, and obtaining verification of these identification documents.

This prevents an applicant from obtaining employment through deceptive means such as false identity which may hide other concerning features within their life or history, or enable them to present as more competent or qualified than they are in reality.

This is necessary for payment purposes as a wage will most likely be paid into a person’s bank account and the company needs to be sure they are paying the right person.

It also protects the company from being unable to take action against the individual in the event of future misconduct or fraud; not having the correct address details for an employee is a huge obstacle to this. The correct personal details for the individual are also essential when undertaking further background screening checks such as requesting DB checks or credit histories.

Qualification and Experience

Background screening enables verification of qualifications claimed to have been obtained and employment history This is essential to a business to know that they are recruiting a person who has the necessary qualities to carry out the job role and to also protect themselves from future legal action or penalty if an employee commits an offence or misdemeanour and the company was found to be negligent in their recruiting process.

Some employment roles are protected and can only legally be undertaken by persons holding the correct qualification and level of training, or with membership to a specific regulatory body and a company is duty bound to ensure this is the case before employing an individual.

Other roles would not be able to be undertaken competently by someone with inadequate training or experience and again this needs to be verified to ensure that no negligent or harmful practice is allowed to occur.

It is also helpful to the company to know of any difficulties within past employment roles or work experience and any sickness records or misconduct perpetrated by the applicant in a previous job; thorough pursuit and exploration of references helps the company to be forewarned about a person’s attitude and behaviours within work and to make a fully informed decision regarding whether to hire them or not.

DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) Checks

DBS checks need to be requested via an agency that is registered and authorised to provide these.

These checks can be obtained at different levels depending on the nature and need of the specific job role; at the lowest level they provide information on any past convictions against the individual applicant and at the highest level they also provide any police information relevant to the job role and the applicant’s capacity and safety in carrying in this out. Certain jobs legally require applicants to be DBS checked including those working with vulnerable people such as children or people with learning disabilities.

In other situations companies may decide that it is pertinent to request DBS checks to ensure the safety, security and confidence of their customers such as a cleaning company where workers are entering private homes or business premises.

Credit Checks

In some industries and employment roles it is important for an employer to be aware of the applicants financial history and to ensure that they are financially stable and have no major difficulties or court judgements against them regarding money and payments.

This could be the case for example where an employee is going to undertake the provision of financial advice to customers, is going to have access to funds and financial management within the business such as an accountant or is going to be a broker or advisor in areas of the financial sector such as insurance or mortgage providers.

The company needs to know that a person poses no financial risk and can undertake credit checks to provide information about the financial history of the individual and be aware of any red flags that come up as a result.

Drug and/or alcohol testing

Some industries mandatorily require employees to be regularly tested for drug misuse and this is included within pre-employment screening for jobs such as police officers or prison officers.

Other industries choose to employ drug testing as part of pre-employment checks and this can be particularly useful in jobs that require a high level of focus and responsibility, driving or machinery roles where harm could be caused by the negligent or substance influenced operating of vehicles and equipment, and jobs that entail access to substances. It may also be that concerns have been raised around an employee’s potential substance misuse whilst they are already in employment due to behaviour changes or indicators and substance testing might be utilised to address these concerns.

Personnel records

In addition to confirming employment history and obtaining references from previous employers, background screening may entail the request to access past personnel records regarding the applicant.

This can indicate any future problems that employing the person may incur such as frequent or extended sick leave, disputes with management or other colleagues, insubordination or misconduct that may not be shared through referencing alone.

This can be helpful to the company to understand more about the applicant in practical work terms, their attitude towards work and their ability to be managed and contribute to the work place as a team player. It can also help to assess whether the person will be suited to the particular job role or team that role sits within.

Background screening is a helpful process to assure businesses that they have the full picture when it comes to the person they are considering recruiting, minimising risk of future harm, difficulties or issues with the employee. Background screening will require the consent of the applicant and they have a right to know what checks are being undertaken and why, and to refuse this if they wish to.

However, this in itself can be informative to an employer as if an applicant is refusing any background check or test from being carried out this would generally indicate they have something to hide and are not the person that the company really wants to employ. Studies have shown that background screening leads to recruiting a better quality of employee and protects the health and wellbeing of the company and the customers they serve.

If you would like to arrange a background screening check, our corporate investigation team can help. Get in touch with us today for a free quote.

Recruitment can be an anxious time for any business. Whilst it is exciting to be bringing new blood and ideas into any company, or if the need to recruit is due to plans for growth and development, recruitment poses its own challenges and the potential of opening the business up to various forms of risk.

Allowing a new and unknown person access into the inner workings, knowledge and resources of the business can be stressful; how can a company be certain that this person will be who they say they are and have the competencies and qualifications they claim to have?

How they can be sure an applicant will share the ethos and culture held by the company and undertake tasks in line with expectation, and provide customers with the experience that the business has worked hard to build a reputation for?

How can a business know that this person will be a “good fit” and not destabilise current teams and positive working relationships? How does a business know that the potential recruit is legitimate and honest in their intentions and will not abuse the assets and opportunities the company provides?

Pre-employment screening is the undertaking of various checks to verify an applicant’s identity, education and employment history, any historic criminality and other aspects of the individual depending on the depth and range of checks undertaken. This holds many benefits and not just in terms of direct risk reduction for the company:

  • Recruiting higher quality applicants: 

Studies have shown that pre-employment screening leads to the recruitment of a better employee.

This starts at the point of application where the company makes potential employees aware that screening will be part of the recruitment process which deters individuals who know they are unlikely to pass this or that they will be found out if they are dishonest in their claims of past working experience or qualification.

This immediately filters out some of the less scrupulous potential applicants saving time and money for the business in the recruitment process. Awareness of pre-employment screening also encourages those that do apply to be wholly honest in their application, meaning the avoidance of smaller embellishments or additions to work history or competence. This helps a company to really know and understand the person applying for the job and to make fully informed decisions about who they hire, which leads to recruitment of the (genuinely!) most suitable candidate for the job.

  • Protecting the business from future harm:

Pre-employment screening allows an individual’s identity to be fully verified; employees who intend to commit fraud or other misconduct within their work role will avoid this and may provide false addresses or documents. Employee screening will spot this and ensure that these people are dropped from the recruitment process.

Pre-employment screening also enables verification of the person’s claims as to where they have worked before and how this went, as well as the qualifications and skills they report they hold; this allows the business to become aware of any details the applicant may have omitted such as an employment role they were dismissed from due to theft or negligence, a qualification that they did not actually complete or a record of regular sickness leave being taken from a previous job.

Pre-employment screening can provide reassurance that the person is being honest about their abilities and work ethic, and give the potential employer a good idea of the kind of worker the applicant is. This reduces risk of employing a potential perpetrator of harm towards the company.

  • Protecting the business from future legal action:

Employers can be held liable for the behaviour or actions of an employee within their company if they were negligent in the recruitment process; this can result in heavy financial penalties or legal action for the business.

If, for example, it transpired that a fork lift truck driver did not have the up to date licence they claimed at the interview to have and they injured a colleague or customer it would be the company who was wholly liable for this, or if an employee is working with vulnerable persons and acts harmfully and it is determined the company had not requested recent DBS checks, again it would be the company that would face the consequences for this.

  • Protecting current employees and staff teams:

Businesses want to ensure a positive experience for all of their staff in the workplace and adhere to their duty to protect the welfare and safety of employees; pre-employment screening uncovers any criminal convictions so that there is greater certainty that a business is introducing a violent or abusive person to the workforce.

Drug screening can also take place to help deter any persons from misusing substances or eliminate them from recruitment so that the issues that come with this are not going to impact on current members of staff.

Accessing verification of previous employment records and confirming references enables better understanding of the type of worker and person a business is recruiting; if there is any history of bullying or altercation within previous work roles this will show up through verification with past employers, as will any low productivity, poor attendance or high sick leave records so that a business can be sure that current employees aren’t going to be faced with picking up the slack for the new recruit. 

  • Improved customer experience:

Ensuring that a potential new employee is who they say they are and has the background they claim protects customers from harm or from receiving a poor or negligent service.

It is also of benefit to promote the fact that a business uses comprehensive pre-employment screening so that any customer can feel reassured that the individual that attends their home, provides their service or sells them a product is a safe and well-intentioned person who has the knowledge and experience to advise them competently and ensure that they achieve the end result they expected and needed from their involvement with the business.

This enables good customer relationships to be built and a hard earned reputation to be upheld.

  • Promoting confidence in investors, associates and business networks:

When it becomes known that a business is stringent in its pre-employment screening this enables confidence in others that are somehow involved with or connected to the business; it sends the message that this is a diligent and considerate company that takes its responsibilities to its employees, customers and others that it works with very seriously.

A company that is thorough and comprehensive in pre-employment screening comes across as likely to be organised, proficient and meticulous in all of its systems, working practices and activities.

This can create assurance for investors, potential associates and other operating within the same industry or connected industries that the company is reliable, ethical and, therefore, likely to continue to succeed and grow and will not place them, their finances or their business at any form of risk.

This can help the business to access opportunities for their own growth and development, and also exceed the reputations and working practices of competitors meaning that they are more likely to be approached or awarded such opportunities. In turn, holding such an esteemed reputation enables a feeling of pride within the employees as well for the company they work for and the ability to then attract a higher calibre of applicants to start the whole pre-employment screening process with again!

If you need help with employment screening at Bond Rees our private investigators can conduct different types of corporate investigation services including background checks on employees. If you would like to see how much this costs please get in touch with us.

Employee screening is a wider term used to cover various checks and tests that can be undertaken on an individual who is potentially going to be employed by a company or who is already engaged in employment with it.

Employees can pose risk of harm to a business in numerous ways due to the internal access and knowledge the undertaking of their contracted role necessitates; being fully informed and aware of who employees really are, their background and their identity is a crucial step in preventing any damage they could inflict and minimising risk of employee fraud.

Employees can pose risk of several different forms of fraud to a business as a result of their close involvement with it:

  • Payroll fraud can be undertaken by employees with access to payroll and can include them making higher payments to themselves or others than have been agreed or are due.
  • Expense fraud involves the submitting of inflated or false expenses claims for financial gain.
  • Data fraud is the sharing or breaching of confidential information held by the company to be sold at a profit to the employee to other agencies or to competitors, or used by the employee for their own independent business ventures. This can result in hefty financial penalty for the company.
  • Personnel fraud can be committed by an employee claiming sick pay dishonestly when they are not injured or ill, or after the time they have recovered. They may be just avoiding returning to work or may even be working another job and receiving a second income whilst still claiming their primary salary.
  • Insurance fraud can be implemented by the submitting of a false claim for injury or harm incurred at work.
  • Theft of stock, assets and company property can be an easy option for dishonest employees.
  • Financial fraud can be perpetrated by individuals with access to company funds or financial record records such as accountants or book keepers who may divert funds for their own purposes, alter invoices for financial gain or embezzle small and hard to detect amounts from company revenue over long periods.
  • Identity theft can be undertaken by employees with access to company financial information and identifying documents and proofs and used to gain credit to spend on purchases for themselves whilst amassing debt that the company is then liable for.
  • Abuse of company assets can be as small as misuse of company computers to search online during working hours to the illegitimate use of fleet cars or property for personal profit.
  • Cybercrime is easier to undertake if an individual already has access to company systems and passwords and can alter communications and systems within the business to cause harm to revenue, reputation and the overall health and survival of the business. 

It is clear, then, that employees can present a major form of risk to a business and that it is essential to the wellbeing of the business that future and current employees are fully screened to reduce risk posed.

Employee screening should start at the point that a business is considering hiring an individual as this minimises risk from day one; application processes need to include the provision of current and verifiable identification documents that include proof of address, the checking of certificates for qualifications stated and confirmation with the place of education or awarding body responsible for awarding these and requesting and checking out references from previous employers to ensure that they are genuine and the company and person giving the reference are real. 

For certain types of employment such as that which will include the handling of highly confidential information, access to vulnerable people or children or entry to people’s homes it is prudent (and sometimes legally necessary) to obtain a DBS (disclosure barring services) check which will report on any previous convictions and criminal history with an enhanced version also including any police information pertinent to the job role where appropriate. These checks can be obtained through subscription to an agency and options for this can be found online.

There are agencies that can support with verification of an individuals employment and academic history such as Experian. They can be accessed online and help businesses to have a greater degree of confidence that they are recruiting risk free.

If you didn’t obtain these checks at point of employment they can be introduced to the business at a later date, although this would need to be explained and justified to staff to prevent ill will and damage to working environments. Even if initial screening has taken place, it is good practice to undertake ongoing monitoring of this and request updated proofs of identity to check for any house moves or changes of name and to obtain biannual DBS checks within appropriate industries to ensure there has been no changes in this area or convictions since date of employment.

If recruiting in an area where finance is essential to the role and financial conduct is pertinent to the employee’s capacity to operate it is possible to undertake credit checking; this will require the candidate’s permission to obtain but any potential recruit with nothing to hide should be happy to consent to this. Again, agencies that provide this service can be readily found online.

Another check that can be undertaken for roles where it is appropriate is drug testing; this again would need the consent of the applicant but refusal can provide a useful indicator that this is probably not the person you want to employ anyway.

Drug testing can also be requested of an employee who has been working for the company for some time but for whom suspicions have arisen around potential substance misuse and this is impacting on their capacity, safety and competency within work. Again, refusal will probably tell you all you need to know but it is important to follow Acas guidelines if dismissal is to be pursued by the company as a result of this.

Certain job roles or businesses require absolute certainty about their employees and a deeper understanding of their background, personality and behaviour; if this is the case in your business a useful means of obtaining this is to utilise the services of a professional private investigation agency.

They have the software and access to data that is not available within the public domain to facilitate thorough background checking of an individual and can also make use of other investigation skills and methods to obtain information about an individual that will not be achieved through other means.

Private investigators can also operate in a bespoke manner meaning that they can look into targeted areas of an employee’s life and behaviours that are most relevant to the business, the job role the individual is being considered for and any potential vulnerabilities the company may be worried about.

Private investigators are also highly trained and informed regarding legal frameworks around employee screening so you can be assured that all work undertaken, and findings made, will be legally compliant and of practical use to the business.

Evidence will also be provided at the end of the corporate investigation which can support any decisions made by the company over whether to hire or not. This can also be shared with the applicant in case of challenge.

Every business wants a body of employees that they can trust, rely on to undertake their employed role in a reliable and conscientious manner and have positive working relationships with. This is beneficial to the health and development of the company, customer experience and relations and the employees themselves. 

However, there are occasions where trust is breached or suspicions raised around the conduct of an employee and risk being posed to the business as a result of this. In this situation it can be necessary to undertake employee investigation to identify the source of any risk, clarify any issues of misconduct and obtain evidence to support further action addressing this.

This is never a positive or comfortable position to be in and risks the breakdown of management/staff relationships, damage being caused to the morale or work environment for all employees and can even lead to legal challenge being taken against the company if investigation or resulting action is perceived as discriminatory, harassing or unjustified.

It is important to apply caution when considering implementing employee investigation and be aware of any implications or consequences that may result from this.

The first step in any employee investigation is to determine whether it is really needed and why; unnecessary investigation wastes company time, money and resources and can have heavy penalties in terms of working relationships and the potential of grievance claims.

Is there sufficient evidence to undertake an investigation and is the source of this evidence reliable and trustworthy? What will be achieved through investigation, and will the potential outcomes be worthy of the expense and impact investigation incurs?

Is there another way to resolve the issue? Have other avenues such as an informal discussion with the employee concerned or preventative measures to put a stop to any further capacity for the worrying behaviour to continue been explored? These are questions that need to be asked before commencing the formal investigation procedure.

If you determine that investigation is necessary and appropriate and decide to proceed, it is essential to ensure that this is carried out in a fair, objective, unbiased and comprehensive manner or else you risk future grievance claims, tribunals or legal action.

Employers need to abide by the Acas Code when undertaking any form of disciplinary action and staff investigation falls within this category. You are going to need to gather clear and irrefutable evidence to be able to pursue further action following investigation and to justify this action against any challenge or claim. 

An important part of ensuring objective and indisputable investigation is ensuring the person or agency that will undertake this can be proven to be neutral, independent and unbiased in their approach and findings.

Any person working within the business itself could be perceived as having an interest or investment in achieving a particular outcome for the investigation and this won’t be helpful in case of future challenge or legal action. It can be prudent to employ the services of an outside or independent professional such as a private investigator who will be able to investigate from a position of objectivity.

Professional private investigation agencies are the experts in undertaking employee investigation; by commissioning their services not only can you be assured of a thorough and efficient investigation that results in robust and irrefutable evidence but also that they are fully trained within legal frameworks around employee investigations and that all work undertaken by them will be legally compliant and ethical, again minimising any risk of future legal action impacting negatively on the business. 

Once you have confirmed the need for employee investigation and identified the person or agency that will undertake this, a plan for the implementation of the investigation needs to be formulated. This can be achieved through discussion between the business and the investigator and needs to identify areas and persons of concern, the history around this and the outcomes that need to be achieved or evidence that needs to be provided as a result of the investigation.

Expectations of the investigation need to be clarified so that the business know what they will receive and the investigator knows what is required of them and this can include timescales for the investigation, how evidence needs to be presented and how the investigator will be able to gain access to records, information and the work environment itself.

Limits of the investigation need to be discussed such as the inability to place surveillance equipment in certain places or the records or files that the business do not consent to the investigator accessing. Having a clear plan in place can prevent delay to the investigation commencing and can avoid confusion or frustration at a later date if the expectations of the business and the investigator were not clarified and therefore not met.

There is a duty for the employer to make the employee aware that investigation is being conducted, unless it can be demonstrated that doing so would risk the employee from manipulating evidence and preventing fair and accurate investigation.

For example, in cases such as employees who are fraudulently claiming compensation for injury they allege occurred in the workplace or who are taking extended sick leave for illegitimate reasons and are perhaps working elsewhere to obtain secondary income during this time, it would be inappropriate to inform the employee of the investigation as they will simply be able to stop the activity that would provide evidence of this, and nothing would ever be proven.

It is important for the business and the investigator to be aware of any reasons that the employee is not to be informed of the investigation and that they have recorded these reasons and discussions and decision making around this to prevent later challenge.

It is essential that any employee investigation is undertaken in a respectful, confidential and discreet manner.

Other employees do not need to know that an individual is being investigated and even if the employee concerned has committed misconduct or even criminal activity, they have a right to have their personal information and circumstances kept confidential.

Awareness of an investigation may also make other employees uncomfortable and could damage company reputation and relations. A professional private investigation agency is well aware and used to the need for absolute discretion and will ensure that this is complied with in all areas of undertaking and recording within the investigation.

Once the investigation has been concluded and evidence submitted by the investigator, this needs to be reviewed and decisions need to be made about what steps to take next.

It may be that a conversation needs to be held with the employee around the findings of the corporate investigation to gain their views and explanation and see if the situation can be resolved without further, more formal action. Again, this would form part of disciplinary procedures and any such meeting would need to comply with Acas Code guidance.

If the investigation determines that criminal or fraudulent acts have been committed by the employee, the business can then report this directly to the police or to Action Fraud to undertake further investigation and action against the perpetrator.

If the only option following conclusion of the employee investigation is dismissal procedures explained in the Acas Code would need to be followed. Robust evidence provided by an objective and professional employee investigation will be invaluable in supporting this outcome and preventing future or ongoing harm to the business. 

Fraud poses risk to every business no matter what size they are, what industry the operate within, or how much or little revenue they create.

Fraud directly harms the health, reputation and potentially the survival of the business. Employees, customers, suppliers, commercial networks and the industry itself all feel the force of fraud when a business has been targeted.

In fact, fraud within business even extends to impacting the national economy with costs caused by fraud in the UK amounting to billions every year. 

Fraud can range from small acts of dishonesty to obtain a slightly higher expenses pay out or a few extra days paid leave, to the long-term embezzlement of significant funds or the complete collapse of a business engineered through cyberattack.

Fraud can be perpetrated by employees or directors within the company themselves, contractors or individuals with internal access to a company such as accountants or marketing agencies, suppliers, customers, competitors or, indeed, any external individual or group with either something to gain or an axe to grind. 

There are many ways in which fraud poses risk to a business and can harm its revenue, reputation, infrastructure, productivity, and growth. The most effective means of addressing fraud is prevention and there are numerous actions that any business can take to protect their business and reduce risk of fraud, therefore minimising the likelihood of harm.

A good place to start is to determine what areas of vulnerability exist within your business and how fraud might be facilitated; every business is different and operates in different fields. Exploring the nature of your business and where weakness lies can help you to understand where harm may arise and risk assess in a targeted and effective manner to implement the most pertinent and valid preventative measures.

For example, a company that processes significant personal and confidential information is at high risk of data breach or misuse of information whereas a business that holds high value stock is at risk of theft or asset misuse. Consider the elements of your business that may offer incentive or reward to potential perpetrators and act to defend those areas. 

Once you know your business and its areas of fortitude and vulnerability, make sure you really know about the people involved or having access to, or influence over, it; these include employees, customers, suppliers, associates, contractors and competitors. 

Employees can be the greatest strength for a business but also pose the highest risk of fraud due to the access and knowledge within the company that their work necessitates.

It’s important to ensure that any potential employee is who they say they are and have the identity, experience and qualifications they allege. Undertake background checks on any individuals you intend to recruit and request ID, copies of certificates and valid references.

You can also further investigate references by calling the person said to have provided them and confirming the business they work for and their job role is genuine. Once in work, you can monitor physical behaviours of employees through the use of surveillance equipment such as CCTV and this can also act as a deterrent for any individual considering misusing company assets or stealing stock or company property.

Put in place systems to spot check financial records such as accounts or expense claims to look for any anomalies or potential extortion, keep in contact with staff who have taken long term sick leave and be present in the physical and online work environment.

Customers are the life source of your company and the large majority will only have an interest in receiving your products or services.

However, the odd few can have a more complicated agenda and can cause financial harm to your business through payment with the use of forged or stolen bank details or cards or through developing a relationship with the company to obtain credit which is then never reimbursed.

The business can be at a loss for products or services that are not paid for or which transactions need to be refunded for alongside potential banking charges and fees. It’s important to have an idea of a customer’s profile and background before agreeing any credit provision and there and request ID. Consider any irregularities in purchase behaviour such as products being shipped to different addresses or even overseas.

Any behaviour that presents as odd needs more careful investigation and further consideration before engaging with this customer again. You can also implement the use of verification systems to better protect online transactions such as verify or securecode provided by visa and mastercard. If you deal with trade customers you can research their business, public records and reputation and request references.

Suppliers will usually be seeking to further their own business and will want to build a good relationship and reputation with you.

However, any financial involvement with another business is open to exploitation and this could be through gradual increase and overcharging, unexplained fees or charges or another individual or group posing as the supplier you know and trust and conning you into setting up payment into a new account that never reaches the hands of the genuine supplier and leaves you in debt and incurring potential further charges.

Check a supplier’s reputation and background online through searches (perhaps even use keywords con, fraud or scam to bring up complaints from previous customers). Confirm their details match with those you have been given with Companies House. Once you’re happy to purchase, set up a single point of contact within the company whom you can get to know and trust and who will be the person to advise you of any changes so you know this is authentic.

Ensure that you then monitor the supplier ongoing; check invoices and deliveries or services received and continue to undertake online searches to ensure that the company has not fallen into disrepute or concerns have been expressed by other businesses or individuals they deal with.

Lastly, it’s important to know your business’s assets and ensure that these are correctly recorded and robustly monitored.

Lack of consistent processes and sloppy or inaccurate recording leaves assets open to theft or abuse; information can be breached or shared inappropriately destroying a company’s reputation and leaving it liable for hefty financial penalty, property can be stolen or fraudulently sold on and company resources such as computers or fleet cars can be abused.

There are many ways that assets can pose risk to the company if not managed correctly and vigilantly monitored. Ensure that there are systems in place that know where all your physical assets are at any time and who has access to them; keep this updated and current.

Only permit a necessary and minimal number of employees access to sensitive information or record keeping and check digital footprints to ensure that no one who shouldn’t see it has gained access. Implement procedures for regularly spot checking employee asset use and access, and records within accounts, pay roll and invoicing to detect any anomaly early on and address this with staff. 

In conclusion, fraud poses considerable and wide ranging risk to any business.

Preventative actions and processes reduce the risk of future harm occurring. However, if you have been too late in implementing these or if prevention has not been enough and you think that your business may be falling victim to fraud, an effective response is to recruit the services of a private investigation agency to undertake full corporate investigation into the situation; these are the experts in detecting fraud and will be able to identify any current scams underway or advise you on the potential areas of risk and vulnerability within your business and specific prevention methods to ramp up your safeguarding capacity.  

Employees are the backbone of any business and can be it’s greatest strength; the majority of employees will have applied to their post in an honest and transparent manner and will have approached employment with the intention of wanting to do well, work hard, maintain their job and the company that provides this and possibly to even progress. 

A good and prudent business values and looks after their staff, supporting their wellbeing and offering opportunities for them to develop personally and professionally. This allows positive relationships to build between employer, or management, and employee and is conducive to a productive and pleasant working environment and, therefore, a healthy and successful company.

However, whilst employees overall bring benefit to any company, they can also be the most significant chink in its armour and open the business up to risk and vulnerability. 

Employees naturally have inside access to, and knowledge about, the business they work for; this could be in a physical sense in that they work within roles that place them in contact with stock, supplies and concrete assets of the business; it could be with regard to finance in that they handle monies belonging to or received by the company, undertake invoicing or payroll tasks, submit or manage expense claims or are involved with accounting or the management of company funds; it could also be in terms of the information that the company holds be this intellectual property, personal details of staff and customers, plans around business development and financial records for the business; it may be that the employee has access and input to technology or computer and online systems for the business such as their website, marketing, communications and recording processes. 

It is not possible to run a business without opening yourself up to some degree of risk from employees or those working within the company in some capacity; even the smallest of businesses will have to take on some form of additional help at a point if they are to progress or develop. The employment of others is a necessary risk for the health and advancement of any endeavour.

The issue comes with the minority of employees who are not acting with the best intentions and are invested in obtaining their own financial or individual gain at the expense of the health and wellbeing of the company. Employee fraud is a significant risk to every business, whatever their size, and comes in many forms and can be hard to detect.

The majority of people want to see the best in others and believe that they have honourable intentions; a good business wants to trust its staff and have a positive working relationship with them. Whilst constant suspicion and mistrust of every staff member is not advocated, or conducive to a healthy and successful business, it is important that appropriate levels of vigilance are applied and that monitoring systems are in place to protect and safeguard a company from the potential risks posed by employees. 

Prevention is the best form of managing the risk of employee fraud, and limiting damage caused to the business. However, what if this hasn’t worked and you suspect employee fraud is occurring? This is an alarming and anxiety provoking realisation, and you will want to act immediately to put an end to the fraudulent activity, enable damage limitation and probably tackle the responsible individual. But how do you go about this without placing the business at further risk?

If you have direct evidence that a criminal act has been committed such as theft of stock recorded on CCTV or company property having been found on the person themselves, you can go straight to the police and report the crime. You are then able to dismiss the individual for gross misconduct as this is a pretty clear-cut situation and should not incur any challenge. Details of correct dismissal procedures and guidance around this can be found on www.acas.org.uk but if someone has irrefutably stolen from your company and a police investigation is underway, you’re in a strong position to sack the perpetrator.

You can also report employee fraud to Action Fraud; this is the UK’s centre for the reporting of fraud and cybercrime and is delivered jointly by City of London Police and the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau who undertake investigation into fraud reported. Action Fraud can be accessed via www.actionfraud.police.uk and accepts reports of fraud from victims, businesses, and witnesses alike. There are options within the online reporting tool to make Action Fraud aware of corporate employee fraud, procurement fraud or the specific act of retaining a payment that has been made in error. 

You may initially want to go straight to the source of the concern and speak to the perpetrator to make them aware that you are alerted to their behaviours and, in doing so, prevent further fraud occurring. This can be a helpful action in some situations, especially lower key fraud such as abuse of flexible working arrangements, misuse of company time or resources such as computers or submitting moderately inflated expense claims. A conversation to remind the employee of expectations and consequences regarding these matters can often be enough to put them back on the right track and prevent the issue developing further. 

However, approaching the employee directly and making them aware that you have detected their behaviour can also have negative outcomes such as causing them to become more covert and secretive, preventing you from gaining increased evidence of the fraud and therefore having the option to take more robust action in the future. If you are incorrect in your accusation or do not have adequate evidence, the employee could also have justification for legal challenge themselves, placing the business at risk of other harm.

The above methods of addressing or reporting fraud are useful if you have reasonable grounds to think that fraud has been committed and at least some form of evidence to substantiate this. The majority of employee fraud, however, is a little more complex and difficult to evidence, meaning that it will be more challenging to address and resolve. You may not even be sure that fraud has taken place but have a persistent suspicion or gut feeling that something is going on. You may be worried that you could be wrong and that taking the direct action of officially reporting this will do harm to working relationships or the business itself if your suspicions transpire to be unfounded. 

In situations where there is not clear evidence and confirmation that fraud has been committed, or who is the perpetrator, it is wise to gather further information and understanding and strengthen your position before taking direct or formal action that will be difficult to reverse once wheels are in motion. 

It may be that you want to attempt to build your evidence of the fraud and undertake investigation yourself; you can gain clarity over your suspicions with a little deeper digging into records and accounts, cautiously speaking to colleagues and customers to see if this provides any further indicators or information about the concern and close observation of the suspected individual and heightened monitoring. The use of surveillance equipment such as CCTV can also be of use to information or evidence gathering. 

If, however, you don’t feel comfortable or equipped to undertake your own investigation or you simply don’t have the time, or if you are worried that you will be unable to achieve the quality of evidence required to effectively address the problem it is wise to recruit the services of a professional in this field; Corporate investigation agencies are the experts in corporate investigation and the evidencing of employee fraud.

A private investigator will have the skills, knowledge and resources as well as the understanding of legal frameworks to undertake a thorough investigation into the fraudulent activity in a legitimate manner and produce robust and irrefutable evidence of any wrongdoing occurring, allowing you to tackle or report the fraud without any fear of recrimination.

They also work quickly and efficiently, meaning that your business can benefit from the shortest timescales between detecting the fraud and taking decisive action to stop it. Hiring a private investigator is the guaranteed way to protect your business and manage employee fraud.

Employee fraud involves an employee, or person working within or for a company committing fraud against that company. There are numerous forms that this can take, and businesses are vulnerable to employee fraud in a number of ways.

A company’s employees can be their greatest asset but can also be their greatest risk and open them up to fraudulent behaviour that can cause significant and long term damage to the reputation, health and survival of the business. Harmful impact of employee fraud can extend to other employees, customers, other businesses within the company’s network and the industry as a whole that the business operates within.

Employee fraud can vary in its nature and aim from being for financial gain, to further independent goals and ventures of an individual or group to a desire for revenge for a disagreement or action taken against an individual or to tarnish the company in some way and therefore its future reputation and success.

There are many ways an employee or person with inside access to a company may perpetrate fraud against it:

An employee may submit a false or inaccurate claim for sickness pay during absence from work; it may be that their illness was genuine at the start of this claim, and they have since recovered. However, they do not want to return to work as have enjoyed or benefitted from not having this responsibility so continue to claim sick pay for longer than required or are reporting false ongoing symptoms to their GP to prolong being signed off. It may be that the illness was never present in the first place, but they have again reported false symptoms to their GP to be signed off yet guaranteeing sick pay in their absence; they may well be using this time to work elsewhere or for themselves and claim a second income whilst still receiving a salary from the job they are not attending.

An employee can also make a false or exaggerated claim about an incident or injury that occurred within the workplace in order to gain compensation; this may be an accident that happened on work premises but that the employee is being dishonest about the extent of their injury and the impact this has on their quality of life and capacity. It may be that the employee is falsely alleging discrimination, harassment or bullying to gain compensation, or unfair dismissal. Much of these actions will be to achieve financial gain in some way or another, to the detriment of the business.

Payment fraud can be committed by any employee or person working within or for the business who has access, or has gained access, to accounts and payroll. It may be that the perpetrator simply makes direct payments to themselves or other accounts/persons connected to them from company accounts; it could be that they alter payments so that more is paid to themselves or others than is due; they might falsify invoices to inflate payments beyond work done or price agreed; an employee or other individual such as an accountant might create false accounts so that payments can be made into these for fake expenses or purchases and transactions not linked to the perpetrator if discovered.

Someone with insider knowledge and access to financial information and identification documents such as an employee may attempt identity theft, using the status, history and assets of the business to obtain credit for their own purposes and placing the business in debt as a result. 

Another form of employee fraud occurs through theft; this could be of physical property, assets, intellectual property or company information. Employees or persons working within a company have access to stock and supplies, even office equipment, that may be stolen for their own use or financial gain; in certain businesses employees have access to information about products or services in development or business plans as well as customer information that they may use for their own business or moonlighting purposes; some businesses hold assets or have use of assets such as property or vehicles that the employee may illegitimately make use of for their own gain or convenience.

The misuse of information poses a major risk to businesses and can result in significant financial penalty and legal action; employees can, depending on their job role, have access to personal employee and customer data as well as knowledge of planned developments or current financial and trading status. They can sell this information to outside agencies or businesses for financial gain for themselves or to obtain leverage in some other way that benefits them, placing the business in a very precarious and vulnerable position. 

An employee may abuse company time and this is categorised as a form of employee fraud; it may be that an employee logs hours or work they have not undertaken or that has not taken as long as the time they have reported; it could be that the employee does not comply with flexible working facilities and is repeatedly not meeting their stated hours or is clocking in through false means; it might be that an employee is not using company time to complete work or to carry out the role they are paid to do such as misusing company computers or software for their own purposes or carrying out other activities when they are meant to be working.

An employee may have been fraudulent from the very start of their contact with the business, stating false experience and/or qualifications to obtain a job role or salary that is above their competency level. This places the company at risk of negligence and can harm the company itself, other employees and customers. If the role is high profile or has serious consequences if not undertaken properly this can be extremely detrimental and dangerous.

These are a few examples of the many forms of employee fraud and ways in which businesses are vulnerable to risk through the people who work for it. Most employees value their job and the company they work for and want to work in an ethical and company focused way to promote the future of the business and, in doing so, their own prospects.

Whilst only a small minority of employees behave in a fraudulent manner, this small percentage can do an enormous amount of damage and fraud has huge financial implications for the economy and country as a whole; the Financial Cost of Fraud Report 2019 estimated the cost of fraud to the UK to be around £130 to £190 billion per year.

It’s important for businesses to be aware of the risk posed by employees and insider individuals; this is not about being suspicious and mistrustful of every person working for your company, but applying reasonable safeguarding and prevention measures within systems, processes and technologies to protect your business and those connected to it and acting quickly if you notice or become aware of any potentially concerning behaviours or situations. 

If you do feel that your company may be at risk from a particular employee or associated individual you can take steps to prevent this from developing and further harming your business, to do so you can hire our corporate investigation team.

Professional private investigator agencies have knowledge and expertise within the field of employee fraud and will be able to advise on the best preventative measures or next actions you need to take in safeguarding your business.

Employee absenteeism has a significant impact on any business; from small, local concerns to huge multinational companies, staff absence effects productivity, the capacity to meet deadlines, quality of products or services provided and the amount of trading or service provision that can be accommodated.

The impact goes even further than these immediate consequences, extending to other colleagues and management, customers, suppliers and the wider business network; employee absenteeism harms the overall revenue, reputation, health and, potentially, survival chances of a company. 

Employee absenteeism is a global issue affecting many businesses, industries and, in fact, national economies; according to research undertaken by the CIPD, employee absenteeism is currently costing the UK in the region of £29 billion.

All employees will have times when they need to take a few days off for sickness or to deal with personal or private difficulties.

Many employees will, at some point in their career, need to take a period of extended leave due to serous or longer-term illness or injury or another matter in their lives that temporarily reduces their capacity to work. This is reasonable and the right of the employee; life happens and people cannot control or predict problematic physical or mental health or the occurrence of a significant event in their world.

Employees needing to take time away from work for legitimate reasons should be supported by their employer, treated with compassion, respect and understanding and have their needs at that time recognised and accepted.

However, there are other situations of persistent or unreasonable absenteeism where an individual has taken an extended period of leave without a genuine concern to justify this, is perhaps being misleading or dishonest about their reason for absence or has taken numerous periods of leave over their duration of employment which is now at the point of making their contribution to work minimal or non-existent and is disruptive to the company.

It is extremely challenging for businesses when they are faced with these situations as they need to continue to meet the expense of paying for the employee but are receiving nothing back for this outlay, they must balance the workload and experience of other staff and management who are picking up the legacy of the absenteeism and they must still meet the expectations and contractual obligations of customers.

So, what can a business do to tackle the issue of persistent or unreasonable employee absenteeism?

Any staff absence of more than one working week requires the employee to provide evidence of the reason for their extended leave such as a GP letter or document; the employer has a right to request this and failure to provide this can mean that the business can respond in a more heavy handed manner from the offset.

If the employee has provided supporting evidence, the business needs to accept this at first and allow the individual to have their time off in a peaceful and uninterrupted manner without any harassment or intrusion from their employment. 

Once the supported period of leave is coming to an end, or if the periods or absence have become persistent or if you are questioning how genuine the reasons for leave are, an important first step is to speak with the employee in question to gain fuller understanding of the reasons for absence, a timescale of when they intend to return to work and a plan from them of how they intend to prevent further absence; it is crucial that the business are supportive during initial consultations and that they work with the employee to identify any role the company can play in supporting the return to work and any measures that need to be taken to allow this to be a successful and good experience for the staff member; this may include allowing some flexibility in working hours, a gradual return, the provision of counselling or emotional support for the employee or adaptations to physical environments or equipment.

These measures can be reviewed ongoing to determine how effective they have been and whether they need to reduce or increase.

Once the company has done their bit to support the return to work and it either hasn’t happened or the employee has again taken absence, the business may start questioning the justifications behind this and want to start to take more direct action to prevent further financial and productivity losses.

It is possible to consider dismissal if reasonable adjustments have been made but it’s important that a company follow ACAS guidance around this (www.acas,org,uk) to prevent it resulting in a claim for unfair dismissal and tribunal.

Disability is not reasonable grounds for dismissal. However, long term sickness can be if the individual’s inability to work is impacting severely on the business. There can also be the option of dismissal on grounds of gross misconduct by the employee if their reason for absence is determined to be dishonest or falsely evidenced.

Both of these avenues would still need careful management and investigation before being undertaken to ensure compliance and protect the business from future legal challenge. 

If an employee’s absence is impacting significantly on the business, or if the business suspects that the grounds for absence are false it is important to gain evidence to support this before proceeding with dismissal.

Impact of genuine long-term absence and the employee’s inability to work can be demonstrated through providing records of absence dates and productivity, proof of company expenditure caused by the absence (eg. loss of revenue or having to pay additional hours to other staff or recruit to cover the missing employee’s job) and statements from other staff members or management, and even customers, about the impact the absence has had on their lives, workload and experience.

If the business is concerned that the employee is fraudulently taking absence such as claiming for an illness or injury that is more severe than is the genuine case or that they are now recovered, or are being dishonest about events in their life that have prevented them from being able to work, it can be extremely difficult to obtain evidence to support this and dismiss the employee on grounds of gross misconduct without risking legal challenge or redress. A very effective solution to this issue is to obtain the services of a corporate investigation agency; these are the experts in gathering robust and irrefutable evidence to corroborate any suspicions and enable the company to resolve the matter without risk. 

Private investigators are able to situate themselves internally or externally to a company and undertake covert surveillance, provide specialist surveillance equipment, track and background check the absent employee; they have use of software that allows them to access information on individual that is not available in the public domain or to businesses not operating in this field.

A private investigator will be able to monitor the activities of an absent employee and determine if they are in better health than they claim or have greater capacity for work than they are alleging; for example it may be that the employee is working elsewhere to obtain a second income whilst still receiving sick pay from their primary employment, or it could be that the employee is far more physically capable than they declare and are undertaking activities within their lives that demonstrate this.

A private investigator will undertake surveillance to gain clear and physical proof of any fraudulent absence claims being made by the individual, providing a business with the evidence it requires and placing them in a position of power and choice. 

If your business has concerns about an employee absence that is harming the health of the business and the wellbeing of other staff and customer relations, hiring a private investigator can be the only guaranteed means of addressing this without risk. 

Business fraud is illegal or dishonest activity by a company or individual that is misrepresented as a legitimate business endeavour. It is undertaken for the purposes of achieving financial gain or advantage. This is also known as corporate fraud. 

Business fraud entails the employee(s) or other person(s) connected within the business going beyond or outside of their job role or capability. It has extensive impact on the business itself, its employees, third parties or clients and the industry within which the business operates. Fraud can also be referred to as extortion, a scam, con, swindle or a hoax.

Business fraud can be perpetrated by those in ownership or control of the company or at a high level of management or directorship but can also be perpetrated by others employed within the company without the knowledge or awareness of management.

There are many forms of corporate fraud that a business or individual may perpetrate:

It may be the misuse of company held information such as customer records and personal details; this can be used for purposes other than the stated intention when the data was collected or shared unethically and illegally for financial benefit or other gain.

Alternatively, it can be the misuse of this information, or of assets held by the company, in a manipulative manner to achieve leverage or gain.

Business fraud includes the falsifying or altering of company accounts or revenue recording to disguise debt or misrepresent the financial status of the business to gain credit or investment, to sell the business for a more favourable price or even raise share value.

Finances and revenue within the company can also be used for a purpose that was not intended or declared. This may include being diverted to be spent on or invested in personal or other business projects by the company themselves or individuals within the company who have access and control over financial assets. A business or individual might also falsely claim that funds are being spent or donated to charitable causes to raise prestige or revenue when this is not the end use of the money.

Another form of corporate fraud is the misrepresentation or goods or services sold in which the client does not receive the end product they were told they were buying, or it is of a different nature or quality than they were led to believe. It can include the deliberate hiding or flaws or issues with the product or service to prevent this from being known by the purchaser. 

Cyber crime covers any illegitimate use of computers and technology and covers acts such as hacking to access or alter company information or systems and distribute false communications. Cyber crime poses a significant risk to any business today where technology and the internet form such an integral part of every-day working life.

A business or individual can also commit insurance fraud by making a false claim regarding an incident or injury or damage to property (be this physical, intellectual or technological), or by providing erroneous or altered recording of assets held and owned by the company or being dishonest about how an incident occurred or what prevention and safeguarding technologies were in place to increase insurance pay out or obtain it when the business was not complying with the stated insurance terms and conditions.

Business fraud covers a wide variety of acts and offences and has significant impact on the business itself as well as the many other individuals, communities, agencies and the industry connected to it. If you suspect business fraud but don’t have evidence you may want to enlist the help of our corporate investigations team who can provide you with evidence to secure a conviction.

It is possible to report business fraud whether you are the victim or are aware of a victim of business fraud, the business itself or a witness and there are several agencies in place specialised in responding to the various types of business fraud that may have been perpetrated.

It is important that any act that has caused or threatens harm to any individual is reported to the police as this is a crime and needs to be investigated as such.

Action Fraud has been set up in partnership by City of London Police and the National Fraud Intelligence Service and deals with cyber crime. Reports of this type of fraud can be made 24 hours a day by accessing  their website www.actionfraud.police.co.uk to report online or calling 0300 123 2040. The police collate the report and information and this is passed on to the National Fraud Intelligence Service for investigation.

If you think that you may have received communications about a potential scam or phishing attempt, or have viewed a website that you are suspicious of, you can report this to report@phishing.gov.uk which will then by investigated by the National Cyber Security Centre. You can also report any misleading or scam advertising to the National Advertising Standards Authority, as well as to the search engine itself that you used to access or view the advertising concerned such as Google or Bing.

Any tax or accounting fraud needs to be reported to HMRC; VAT, Customs and Excise Fraud all fall under this bracket and can be reported online on www.gov.uk. There are online forms available for reporting purposes and you are able to remain anonymous if this is a concern for you as there is no need for you to provide your personal details when raising this.

Any company that is acting in a fraudulent manner by taking money for goods or services that are misrepresented or not received, has committed some form of scam, is not reporting tax details correctly, owes money or has caused any form of harm to those connected to it such as customers or suppliers can be reported to Companies House, again on www.gov.uk.

It is also possible to report a business to Trading Standards if they have undertaken fraudulent acts such as selling a dangerous item, misrepresenting goods or services sold or not providing these following receipt of payment. Reports to Trading Standards are made via the Citizens Advice Consumer Service and there is further information and online reporting tools available on their website at www.citizensadvice.org.uk.

If, however, you are a business owner or director, an employee or a customer or supplier that has suspicions about fraud but are unable to determine whether this is actually being committed and feel that you need to know more before taking the action of reporting.

Or if, as a business, you wish for whatever reason to manage any potential fraud in house without alerting authorities, another option available is to recruit the services of a professional private investigation agency. These are the experts in uncovering any acts or behaviour that may be harming your business or affecting others connected to it, and will provide irrefutable evidence if a crime is being committed.

This will give you clarity and peace of mind as to exactly what is going on and who is responsible, and the proof that you need to take action to address risk and achieve damage limitation for your business revenue and health, reputation and future. 

Private investigators are specialists in undercover investigation and use physical skills such as covert surveillance and tracking alongside technology such as surveillance equipment and access to information and databases not available to the public or other industries.

They can also provide you with advice and guidance around the technologies and softwares that can protect your business as well as other steps you can take to minimise risk.

There are many types of fraud that can affect large or small businesses and can go on undetected for long periods of time. Fraud can severely impact long term on a business’ reputation, revenue and health and, potentially, survival. The impact of fraud can cause far reaching harm to the people employed within a business.

Its customers and the industry in which it is based. In extreme cases, fraud within business can even impact on a national economy.

No business is too small to be at risk of fraud and often smaller businesses are more vulnerable due to less safety measures being in place, less vigilance, lower level technologies and a more relaxed or trusting approach to employees and even clients.

There are various forms of fraud that can be harmful to a business such as financial fraud, scamming, internal theft, identity theft and employee compensation fraud.

Financial fraud comes in many different forms: embezzlement which involves the person who is in charge of the business’ funds uses those funds illegally, such as an accountant spending it on purchases for himself; Payoffs or kick backs enable individuals working within the business to use their position to gain information or other benefits for people outside the organisation in exchange for payment;

Skimming involves an employee taking money from customers or other sources of income and not recording this but pocketing the funds for themselves;

Money laundering is when an individual who has access to funds and control of funds, such as an accountant or director, puts illegitimately earned money through the company to make it legitimate and places the business at huge legal risk in doing so.

Scamming occurs when an external company or individual offers to provide a business with a product or service that they are not able or qualified to provide and which either does not ever manifest following payment or is not as described.

Businesses fall foul of this type of con or fraud in such situations as purchasing updated equipment or seeking consultancy services.

Internal theft involves employees stealing from within the business such as office equipment, technology, stock or any other supplies they have access to. This can go undetected for long periods of time and cause a business additional expense over long periods. 

Identity theft can happen when employees have access to business computer records and files, and financial documents such as bank statements or accounts which they can use themselves to steal the business’ identity to access credit.

Another form of identity theft occurs when an employee uses the good name and reputation (as well as potentially its stock and resources) to provide a service independently to customers, keeping all of the revenue for themselves and risking the business’ reputation at the same time as stealing custom.

Employee compensation fraud relates to staff members making claims for compensation or for sickness pay on a dishonest basis; they may be exaggerating the extent of an injury that occurred in the workplace to obtain a pay out or falsely claiming illness or disability so that they can continue to be paid a wage whilst not having to actually work, or working elsewhere to obtain a second wage.

The best means of dealing with fraud in your business is prevention; acting to safeguard and protect can stop the far-reaching impact of fraud damaging the people, revenue, reputation and health of your business. 

So how can you prevent fraud from harming your business? 

Important to fraud prevention is robust knowledge and vigilant monitoring of your employees, suppliers, customers and assets; these are the people that you open your business up to and are vulnerable to, and the stock, capital, facilities and credit that your business holds. 

Background checks and screening on employees is vital during recruitment stages; whilst taking someone’s word for their history, experience and qualifications and accepting the reference providers they propose is a good way to build working relationships it places your business at risk and it is vital that you gain an objective and external oversight on someone before you allow them access to the systems and assets within your business. 

You need to also know who is supplying your business with stock, supplies and services; overpricing will cost your business massively in the long run; if a company that you are paying to provide your marketing, advertising or website designing are not acting as agreed or don’t have the skills and knowledge to provide the service a business can lose out on custom and reputation; if a company is supplying you with substandard stock or materials this can cost your business custom and reputation again and may even land you in legal battles. 

Customers can harm your business by not paying for goods or services that have been provided on credit, by paying through fraudulent means such as stolen credit cards or through the use of identity theft of another individual or business. It’s important to check payment means and to be thorough in your background checking before providing any client with credit. 

Business assets can range from customer information, to stock, properties and financial holdings. You need to keep a constant and all knowing eye on all assets and ensure that employees or others who have access to these are not misusing them or abusing this access.

Breaching of customer or employee data could result in a very significant fine and legal action for the business.

Misuse of assets can cost a business heavily both in terms of finances and reputation and therefore custom. Robust recording systems need to used and there needs to checks and balances within this such as making sure that not only one person has oversight of an asset or funds to prevent any fraudulent activity from going undetected. 

Surveillance equipment is a clear preventative measure within business premises, sites and offices; this is visible to employees and clients and acts as a deterrent for any illegal or inappropriate activity This also allows any queries or concerns around, for example, missing money or stock to be immediately looked into and evidence provided to ensure that a stop is put to this quickly before it develops into a significant issue for the business.

If, however, preventative measures have been unable to stop fraud from affecting your business (such as in a matter of a false employee claim for sick pay or ongoing theft from the business that you have been unable to evidence or attribute to a particular individual), an effective solution is to engage the services of a professional corporate investigation agency.

Private investigators are able to undertake covert surveillance, advise on specialist surveillance equipment and technology, undertake background checks and access data and records pertaining to an individual that are not in the public domain; this is invaluable in identifying and irrefutably evidencing the source of any fraudulent activity, enabling you to address it before it impacts on the long term health of your business, damaging reputation, custom and revenue often beyond repair.

Professional private investigators also act within legal frameworks to ensure that any legal challenge to a disciplinary or dismissal action that occurs as a result of uncovering the culprit(s) of the fraud affecting your business cannot stand. The evidence provided by a private investigator will also support civil or criminal action against the person(s) concerned if this is also something you choose to pursue.

An unproductive employee will work slower or not work at all, meaning every task takes longer to complete or is never completed.

This will impact on the efficiency, output and end profit of the company. In some cases, this can be the difference between a business thriving or failing. After all, an employee is being paid to do a job because the business needs that job to be done; if that job is not done the company does not get paid and likely loses any chance of repeat business as well as the good reputation they had built up.

The unproductive employee is losing the business income, yet at the same time the business continues to be liable for the expense of paying wages to that same employee that is not making them any money. 

It’s a vicious circle and a frustrating situation to say the least and needs to be tackled for the health and survival of the business, as well as the wellbeing of colleagues and management who are having to pick up the slack that the unproductive individual is leaving in their wake. 

But dealing with unproductive employees can be a minefield and no business will benefit from ending up in a tribunal or legal action over breach of contract, discrimination or unfair treatment or dismissal. So, what is the best way to approach the situation, and how can a fair and satisfactory outcome be reached for all parties?

Initially, the business has a duty and responsibility to reflect on its own behaviours and possible contributions to the situation that has arisen, before they take the step of approaching this with the employee in question; 

  • Put yourself in their shoes: It’s useful to consider what it is like being an employee for this company? What is it like being that specific employee doing that specific job? Try to imagine spending a day or shift performing the role they are employed to do. This will help to develop insight and empathy and may even give the answers required without needing to go any further. 
  • Has something changed? Has there been a drop in wages or have they not increased at an acceptable level in relation to rises in living costs? Has there been an increase in expected productivity, workload or demand? Has something gone wrong or altered in the chain of production that has made work harder to complete, to take longer or to place additional strain, stress or burden on the employee? Has there been a change of management which has caused damage to working relationships or productivity on some way? Has the job changed in some way and now the employee just doesn’t really know what they are doing  or have not had adequate time, induction or training in their new role to become competent within it?
  • What does the company do to motivate staff and ensure employee wellbeing and engagement at work? Does company pay reflect the requirements and responsibilities of the job and allow the work to feel worthwhile to the employee, the employee to feel valued and have enough money to provide a decent quality of life? Are there any incentives or rewards for good work and committed employees? Does the company offer training and prospects to encourage workers to invest in their job and have ambition and hope of something more or better to strive for? Consider how communications between management and employees impact on staff; are these respectful, positive and inspirational or critical, degrading and demotivating? How does the company promote a sense of belonging and cohesion within the employee body? 

If you feel that you can provide a fair and reasonable response to all of the above, and that the business is doing its bit to support staff and provide a positive and rewarding workplace environment, its probably time to have a conversation with the employee in question themselves to try to gain further understanding.

It’s important to initially approach this in a non-confrontational, non-accusatory or hostile manner and to present as curious, interested and caring to demonstrate to the employee that you are not seeking to reprimand but to open lines of communication to find ways to understand the situation better and identify mutual solutions to the problem. 

Consider the context in which the lack of productivity has been identified; has this employee previously been a good worker who has recently changed in their attitude towards their work and the manner in which they conduct themselves?

Is this a long-term problem that has been raised several times before but improvements have never been achieved? Is this a more recently employed member of staff who just hasn’t been meeting expectations since day one? This will impact on how willing you are to be understanding and for how long, and how you approach the employee.

Ensure privacy and confidentiality in approaching the employee; calling them into the manager’s office in front of all their colleagues is going to be humiliating and demeaning and won’t improve relations or output.

A quiet invite or brief email is a better way to set the scene for a productive meeting.  Be open and transparent with the employee when explaining why you have requested to speak with them and ask them for their views on this and let them speak.

Show active listening and take on board what they are saying; maybe they have a reason for their recent lack of productivity? It could be that they are having mental or physical health difficulties, or perhaps they are dealing with issues in their personal or family life at present.

Possibly they are feeling overwhelmed or unable to cope with the current workload, have lost motivation for some reason or are experiencing burn out. If any of these difficulties are affecting their productivity there are various ways an employer can support with this such as suggesting the worker take some time off to enable them to recover or focus on other matters for some time or that they reduce their hours whilst they address this, reducing workload on a temporary basis, providing counselling or involving occupational health or asking the employee what might help them at this time.

Feeling that their employer cares and is understanding about their situation and views them as a valued human being will enable trust and open communication with the employee, positive resolutions to be mutually agreed on and long term will improve productivity.

If the employee is unwilling to recognise the problem after reasonable and respectful discussion, or if there is no capacity to work towards mutually beneficial solutions it may be time to take a more heavy handed approach, If, as an employer, you feel that you need to work towards dismissing the employee it is important that you adhere to correct procedures around this to avoid any future claims or legal action being taken against the company; the ACAS Code of Practice provides advice and guidance on correct disciplinary and grievance procedures and is a useful reference for employers seeking to take disciplinary action against a member of staff.

If, as an employer, you are concerned about not having grounds or evidence to support disciplinary or dismissal procedures it could be helpful, and prudent, to employ the services of a private investigation company who can assist with obtaining and providing robust evidence around an employee’s actions and behaviours both in and out of their place of work.

This can be submitted to a tribunal if needed at a later date as evidence and our corporate investigators can also submit witness statements.

This can prove an invaluable safeguarding action for your business and can support in achieving a mutual agreement with an employee on how to handle the matter or in protecting your business and justifying your actions should the employee not be willing to accept accountability.

Sometimes a situation arises in life when you need to find out the home address of a person; this could be for a variety of personal, commercial or legal purposes.

It could be emotions such as love or anger that are driving the need in you to find out where someone lives; it could be that you wish to protect someone you care about or ensure their safety and wellbeing; it could be that you have financial or business interests at risk and need to determine the address of someone to investigate or pursue this further; it could be that a court case or legal action requires the address of a respondent to proceed.

Whatever the reason behind your need to ascertain someone’s home address, its important that you think clearly about the motivation for this and whether it is reasonable and legitimate, as well as the methods that you use to obtain this as you could inadvertently commit a crime or illegal act if you aren’t fully informed and apply caution.

Often, the best and safest option for a situation like this is to contact a professional; a private investigator or professional tracing agent will have the skills, knowledge and access to resources and information that private individuals, members of the public or non-professional agencies just don’t have or cannot access.

This means they are significantly more likely to achieve the desired end result. They are also fully informed on the legal frameworks around tracing people and the behaviours and actions you can and cannot undertake so will always work in a legally compliant and ethical manner and can also provide you with advice, information and guidance around this to ensure that you don’t unintentionally commit an offence!

It’s helpful to have a general oversight of the things you can and can’t do when trying to trace someone if you don’t want to go straight to a professional to get the specifics and are happy taking the risk of trying to find someone’s address yourself initially; it is illegal for members of the public to intercept a person’s post or mail, to place a listening device on their phone, to place a tracking device on their vehicle, to enter private property or to access certain government or information records or databases that are not openly available in the public domain.

Not all of these things are illegal for a professional to undertake so you may want to rethink your decision not to hire one if you genuinely want to find out someone’s address in the quickest and most accurate manner.

Harassing behaviour is subject to The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 and in some situations, harassment can also be classified as a hate crime; a person can take action against you through the civil courts if they deem your behaviour to be harassment and you can also be prosecuted for this in the criminal courts.

Acts considered to be harassment can include unwanted communications such as texts or telephone calls, unwanted visits, verbal abuse, online abuse and stalking amongst others. Its important to consider if your intended behaviour or actions constitutes any of these before pursuing your trace of a person.

A really obvious and healthy way to find out where someone lives is to just ask them! If they want you to know, they will tell you and if they don’t tell you maybe they don’t want you to know or be in their lives and you should just leave things there?!

This is possibly the best advice in matters of the heart! However, as discussed above, not every situation is this straight forward and there may be occasions when you genuinely and legitimately (and not for stalking or intimidation purposes as this is not good!) need to know someone’s address and asking them just isn’t possible, is not going to get the results you require and, quite possibly, is going to make them even more evasive and therefore the task of actually finding out their address even harder.

If asking someone their address is not possible or just isn’t going to cut it in your specific situation, there are other methods you can try to obtain this information:

You can ask around; contact people who know the person’s who address you are seeking (perhaps family members, friends, business associates or colleagues) to find out if they know the person’s address or at least a general location where they live as this will provide a helpful start to your investigation.

Social media is a very helpful tool for finding out lots of different information about a person. If you have access to a person’s social media account or if they have no or little privacy settings you can look at their posts, pictures and network to get an idea of where they go, what they are into, the activities they take part in and who they spend time with and this can provide with an idea of their daily routines and insight into where they will be at a certain time or what area they are located in.

Some people may even directly provide their home address through photos or other clues if they are not particularly savvy about this. You can also look up some of their contacts and get in touch with them to gain further information possibly. However, if you can’t access someone’s account as they haven’t accepted you and use privacy settings this method won’t be fruitful. 

You can look online at sites providing directory enquiries, census data and the electoral roll information; this can give you home address details as well as information about other people making up the household from just typing in a full name.

However, much of this information is reliant on self-report and updating and is often not current or not correct. People can also choose to opt out of providing this information or not having it made publicly available so it’s not always the most reliable or useful of methods and if someone actively does not want to be found its unlikely to yield the results you seek.

You could try contacting the employer or place of work of the person if you know this information; it’s pretty unlikely that an employer would provide the home address of an employee but in certain situations and with certain grounds this is possible and worth a try.

You can try a google search for the person by name, or any other search engine search. It’s a long shot but its surprising what information actually comes up when you type someone’s name into a search engine and they, or someone they are somehow linked to, may have done something at some point that meant this information was released onto the internet so give it a go and see what transpires!

You could go to their last known address or place of residence and see if they are still there or speak to the current residents to see if they have any forwarding address information, are still in contact with the person or have any idea where they may have moved onto. If the property is rented, then the new tenants may be willing to provide you with the details of the letting agency or landlord connected to the property. You can contact them and see if they have any further information of use to you. 

If you have tried all the legitimate methods of trying to obtain someone’s home address without success and you genuinely require this information, it may well be time to contact a professional tracing agent or private detective; these are the experts in this field and will acquire a current and up to date address for you in a quick and legal manner. 

IP address is short for Internet Protocol address and looks like a numerical label that is linked to a computer network that utilises the internet protocol for purposes of communication. An IP address is a number that provides identification to allow for specific exchanging and sharing of data. Every computer or device that enables you to access the internet has an IP address and this is commonly set up by whichever internet provider you use or server. 

A good way of explaining how IP addresses work is, for example, if you look up a website address then this website is automatically sent your IP address, and this is how it knows where to send the data to share its website with you. The same use happens with email; your email contains your IP address and this allows the user to reply and for information to be sent back to the right place or in the right direction. 

IP addresses look like a series of generated numbers and letters, separated by colons and full stops. Older format IP addresses only contain numbers and full stops. The new format of IP addresses came about because of the rapid growth of internet use and the need to provide greater numbers of IP addresses than was possible with the original format used.

The majority of websites employ a fixed internet protocol address and emails include the IP address that the sender was using at the current time that they sent the email. 

People sometimes want to track the IP address to gain information about the person behind a particular website or even email. There are numerous reasons that a person might want to do this; they may think that tracking the IP address will provide them with specific information about that person’s identity or even specific information about their location to the point of achieving a postal address. Sometimes people want to try to track the IP address of videos uploaded on sites such as You Tube as they wish to identify the person within them or find out where they are. 

IP tracking is not meant to be used as a means to harass or stalk someone. Unwanted communications including emails or posts, unwanted visits or attempts to visit someone, verbal abuse and threats are all forms of harassment and covered by the Protection from Harassment Act 1997; a person who feels that you are acting in a harassing manner towards them can take actions through criminal or civil courts and if your behaviour is deemed unreasonable by a court an injunction can be ordered against you.

An injunction order can prohibit you from directly or indirectly contacting a person (this could include online posts as a means of indirect contact). If you breach an injunction order you could receive a custodial sentence and be sent to prison. 

An IP address trace will not provide you with personal information for the person connected to that IP address. It will also not provide you with a home or postal address; it will get you a general location that the person was in when they were using that particular IP address and when they sent that particular piece of data or communication. Devices can also change IP address. 

Finding the IP address that a person is using can be helpful in becoming informed about the connection and, also, in identifying where the user is. It can assist with connection issues and determining where your data or information is actually going to and if there are any breaches or leaks and your information is not going where you thought it was or wanted it to go. However, when data is sent across the internet it doesn’t always travel in a direct link and data journey can include various “hops” so tracing will be required to get to the original or end user.

IP address tracing can help you to protect your own privacy online and to have control over where your data goes. 

You can trace a website IP address through using the command prompt. This will get you the IP addresses of any devices which are connected to or communicating with your computer and you can then use this to gain information about the longitude and latitude (approximately) of the user and also to determine the internet service provider they are working off.

You need to open the command prompt by typing cmd into the text box after you have simultaneously pressed the windows button with the R button to get this to come up. Click ok and then type in ping and then the URL of the website that you wish to trace to get its IP address and then go ahead with the tracert command which will let you know the IP addresses that your data is being shared with or travelling to.

You then need to use an IP lookup tool which can be found online such as nordvpn, iplookuptool or Neustar. Type the Ips you have into any of these lookup tools and this will provide you with the approximate location of any IP address.

If you are trying to determine the IP address of an individual as opposed to website or company you can trace the IP address of an specific email. You need to open the options menu on the actual email that you want to trace and go to the dropdown menu (most commonly this is located in the three dots that are at the top or bottom of the email).

You need to go to the option that allows you to look at the raw email data and this is usually called something like view original or open raw data on the dropdown menu depending on which browser you use. This will provide you with several IP addresses which you can then enter into any IP lookup tool. This will again allow you to gain information about the approximate latitude and longitude of the user of that IP address.

It is also possible to hide your IP address if you are worried about people determining your location from it, or your internet service provider or the websites you access using this to gain data on you to sell to advertising companies or other service providers.

To hide your IP address you can use a VPN (virtual private network) which encrypts the information you put through the internet and makes it look like your input is coming from somewhere else on the planet; it disguises your actual IP essentially. You could also connect to proxy servers which works by getting in between you and the website you are accessing and providing a different IP address than the one you are actually using. The sites or other places you are accessing or sending information to will see the proxy server’s IP address and not yours.

Tor (The Onion Router) is another way of preventing others from identifying your IP address; it diverts your internet connection through different layers or nodes, a bit like lots of proxies in a line, and also encrypts your connection until the last step of the transmission. All of these methods have their strengths and weaknesses with a VPN probably being the current most favoured and secure option. 

It’s important to ensure that you are using a IP hiding set up (whichever one you choose) for valid and legitimate reasons such as ensuring your own safety and privacy, and not to evade detection or identification if you are undertaking criminal, illegal or abusive activity.

The internet is an incredible and amazing resource and should not be used to do harm to others and but in a healthy and productive way. Police also have software that is more than capable of breaking through a VPN or other IP hiding device so think again if this is your intention!

If you still need help finding a person after reading this article you may want to consult with our tracing agents who can help you find anyone in the UK.

We all receive tens if not hundreds of unrequested or unwanted emails to our personal and work email addresses every day; these pop up in our personal inbox special offers from that online shop you once purchased something from or tempting suggestions from the luxury getaway website you accidentally subscribed to, or to our work inbox with demands from management or incessant queries from clients, or in our junk folder offering all kinds of opportunities, offers and alleged deals or services that will apparently drastically improve our lives! From trying to entice us into trialling and reviewing a new washing powder and telling us about how we can make millions on bitcoin to plaguing us with products that guarantee to improve erectile function and offers of casual sexual encounters with sexy housewives “near you now”, emails offer it all! Most of us filter what we read and respond to, and what we discard and desperately try to unsubscribe to (often with little success!). 

However, there are some occasions when we receive an email that peaks our interest or concern; it may be that the email is threatening or intimidating in some way and you need to investigate this further or take action to protect yourself; the email may contain what you think is a genuine offer of a great or once in a lifetime opportunity and you want to know more and check its authenticity; the email may appear to come from a long lost friend or ex-partner that you would love to regain contact with and you want to ensure that it is really them; it may just be that you think an email has come from a known business associate but their email address has changed due to reorganisation or them moving to a new company and you want to confirm its definitely from the person you believe it to be; it may be that you are fed up with the relentless unwanted spam from that address and need to determine to sender to put an end to this! Whatever the basis, certain emails make us want to dig deeper, ensure that we are not being conned or scammed and accurately determine who they are from so we can be fully informed when replying to the email or in deciding what to do next and how to do this.

In a situation such as one of those described above you are going to want to trace the email and find out additional information including the owner of the email address the correspondence has originated from; this is also called reverse look up. There are several different methods that you can use to reverse look up the email you have received.

Quite a complex and technical but effective method of trying to clarify the email sender is to look at the full email header; in gmail you will need to open the email the use the drop down in the top right to click on show original to get the full email header; on outlook you will need to open the email then go to file and then properties and then look at internet headers; on apple you will need to open the email and go to view message then raw source. Lots of technical data is presented when you look up the full email header; you can find the IP address of the sender on the first received line (the email originator) of information. Once you have the IP address you can use a search site such as MX Toolbox; enter the IP address in the search bar and alter the type of search you want to undertake to reverse look up. This will then provide the details for the server which sent the email. This method will only work however if the user is not on a private IP address. But the search facility sites are free so it doesn’t hurt to try this method as it can have a very good probability of success. 

You can try looking up the email address with the use of google; just type the email address for the email you have received into the search bar. This method is not 100% reliable and more likely to be successful and yield results with business emails as lot of companies have email directories that will come up in the search. Google is the most used and popular search engine in the world but, if you don’t get the answer you are looking for there, you could always try the same method on another search engine such as bing. The search engine may direct you to a business website linked to the address which will provide the information that you require. However, it may also send you to a third party service provider which you may have to subscribe to and this may incur a fee; check they provide a genuine service before parting with money. The search engine reverse look up method is a good place to start, however, as its easy, quick and free.

Social media is another potential means of identifying the owner of an email address; if a person is a social media user and has opted in to share their email address on social media you can type the email address into the search bar on the social media platform they use and this will take you to the person using that email address. On Facebook, for example, you can log into your own account and then type the email address you are querying into the search bar and any post, person or page this corresponds to will come up. Twitter and Linked In are less don’t perform the email address search as well as other sites but there are plenty to choose from. Obviously, this method won’t work if the person is not on social media, use another or other email addresses on social media, if you are looking on the wrong site or if they have opted out of sharing.

You could install a browser extension that identifies the sender of all emails automatically and provides information about the owner of the email address such as the company they work for and contact details. This is only available for some browser providers including google chrome/gmail. You would need to ensure that you are able to install an extension on the system that you utilise. If you are, however, this is a very effective service that can identify the majority of origins of business emails.

There are paid services that you can search on the internet which will perform a full look up on the emails you receive and provide comprehensive details of the sender including their work, social media profiles and networks. These do incur a fee but equally, they have a good ratio of success and are quite a reliable means of tracking down an email sender; ensure that you are subscribing to a genuine service provider however before you pay as there are lots of scams and false claimants advertising on the internet that will not deliver the end product that you believe you are paying for.

Another option is to employ the service of a professional tracing agent; these experts have access to resources and software that are not available to the public and can interrogate databases and online files that cannot be reached by ordinary means or by people not working and trained in this field. This will, again, incur a fee but almost guarantees that you will receive the information you are seeking and offers the most reliable and highest success rate in identifying email address owners.

People tracking refers to the ability to follow someone, either physically or virtually, to know where they go or where they are at a set time; this can provide further information such as what activities they undertake or who they are with.

People tracking can be required for a broad range of reasons and purposes; perhaps you are the parent of a teenager of carer of a vulnerable person and want to keep tabs on where they are and what they do to ensure that they are safe; maybe you suspect your partner of lying to you about what they are getting up to or you think they may be cheating; you might have an ex-partner or even a person you are interested in getting together with and you want to be able to “accidentally bump into them” so you have an opportunity of rekindling a lost relationship or starting a new one; there may be someone you have unresolved issues with such as they may have caused you harm in some way, have something that belongs to you or owe you money.

Whatever the reason that you wish to track someone, it’s important that you first consider the legitimacy of your plan and that you respect the rights of that person to a private personal and family life.

No matter how desperately you want to bump into that ex, if they have chosen to live their life away from you then its not fair to stalk them or try to force your way back into their heart and it won’t help things if they become aware of your intentions or tracking of them.

If you wish to find someone to exact retribution or recoup a loss by harmful means you would be committing a criminal offence if you get to the point where you can follow through on this and this could result in severe consequences for both the person you wish to track and yourself.

Harassment is both a criminal offence and civil action as stated in the Protection from Harassment Act 1997; if someone deems you guilty of this or feel intimidated or threatened by your behaviour, they could report you to the police, and you can be prosecuted in the criminal courts of they can take action against you through the civil courts.

The courts will decide whether your actions were reasonable or not, and if they find you to have been unreasonable in your behaviour, they can place an injunction against you preventing future contact with or harassment of the person and if you breach this you could end up going to prison. Behaviour that is considered harassment can include unwanted phone calls, text messages or visits, verbal abuse and stalking. It is wise to consider your actions and the purposes behind them, whether you have genuine justification to do this and the possible consequences before you start trying to track someone.

If you have decided that tracking someone is the right and justifiable thing to do, social media sites are a good place to start; if you have access to the person’s account or if they have low privacy settings (if you are a parent it’s important to ensure that your child or teenager has full privacy settings on any social media accounts to keep them safe) you can view their posts and the information they share on these; photos and comments can provide clues and indicators of daily routines, the places they like to visit, where they have gone on holiday and in general where they choose to hang out.

This can be a helpful start to trying to track someone as there are lots of places in people’s daily life which they attend repeatedly such as their workplace, their gym, perhaps a bar or café they particularly favour or a place of worship. Whilst this method won’t necessarily provide you with definite up to date information of where that person is right now, it can help you understand their routines and the potential places they may be at a certain time.

Some social media sites such as Snapchat have a facility to allow people to share their location in real time; Snap Map was brought out by Snapchat in 2017. If the person you are tracking has opted to share their location with you (or forgotten that they previously chose to do so) you can use the Snap Map to see where they go and where they are.

You can do this in several different ways; you can click on hotspots on the heat map and this will show you where snaps have been taken and with what frequency; areas from which snaps are regularly shared will show up in red so this can indicate a home address or work place.

Less used areas will show in blue. Stories that are made public by the user can also show places they have visited or indicate evets they have attended. You can also see the real time location of the person on snap map if you have been granted access; draw down the snap map when you are on the home screen and you will see your own location.

If you widen the range of the map view you will start to see the location of people around you that you receive sharing from; look for the bitmoji or figure used by the person you wish to track and this will give you their real time location, or you can type in their name to the search bar to look for them specifically.

If you don’t have access to someone’s snapchat account and/or they have not opted to share their location with you, you will be unable to get this information from the site and unable to track someone in this method.

There are numerous websites online that claim to be able to track someone through their mobile phone or social media account such as snapchat; the idea is that you pay them a fee and are then able to type in the mobile phone number to the site to get this information or be provided with an app you can download to enable you to track the person with the use of their phone number of social media account.

The majority of these claims are untrue and you will end up wasting your money and won’t be any further on in your attempt to track the person. In the unlikely event that the company do provide what they are claiming to be able to, this could be illegal, and you need to think about the potential consequences of engaging in this. You also need to consider the impact on your own mental and emotional wellbeing of being able to track someone; this can become unhealthy and cause obsession to develop and an absolute preoccupation with knowing exactly where that person is at every point of the day.

This can really interfere with your own life and the quality of this, what you are able to achieve and your capacity to move on. It’s nice to have an idea of what someone you love or care about is up to or to know that someone is safe but its best to try and do this in an open and upfront way through simply communicating with them.

If someone is avoiding your contact, its likely they don’t want you in their life and there comes a time when you just have to respect and accept this. Sometimes not knowing is the better option.

The purpose of a person trace is to determine the correct and current address that the person is resident at.

A person’s current address may be required by individuals of businesses for many reasons:

  • Debt: the person may have gone into hiding following getting into debt and may be avoiding consequences for this or having to pay back the money owed by not being found.
  • Legal proceedings; you may be an individual, business or legal firm involved in litigation with a person who has gone off the radar. You need a home address to serve or issue court papers and documents.
  • A fine is due to be paid: a parking enforcement agency or similar may need to find out the address to pursue a parking fine or penalty.
  • Absent employee: an employee may have not returned to work and the employer has unresolved issues they need to address with them.
  • A missing person; a person may have gone missing and you are worried about their safety and welfare and want to check they are ok.
  • Lost contact; you may have lost contact with a family member, old friend or ex-partner and wish to rekindle past relationships.
  • Important news; you may be out of contact with a family member or past business partner or associate and have important news that you need to share with them.
  • Shared children; you may have an ongoing dispute with the other parent of your child/children and they have care of them at an unknown location. You may be in child arrangement or custody proceedings and need to know the address of the other parent to pursue this. You may be concerned about the care your child is receiving when with the other parent or other members of their household and need to find out their address to investigate this further.

Whatever the rationale behind the need to trace someone, finding out the current address of a person can prove difficult especially if they have moved around quite a lot or if you have very limited information about them and their life.

People tracing can be attempted by private individuals or businesses not operating in the field of finding people but this can be a frustrating and futile exercise. People tracing can also be undertaken by professionals such as tracing agents or private investigators who are the experts at finding people who are difficult to locate or who do not want to be found.

Professional tracing agents will start a trace by gaining as much information as they can about the person that needs to be found; they will undertake research into the history of the individual in areas such as any convictions or legal action, employment, finance, assets and past addresses. They will use this to identify behavioural patterns and themes for the person and clues as to where the person might be and what activities they might be involved in.

Social media and the internet can be a vital resource in people tracing. Accessing someone’s social media accounts can often provide huge insight into their life; where they go, what they get up to and who is in their network. Even if you can’t find out exactly where they live from information that they post and share on social media, you can find out other details that may further your progress; knowing where they work or what gym they attend, and their daily routines can give you a starting point as to knowing where to start looking.

Gaining information about their friendship group and social network can also provide another potential avenue to explore in a person trace. The issue comes when people are sensible and set good privacy controls on their social media profiles which could prevent you from accessing their personal information if you are not already accepted on their account.

Another use of the internet which is helpful for person tracing is to look up databases that record address and household information nationally including directory enquiries type records such as www.192.com, census responses on www.ons.gov.uk or www.census.gov.uk, the electoral roll on www.gov.uk and the title deeds register which can again be found on www.gov.uk.

These databases are created by the government and can, with just the input of a full name, provide details of the address that person lives at, who else lives in their household and if they own a property. However, this information does rely considerably on the self-report of the person themselves and can quickly become out of date.

If a person does not continually update records or respond to requests to do so, does not complete census requests, is not on the electoral roll or has opted out of allowing their information to be publicly accessed these sources will not provide the answers you require. If someone does not want to be found, they will likely not show up on these records. Also, if that person is highly transient or perhaps even homeless this method will not yield results. 

There are countless websites online offering to find a person’s address if you type in a name and pay a small fee; these providers are only accessing the information stated above that you can access yourself for free with a few more clicks and they are unlikely to progress your search any further than you are able to achieve independently, so apply caution before paying for these services.

Professional tracing agents utilise advanced software which allows them access to a far wider range of stored information about a person including credit files and service agreements such as a mobile phone or energy provider contract; this provides them with a significant advantage over members of the public or amateur searchers, and allows them to find people who are not aware that they have left a footprint linking to their address and have thought that they have taken all action to avoid this. 

Physical “on the ground” activity can also support tracing a person and determine robustly if the information you have gathered is correct; you can contact people known to the person you are trying to trace such as family members, friends, colleagues and employers if you have information or knowledge about these areas of the person’s life. Make enquiries as to where they live or what area they live in. You can also visit their last known address or the address you think they may be living at now to look for confirmation or indicators that they are there.

However, the issue with undertaking physical or direct contact type elements of a person trace yourself is that you might be detected by that person; they may find out that you have been asking about them around their social network, they may see you visiting their home address. This could have several somewhat catastrophic consequences for your trace; the person could become aware that you are trying to track them and go on the move again meaning all your hard work up to this point has gone to waste before you could implement the action that initiated the need for the trace, they could become angry with you and an altercation could occur or they may even report you for harassment.

Professional tracing agents are experts in undertaking discreet person tracing; they will not be recognised by the person you are seeking and are highly trained and experienced in covert surveillance, the use of surveillance equipment and discreet enquiry.

They will ensure that neither the person you are seeking or anyone within their social or professional network ever becomes aware, or alerted to the fact that they are being traced or that you have requested this; this will provide you with valuable time to take action once the current address of the person is identified.

The death of a family member, friend or a loved one can be a huge loss that impacts significantly on those left behind. Going to visit a grave or final resting place can provide the bereaved with a sense of connection with that lost person and some peace of mind and reassurance. If you have lost someone close or significant to you but do not know where they have been buried and are unable to visit their grave, this can feel like another loss in itself, and a denied opportunity to pay your respects or feel that you are able to grieve as you might want or need to.

If you don’t know the exact location where a person was buried, finding their grave can feel like a huge and overwhelming challenge. However, there are some steps and actions you can take to make progress with this and to make the search a little easier and more achievable.

If you know the cemetery or graveyard that the person was buried in, you can undertake a physical search of the site. If it’s a very large cemetery you may need to prepare yourself for a long hunt and ensure you have the time to undertake this as leaving without finding the burial place of the person you seek could be very disheartening. Plan a route around the premises so you have a structure to follow in your search and aren’t going back over the same ground. If you find it helpful you could make a note or plan of each area as you cover it to assist with this. You could speak with staff at the site if any are present to gain their advice on your search or larger cemeteries may even have a map or papers that indicate the burial locations of people by name. You could also call the office or local authority responsible for the site in advance as they may also have access to records of who is buried there and in which location. Look for a family name as often members of the same family are buried in close proximity to each other. If you know it, it is also helpful to have the dates of birth and death of the person that you are looking for so you can confirm it is definitely them if you find a headstone that correlates and not a person with the same name.

It is possible to search old newspaper announcements and obituaries online and these often contain details of the funeral directors responsible for the burial of the individual you are looking for. It’s helpful to have as much information as possible to hand to help you with this task as it can be quite an extensive process. Useful things to know to aid with this search are the full name (including middle names and previous names used and changed for reasons such as marriage), date of birth and date of death and the location or area that the person was resident in when they passed away; this will reduce your search radius and allow you to focus on newspapers local to the person who has died. If you manage to find a death announcement and it lists the funeral home managing the care and burial of the deceased you can contact them by email or phone to enquire about the person you are seeking as they are likely to hold records for previous funerals and burials they have undertaken and be able to provide you with the burial location.

The General Register Office in Southport in the UK holds records of every death reported in England and Wales from1837. This is a public index that contains the details of every death it lists. This index is available to search for free online using the website FreeBDM.

If you don’t have access to the internet you can also undertake this search through resources at your local library such as a microfiche. On finding the correct death record for the person you are looking for within the index it is important to note down certain information including the full name of the person who has died, the district in which the death was registered, the year and the year quarter that the death was registered in and the index volume and page number that you found the record on. You can then apply for a copy of the person’s death certificate by visiting the www.gov.uk website and looking up bmdcertificates; this will guide you through the process of ordering the certificate copy. There will be a small charge to obtain the copy.

A death certificate can be very helpful in the process of locating a person’s grave, especially if you only had limited information about that person and their death before. A death certificate will provide you with the full name of the person at the time of their death (useful if you only know the maiden or a previous name), the date of the death and where the person died which is often a full address, the age and occupation of the person at the time of their death and the reason or cause of death.

The death certificate will also provide the name of the person who reported the death, their address and their relation to the deceased. This can be perhaps the most helpful piece of information in regard to trying to locate the final resting place of an individual; this gives you a starting point and a person to try to make contact with who would be able to tell you where the grave is.

You may already know and have contact details for this person, but if you don’t you now have an address so can make contact through visiting or writing to that person if they are still alive or resident at that property. If they have also passed away or have moved home, you can still write to or visit the persons now living at the address as they may have forwarding address information or know of the solicitor who dealt with that person’s death and estate which could lead you further in your search.

There are numerous websites online that offer the facility to input information and find the location of a deceased person’s grave such as ancestry.co.uk, findmypast.co.uk or myheritage.com. These sites can access burial records and also death registers and cemetery records. They will charge a fee to do this and this is actually information that you could obtain yourself if you are willing to put in the hours, but these sites offer a convenient and more efficient “one stop shop” type approach and you may feel that the stress, time and effort saved and the accomplishment of your end goal is worth the expense.

Lastly, you could employ the services of a private investigator or professional tracing agent; these experts have access to records beyond that in the public domain and are adept and efficient at utilising them to get to answers about where people are and where people were buried quicker than would be possible for an amateur or private individual.

Again, this will incur a fee but will significantly reduce the timescale for finding out where a person is buried as well as the stress and frustration carrying out such a task yourself will likely entail.

Families can become estranged and lose contact with one another through a whole host of circumstances; there may have been a bereavement which sent shockwaves through the whole extended family unit and caused members to go their own ways; there may have been a disagreement or fall out that led to a separation; maybe there have been family court proceedings that caused family members to have to stop contact; maybe there was a disaster or even war that led to a family being split up or a family member going away; perhaps a physical or mental illness led to a person becoming isolated or moving away; possibly you were just never “that type of family” that remained in touch and something has happened in your life or world that has made you want to change that.

Family separation or losing touch with family members can go on for years if not lifetimes. If you have made the decision to make contact with long lost family members, to reach out to family you have never met, to bury the hatchet with a loved one you fell out with or to rebuild past family links and networks it can be a very emotive and daunting project to undertake and difficult to know where to begin. However, it is a very worthwhile and meaningful exercise and will hopefully bring long term positive changes and experiences for you and those around you, and those who you intend to make contact with. 

Essentially, to be able to reunite people or mend old wounds you need to be able to contact the family member or members that you have become estranged from, and to do that you need to find them. Depending on how long you have lost touch for or the circumstances that were behind this, or how much information you already had or have about the person you wish to contact, you may be worried about your own abilities to do this and that it will require knowledge, skills or resources that you don’t possess to achieve your goal. However, there are numerous actions you can take initially that are free and relatively straight forward to see if you are able to find the family member yourself before you consider the option of recruiting professional assistance if these methods prove fruitless, or the search is more complex than you first thought. 

You can start by drawing up a simple family tree – this will give you a visual idea of who you are looking to find and why. It will also allow you to input information you already have about the person you are looking for such as their full name, date of birth or last known address or contact details if you have them. You can also then build on who they are connected to and what information you have on these other people within your family to help you gain clarity around what you already know, what you don’t know and what you need to find out. This will help to give your search purpose and direction and prevent you from feeling overwhelmed. 

The family tree can also help you to determine who you do know within the family structure and are able to contact. Get in touch with these people and let them know what you are trying to do; they may want to assist with your search or may have additional information or contact details for the person you are trying to find.

Take practical steps such as going physically to the last known address of the person you are looking for, they may even still live there! If you are feeling brave you can knock on the door and speak to the current tenants or owners of the property; if you explain the reason for your visit they will likely be more than understanding and happy to provide any additional information they may have such as when they took over the address and any forwarding information they were provided with for the person you are seeking. If they are renting the property they may be willing to provide you with the details of the letting agent managing the tenancy or the landlord; you can then contact these people to see if they have any further helpful information to aid your search.

The internet is a massive and free resource that can provide enormous help and potentially the solution to finding an estranged family member. You can also access this from the comfort of your own home or armchair! You can use the internet to look up the family member you are looking for on social media; the majority of people in the UK now have accounts with at least one social media site. Look for them using their name and any additional information you may have about them such as the area they might live in, or the school or university they attended. It may be that you can find them within seconds and make contact through their social media account. You can also use the internet for free to search through birth and death records, electoral roll and census information and telephone directory databases to fin the address or contact details of the person you are looking for.

There are websites set up by charities on the internet for the purposes of finding lost or estranged family members. Sites such as this have been built for the exact purpose of reuniting families. They will enable you access to a community of others in the same position as you, allowing you to gain from their experience and advice as well as signposting you to resources and other sites that will be helpful in your search. It may even be that the person you are looking for is looking for you and is on the same site!

There are also genealogy sites online that you can access to gain information and advice about developing your family tree and gathering information about long lost relatives. Some of these sites do charge a fee for their services but, depending on the resources and support they can provide, you may consider a small expense worth paying.

It is possible to find websites online advertising that they can find a lost family member for free. However, some caution is advised around the use of such companies as often they are only accessing information from electoral roll or household data that you can access yourself online quite easily or there may be later hidden and unexpected costs or upselling to actually find the person you are looking for or gain any information that is of genuine use.

If you are unable to find your estranged family member through your own endeavours and through no cost methods, and if it is genuinely important to you that you reunite with this person, it may be worth considering the outlay of some expense on hiring the services of a professional private investigator or person tracing expert. Professionals in this field have access to a much wider information network and to technology and resources that increase success in people tracing significantly. The cost of hiring such a service is considerably less than most people think if you ensure that you go with a reputable, experienced and ethical company and results are likely to be achieved in a much shorter time scale then if you undertake this yourself.

People often ask if it is possible to obtain someone’s home address using only their car registration plate details. 

There are many reasons that an individual, business or agency may be asking this question and do not already hold the address details of the person driving a vehicle:

Someone may wish to obtain a person’s address from the car registration plate if they have been involved in a road traffic accident with that car or if the driver of that car has caused damage to their own vehicle or property and left the scene without providing their details. 

It may be that a vehicle has been left abandoned on private property or land and the owner of the land needs to obtain the details of the person responsible for the vehicle and its removal to prevent them from having to meet these costs themselves. 

A business or company may need to ascertain the identity and residency of a person who has left their premises having taken goods of services without paying for them, in order to contact the person to request payment or to take legal action to pursue this.

A parking enforcement agency or company, or other driving penalty enforcement agency may need to gain information relating to the address of the owner of a vehicle to issue or pursue a parking or other driving offence penalty or paperwork.

There may have been a disagreement, altercation or conflict with the person driving the vehicle; they may be unknown to the person seeking the information but have caused damage to their property or harmed them in some way. The person may be seeking to pursue this through legal means or may even be seeking retribution in other ways and need the address of the individual to do so. The registration plate may be the only information they hold.

There may have been a driving offence committed and unseen by the police, or something concerning that a person has observed such as a person getting into a vehicle to drive when under the influence of alcohol or other substances, a baby being transported without adequate and legal safety measures employed or something about the vehicle which indicates it is unroadworthy and the observer wishes to gain the address or contact details of the person to follow this up with them. 

Possibly there has been an incident of road rage that has occurred, and a person wishes to continue this or take matters further and requires the home address of the other person involved to act on this.

The answer to whether or not you can obtain a person’s address from their registration plate is sometimes yes and sometimes no! There are situations where this is possible, but this is determined by a number of factors and by privacy laws covering personal information.

An initial obstacle to obtaining someone’s home address from their vehicle registration that needs to be taken into account is the fact that the person driving the vehicle at the time of the incident in question may not be the owner of the vehicle; they may be a friend or relative of the owner and borrowing the vehicle, they may be a named driver or driving under their own fully comprehensive and transferrable insurance or they may even have stolen the vehicle.

It might be a hire car or company fleet vehicle. This would all mean that the vehicle registration would never trace back to this individual even if you did get hold of this information. There is also the matter of false registration of vehicles; individuals provide the home address of the vehicle themselves.

Whilst it would invalidate insurance if this was found not to be the location that the vehicle was actually kept at, a person who is engaged in illegal or harmful activities and behaviours is unlikely to be concerned by this and if they do not want their home address to be traced through the registration of the car that they drive they may well have provided false information when registering ownership of the vehicle. It could also be that the person now driving and owning the vehicle did not complete documents on transfer of the vehicle ownership or have not updated these following a move or change of address.

All of this means that no matter what information you are able to access through a car registration number, there is a possibility that any address details you gain will be unhelpful, inaccurate, false or out of date. 

There are online sites advertising a service where a person seeking the address of an individual from their car registration plate can input this and pay a fee to receive this information; however, on deeper inspection, it becomes clear that these sites have been somewhat dishonest in their initial claims and that you are not going to get the actual address of the person but other details such as ownership history, MOT records and failures and any credit or finance outstanding on the vehicle. This is a con; you can gain all of this information yourself for free simply by going on the government website.

You can use the UK vehicle enquiry service at www.vehicleenquiry.service.gov.uk to type in the registration plate number of any vehicle and obtain details of MOT history, credit outstanding and transfer of ownership dates etc at absolutely no cost at all. This is in place so that potential purchasers of vehicles can be sure that they are getting what they think they are getting when they hand over money for a car and that the seller is being honest with them about any mechanical or financial issues past or outstanding. This will not, however, provide you with the address details of the current owner but neither will the scam websites offering to do this so save your money!

There are occasions where a person can legitimately obtain the address details of the owner of the vehicle through the registration plate number. It needs to be remembered that if the vehicle is incorrectly registered or the person using the vehicle at the time of the incident is not it’s owner then this will not directly resolve the issue, but may help with the eventual achieving of this. A person or business can, at no cost, use the government service on www.gov.uk/request-information-from-dvla to complete specific forms requesting that the DVLA provide the address details for the owner of the car registration supplied. However, the sharing of this information is restricted by the Data Protection Act and an application will need to be deemed legitimate to result in the provision of an address. Examples of situations where an address would be provided by the DVLA include:

  • Finding out the person who was responsible for a road traffic accident
  • Finding out who is the owner of an abandoned vehicle that has been left on private land or a vehicle that has been parked on private land
  • Parking enforcement agencies to provide tickets or penalties or pursue this
  • Finding a person who has left without paying for an item(s) or service received
  • Finding someone who is suspected of committing insurance fraud

It will not be possible to find out the address of a person using their registration plate details if there is not a legitimate reason behind this and the address is wanted to pursue or retaliate following an altercation, argument or incident of road rage.

If illegal activity or criminal behaviour has been observed to be undertaken by the person driving the vehicle it is not necessary to obtain the address of the driver but important to report this concern to the police, along with the registration plate number, so that they can follow this up in a legal and enforceable manner with the driver.

If you need to find someone and you can’t do it through their car registration then you may want to consult with one of our expert tracing agents who have a track history of finding missing people.

People go missing in the UK every day in a wide variety of circumstances; a child or young person may have gone missing having run off after a telling off or difficult conversation or fall out with parents or family or friends;

a vulnerable adult may have not returned home when expected or got lost or fallen victim to a person or group with less than good intentions; someone you love may have been involved in an accident or incident that has prevented them from returning home or attending a location at the time they were due.

It could, of course, be that there is a reasonable or non-concerning reason for a person not being where they are meant to be at the time they were meant to be there and there is not always cause for panic or stress; people run late all the time or change their plans, teenagers break curfew or act out on a daily (or hourly!) basis and mobile phones break or run out of charge.

However, if someone you know and care about has gone missing, this can be an extremely distressing and anxious time. You will want to do everything in your power to find them and ensure that they are safe and well but may be overwhelmed by the size of the task or not know where to start. It is helpful to know that there is actually a wealth of tasks and uses the mobile phone you have probably got in your hand or pocket or by your side right now can perform to get your search started and make progress on locating that person that you are worrying about.

Firstly (and it may seem obvious but in times of panic human beings don’t always think that rationally!) you can just try phoning or texting the missing person. If it is a sensitive situation and they have not responded to your previous texts perhaps they are angry with you or worried about the consequences for not having returned home at the time set, you probably need to rethink your approach and the language you are using; reassure the person that they are not in any trouble and that you don’t even need to know where they are if they don’t want to share this but that you care about them and just want them to respond to let you know that they are ok. If you text through a service that provides read receipts such as imessage or whatsapp then this may reassure you to some extent even if they don’t respond as you will be able to see if the message has reached them (so you will know their phone is on and has charge) and you will be able to see if they have read the message (so you know they are alive and actively using their phone).

A vital use of your phone in the event of a missing person is to call the police and report the person missing. You don’t have to wait 24 hours to do this and can let the police know of the situation as soon as you are concerned; they can then start to use their power and resources to start looking for your missing person, massively increasing the probability of the person being found and being found in a short period of time. Police are able to access GPS data for a person’s mobile phone, so it is important that you share the mobile phone number of the missing person with them. You can also call round hospitals to find out if anyone has been admitted fitting the description of the missing person in case there was an accident or illness that has prevented them from returning home. If you think its relevant and appropriate you can also call round police stations to see if your missing person might have been arrested or in police care.

You can use your phone to start to contact other people that know the missing person or are part of their life in some way to share your concerns that they are missing which will encourage other people to engage in your search and help you, meaning considerably more manpower and resources being roped in to widen the hunt and therefore the likelihood of finding the person soon. You can call and text people who know the missing person such as friends, neighbours, colleagues, family members or employers to ask if they have seen the person or if they know of any plans the person had or any places that person tends to go to. You can call businesses or locations that you know the missing person tends to frequent such as a local café or pub to see if they are there or have been there recently.

You can also use your phone to look at the missing persons social media accounts and make contact with them through these. You can view when they were last online and if they are currently online. You can look at recent posts to determine what their current state of mind is and if they have shared any information that indicates how they are feeling right now and what is going on in their head, if they had any plans with anyone or to do anything or go anywhere, any signs that suggest where they might be as well as who they might be with. You can also use social media accounts to find out about any friends or acquaintances of the missing person that you did not know about and contact them to share information and see if they know anything about the missing person’s plans or whereabouts. It may also encourage the missing person to get in touch with you if other’s let them know that you are so concerned.

If you have consent or legitimate authority you can act preventively, in case of a person ever going missing, by placing a tracking app such as find my iphone on the mobile phone of the person and ensuring that your phone receives data from this. In the event of a person going missing, this would allow you to track the location of their mobile phone which will likely result in you tracking them.

You may also be able to use your phone to look at any tracking apps that the missing person might have themselves on sites such as snapchat and see where they are from this. If the person does not have an actual tracking or finding app downloaded onto their phone you may still be able to use GPS data from their phone yourself to locate them; you can try Google Latitude or the My iPhone App and see if you can gain any information from this but there are also online companies that will access GPS data from a known mobile phone number for a fee such as AccuTracking. This is not always successful, and its best make sure that it is a legitimate company before you part with money.

The final use of your mobile phone for finding a missing person is to search online and call to employ the services of a private investigator or professional tracing agent to conduct the search for your missing person. Professionals in this field are the experts and have access to high tech software and information recording systems that are not available to members of the public. Professional private investigators and tracing agents work fast and most agencies are able to start work on your search immediately.

Finding a missing person in the UK can present as an overwhelming task and it can be very hard to know where to start. With a population estimated at over 66 million and the UK being the 23rd most populated country in the world it’s easy to see why! 

In addition to this the UK consists of 69 cities and approximately 43,500 towns and villages. A needle in a haystack just does not even start to describe trying to find one person in the UK; this is more like finding one small pin in several fields of haystacks!

However, despite the extremely challenging and seemingly impossible nature of the task, missing people or people evading detection get found every day.

The way to go about finding a missing person and the methods to use, as well as the results you can expect to achieve and the timescales you can achieve this within vary according to the reasons you need to find someone, the consequences of not finding them, the amount of money and/or time you are willing to invest in finding the person and the action you intend to take upon finding that person.

It may be that you wish to find an estranged family member to check their wellbeing and safety, to resume contact with them or to pass on important family news. 

It might be that you have lost contact with an old school mate, friend or perhaps even ex-partner and wish to get back in touch or seek to resume a past relationship.

Perhaps a past tenant or bad debtor has left and gone off the radar whilst still owing you money and you need to track them down to recoup this loss.

Potentially your family was separated following historic child and family court proceedings and you were taken into care or adopted and you now, as an adult, want to trace and regain contact with family members.

Perhaps you are currently involved in child arrangement or residency proceedings and need to find out the address of the other party involved in this.

Perhaps you are an individual or legal firm already undertaking legal action against a debtor, fraudster or rogue trader and you need to find them to issue or serve court or legal papers. 

There are a wide range of possible reasons for needing to find a missing person in the UK and various actions you can undertake to achieve this. Below are some suggestions for how to find a person in the UK; the circumstances around the person going missing, how they are connected to you, the reasons you need to find them, and the timescales required to find them in will dictate which of these approaches are most appropriate to each specific scenario. Obviously the actions you take in regard to finding someone who has been missing or out of contact with you for an extended period of time will be very different to those you would take if someone is recently deemed missing and you are concerned for their safety.

If you have the person’s consent or legitimate authority (eg you are a parent of a child or teenager aged under 18 years or you are a carer of a vulnerable person) you can take preventative action In case of a person going missing and put a tracking app on their mobile phone with the data being accessible from your own mobile phone. This would allow you to easily look up the location of their mobile phone (which is often likely to be on their person) if they do not come home when expected or you have reason to be concerned for their whereabouts and wellbeing. 

If you are concerned about a person being missing and worried for their safety and wellbeing you need to report this to police. You do not have to wait 24 hours to do this as is commonly assumed and can make the police aware as soon as concern is raised. 

You can try to make contact with the missing person through telephone, text or social media. You can attend their current or last known address or any places that they habitually attend to see if they are there or if there are indicators of them having been there recently or having been missing for some time such as a build up of mail.

Social media can also be used to look into why the person may have gone missing and where they might be or who they might be with; look at sites such as Facebook, snapchat, Instagram and WhatsApp to try to find out when they were last online. You can read posts to see what state of mind they were in and if they had any plans to go away. You can see who their friends and associates are and if these people’s profiles offer any insight into where the person might be. Social media searches are also very helpful for finding people that you have lost contact with long term; if they have an account with any of the major social media sites and limited privacy settings you may be able to find the person you are looking for just by typing in a name and known fact about them such as the area they now live in or the school they went to. You may even be able to make contact with them directly through these means.

It can be helpful to contact other people who know the missing person in some capacity and share information with them; friends, family members, neighbours, colleagues or employers can all be helpful sources of information.

Online searches for people can reveal information provided from address and telephone directories, census information and records of births and deaths. These can be useful in trying to track someone down but information can be limited due to some people not consenting to their details being publicly accessible in this way or this information being out of date.

There are several charities set up to assist in searching for missing people or long lost loved ones or family members such as The Salvation Army and The British Red Cross. You can make contact online with these groups to request assistance. There are also charitable organisations who provide advice around looking for a missed person and which have forums and sites for sharing information about current missing cases. These can offer a community and an ability to widen your search as well as obtain tips and hints from the experience of others in a similar situation.

If a person has committed a crime against you or another person and this is the reason you wish to find them, or they have defaulted on a court ordered payment you need to report this to the police or court so that they can follow up on this and utilise their considerable person tracing powers to address the issue.

You can hire the services of a private investigator or professional tracing agent; these are experts in the field of finding people and have significant training, experience and knowledge of how to undertake an efficient and effective search as well as access to state-of-the-art technology and much wider and specialised data and records than is available in the public domain. If you need to find someone within a specific timescale or if the consequences of not finding the person are significant this is the best option to pursue to achieve the result you want.

The services of professional tracing agents are employed when a person needs to be found; tracing will provide the current physical address or habitual location of that person. 

There are many circumstances in which someone may need to be traced; this could be for personal reasons to regain contact with an estranged family member or long- lost friend, to address matters of debts owing or to pursue legal action against a debtor, absent tenant or within child custody proceedings.

Individuals or businesses needing to trace a person often find that undertaking this task themselves or making use of free online or charity-based searching can be an overwhelming and fruitless endeavour. This can be extremely disheartening and frustrating especially when there is an urgent need to find the person or significant personal or financial consequences for not finding the person. 

Individuals or companies not operating in the field of people tracing only have access to limited information that is available to all within the public domain; this data relies on self-report and consent of individuals to be up to date and accurate so is not helpful when seeking a person that does not want to be found. Individuals or those not experienced within person tracing also do not have the background knowledge, experience and expertise to efficiently and effectively address such a huge task.

In the UK the current population is estimated at 66,435,600 people. To find a person who is missing within such a dense population and complicated geographical infrastructure of rural, village, town and city compilation is an almighty undertaking; to find someone who does not want to be found within this context, or who has potentially passed away or gone overseas could present as an impossible task. As a result of the highly complex and challenging nature of the exercise of person tracing, individuals and businesses will often employ the services of a professional tracing company or agent to achieve this for them.

You may be wondering how a professional tracing agent operate and can find a person in such difficult and formidable conditions; professional tracing agents are trained and experienced operatives who have a wealth of knowledge, practical skill set and access to state-of-the-art technology and data to support them in their project. They have the capacity to undertake their role on a full-time basis and to commit fully to each person trace. They develop and hone techniques and methods through their extensive experience within every-day person tracing to the point of expertise.

Professional tracing agents often have a previous employment background in military, government or police service which has already equipped them with the mind and skill set pertinent to people tracing and knowledge of the industry. Upon entering the specific field of people tracing and private investigation they will undergo further training to extend and develop these qualities and their knowledge of current technologies and information accessing, as well as their understanding of and compliance with legal frameworks relevant to the field of person tracing such as Data Protection, Human Rights and Consumer Credit services.

Professional tracing agents have access to data and record files significantly beyond that available within the public domain or to private individual or amateur people searches. They can access the most current and comprehensive data records through state-of -the-art software that enables constant updating of information held. People do not realise the footprint that they leave through the most benign of daily tasks and the address links that can be obtained with the right software and information access; anyone can access information pertaining to the electoral roll, land registry or directory enquiries but professional tracing agents are able to view information related to online purchasing, credit agreements, mobile phone contracts and even online ordered take away home delivery. The information available to and software held by professional tracing agents greatly enhances their capacity to achieve a successful person trace in the most difficult of conditions.

Professional tracing agents invest significant amounts of research into every trace they undertake; individuals or non-professional search agencies may not understand the value in this or have the time or capacity to commit to such a task. Professional tracing agents will look into the history and behaviours of the person they are tracing in terms of location, employment, finances and networks or affiliations to determine patterns and themes and probability of where a person might be or how they will best be found. The information provided by the person requesting the trace may well be limited but a professional tracing agent will be able to use this to develop a deeper understanding of the individual being sought and a profile for the search. Further to this, professional tracing agents have the capacity to leave no footprint when undertaking data or online searches meaning that your trace will not be detected and will remain confidential, known only to you and the agent themselves.

Professional tracing agents are not only experienced and knowledgeable within technological and online information accessing; they have a wide set of practical skills that enable them to support the theoretical aspect of people tracing with robust and evidence gathering physical activity. Professional tracing agents are often also private investigators and as such are fully trained and experienced in covert surveillance, surveillance equipment and technology use and tracking. They operate in a discreet and confidential manner to gain information about a missing person through communications with employers, local businesses, neighbours, friends and family. They attend physical locations to observe premises, households, behaviours and activities to ensure that the right person has been traced and that information obtained is definitely fully up to date and accurate before providing this to the trace requester. Where possible they will also obtain physical evidence, such as photographs to prove the success of the trace to the person requesting this as well as providing them with reassurance and peace of mind. 

Professional tracing agents will usually go above and beyond to find the person that is being sought and to ensure that accurate and current information is passed on to the person requesting the trace.

They will comply with legal requirements and will operate ethically and legitimately. Due to their level of expertise and the information records available to them professional tracing agents can often complete a comprehensive person trace within short time scales and find a missing person within days or even, in some instances, hours of the trace being requested.

They use their experience, knowledge, training and resources and commit fully to each person search; this is a passion for professional tracing agents and the majority take great pride and interest in their work.

If you need to find someone for personal, commercial or financial reasons it is worth investing in the services of a professional tracing agent; this will avoid you the wasted time, expenses and effort in undertaking a futile task of searching for this person yourself and provides you with the reassurance that information gained has been achieved in a legal and ethical manner, and is current and correct. Professional tracing agents are also highly discreet and will guarantee complete confidentiality regarding the trace you have requested and any information you provide in relation to this.

The need to find someone who has gone missing, who is evading detection or with whom contact has been lost is a common situation. There are numerous methods and approaches that can be employed to find someone ranging from private or personal superficial enquiry to in depth and comprehensive professional tracing. These processes can involve a variety of costs and expenses.

People need to find a missing or absent person for wide range of reasons and purposes:

  • A person is missing, and this is unusual and uncharacteristic and there is concern for their safety and wellbeing.
  • A person is in a relationship which may be suspected to be harmful or abusive and they have been isolated from their network of family and friends; those who care about them want to locate them and check on their wellbeing.
  • An argument or breakdown of relationship has occurred within a family and the person has gone missing or been out of contact as a result of this.
  • Historic care proceedings have resulted in removal of a child or adoption, and they are now an adult and wanting to make contact with family members.
  • Family members have lost contact and now need to share important information about a bereavement or legal matter.
  • A person has lost touch with an old school mate, long lost friend or ex-partner and now wish to regain contact and perhaps rekindle past relationships.
  • An employee has failed to attend work for some time or make contact and there are matters outstanding that need to be addressed.
  • A tenancy dispute wherein the tenant has now gone into hiding and needs to be found to address matters of damage or monies owing.
  • A debtor has gone off the radar owing money that needs to be recouped and they need to be located to take action regarding this.
  • There are current legal proceedings in place and an individual or legal firm need to locate an individual to serve court documents regarding this.

The different reasons that a person needs to be found, the timescales required regarding this, and the extent of the consequences or significance of this person not being found can impact on the methods employed to achieve this, and the level of expense that is justifiable and acceptable to invest in the search.

There are actions that an individual can undertake themselves in order to find a missing person and that are cost free; if there is significant concern for the safety or wellbeing of a missing person and their absence is unusual or uncharacteristic it is important to report them to the police as a missing person. It is not necessary to wait 24 hours to do this and this is obviously free to do. An individual can also attempt contact with the missing person through telephone, text or social media. They can make contact with the missing person’s friends, family members, workplace and colleagues to see if anyone has heard from the person or knows of their whereabouts. An individual can visit the current or last known address of the person and check for indicators that the person is or has been home recently. They can also search the person’s social media accounts to ascertain if the missing person has been online recently and try to gauge their state of mental and physical health or look for any indicators of where that person may be or any plans they had.

If immediate action does not uncover the whereabouts of a person, if a person has been missing for a longer period of time or if the search is for someone whom an individual has lost contact with over many years, there are other methods available for no cost to try to track down a person’s current whereabouts. Electoral roll, census and directory enquiries information is free to access and available within the public domain as well as birth and death records. These can be a helpful and free method of finding out where a person is or was last known to be. However, the information available to the general pubic is limited and people can also opt out of much of this type of information sharing meaning that if they actively do not wish to be found, it’s unlikely these methods will reach a satisfactory resolution.

Charities are set up both within the UK and internationally to aid in the search for missing persons in relation to the finding of family or loved ones, people separated through war or disaster and families that have become disconnected through historic care proceedings. Charities such as The Salvation Army, The British Red Cross and Reunite can offer support and advice as well as practical help in the search for a missing person and there will be no charge for this. However, they will not support with finding a missing person that needs to be located for legal or financial reasons.

There are searches advertised online for free where it is claimed a person’s details can be typed in and tracing information accessed; these are worth trying as save the need to trawl round various sites and agencies to access data. However, it is worth knowing that such free searches do not provide access to any information not readily available within the public domain but perhaps offer a more efficient means of accessing it all in the same place. The problem being that if a person does not want to be found, they will not show up on this data.

If the need to find a missing or absent person is time sensitive or urgent, or if the consequences of not finding the person are significant, it makes sense to employ the services of a professional who has access to much greater information and resources than is available to the general public and who can successfully complete tracing within a much shorter time scale with greater certainty and accuracy. 

There are numerous costs advertised online by companies claiming to offer professional people tracing services. Many of these will grab attention by offering to find someone for £25 or similar.

This seems like a very low cost to pay but when this is actually fully looked into, the £25 will normally gain you access to the data that is free within the public domain already. Read on and you will find that there are further costs associated with every next step of the people search and before you know it, you are looking at a complicated and sizeable (not to mention unexpected) bill. Similarly, there are companies advertising “no trace no fee” arrangements to find a missing person; whilst this seems like a win: win situation, it will not be as straightforward as it seems, and it is likely that companies needing to offer such incentives are the most competent or hold the best reputation. There are likely to be hidden fees that add up to an unexpected bill. 

The best and most experienced professional people tracing agencies will be able to provide a clear and upfront cost for a comprehensive people tracing package that will not incur extra costs or fees along the way. These companies do this every day and know what to expect, how long a trace will take and what they will need to do to ensure its success. You can expect to pay between £350 and £500 for a professional, legitimate people tracing service; this will need to be paid before work commences on the trace and details will be provided of what information you can expect to receive and when in regard to finding the missing person.

People employ the services of professional tracing agents for a wide variety of personal, financial and business reasons; it could be that you have a friend or family member that you have lost contact with or who has gone missing, and you are concerned about them and want to check on their wellbeing and safety or need to pass on important information like a family bereavement. Some people need to trace a person who owes them money and has fallen off the radar; they need to find this person in order to address the issue of the debt or to initiate legal proceedings against them. It may be that a person or company are already in legal proceedings over a matter related to business, assets or family and the respondent has disappeared; to serve the missing person with legal papers they will need to first be found or proceedings will be unable to reach any kind of satisfactory conclusion.

The current population figure for the UK stands at 66,435,600; trying to find someone, particularly someone who does not want to be found and is actively avoiding detection, amidst this number of individuals is a monumental task. It requires significant training, skill, knowledge and resources to find a person at all against these odds and absolute expertise to find a person within a short timescale.

Professional tracing agents are not only able to find the most elusive of missing or absent persons; they are able to achieve this in a short timescale, often within a matter of days, or even hours. You may be wondering how they manage to find someone who has been so well hidden, and how do they find them so quickly? You may even be asking yourself if they can do it than surely so can I and save myself the cost of hiring a professional?

Professional tracing agents find people for a job; it is what they do all day, every day. They have the time to dedicate that amateur searcher, or those wishing to find someone for their own personal reasons, do not have due to work, household, family etc commitments. Professional tracing agents can dedicate themselves to finding someone on a full-time basis which already places them at a significant advantage. Also, due to doing this as their job, and on an everyday basis, they build up a wealth of experience and knowledge around what works and what doesn’t work, where to look, who to ask, the subtle signs and hidden indicators to look out for. This is their bread and butter and becomes second nature to a professional tracing agent over time.

Professional tracing agents also usually arrive at their tracing vocation from a background within previous military, government or police employment. This experience will have already equipped them with knowledge, training and skill sets, as well as the aptitude and perspective necessary for the role. 

Tracing agents then complete further training and qualification necessary to ensure that not only do they have the most up to date knowledge to make full use of ever developing resources and technology, but that they always operate within legal frameworks and obtain and share information legitimately, including being fully compliant with laws relating to data protection and credit records. Professional tracing agents need to have awareness of and fully adhere to legislation including The Data Protection Act 2018, The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 and The Human Rights Act 1998 and to also comply with criteria stipulated by the Credit Services Association (which relates particularly to the tracing of absent debtors). 

Professional tracing agents do not rely on electoral roll or census information that would be utilised by private individuals to find a person, or by amateur or online “find someone for free” type searches. People who do not want to be found or are not able for whatever reason to have control over their own personal information and records easily evade tracing through these methods and can go undetected. 

Professional tracing agents have access to files and records that are not available in the public domain such as government and credit referencing databases; these are records that are not easily able to be changed or have your name removed from, and they hold information that is current and up to date. Access to this type of record and information, and the skill, experience and knowledge of how to use it, is essential to the successful tracing of a missing person and a keystone in the work of professional tracing agents.

Professional tracing agents will leave no footprint during their search enquiries and the details of your trace will remain entirely confidential.

Professional tracing agents also use skills and techniques beyond online or record searching and will often be trained private investigators, meaning they have knowledge and experience in the fields of covert surveillance, reconnaissance and tracking. Agents can undertake physical activity to enhance their search for a missing person and to obtain robust evidence of the person having been located such as photographs.

Due to their level of training and skill set, professional agents will undertake activities such as door knocking, neighbour, community and employment enquiries as well as surveillance in a discreet manner that ensures that they, and the details of your trace, remain absolutely confidential and that their search methods are ethical and legitimate. Professional tracing agents will travel widely to wherever they need to go to ensure the correct person has been located and the details that they provide for this person are the most current and accurate.

Where possible they will also obtain photographic evidence to provide proof and reassurance that the right person has been found and that they are resident at the location provided.

There are occasions that professional tracing, sadly, determines that a person has passed away. In these instances, professional tracing agents will utilise their information accessing and physical search skills to confirm that this is the definite truth and to identify the last residence of the deceased and information pertaining to this and their death so that action required can be taken by the person requesting the trace.

In summary, professional tracing agents use an arsenal of knowledge, experience, training and skill sets as well as access to resources, technology and information records not available within the public domain to trace a missing or absent person. They have the time, experience and network to undertake this in a targeted and efficient manner that achieves results where amateur searches would not and within timescales that would not be possible for a non-professional or inexperienced person. Whilst it is tempting to consider tracing a person yourself, this is an inordinate amount of work for an individual to undertake and akin to finding a needle in 40 haystacks rather than just one!

Amateur person tracing can be an extremely long and fruitless process and can be extremely stressful, frustrating and disappointing, especially where an individual is emotionally or financially invested in finding a missing person or when timescales are short or the need to find is urgent.

Professional tracing agents actually charge relatively low costs for person tracing when the amount of work that goes into this is considered and for approximately £350 to £450 you can relieve yourself of the extensive labour that goes into a person search and have the reassurance that your trace will be conducted in an efficient, legally compliant and ethical manner and, most importantly, will achieve results in finding the person you need to locate. 

Trying to find a missing person in the UK can be a daunting and overwhelming thought. In addition to this, you are likely to be feeling additional stress, concern and anxiety regarding the person being missing, whether this be due to personal connection and being worried for their wellbeing, or a financial connection where you will lose or be unable to recoup money if the person does not resurface. 

People need to find people every day in the UK for a wide variety of reasons and with different levels of priority or urgency; it may be that a person has suddenly and uncharacteristically gone missing and you are significantly concerned for their wellbeing and safety; potentially you have lost touch with an old friend, ex-partner or family member and want to rekindle a past relationship; it could be that you need to contact family members to make them aware of information pertaining to a bereavement or legal matter; possibly you are owed money from the parent of your child, an absent tenant or evasive debtor and need to locate the person to address payment; you might be already in litigation and are an individual or legal firm that need to locate a person to serve legal documents to.

There are numerous options and activities that you can undertake to find a missing person in the UK, and that are appropriate to the level of urgency or concern, or the required timescales, behind this. Some of these you will be able to undertake yourself at no or little cost, and some will require the assistance and expertise of a   professional.

Firstly, if we are talking about a person who has been missing for a matter of hours or days in a manner that is unusual and uncharacteristic for them, and you are significantly concerned for their safety and wellbeing, you need to report this matter to the police and register them as a missing person. Whether you are concerned that this person may have been abducted, be unwell physically or mentally or be in any position that makes them vulnerable or unsafe it is essential that the police are made aware and can initiate a search on an urgent basis. You do not have to wait 24 hours to report a person missing to the police and can do so as soon as you are concerned or aware that they are missing.

If you have a significant relationship with a person whom you consider vulnerable in some way to harm from others or to not being able to keep themselves safe and you have ethical and legitimate reason for doing so (eg if you are a parent, partner of carer of a person and have their consent or are able to consent for them legally) you can act preventatively by placing a tracker app on their mobile phone or even vehicle (this would require their consent and would need to be undertaken by a professional) which then allows you to monitor their whereabouts when they have their phone or vehicle with them, or their last known whereabouts if they don’t. If you have been proactive in using such software, you can check in with this if a person is missing.

If you are concerned that someone has not come home, turned up at work, attended a planned meeting or event or not had contact with those known to them for an unusual amount of time you need to report them to the police. You can also start your own enquiries by calling around hospitals in the appropriate area to try to find out if they are unwell or had an accident; you can contact friends, colleagues and family members of the missing person to ascertain if they have had contact or know of the person’s whereabouts; you can contact the missing person’s workplace or a place they regularly attend such as a club, support group or day centre to find out if they have been seen recently. You can also, of course, attend the person’s residence to see if there are any indicators that they are there and that something has happened such as a fall, if their car is present at the address or if there are indicators that the person has not been home such as a build up of delivered mail or perhaps a bin not having been put out or brought in on the day of refuse collection.

You can try to find out about a person’s wellbeing, safety or location through online search and social media; check the person’s social media accounts such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Snapchat or Instagram to see if they have been online recently which would indicate they are alive and well, or if they have posted any content that gives you insight into what state of mind they are in, where they might be, who they might be with and any plans they had for the day/week/month. You can also try to contact the person through social media or see who their family, friends and social media network are and get in touch with these people to gain further information and support with your search.

If you are concerned about a person’s whereabouts you can attend their home address and other areas or locations that you are aware they attend or might be and make enquiries with neighbours, local businesses and within the community to find out if anyone has seen the person. You can use recent photos to aid recognition and trigger people’s memories and you can also put up missing posters with contact details for anyone who has seen the person to be able to get in touch with you. 

There are websites and forums online that are set up to inform others that a person is missing and to record details and photos of that missing person to further extend awareness and support the search. Charities such as www.missingpeople.org.uk can share information about your missing person as well as provide you with support and advice as you try to find them or come to terms with how difficult this task may be. The police also have a website called www.missingpersons.police.uk where they place information about unsolved missing persons cases and people who are still unidentified so you can look on here to aid your search.

If the person has been missing or out of touch with you longer term or over many years, or if this is a person that you are not personally connected to and are seeking due to financial or business need, some of the above methods will still apply and prove useful in your search, but you may also need to start engaging more robust and comprehensive tactics.

You can undertake online searches into person and household records that are available within the public domain such as directory enquiries, censor information and electoral roll data to try to gain knowledge around the person’s current address or last known address, address history and members of their household.

You can engage the help and support of charities who are experienced in the finding of missing or absent persons such as Reunite, The Salvation Army and the British Red Cross; these agencies are able to assist with searches to find missing family members and loved ones not only in the UK but on a global basis and can also support with matters pertaining to separation caused by war or disaster as well as child custody or residency disputes. There are also charities set up to support with post adoption searches such as Adoption Search Reunion for adults seeking family members following historic care proceedings.

Finally, if your own search for a missing person has proved futile, or if you have an urgent need or legal deadline to find the absent individual within, you can employ the services of a private investigator or professional tracing agent; you can easily find and contact a company able to provide these services online. Professional private investigators and tracing agents are trained and experienced in the field of finding (even the most elusive!) missing people with minimal information and in a short space of time. They have access to information and resources that are not available within the public domain and can accurately and discreetly find a person far quicker than would be achieved through amateur means.

There are several answers to this question as there are various forms of police polygraph examination that it could be referring to:

  • In the United States of America, in some states, applicants to law enforcement employee roles such as that of a police officer undertake a polygraph examination as part of the application and interview process so a police polygraph test could be referring to this situation.
  • In the United States of America, polygraph examination results and reports are admissible to criminal courts as evidence (unlike here in the UK where lie detector test results and reports are not accepted within criminal courts at this time). Police departments utilise polygraph examinations within their investigations to interview suspects to determine the probability that they were the culprit or involved in the crime being looked into in any way. The question may be referring to this form of police polygraph test.
  • The third option that the question may be referring to is the current limited use of polygraph examination within UK policing and the probation service; Polygraph examinations have been used with success within the UK national probation service since 2007 for high-risk sexual offenders on release to monitor compliance with their license conditions. These were initially undertaken on a voluntary basis but, since 2014, these have had the option to be mandatory and included as such on an offender’s release conditions. Perpetrators have been recalled to prison as a result of further investigation following a polygraph examination having been undertaken. 

Similar measures are being considered within the Domestic Abuse Bill to be utilised with convicted high-risk domestic abuse perpetrators, and a 3 year pilot study arranged for offenders to engage with polygraph examination on a non-mandatory basis as part of their license and release conditions. 

The Counter Terrorism Bill has also made recommendations to apply mandatory polygraph testing to individuals who have been convicted of acts of terrorism or offences related to this; this recommendation was in response to the London Bridge Attack that occurred in 2019 in which Usman Khan murdered 2 people and caused significant injury to a further 3. Khan was on out on licence wen he committed this atrocity. 

There is some debate, insinuation and suggestion around other less publicly known uses of polygraph examination by the police in the UK but this is unconfirmed.

This article will try to address the title question in regard to all 3 potential situations of police utilising polygraph examination within a professional capacity.

Firstly, when identifying which questions will be contained within a “police polygraph test” there are certain rules that apply to all polygraph testing and that form the basis of the test itself following decades of research, experimentation and development focused on improving lie detector test accuracy; there are different models of testing that different polygraph examiners use due to their own school of thought, rationale around the level of research and evidence base incorporated into that model or the specific issue and questions as well as the number of issues and questions that require addressing within the test. However, there are certain similarities and consistencies within any polygraph examination model.

All polygraph examinations will contain various types or categories of questions with the test set; the test will not just consist of directly asking the questions about the issue that needs clarification. There are formats of questioning that have specific structures or order of questioning implicit to the correct application of the model and this is designed to create the optimum psychological environment to achieve indicative responses from the subject; to promote tension and determine saliency or significance more clearly.

These question sets vary from model to model in terms of language used and exact nature or purpose of the questions, but all tests will include some form of introductory question that allows for self-report by the subject as to whether they understand the test itself and whether they intend to be honest. The test will also include some form of irrelevant questioning which includes the use on trivial and non-triggering questioning around, for example, the day of the week, the weather, a physical item in the room that can be observed. There will also be asked some form of control or comparison questions; these are somehow linked or connected to the incident or behaviour that is being addressed within the polygraph examination but do not specify and are more general. They often include exclusionary statements to prevent response in regard to the actual matter at the heart of the test by drawing parameters that remove the time, date or location, for example, of the incident being investigated. Finally, there will be the questions that overtly and purposefully address the issue that the test has been arranged to clarify and that seek to determine deception or honesty concerning the subject’s claims for his or her own behaviours around this. 

In terms of the polygraph examination used within applicant and interview procedures for candidates wishing to become a police officer within the US, these tests will include questions around the application form they have completed and how honest they have been within this and the statements they have made, questions around their history and past behaviours and any misdemeanours or concerning events that they have not been arrested for, or associations pertaining to this. They will be asked about alcohol and drug use, as well as their driving history and their financial situation and past. The polygraph examination included in part of the US police interviewing process will also look at the candidate’s general history and will ask about the school they attended and any military history. The test will also seek to clarify if the candidate has committed offences or offending behaviour in any other countries in the world where their record searching would not extend to. 

In regard to the use of polygraph examination by police in America to interview and investigate criminal suspects, and the submitting of the results and reports for these to court as evidence, the questions used will be specific to the incident and crime being alleged and so it is not possible to state what will be asked, beyond following the structural requirements of a polygraph test question set as stated above. Every set of questions for lie detector testing needs to be uniquely written and formulated to address the precise incident and behaviours pertinent to the matter at the heart of that test. 

Lastly, in reference to polygraph examination being used within UK policing and probation services for convicted offenders who are on release and being monitored through licence conditions, it is again not possible (beyond the above stated question model formatting) to advise of the specific questions that will be asked. These will pertain to the individual, their own previous convictions and their current situation and relationships. The questions will most likely include asking about the behaviours they have undertaken whilst on licence and out in the community and may refer to substance use, living arrangements, contact with others, employment and support they have engaged with if this is also recommended within licence conditions. The questions will be specific to the offender’s historic behaviours and concerns around this and will seek to identify any breaches of licence or any actions or intentions that indicate they have re-offended or are at high risk of re-offending.

The purpose of a lie detector test (or polygraph examination as it is otherwise known) is to detect deception; to find out the probability that a person is lying in response to questions asked about a specific issue.

Many people request lie detector tests throughout the UK every day for private and work-based reasons; for example, this could be because they are concerned that a partner may have committed infidelity, or something may have gone missing and the person responsible for this theft needs to be identified, or a person may be being accused of an act they have not undertaken and want to prove their innocence.

Whatever the background to the need for a lie detector test, it is possible to receive this service in whatever part of the UK you live or work in.

There are several companies covering the UK that provide lie detector test services; some of these companies will only cover a local or small radius area from their home base but there are also larger companies who cover much larger areas or are even UK wide. You will be able to find a provider of a lie detector service to accommodate your testing requirements in whatever part of the UK you are in.

However, there are some situations and locations where lie detector testing may be a little harder to obtain and you may need to be a little more flexible in terms of arranging the test, the cost of the test, exact location and date and time of the test. This article will go on to explain why below.

A lot of companies offering lie detector services on the internet talk about having a team of polygraph examiners at their disposal; this is not always completely true Polygraph examiners are a rare commodity and it is unlikely that every company advertising polygraph tests have an army of examiners ready and willing, and available, to attend tests countrywide at short notice.

The majority of lie detector companies are, in fact, one man (or woman!) operations meaning that they will struggle to meet demand if they cover the whole country and travelling from Lands End to John O’Groats to undertake one lie detector test does not make good business sense obviously. 

Some of the bigger boys operating in the polygraph examination industry may well have several examiners. They may also have offices across a large area or across the whole of the UK. However, even they will not have a resident polygraph examiner at every one of these offices or allocated to cover one area.

As stated before, polygraph examiners are pretty few and far between, and the demand for lie detector testing is very high. Most polygraph examiners cover a large area and travel a great deal to undertake lie detector tests where people need them.

If you live in the extremities of the country or in remote areas, it may well be that the examiner will struggle a little more to get to you or to fit you in with the other tests they are performing that day. They will always try their best, but it may be that you need to pay a little more for your test to cover the expense of the travel and accommodation of the polygraph examiner and be a little more flexible about when you are available to take the test and not expect this at last minute notice if you wish to employ the services or a competent, ethical and experienced polygraph examiner.

There is also the matter of the exact location of you lie detector test; if you do happen to live in far flung parts of the UK or a place that is not particularly accessible, it may reduce the cost of your test and increase your options in terms of date and time the test can take place if you are willing to travel a little to take the test.

In regard to premises where the lie detector test can take place, this is actually pretty flexible; the majority of lie detector testers are happy to come to your home at no extra cost.

This is convenient to you and often helps people to feel more at ease and relaxed then being in a more formal and clinical office setting and having the stress of travelling there, potentially getting caught up in traffic and running late etc. This allows for you to be in the comfort of the home and allow the examiner to deal with the issues of getting to you on time.

Taking the test at home can let you prepare yourself for the test and often, as a result of this, you are in a psychological and physical state that is more conducive to the obtaining of clearer physiological indicators and data during the test.

Larger companies will also have offices across the area they cover which can be used for you to attend to take a lie detector test if your home is not suitable for this.

However, there is a high demand for lie detector tests and the other services that private investigation companies offer and it is common for the meeting room to be unavailable much of the time. The company may also not have an office in your exact location and therefore unable to provide dedicated office space for your test.

This is not a problem, and the company will be happy to book a hotel room at their own expense if no office space is available on the day of your lie detector test, and you do not wish the examiner to attend your home. This may seem like an odd or unprofessional place to attend for a polygraph examination but due to the wide area that polygraph examiners cover and the amount of travel involved this is actually very commonplace within lie detector testing in the UK.

The examiner will ensure that the room booked meets the physical and practical requirements in order to undertake a valid and reliable polygraph examination and will also make certain to use the utmost discretion when booking the room and meeting you within the reception or hospitality area of the hotel prior to your test.

No confidential details will be discussed within any public area and your privacy is guaranteed.

Essentially it is possible to obtain lie detector testing across the UK and you will be able to book this service wherever your need be.

It is important to remember, however, that polygraph examiners are low in number within the UK and there is high demand. Whilst companies will go above and beyond and do their utmost at all times to get you the test you need, at the place you want it and within the time frame you require it, there may be times when this is just not possible and, if you wish to use an examiner who is experienced and adept at their job and who will get you the most reliable results, you may need to be a little more flexible in terms of cost, locations and timings.

The company and polygraph examiner will be more than happy to talk to you about your options and work out a plan with you that meets your needs, that you are comfortable and satisfied with, and that gets the right examiner to you to undertake your lie detector test.

People make the decision to employ a professional lie detector test service for a wide variety of reasons; it could be associated with your personal life due to difficulties or worries about infidelity in your relationship, or rumours or accusations being spread within your family. 

You may want to arrange a lie detector test with regard to professional or working life and have concerns about a theft that has occurred and want to know who you can believe and trust, or feel that an employee has been dishonest about their conduct or history. 

Whatever the reason for needing a polygraph examination, this can be a stressful and unfamiliar service to arrange and you will no doubt have lots of questions and queries about the process involved and the outcomes that can be achieved.

A guide to booking a polygraph examination or lie detector test, what you can expect from the process and what you will need to do, is provided below to try to relieve at least some of the uncertainty and anxiety around this. A polygraph examiner will be happy to talk to you and explore and work through any further queries or worries you may have about the lie detector test procedures:

  1. Find a company that can provide you with a professional, knowledgeable and ethical lie detector service. You can look online for this. Some lie detector providers will talk about being a member of an official or regulatory body but there is no regulation of lie detection in the UK and no official authority regarding this so be wary of such claims. The best approach is to pick a company that can demonstrate good knowledge and experience of undertaking lie detector testing and who have understanding and awareness of the psychological principles behind this. A good polygraph examiner will be happy to talk through any concerns or questions you may have.
  1. Ensure that you are comfortable with an ability to afford the fee for a lie detector test; polygraph examination is a long and complex process that goes way beyond the actual physical test that you see and take part in. As a result of this and the expenses incurred to the company in providing you with this service, lie detector tests are not cheap. You need to be certain that you can afford this expense without impacting your quality of life. You also need to be prepared to pay at least a 50% deposit by card when booking your test; any professional and ethical company will expect this from you as a great number of people book tests they never turn up to and the company need to be sure that you are fully committed to the process before they confirm your booking or start work on formulating your test.
  1. You can contact a polygraph examination company through the means directed on their website; this may be by telephone, email, contact form or social media. You can use the method you feel most comfortable with. You need to know your availability and understand that, although many providers can operate at short notice, it may not always be possible to book your test on the same day or at the exact time you would most want it. Have some different days and times in mind and some flexibility around this if you want to secure a test with the best and most accurate lie detector test companies.
  1. Once you have booked your test and paid your deposit, you will be contacted by the polygraph examiner assigned to undertake your test. The polygraph examiner will need to speak with the person who is requesting or booking the test (this is not always the subject who will be sitting the test and is quite often a partner, employer or friend or associate of the subject who wishes to gain clarity around the honesty of the subject for whatever reason). The polygraph examiner will need to know about the issue behind the request for the lie detector test (for example this might be questions and doubts around a relationship, worries about secrets and lies within a family or friendship group, or a theft that has occurred in which the culprit needs to be identified). The polygraph examiner will need you to explain what has happened and why you want a lie detector test to be undertaken and what you are hoping this will achieve.
  1. Lie detector tests can only address one specific incident or matter within one test. If you wish to gain clarity about two or more matters or incidents you may need to book more than one test; there is usually the possibility of a discount for two or more lie detector tests if they are to be undertaken at the same location and time. It is vital that the questions formulated for a lie detector test are not vague and are specific and clear in terms of the details contained within them; the polygraph examiner will need you to provide names, exact dates, times and locations in regard to the incident or matter you wish to address in order for questions to achieve the most valid and reliable responses for analysis.
  1. The polygraph examiner will also need to gain from you what questions you want to be asked within the lie detector test. Polygraph examination follows specific models of testing format and there will be a limit on the number of questions you can ask; the most usual being three questions. Failure to adhere to polygraph examination models will result in an invalid result so it is important that this is followed. If you wish to ask more questions than the set amount, you may again need to book more than one test. The structure of polygraph test questions and the wording or language used is also critical to the accuracy achieved within the test so the polygraph examiner will work through this with you and develop the questions you have in mind to ensure that they are most appropriate for the purposes of a lie detector test. If you know what issue you want to be clarified, but don’t have any set questions in mind the polygraph examiner can also explore this with you to draw out the questions that are best going to get to the truth of the matter you want to be resolved.
  1. You will also need to take the polygraph examiner aware of any physical health problems, physical or cognitive difficulties or disabilities, pregnancy or prescribed medication or substance use that you know is pertinent to the subject that will be undertaking the test. People under the age of 18 years or people with a significant mental health difficulty or learning disability are not suitable to undertake a polygraph examination. There is no need to worry if you do not have this knowledge of the subject, the polygraph examiner will ask the person sitting the test themselves on the day when the test is undertaken. It is important to the lie detector test result that honesty and openness are applied in regard to these matters so if you have any suspicion that these may apply to the subject it is crucial that you share this with the examiner. These issues do not all mean that a lie detector test is not possible, but they are factors that need to be taken into consideration within data interpretation to gain accurate conclusions.
  1. Once the polygraph examiner has spoken to you, they will then formulate the test that is unique and specific to the needs you have shared. They will attend at the time and location that you have booked to undertake the lie detector test(s) as you have discussed and will provide you with a full written report of the test and findings within a specified time period after the test has taken place.

The Jeremy Kyle Show was axed in 2019 following the very sad and tragic passing of a guest to the show who had taken and been advised that he had failed, a lie detector test around matters of infidelity in a relationship.

The gentleman in question had attended another lie detector test with a different polygraph examiner following sitting the test with the show and had been found to be telling the truth in this second test.

The show claimed their polygraph examinations to be around 90% accurate which is a very high claim for any lie detector testing and not supported by research. During an investigation into the show following its termination, the “Director of Aftercare” for the production advised that he was “naïve” regarding the exact figures for accuracy behind lie detection.

Academics advised the inquiry that lie detector testing is estimated to be around 66% accurate and this is a more realistic figure. 

The inquiry also found that potential guests to the show were “lured” into attending through the offer of free lie detector tests to settle disputes in their relationships, families and friendships. 

Whilst the exact figure for accuracy of lie detector testing cannot be stated, the American Polygraph Association, and leading body on polygraph examination globally, claims that lie detector testing is 87.5% accurate. 

The important idea to hold onto is that lie detector testing is not, and never can be 100% accurate. Any person making claims of accuracy within lie detector testing that is 100% or even in the 90% range is not doing so with any backing from research or verified studies. 

Lie detector testing is about human beings; people are complex and vary from individual to individual, and lying is an abstract concept and not a concrete item that can be empirically observed and measured.

Lie detector testing relies on the secondary impacts of lying within a person and records responses to the presence of feelings of threat or fear; heart rate, blood flow, temperature, sweating to the hands, respiration and movement. Whilst experimentation, studies, research and development over decades has sought to increase the accuracy of lie detector testing, it is still not 100% accurate and this must be kept in mind when polygraph examination findings are shared. 

Also, the accuracy of lie detector testing is not a set figure that can be stated for anyone using a polygraph machine; lie detector testing is far more complex than just the input of data and the output of a result.

There is a vital human element within the process and many factors and variables that can impact on accuracy within lie detector testing. Much of the accuracy probability is based on the examiner themselves and details of the testing process that they are responsible for; the writing and formulation of test questions, the order of questions within the test set, the observations made by the examiner of the person sitting the test, the robust adherence to polygraph examination models and principles, the placing of sensors and upkeep of equipment, the creating of a physical and psychological environment conducive to producing valid and reliable data and the analysis and interpretation of data obtained.

If the polygraph examiner is not knowledgeable and diligent within all these areas the test will not produce accurate results no matter how good or expensive the instrumentation used is. There is also a reliance on the cooperation and goodwill of the subject sitting the test; if they attempt to use countermeasures to evade detection of their deception such as undeclared substance use or physical or cognitive techniques to manipulate the data obtained, this can impact on the test and likely provide inconclusive results.

There are considerable amounts of influences, variables and factors that can impact on the accuracy of a lie detector test and to provide one static figure of accuracy is an unrealistic endeavour.

Whilst there is confusion and ambiguity around exactly how accurate the lie detector tests performed on the Jeremy Kyle Show, and it is highly unlikely that the full truth around this will ever be determined or come to light, the real issue with the show was the manner in which it handled and reacted to lie detector testing and results; it is not known how guests were prepared for the lie detector test or how they were treated backstage or what after care they actually received.

It is presumed, for the sake of giving the benefit of doubt, that guests were handled with kindness and compassion, and supported following the receiving of lie detector test results when the cameras were not running. 

However, on stage was a different matter; Mr Kyle responded to persons “failing” the lie detector test with anger, insults, judgement, condemnation and verbal abuse and aggression.

He attempted to humiliate them and accused them relentlessly of being “liars” and never once spoke about the possibility of the test having been wrong or inaccurate. Once you were indicated to have been deceptive on a Jeremy Kyle lie detector test you were vilified; the audience were encouraged to boo and heckle you and large security guards would close in as if to suggest that if you were capable of lying, you were probably capable of criminal damage or violence.

This is an horrendous way to treat any human being and should never have been allowed. It most certainly should not have been allowed when a person “may” have lied, and the correct and respectful consideration of the test not being 100% accurate should have been verbalised and shared. 

Human beings lie. We all lie. It’s an evolved behaviour to support survival. Sometimes we tell huge lies and sometimes we tell little “white” lies but it would be a false claim if anyone said they have never once lied in their life. Even Mr Kyle himself will have told many lies in his life (rather large ones according to the tabloids!).

Human beings also all make mistakes; we are complex and emotional creatures and we give in to temptation, we get confused and distracted in matters of the heart, we become selfish in our own pursuits of gain or happiness and we make poor or wrong decisions. This does not make any of us “bad people” or people deserving of name calling, humiliation or verbal aggression. 

None of us can walk in another person’s shoes and none of us can truly understand their background and life experiences and what was going on for them at the time they committed an indiscretion or made a mistake or how they were feeling or what they were thinking. Whilst there are times that others lie about a situation in their own lives and whilst it can be perceived as the right of other’s impacted by this lie to know the truth, lie detector testing should not be employed as a means to label or condemn a person. 

Lie detector testing should be undertaken by a professional who is compassionate, respectful and non-judgemental. No one should be made to feel that they are a bad person just because they have made a mistake or told a lie, as this would make every person on this earth a bad person. It is up to you and your relationships how you deal with the results obtained within lie detector testing and what actions you need to take next, but it is not up to any outsider or professional to criticise you or put you down.

If you feel that your polygraph examiner is in any way judgemental of you or the information you have shared, or if they lack compassion and understanding around the stresses and anxieties that are provoked by the undertaking of a lie detector test, its time to find another examiner! And after the test, don’t beat yourself up or allow others to do so; we are all just human beings trying to do our best and sometimes we all f*** up! It’s just how we are.

The cost of lie detector testing varies according to your location, the time you need the test by or notice you are able to give and the complexity of the test and the issues around the need for the test.

In general, lie detector testing within the UK costs between £350 and £500 per test. 

Different providers charge different amounts and this may be due to various reasons; some companies may be very new to the field or struggling to find business and may offer lower pricing to attract custom and to reflect their inexperience. It could also be that a company has purchased cheaper or lower quality instrumentation or do not renew and update this on a regular basis; this will obviously lower their overhead costs and allow them to charge less for a lie detector test.

Some polygraph test providers only cover small areas meaning that they have low expense costs and again can charge less to the end user for a polygraph examination. The lower test cost might also be reflective of a less thorough approach to the testing process which means the company or examiner are investing less of their time in this and can charge a reduced rate as they can fit more tests in per day.

Some companies will be at the more expensive end of the spectrum; this could be reflective of the quality (and therefore higher price) of the equipment they use and how often they update and renew this. It could also be indicative of how thorough they are (being thorough means taking the time to speak to customers in more detail, to invest the effort and thought needed to correctly formulate the question set and undertake the test itself and to be diligent and detailed in the analysis of data). Time obviously costs money so this attention to detail and adherence to correct polygraph principles could come at an increased cost. 

Some companies cover large areas or even the whole of the UK; there is a shortage of polygraph examiners in the UK and this means the examiners often travel a great deal to provide testing in all locations. Whilst there may be an office for the company providing the service within the local area, the examiner themselves may not be local and would have incurred significant expense travelling to the location convenient to the customer and may also need to pay for overnight accommodation etc and this will also be reflected in the end price of the lie detector test. In this way, your location can impact on the cost of your test. 

The complexity of the test you have requested or the issue behind the need for polygraph examination can also result in a slightly higher price being charged for the test; the wording and language used within questions, as well as the formatting of the test set is essential to achieving valid and reliable data and, therefore, accurate results. If your issue or test questions are particularly complex, it will take a greater amount of time and involvement from the examiner to correctly write and format the test and the extra time needed to do this can result in an increased cost. 

If you need a lie detector test at very short notice this may be difficult for the test provider and examiner to accommodate, and they may have to re-arrange other tests or the analysis of other test results in order to provide this for you. The company may have to pay the examiner an increased fee to attend at short notice if they work on a sub-contracted or independent basis. This can all again result in an increased fee.

Lie detector tests (or as they are otherwise known, polygraph examinations) adhere to a specific model of testing. The polygraph examiner themselves will chose the model they prefer to use based on their own school of thought, the research and evidence base behind a particular model or how well suited a particular model is to determining deception within a specific issue.

These models only allow for a certain number of questions to be asked about the specific issue within the test format; the most common number being three. If you wish to ask more than three questions you may need to request more than one test. If these are being held at the same time and same location it is likely that the polygraph company will be able to offer you a discount on the second test.

This may also apply if you wish to address more than one issue; lie detector test models used can be for single facet tests (eg, did you steal the £10?) or some models can be for multi-faceted tests (eg, did you steal the £10? Did you have any involvement in the theft of the £10? Do you know who did steal the £10?).

The company providing your test will be able to advise whether they use a model which enables multi-facet testing or only single facet testing and you may need to book a second test if the model they use can only support single facet testing. The company will have good reason behind their choice to employ the lie detector test model that they use and it is important that they adhere to the principles behind the model. Again, it is likely they will be able to offer a discount on the second test if they are unable to address all your questions in the first. 

If you wish to obtain the answers to questions about unrelated issues (eg. Have you had sexual intercourse with anyone other person during our relationship? AND Have you ever posted information online about me that was derogatory?) you will need to have two separate tests as lie detector tests need to focus on a specific event or issue and the formatting and order of test questions is built around this to obtain valid and accurate results.

You would require one test about a person being unfaithful during your relationship and one test about them posting inappropriate or harmful content about you online. Similarly to the above, it is likely that a lie detector test provider will offer a discount if both tests are to be sat at the same time and location. 

Caution is advised against taking the cheapest lie detector test you can find; there are likely to be reasons why the test is the cheapest around.

Polygraph examination is an in depth and complex process and, if done properly, utilises expensive instrumentation and requires a great deal of time and attention to detail. Whilst there is no need to book the most expensive test you can find, and this is by no means indicative of the quality of the product you receive, it is worth considering how significant the results of the test will be to you and your life, and the importance of ensuring that you obtain an experienced and invested professional to undertake this for you.

Most polygraph examiners will be happy to explain the basis for the fee they are charging if you feel unsure or confused and also to talk you through what is involved in the entire polygraph process if this is helpful to your decision making when booking a lie detector test.  

Type in “online lie detector test” to any search engine and you will get a variety of responses:

Some will be joke or fun “lie detector tests” where you can click on your answers to a pre-set list of questions about various humiliating or illegal acts you may or may not have performed and gain a result that says whether you are an honest or dishonest person.

These results are based on the general population’s probability of having done these things, how much you admit to and/or your response times. That’s on a good day; they may just be automatically set to say you are honest most of the time and throw in the occasional dishonest just so that people think they are real.

These tests are just for fun and, whilst they can be good for entertainment purposes or even a party game with friends, you won’t be able to take the results as a valid or reliable judgement as to whether someone really has a truthful or deceptive nature. You also will be unable to ask the questions you really want answers to, so best to take these for what they are; a laugh.

Some sites will declare that they can offer a 100% accurate, genuine lie detector test over the internet without you or they need to even leave the comfort of a chair or desk. They will ask you to pay the full amount by card, most likely with an accompanying spiel about statistics and rates of success and some made-up technical jargon about how their test works and will not fail you.

There will doubtless be numerous fake reviews alongside all of this. Once they have taken your money, either you will get no further contact or the “next” page on the website won’t ever load, or you will receive some arbitrary push-button test that will prove nothing at all for the reasons stated below. 

In the best-case scenario these providers might follow through on the process of providing a seemingly bona fide lie detector test; they might post you out the kit to sit the test and they might even provide an examiner who interacts with you through text, phone or even camera or online platform. This leaves a lot of room for error though and takes away the expertise of the examiner and the influence they exert over how valid and reliable the results are; you may place the sensors incorrectly on the body meaning that accurate data is not achieved or you could even place them on someone else or the family dog if no one is watching!

(ok so this is a little far fetched but not outside the realms of possibility!). The examiner will also miss out on the 1:1 in-person interaction that provides the indicators that talking through text or phone or even viewing someone through a camera cannot provide. The polygraph examiner in a genuine lie detector test will observe the subject’s body language and general presentation; they will look for indicators of deception within this, attempts to evade or be uncooperative and also signals that someone has used a substance prior to the test.

If they pick up on something they are not sure about or possibly hints at dishonesty, they are able to adapt their approach or the test itself to dig further into this and explore what they have observed. An examiner not being with you in person when you sit a lie detector test greatly impacts on their ability to fully assess and interpret the situation; data from the physiological response is not the only guiding tool that a polygraph examiner uses when making decisions around whether a person has been deceptive or not.

Some online lie detector tests claim that they are able to determine from your “voice stress” whether you are being honest or not. Human beings have control over their voice except in the most extreme of situations; sitting in your living room telling an unknown person at the end of the phone that you didn’t steal £50 from your nan is unlikely to feel like an extreme situation or have that kind of impact of you.

People can practice and prepare for this kind of test relatively easily and emotion such as becoming upset, crying or even pretending to cry can distort the voice significantly. This doesn’t always mean you are lying, this can mean you are nervous or anxious or genuinely upset about the issues surrounding the lie detector test you have requested.

Proper polygraph examination uses several different physiological responses to gain recordings and data from and there is good reason and research and evidence behind this; a single measure of physiological change has already been found many decades ago to not provide an accurate indicator of deception. There is no evidence base or research supporting the claim that your voice alone can indicate deception or honesty so don’t spend your money on these tests; you are likely to receive results that are completely wrong and essentially pretty random. 

Lastly, there are also sites on the internet that sell “prank” lie detector tests. These are where one of your friends (or enemies!) have purchased a joke lie detector test that is sent to you online for you take part in.

The idea behind these can range from a gentle bit of teasing and a laugh amongst friends to a nasty trick to play on an ex-partner (or current partner if you’ve had a particularly unpleasant row!), work colleague or business associate to make them think they are going to be found out for something the sender thinks they did. If you get sent a lie detector test online that you did not request likelihood is this is a prank and won’t provide any accurate results (or probably any result at all).

There is no need for you to take part in this or to take it seriously so don’t worry. If you think it’s a joke from a well-meaning friend and want to play along – go ahead! But if you think there may be a more harmful or sinister motive behind this just delete it along with all the other junk mail!

At the end of the day, there is very little you can’t get online these days, or at least very little that online providers and websites won’t promise to deliver.

If you want to take part in an online lie detector test for fun or entertainment purposes, there is no harm in this as long as you apply caution to the results and don’t get caught up in thinking they have any meaning at all – they don’t and you are not a dishonest person just because an online quiz says you are! If you want to get genuine and accurate answers to an issue that is affecting your personal life and wellbeing, you need to book a professional and they need to meet with the person sitting the lie detector test in person as this is a vital part of the process and critical to obtaining valid and accurate results.

Don’t get taken in by the false promises of online detector tests; the results of such a test are likely to be highly significant to you and your life if you are applying such deep consideration to them, and a fake test or inadequate test is not fair on you or anyone involved in the issue you want answers to. The best advice is to get the job done properly by a professional polygraph examiner who will meet the subject in person and undertake the test in the correct and proper manner, as it has been designed to carried out following decades of research and development.

The purpose of a polygraph test or examination (also, and more commonly, known as a lie detector test) is to detect deception; to work out the probability that someone is telling the truth or lie in response to specific questions.

A polygraph test records physiological (bodily) changes that occur in a person when they are asked questions about a situation, event or action that they have been accused of, or it has been suspected that they are lying about. 

Research, experimentation and studies within psychology and the behavioural sciences have identified that some bodily functions react to fear or threat in certain ways and that lying can induce this state of fear and anxiety in a person, causing these functions to react. These responses are measured in a polygraph test through the correct placing of sensors on these areas of the examinee’s body that are relevant to these responses. The sensors record several different physiological responses simultaneously and continuously throughout the lie detector test to determine how the examinee’s body reacts when hearing and answering certain questions. Their reactions indicate whether they are being truthful or deceptive when answering due to the known fear responses that lying triggers within a person.

The sensors used within a polygraph test record blood flow or blood pressure, heart rate or pulse, bodily temperature, galvanic skin response (sweat production of the hands), respiration and, often, movement of the body or fidgeting. Sensors are attached around the torso to measure respiration, as a cuff around the arm to measure blood pressure, and as cuffs or clips around fingers to measure pulse and sweat production.

The bodily responses associated with fear or threat include the increase in blood pressure or blood flow as the body readies itself for conflict or escape, increased body temperature due to the activation of muscles in preparation for this imminent need for activity, increased sweat production in the hands to improve grasping to assist with any conflict or escape need that may be coming and reduced respiration rate as the airways dilate to assist with any immediate need for physical action but no physical action occurs so breathing becomes more effective. Movement of the body or shifting/fidgeting is due to the difficulty keeping still when adrenaline has been released into the body in response to the perception of threat. 

The examination itself is an intrinsic part of identifying deception and polygraph examination does not just involve asking someone questions whilst they are hooked up to a machine. It is far more complex than that. The examination can take different forms as there are different schools of thought within polygraphy and different models of testing employed, but there are many similarities between these models and the differences may not be obvious to the uneducated eye. 

Some polygraph examinations can only address single issues (for example whether or not someone stole some money) whilst some can address several issues or are “multi-faceted” (for example whether or not someone stole some money, whether they had any involvement in the money being stolen at all or if they know who did steal the money). 

The questions that are asked during a polygraph examination are carefully formulated and ordered. The examiner will discuss with the examinee and/or the person requesting the test to find out what issue(s) the test needs to address and what needs to be clarified. They may well ask what questions you would like included in the test. They will then use the information you have supplied to word the questions correctly for a polygraph examination; it is essential that any ambiguity or certainty, or any dual implication is removed from questions to ensure valid and reliable answers and bodily responses are achieved from the examinee. Test models can allow for different numbers of the questions you want to be included in them. These models have to be adhered to if they are to achieve valid and accurate results so it may be that you need to have more than one lie detector test if you have a number of questions or more than one issue that you need to address.

A polygraph test will also include questions that you have not asked for and that you do not require responses to. This is to create the right psychological environment to achieve the greatest clarity from the bodily responses recorded. In other words, this prepares the examinee psychologically and physiologically for when they hear the mention of the specific issue and the questions that are pertinent to this. This is aimed at developing tension within the subject and determining the salience or significance of specific issues to them so that their bodily reactions are heightened and greater differentiation achieved between their responses to the “hot” topic and their baseline functioning. These questions take different forms according to the model of lie detector testing being employed but they generally will include introductory questions (questions that confirm the examinee knows what is going to happen and in which the examinee states whether they intend to answer truthfully or not), irrelevant questions (that are about innocuous, trivial  or insignificant matters such as what day of the week it is, what colour the wall is or if they travelled to the test by car) and comparison questions (which talk about an issue similar to that which the test has been arranged to address but which are exclusionary of that specific issue or are more wide ranging or general). These questions are ordered within a structure that experimentation and study has found best achieve the conditions for the examinee most conducive to detecting deception and it is important that this structure is followed is test results are to be valid and reliable. The questions will also be repeated with more than one set of questioning being used in a polygraph examination to ensure that data is consistent and to allow investigation of any anomaly. 

Before the polygraph examination even starts the examiner will undertake a pre-interview with the subject. This will allow them to gain greater understanding of the issue in question and to listen to the examinee’s narrative and views on this. This enables the examiner to observe the body language and presentation of the subject whilst they tell their side of the story which further assists in deception of detection.

Most polygraph examinations also include a pre-test or practice or acquaintance test which employs a different set of questioning then that which is used in the main lie detector test. This pre-test will allow the examiner to ascertain the normal baseline physiological responses for the individual sitting the test and how these may be affected on the day by nerves or anxiety about the test. The examiner will often include within this pre-test a request for the subject to deliberately and knowingly lie (about something inconsequential) to the examiner so that they can start to observe and record the physiological responses that occur within that individual when they are dishonest which also helps in interpretation of data after the test is concluded.

Once the polygraph examination is completed the examiner will have data that they have collected through the sensors that were attached to the body of the subject and recording physiological response throughout the pre-test and the actual lie detector test.

The examiner will analyse this data through the use of the model that they choose. There are several different models for data analysis, interpretation and scoring in use and again these depend on the model used for the polygraph examination itself and whether the test was single or multi-faceted. Once data analysis or scoring has been undertaken the examiner will be able to advise what response the subject gave to each relevant question asked and whether the examination has found the subject to be honest or dishonest in these responses. 

Many people hold the view that you can pass or “beat” a lie detector test even if you are lying, and there are plenty of articles across the internet suggesting tips and techniques that you can employ to appear honest when you are sitting a polygraph examination.

The main thing that people seem to overlook, especially those writing these “helpful” tips and guides to beat a lie detector test, is that polygraphy and the researchers and scientists that work in this field, and the polygraph examiners themselves, know about this! We read the same articles you read, and we are aware of all these alleged hints to pass lie detector testing.

Polygraph examiners do not approach a lie detector test with the assumption that everyone is going to be super helpful and cooperative and present the textbook physiological responses that are required to easily and irrefutably detect deception. If someone has agreed to take a lie detector test when they are being dishonest, we know that they have not just resigned themselves to being “found out”. We know that they are intending to try and pass the test and hoping that they can achieve this. 

Some people approaching polygraph examination with the intention of lying are just going on a wing and a prayer that polygraphy doesn’t really work, that their body is somehow different to the majority or that perhaps the tester will be having an off day.

 Some attend with a strategy or plan that they have gained (probably from the above-mentioned articles on the internet) and will try to employ one of the many techniques advised such as biting their tongue, solving complex maths problems in their head, trying to place themselves in a zen-like tranquil state or trying to work themselves into a continuous highly aroused state so that any peaks within physiological responses don’t stand out as they are constantly peaking all over the place anyway. 

Some individuals who wish to “pass” a lie detector test and keep their deception hidden prepare themselves for the test; trying to desensitise themselves to the issue at the heart of the test and practice any questions that they think will come up to train their body to not react when this matter or these questions are presented to them.

Some people use substances prior to the lie detector test that they think will calm their physiological responses and do not inform the examiner when asked about the use of any drug or substance prior to the test or in chronic form.

A few individuals will try to appeal to the examiner’s better nature, appearing desperate and distraught and emphatically pleading their innocence and becoming emotional. They explain to the examiner the grave consequences of failing this test for their life and wellbeing, and how shocked and deeply offended and hurt they are to be accused of such a thing in the hope that the examiner will form a biased view before the test even begins and will interpret data and make allowances based on this.

There are a million and one different techniques and behaviours employed by persons who know they are being deceptive but want the lie detector test to find them honest that are simply too numerous to list here. However, the stumbling block is that this is the exact scenario that polygraph examination is designed to deal with. The assumption made within polygraphy is that someone is going to try to lie and not be found out; the entire design and development of the polygraph examination is built around preventing this and there are significant countermeasures in place within polygraphy to do so.

A polygraph examination is a science and an art; the widely held assumption is that it consists only of sensors being attached to the body, questions being asked and the recordings from physiological responses given when those questions are asked and answered being interpreted to conclude whether a person is lying or telling the truth. The reality is that a lie detector test is far more complex and comprehensive than this. 

The examination starts when the subject meets the examiner; the examiner will observe the body language and presentation of the individual and will conduct a pre-interview with them. This allows the examiner to gain the views and background story for the basis of the test from the subject’s perspective and for the examiner to explain the testing process to them, all the time observing the behaviour of the subject whilst doing so. The examiner will also be looking to ascertain any indicators of substance use within the subject that they have not declared, and which might impact on testing and results.

The examiner will notice if the subject is in a psychological or physiological state not conducive to obtaining data to achieve an accurate result and will work with the individual to support them to calm down, and if this is not possible the examiner will delay or postpone testing to a time when the subject can be a state that enables valid polygraph examination. Similarly, the examiner will also notice if someone presents in a particularly calm and relaxed state as this is not usual within a lie detector test and will likely induce the examiner to probe deeper and ask questions around this and the significance of the test for the subject’s life and future and will be direct and persistent within this; this is usually enough to break the meditative trance of anyone attempting this strategy!

A lie detector test involves the administration of a practice or “acquaintance” test prior to the actual main examination which enables the examiner to understand the baseline bodily responses that the subject is presenting with on that particular day so any use of substances to reduce physiological reactions will become irrelevant and any differences that an individual has to the norm in terms of their behaviour in situations of lying will be identified and incorporated into analysis.

Polygraph examination also includes developed question language or wording as well as evidence-based question order formatting. The set of questions and the language used within these is carefully designed and formulated to provide a counter measure to attempts to deceive and to manipulate physiological set up so that even the most prepared and desensitised of candidates react to deception.

The examiner will also spot any attempts to defeat the test through tongue biting, constant fidgeting, interrupting the test or general evasion and will note this as purposeful non-cooperation which would provide an inconclusive result and would also cause the examiner to hold that view that deception was intended, and this will be advised on the report provided following the test.

Admittedly, there are situations where things can go wrong and lie detector testing can fail to achieve a clear result. Lie detector testing is generally around 87.5% accurate and there are instances where the outcome is inconclusive or where human error occurs (as in every human endeavour) or where technological failure happens. There are very few numbers of individuals whom, due to cognitive function anomalies for a variety of reasons, do not respond or react physiologically to threat or fear and therefore will not present with a bodily change that can indicate deception. These people could theoretically beat a lie detector test but are extremely rare.

In essence, it is within the realms of possibility to pass a lie detector test when you are lying but it’s very unlikely – the best advice is not to rely on so called strategies and techniques you have learned from the internet or a helpful mate but to just not take the test if you intend to lie. The probability is that you will be found out.

If you have a gut feeling or suspicions that your partner might be cheating, it can be an absolute minefield trying to figure out what’s really going on and get to the truth. You question his behaviour and your own thought patterns constantly; going back and forth between seeing things that he’s doing or ways that he’s acting that you are sure indicate that something is going on, then flipping to asking yourself what’s wrong with you? Where are you getting these ideas from and why are you so paranoid? What’s wrong with you?!

Gut feeling or instinct can be a good guide and reliable alarm indicator that you need to pay attention to. However, there could also be other stuff going on for you that’s putting your judgement and thought patterns just a little off their target right now so it’s worth taking your time to really assess the situation and think clearly before making any accusations or taking any action.

Most of us know the obvious signs that someone is cheating on us; if you’ve found flirty text messages or social media communications between the one you love and another person it’s likely that something is going on or that something might be going on very soon! 

Even worse, if you have actually caught your partner in a compromising situation or meeting up with someone else when they had said they were busy with work or other activities, it’s obvious that you have a problem.

Similarly, if your partner has started spending significant amounts of time with someone you don’t feel is just a friend, especially when it’s at the expense of time spent with you, there is likely to be trouble on the horizon.

If someone you know and trust really well has told you that your partner is cheating and has provided reliable evidence or confirmation of tis, you probably again need to consider the painful reality that the person you love is interested in someone else and not being faithful to you.

However, what if none of the obvious signs are there yet you still have this nagging doubt, this fear and worry that won’t go away and you just feel somewhere inside that things just aren’t right and are suspicious of infidelity? There are some more subtle signals that he will find harder to hide and that you can look out for. Don’t jump to conclusions and react the minute you think you spot one of these signals but take your time, observe him and keep a note of how many you observe and on what kind of frequency before making your mind up about what’s going on and what to do next:

  • He’s started to regularly mention someone else’s name in conversation and manages to get them into most subjects. He tends to say something positive about them; repeating a suggestion or thought they have shared with him, or speaking with admiration or laughter about something they said or did. He won’t notice he is doing this but you will…..
  • He’s started to make more of an effort with his appearance; this may be super subtle as he won’t want to alert you or make it obvious to the object of his (current) affections, but there’s just little things. He may have started eating healthier or going to the gym more. Maybe he’s taking that little bit more time on his hair or beard, has finally started plucking that annoying monobrow or has begun taking more interest in his dental hygiene! He might have bought new clothes or started wearing scent. They may be subtle signs and changes but he’s spending that bit longer in the bathroom for a reason….
  • He’s become a little less casual about where he leaves his mobile phone and he’s using it or checking it more frequently. He might even seem somewhat furtive or secretive in the way he uses his phone, moving his body slightly so you can’t seen what he’s writing, taking it with him to the bathroom or going into another room to answer calls. If these are unusual behaviours for your partner there’s a chance he might be trying to hide something or is talking to someone he shouldn’t be.
  • If he’s playing away with someone you know, perhaps a friend or family member or someone in your social circle, it might be that you can observe subtle indicators in his behaviours and presentation when they are around. Does he smile or laugh more around a certain someone, become more fun or engaging? Does he pay them compliments or watch them, stealing glances when he thinks no one will notice? Check his body language; does he position himself in the proximity or eyeline of this person? Does he turn his body placement to be open towards them? Do his pupils enlarge when he looks at them? Does he mimic their body language and provide them with extended direct eye contact when speaking with them? Do you feel like you’re invisible or forgotten about when that person is present? 
  • You could just feel like he has become distant; like he is not fully present or engaged when he is with you. Things feel different then they did before. Maybe he isn’t touching you or approaching you sexually like he used to or maybe he finds excuses such as being tired or needing to do something suddenly when you approach him. Maybe you are still being intimate together but it feels more detached and mechanical and less loving on his side. 
  • He has less time for you and is generally a lot more busy or unavailable then he used to be. Maybe he is “working” later or has started seeing friends more or going to the gym more frequently and for longer periods. This could all be time that he is really spending with someone else if this seems keep happening. Of course it could just be that he has a lot of work on or has decided its time to care more about his fitness, but worth keeping an eye on or perhaps suggesting you join him for his next gym sesh! 
  • The little things that you both cared about have stopped or reduced; maybe you used to text each other regularly during the day and his texts have lessened or he doesn’t reply as much as he used to, or his texts have become briefer and less affectionate. Maybe he doesn’t use a nickname for you anymore or isn’t interested in some of the regular things that you both used to do and enjoy together? These could be signs that he’s now doing those things with someone else and doesn’t need to do them with you anymore.
  • He is irritable and annoyed with you; you feel like you just can’t do anything right or that he’s suddenly criticising things you do that he never had a problem with before. He’s started to point out flaws that were not mentioned previously and that you even thought he found endearing! It could just be general stress or that he’s feeling a little low but it could be stress brought on by the high pressure situation of cheating on you and his head having been turned by someone that, for the moment at least, he sees as more desirable than you. He may feel frustrated to be with you and not her and (wrongly) be taking this out on you. This hurts and its completely unfair but it could be a sign that he’s found another love.

Thinking that your partner is cheating is always extremely painful and upsetting, and finding out that they definitely are can completely floor the most independent and resilient amongst us. Matters of the heart hit the hardest but sometimes its better to find out and have the chance to heal and move on then live with less than you’re worth for the rest of your life.

But be cautious and think hard before you take any action; look out for the above subtle signs that he’s cheating and if several are cropping up in your relationship it’s probably time for a conversation…..

If you do suspect he is cheating and would like to catch him in the act or just give yourself peace of mind it may be worth hiring a private investigator. At Bond Rees, we have private investigators in London, Cardiff, Manchester, Birmingham and many other places in the UK. Get in touch to see which office is closest to you.

That dreaded feeling when the thought occurs that your husband might be cheating on you; the drop in your stomach, the thump in your heart, the inability to eat, sleep or focus on anything else. There is no pain greater than heartbreak and the thought that this man whom you committed to and thought you were going build a life and spend the rest of your days with, whom you have invested so much time, effort and emotion in, maybe giving his attention and love to another person is devastating. 

How can you be sure that your suspicions are correct or put your mind at rest that your husband has remained faithful to you and move forward with your life and relationship?

It’s important to detach the emotion from your thinking and actions; yes, I appreciate that is far easier said than done. Matters of the heart take over our entire being and can literally feel like the difference between life and death so it’s going to be pretty difficult to take a neutral and practical stance when we are talking about the person you truly love. 

However, it’s essential that you try and make decisions in a sound mind with objective evidence to support your conclusion so allow yourself time to be emotional; be angry, be upset, wallow at times, take those moments to self-indulge and allow the full force of your emotions to be felt, but don’t use these times to make decisions. 

Set aside time when you are going to force yourself to be analytical and objective to consider your suspicions and evidence from an outsider perspective and do not confront your husband or send him texts or accusatory telephone calls until you have done this. It’s better for you in the long run. Talk to trusted and discreet friends or family members to gain another’s perspective and reflect on your own observations and thoughts. 

Once you have fully reviewed the situation and built up evidence as opposed to just gut feelings, it’s probably time to have a talk with your husband.

Pick your time wisely to do this; make sure you are in a stable and rational psychological state, choose a time when you and your husband will not be disturbed by children, work or other factors and check that your husband is in a good place to receive your conversation; if he has just got in from a stressful day at work, is hungry or has other plans its probably best to bide your time and wait for an opportunity where both of you are in the right state for a productive, respectful and open conversation. Don’t approach your husband with hostility or accusation; use “I”, explaining how you feel and why and what this has made you suspect or think might be happening. Be curious and questioning, not confrontational and demanding There could be something else entirely going on for your husband, but he is not going to share this with you if he feels under scrutiny or attack. 

So how do you get to the place where you can feel sure enough about your concerns to be confident in addressing these with your husband? 

Firstly, look deeper into why you have these suspicions? When did they start? What triggered them? What is the basis for your suspicions?

Is it that he has stopped being interested in you or showing you the same level of attention or care that he was? Think what this might be about and if there may be another explanation? Is your husband stressed or worried about work or other elements of his personal life? Have you been arguing more later and is there more tension in your relationship which may cause him to back off from you? Have you been less interested in him, and he has noticed this, or is he feeling lower self esteem or confidence for any reason? Is he struggling with his mental or even physical health? Have you changed in some way that may make him less attracted to you? It’s worth considering all the possibilities behind this behaviour change before making the assumption he is cheating.

Have you noticed your husband is texting or using social media more? Is he going online and being evasive or secretive in his behaviours around this? Has he suddenly stopped being relaxed about his mobile phone, keeping it on him and going out of your sight or earshot to use it?

These are admittedly not good signs but could also be an indicator of something else going on. Maybe he has something complex going on at work that is confidential and that he needs to keep private even from you. Maybe he is being a good friend to someone and being discreet about a problem or issue they have shared with him and asked him to keep quiet about.

Maybe he is arranging some big and wonderful surprise for you?! Keep an eye on it and see if anything comes of it, or if the behaviour increases or is prolonged then tackle him about it in an open, curious and non-confrontational way. He may be relieved to share his situation with you or he may clam up completely or become defensive which could confirm your suspicions.

Has someone else informed you that your husband is cheating? Think about the allegation carefully and how reliable this information really is; does this person have something to gain from hurting you, your husband or your relationship?

How well do you know and trust this person? How well does this person know you and your husband, and where did they get this information from; did they see it with their own eyes or is this rumour or gossip? Is this person jealous of your relationship or do they harbour a romantic interest in you or your husband?

Does this person have a pattern or history of making such accusations? If this is a person that you know well and trust then its worth considering their claim but if this is an unreliable or questionable source then apply caution before believing everything they say.

Have you seen specific evidence yourself that your husband is cheating? Have you noticed that he lights up when a particular person is around and switches on the charm?

Does he mention someone’s name at an above-average rate in daily conversation or have you seen flirty texts, emails or social media messages?

Have you actually observed him or overheard him arranging to meet up with someone? Even if his actions haven’t actually yet amounted to sexual intercourse or acts, the fact that he is communicating in a sexual manner with someone or spending inappropriate time with them is hurtful to you and damaging to your relationship.

He is not respecting the boundaries and you need to address this with him but, again, make sure you do this when you and he are in the right place to be rational and productive in your communications around this.

Overall, there are lots of behaviours or situations that could indicate that your husband is cheating on you.

But there are also a multitude of other reasons that could be behind a change in actions or usual behaviours for your husband. It’s best to review the reasons behind your suspicions and the evidence to support these with a clear head, share the burden of your concerns with others you trust who can help you to talk through and reflect on these and to be able to approach your husband in a positive and non-hostile manner to talk about how you are feeling and your relationship.

There are all sorts of actions you can take to help repair your relationship or even to move on together if he has done that terrible act of cheating on you, but first of all you need clarity so that you can start to make decisions about what to do next and how you feel.

If you do suspect your husband is cheating on you then you may want to consider hiring a private investigator. At Bond Rees we have local private investigators all around the UK who have experience in catching cheating husbands. We have offices in London, Cardiff, Bristol and many more places. Get in touch to see the closest office to you.

We all know that horrible feeling you get in your stomach and your heart when it dawns on you that your boyfriend might be cheating on you. You’re unable to eat, unable to sleep, can’t focus on work and just think about it constantly. Forever wondering why or who it may be? Or perhaps you have an idea who and are tying yourself up in knots trying to work out why they’re better than you or what he sees in them?

Maybe it runs even deeper than your heart and your emotions; perhaps you have children or a home together, perhaps you have built lives together and his cheating jeopardises all of that you’ve invested in and the feelings and happiness of your whole family.

Whatever your situation, thinking your boyfriend is cheating on you is one of the worst feelings and that not knowing is agony. Finding out the truth will probably hurt even more if its bad news but at least then you can start to make some informed choices and decisions and work out what you’re going to do next to save the relationship if you feel its worth that or to get yourself prepped and ready to separate and ensure you and those you love aren’t further hurt by his betrayal.

But how do you get to this point? How does suspicion turn into knowledge? How do you get the full facts on whether your boyfriend is cheating or put your mind and heart at rest with the certainty of knowing he is not?

Below are some suggestions of how you can get to the truth of the matter. But be warned; these are suggestions, not necessarily all are recommendations and not all are indicative of healthy relationship behaviours! You may get some information you really didn’t want to know and you need to prepare yourself for the worst and have a plan about how you are going to cope with that whilst keeping you and those who depend on you healthy and cared for. But if you’re really sure that your suspicions are genuine and justified, then you probably just want answers and you do deserve to know the truth about something that directly impacts on your life, emotions and perhaps entire world so read on…..

You could stalk him. Ok so this sounds a little dramatic and psychopathic but perhaps not stalk but more “observe” him. Turn up at the places he says he’s going to such as the gym or a meeting with friends or suggest you come along. See if he is doing what he says he was doing. If he’s not where he said he was he may be with someone else. Even better, hire a professional private investigator to do this for you. This is especially useful if the information obtained may have a practical or financial impact on you. This also means that you won’t look like a crazy stalker if your boyfriend spots you hanging out at the places he said he was going to! A private investigator can undertake covert and discreet surveillance without your boyfriend ever needing to know they are there. They can gather proof and evidence for you of what is really going on through photographs, tracking and reports that give you hard proof of what he is doing. This may completely support his claims and you can rest easy knowing that your boyfriend is not cheating but is just a busy guy. Or it may result in clear and irrefutable evidence that he is playing away and you can use this to address the issue without him manipulating or minimising your reasonable concern, having obtained it through an independent and professional means.

You could check his mobile phone; this is not healthy behaviour and is disrespectful of his privacy but if you feel that you have really good grounds to do this and that an awful lot hinges on the outcome of this behaviour and you feel ok with that, this is an option. This can be tricky though as most mobile phones are locked through codes or face recognition now so getting in will be difficult. You may also be caught trying to do this by your boyfriend as if he is cheating he is unlikely to leave his mobile phone unguarded for long so be careful and think about the position this may put you in before taking this somewhat risky and perhaps unethical action.

You could talk to other people that know your boyfriend if you are on terms with them that would allow you to do this without this placing them in an awkward position or without them running back to the guy to tell him what you were asking. Maybe his friends are mutual friends with you or maybe you have developed good relationships with some of his family members or work colleagues? If you feel you can approach other people in your life about your worries and concerns, try it. Perhaps don’t go straight in with the “I think he’s cheating, tell me everything you know” line but maybe ease into a general conversation about your relationship and give away little bits like “I’m not sure he really still likes me” or “things seem different between us and I just can’t put my finger on it but I’m finding it hard”. Let them see that something is troubling and upsetting you and that you don’t want to accuse anyone but that you are struggling. They may feel empathy with you and want to help by giving away little hints or perhaps even full-blown disclosures about what your boyfriend has been up to. Or they may know something you don’t; maybe your boyfriend is having a hard time over something in his personal life right now or is really struggling at work and they might choose to confidentially fill you in on this so that you feel better and can also support him with this. If you have the right kind of relationship and the right kind of approach, talking to those who best know your boyfriend can be a really effective means of getting to the truth.

Finally, if you have already approached your boyfriend with your concerns and he denies any cheating, yet you still feel that things just don’t add up and he’s not able to offer any reasonable explanation for the things that have been happening, you might need him to put his money where his mouth his and prove to you that he really isn’t cheating by taking a lie detector test. If he is emphatically denying any cheating but you feel that his behaviours are indicating otherwise and you really want to just get to the answer, a lie detector test is a quick and straightforward way to achieve this. If he won’t agree to do one then you probably have your answer already but if he will then this can give you certainty once and for all. 

There are several actions you can take to try to become better informed or get to the truth about whether your boyfriend is cheating or not. Professional help can provide you with the clearest and strongest form of evidence to address the matter if he is cheating and to support you in the next steps you need to take. But it’s important that you are sure that you really do want the truth before you take any action as you will never be able to un-know what you know. Prepare yourself for the worst and take care of yourself and those around you. Make sure you have a support network and that you realise your own worth, then go get your answers!

So, you think that your partner might be cheating on you and getting involved with someone else? Maybe you think they have met someone at work, at the gym, at college or online? You just have that feeling that something isn’t quite right, and things just aren’t how they used to be? 

It’s a horrible and heart-crushing feeling to suspect your partner of cheating. You may cycle through emotions of anxiety, distress, fear and anger or you may be questioning yourself and your own sanity, beating yourself up for being so suspicious.

The thought of that person we love and have built what we thought was a worthwhile and trusting relationship with, being with someone else, touching someone else and even thinking of someone else is heartbreaking. Once those thoughts and suspicions get into your head, it’s very hard to think of anything else or to go back to having that full trust you had before for the significant person in your life.

There is absolutely nothing wrong in trusting your gut instinct and responding when it suggests alarm bells should be ringing. Evolution has taught us an instinct to protect ourselves from threat and harm and its often a reliable source of information.

If you know that you don’t generally have trust issues and are normally quite a stable and secure person, its likely that your instincts are a good indicator that something is up. If you are aware that you can be quite a suspicious or even paranoid person, then maybe just take a step back and reflect before acting or going further down that thought rabbit hole!

If you really have this nagging doubt and fear that your partner might be cheating and you can’t get it out of your head, its best to come at this from a practical and rational perspective.

Look for evidence to support or disregard your worries; be objective and balanced in your pursuit of this and perhaps even making a list of evidence for and against to ensure that you remain rationale and analytical. If you suspect your partner is cheating you may also want to consider hiring a private investigator.

You can gather evidence yourself though and can do this by looking for the signs below that indicate cheating but remember that there can be other explanations for these behaviours and that if they are only showing one or two there may be another perfectly reasonable situation going on for your partner.

Signs your partner could be cheating

The most important thing in any relationship is to be able to communicate openly and respectfully with each other and this is probably a good place to start addressing any issues if you have noticed any of the below going on in your relationship:

  • Increased mobile phone or online use: your partner may be texting or using social media or the internet more than they were. They could be making and receiving calls to a greater extent than was the norm. Maybe they are being secretive about this and going out of your gaze or earshot to use their phone or computer and shutting this down when you approach. You might have noticed that they don’t leave their phone or computer lying around like they used to or even, if you have access to billing, that a particular number keeps showing up time and time again.
  • Making more of an effort in their appearance: maybe you have noticed that your partner is looking better when they go out to work, the gym, college, a night out with friends etc and making significantly more effort around this than they had been. They may have lost weight, worked on their physique, bought new clothes, had their hair done or started applying more make-up. If this is different behaviour to that which they were displaying before it could be an indicator that they are trying to impress someone else.
  • Making less effort with you: it could be that your partner has wanted to spend less time with you or do activities with you. They are showing less interest in doing stuff as a couple such as date nights or even the weekly shop and are finding reasons and excuses to get out of this. Maybe the compliments have stopped, or the texts or phone calls have reduced? Are they responding to your attempts to check in with them less, not answering your calls or texts like they used to? 
  • Suddenly making more effort with you: the reverse of the above might happen if your partner is cheating. They might feel guilt or be wanting to put you off the scent of any infidelity and may buy you impromptu gifts that they never gave before or be sending you more texts or communications about their day to make you feel like you know exactly what they are up to and couldn’t possibly be cheating?
  • Being less available or going out more: does your partner have less time to spend with you and you feel like you are seeing less and less of them? Are they going out more or working late all the time suddenly? Are they late for important events or arrangements you have made, or do they cancel with an excuse? It may be that they are spending their time with someone else.
  • Increased mentioning of someone else: does one name keep cropping up in your partner’s conversation? Do they keep on referring to a particular friend, work colleague or individual? This will be inadvertent on your partner’s behalf and they probably won’t even realise they are doing it but this person is clearly at the forefront of your partner’s name if they can’t stop name dropping…..
  • Your partner’s reaction when they see the other person: maybe you have noticed that when a particular person is around, your partner lights up and switches on the charm? They probably don’t even realise they are doing this or are consciously aware of their behaviour but they can’t help trying to attract this person. They may even be downright flirty. They may watch this person, turn their body towards them, mimic their body language or be intently interested in everything they have to say. They may just smile more! You notice the same behaviours and endearing actions that your partner used when you first met them on you, but now they are directed towards someone else. Who are they trying to impress?
  • Reduced interest in you: has your partner stopped asking how your day was or showing interest or care when you tell them something important about an event or how you are feeling? Do they seem more distant and aloof then they were and lack focus on you when they are with you? Maybe your partner has stopped being sexually interested in you and intimacy has reduced or stopped; they touch you less and don’t initiate sexual activity as much as they used to or are tired or disinterested when you do. They could be continuing to engage in sexual acts with you but somehow seem less attuned or attentive during these and somewhat mechanical or detached during sex. 
  • Irritability or argumentative behaviour: having an affair is stressful! It puts pressure on a person, and they may be confused or anxious about their own behaviours or the chance of getting caught. Maybe they are finding it hard to be away from their new love and you are now an inconvenient part of their life who doesn’t cut it like their new interest (harsh I know but an unfortunate possibility). Maybe they don’t know what to do next or how to get themselves out of this hole. This could cause your partner to become more irritable or hostile, to find fault in you that they didn’t see before and to create conflict unnecessarily. This isn’t your fault; this is all about them and the situation they have created by cheating.
  • Accusing you of cheating: you have never cheated; you love your partner and have always proclaimed your respect for monogamy but suddenly and out of the blue they are accusing you of cheating. This may be more about their behaviour and guilt then yours.
  • Revenge cheating: Have you cheated and your partner become aware? It may well be that they feel the need to get their own back in an attempt to reduce the hurt and betrayal they felt from your actions. If the trust has been broken once, there’s a definite potential that long term damage and a precedent for behaviours has been set.

The above are just a few indicators that your partner MAY be cheating – its important to approach any suspicion on a rational and non-emotional basis and to consider the alternatives.

There may be something completely different to cheating going on for your partner and maybe they are feeling emotionally low, physically unwell, under stress in work or maybe the spark has just gone in your relationship and there is no one else involved.

There are lots of things you can try if you think your relationship is dying or your partner is cheating but, without doubt, the most crucial thing is communication and respect. Talk to your partner in a non-accusatory way about how you are feeling. If they aren’t willing to listen and understand and try and work to make things better, maybe its time to move on……

In terms of history, the implementation of the polygraph machine is actually quite a recent development in the quest to detect deception. However, the search to find ways of determining if a person is being honest or lying is an age old pursuit.

People have always lied and this has been a means of survival for some, an ability that has evolved. Lying is not even restricted to the human species with animals and all kinds of creatures, even plant life, using means of deception to attract prey or mates or protect themselves from attack.

Human beings are complex and the need to lie can arise from a wide variety of reasons; from self defence to achieving your own agenda and goals to protecting others from harm. Lies are used in professional and personal capacities and are an everyday part of human life. Sometimes these are “white lies” and can be left well alone to make life or information easier to process or to make something more palatable or appropriate for a person to hear. Other lies are less well-intentioned and can cause harm or damage if left uncovered. These are the lies that polygraph has sought to uncover and to establish the truth for those who need it.

History of lying

In very early and ancient traditions there was a belief that goodness could be distinguished from evil simply based on the premise that good was stronger than evil and that godly actions would not enable bad to prevail; honesty was associated with good and dishonesty associated with evil. 

Another ancient procedure for the detection of dishonesty was the observation of behaviour. Tests were set for suspected liars to see how they would respond, with their behaviours then being assessed as indicative of truth or dishonesty. This is not a world away from today’s observation of body language which forms part of any comprehensive polygraph examination. However, it was not applied with the level of learning and research that accompanies today’s understanding of body language and often placed the suspect in heavily emotive or pressurised situations that would impact on the individual’s ability to act rationally and in their normal way. 

In the second century BC we see the beginnings of the use of physiological or bodily changes to detect deception with the measurement of the pulse being used to determine if someone was lying or hiding information. There are ancient tales from across the world of a person’s pulse being taken to determine the true object of their love and affections, the heart deemed to quicken when this person was mentioned or discussed. 

It was not until the nineteenth century that mechanical apparatus started to be implemented for the use of lie detection. Initially, single bodily changes were recorded and used to determine the presence of deception, but this developed into the recording and combining of information received from several different physiological responses and this was the beginning of lie detection testing as we know it today.

Modern-day lie detector history

The use of several combined indicators of deception was initially the brainchild of a Harvard Psychologist, Munsterberg, in 1908. The first report of the practical use of this model of utilising the recording of several different physiological changes within lie detector testing was by Larson in 1921.  Larson developed instrumentation that recorded respiration, blood pressure and pulse simultaneously. Larson also recommended the use of questions requiring only yes and no answers the use of a steady and monotone voice to ask these questions.

Lee, a colleague of Larson within a US Police Department, then further refined this model using different methods to record and display data obtained and, also developed techniques used within questioning format to advocate for what is now known as the Peak of Tension approach wherein the subject’s response to the “hot topic” and questions around this is exacerbated by the preceding questions applied.

Keeler, also a colleague of Larson and Lee in the United States of America, then further developed these ideas into his own instrumentation in 1925. Keeler’s model allowed for the recording of all the physiological changes simultaneously as in the instrumentation we see in use today and was also portable and robust adding to its practical applicability. This model was in use until the 1970s when other models exceeded the strengths offered by the Keeler machine. 

Current lie detector technology

However, there has been little change in terms of the sensors used since the 1940s and today with the collection of respiratory, cardiac and galvanic skin response being found in contemporary models of polygraph instrumentation still. The major changes have been the computerization of systems to record and analyse data and also the addition of either a sensor or observation of movement by the subject as a further indicator of deception or non-cooperation with testing. 

The more significant developments in polygraph testing that have occurred since earlier models are around the techniques used and the questioning format and content and recognition of the importance of this. Reid developed the concept of the probable-lie comparison question in 1947 which is also referred to as the comparison question or control question and this is a technique which is widely used within lie detector testing today. This better allows examiners to achieve a baseline and gauge salience (or significance to the subject) of the “hot” questions when they are asked and therefore to improve the ability these responses offer to identify deception.

Analytic methods for assessing data recorded within polygraph tests were also developed over the mid 1900s with the event of chart scoring being introduced. This allows a system to measure reactions obtained within a lie detector test and made data analysis far more robust than the previous impressionistic methods of decision making employed.

Various different methods of scoring were proposed and there remains a variety of techniques employed today, with different scoring methods being deemed appropriate for the various models of questioning format and whether a test is single or multi-faceted. Computer algorithms were introduced into data analysis and offered several benefits but human input remained integral to the process and research is still ongoing into whether human or algorithmic methods of data interpretation, or the combination of both, are more accurate in deception detection. 

There is not a definite inventor of the polygraph test as the test itself consists of many different elements; it is not just a machine but the entire process including instrumentation, preparation, question formatting, data analysis, observation, technique, methodology and decision making. The instrumentation itself as well as the techniques employed have been developed over a long period of time through experimentation, research, studies and learning to refine the overall capacity for lie detector testing to obtain significant and clear recordings and data and to interpret these in the best way to achieve accurate detection of deception.

Research and experimentation is ongoing with new approaches and models such as oculomotor and saccadic eye movement testing apparatus now being employed by some polygraph test providers. This tracks either the movement of the eye (saccades) or eye behaviour (fixation duration, pupil size etc) and such responses or behaviours have been found to indicate fear or attraction. However, questioning is ongoing as to whether this method can act to indicate deception or whether it performs the role of a recognition test more and there has been little research into countermeasures, the potential for manipulation or the effect of blinking, make up, drooping eyelids etc on the effectiveness and accuracy of this model. Further research and understanding is needed before this can be accepted as a true competitor for the polygraph machine.

These days there are lots of options online to buy so-called home lie detector test kits; you can type in home lie detector kit to any search engine and options to purchase will be available from amazon, various websites and drop shipping retailers.

There’s no doubt that this seems a convenient and quick option, with no need to share any personal information or details with a third party and at a lower cost to employing the services of a polygraph agency. So, what’s the catch and how reliable are home lie detector test kits?

As far as using these kits for a party and a bit of a fun, they are a great idea as long as you don’t read too much into the results or use them to tackle genuine concerns and areas of conflict in your relationships and friendships.

They can bring a different dimension to a friendly gathering and a laugh whilst you try to work out who really played that high school prank 20 years ago! But caution is advised if you wish to use the home lie detector kit to dig deeper into aspects of your, or other’s life that have significant meaning or consequence as lie detector testing takes a bit more than a piece of equipment to achieve accurate answers.

It’s difficult to say whether these kits actually work or are genuinely capable of what advertisers claim without technically assessing every single kit on the market, so we won’t go down that road in this article! However, we can look at the basic premise and requirements of polygraph testing to see how a home lie detector test would stack up in terms of providing you with a reliable and valid result, and that’s what this article is going to look at now.

Firstly, there is the issue of subjectivity; if you are undertaking lie detector testing yourself, you are personally and emotionally invested in the result. You have prior suspicions and things that you want to hear or don’t want to hear. Your life and feelings will be directly affected by the result so it’s unlikely that you are going to be objective and neutral when you ask the questions of the subject or when you determine the result.

Problems with home lie detector kits

This also impacts on the subject; if the person asking the questions is their accuser or someone connected to that accuser, they are going to already feel targeted and under suspicion. They may feel that they need to show you just how much they are committed to their answers, to say the things you want to hear or anxious and stressed with emotions undoubtedly running high and conflict and acrimony present. This will affect their responses and potentially lead to inaccurate results.

A Polygraph Examiner is a professional and independent person; they have no connection to the accuser or the subject. They are not invested emotionally in the situation and there is no consequence for their own life no matter what the result.

The subject is not going to perceive judgement from the examiner and can be open and honest with them with no fear of reprisal. A Polygraph Examiner can work with the subject to calm them down and support them through the testing process and can view the behaviours of the subject and the data that the test results in, in an objective, neutral and scientific way. There will not be bias and the subject can know that they are going to receive a fair test where there is no pre-empted conclusion and the accuser can know that the result has come from a professional and objective examiner. 

The environment provided is crucial to the accuracy of a lie detector test; this doesn’t mean that it has to be spotlessly clean and furnished to the highest standards.

This means in terms of emotional and personal influence and bias not being present. A professional polygraph examiner will ensure that only they and the subject are present for the actual test; this is important as it prevents the impact of the subject feeling watched over by their accuser or feeling unable to talk about the issue in question openly and honestly.

If the whole family are stood around waiting for the result, or if the questions are being asked by the person who has accused you of cheating on them or a friend or relative of the accuser, or if the interview is being recorded for social media or sharing with other persons involved, this will prevent a clean environment from being provided that is conducive to an accurate result.

In addition to this, polygraph testing is about more than just asking questions you want answers to. There is a huge and historic body of research, studies and learning behind contemporary polygraph testing that has led to the development of techniques and methods to achieve the greatest possible accuracy in lie detector findings.

The question formulation is important to achieving answers and therefore physiological responses that can allow the detection of deception; if a question in unclear or ambiguous, or if it inadvertently poses more than one obvious question within its wording, this will lead to confusion and potentially bodily changes that indicate deception when a person is being honest.

Equally, it can allow a guilty person to manipulate the question within their own processing to make it so that they can perceive themselves as answering honestly and therefore provide physiological responses that indicate this. Question wording and language used needs to adhere to certain principles and guidance within lie detector testing to ensure accurate results; a polygraph examiner will know this and be able to formulate your questions into the correct format and wording to achieve this. You won’t.

The format of the question sets utilised within lie detector testing has been developed through research and study. There are various models of questioning format that need to be used to address different issues or to tackle tests that involve one specific issue (ie. Did you steal the £20?) or multiple faceted tests (ie. Did you steal the £20 or do you know who did steal the £20?).

The format of questioning involves several different types of questions; these questions are asked in specific orders to best create the environment and circumstances conducive to the detection of deception and the triggering of physiological response in a guilty person. If these techniques and formatting are not followed it is unlikely that you will achieve clean and reliable data from lie detector test.

The polygraph examiner will also be using more than just data to make their decisions; a good polygraph examiner will have a background and hopefully qualification in psychology. This enables them to assess the subject’s body language and general presentation to further support comprehensive and holistic detection of deception or honesty. 

There is also the matter of individuality; all people are different and this means that there are differences in the way that people will respond when they are lying or being honest. People have different moods and different psychological and physical states which all contribute to how their body reacts.

A professional polygraph examiner will conduct an pre-interview with a subject to gain an understanding of who they are and what kind of psychological state they are in on the day of testing. People are often very nervous or apprehensive when attending a lie detector test; this does not necessarily imply they are lying, it can just indicate that the test means a lot to them and there is a lot riding on the result.

A professional polygraph examiner will undertake a pre-test or acquaintance set of questions with the subject; this allows them to determine a baseline for the subject’s physiological response on that specific day and to also understand what that particular individual does when they lie and how this is indicated within the data obtained. A home lie detector test will not accommodate individuality and will provide the same settings irrespective of how old, physically well or nervous or emotional a person is. It will not be able to take into account any medication or substance use, any changes due to pregnancy or the impact of any health conditions. 

Home lie detector tests conclusion

Essentially, a home lie detector test is too basic an instrument to provide an accurate result for lie detection. It is unable to accommodate individuality and only provides one element of lie detection when this is actually a very developed and evolved scientific and technical process. There are many different facets and requirements behind an accurate lie detector test result as discussed above and a home lie detector test will not be able to adhere to these. In conclusion, if you have a matter that needs addressing and you need to determine the truth behind an issue that will have serious consequences for your personal life or emotional wellbeing, its best to hire a professional. Keep the home lie detector test kits for the party games! 

The purpose of a lie detector test is to analyse bodily changes in response to questions to detect deception to determine whether or not an examinee is telling the truth or lying. 

The accuracy of polygraph testing has been the subject of controversy and question amongst bodies in the United States of America where polygraph test results are used within criminal courts and the prison service, such as  the National Academy of Science, the US Congress Office of Technology Assessment, the American Psychological Association and The American Polygraph Association. Even so, in the US lie detector testing is regularly utilised to screen employment applicants and when questioning suspects of a crime within policing.

The generally accepted rate of accuracy for lie detector testing is 87% but this does depend on factors such as the examiner and the equipment used.

Can you beat a lie detector test?

Many people argue that it is possible to “beat” a lie detector test and the internet is full of “helpful” tips to pass a lie detector test when you are lying and not have your deception detected. Below are some examples of internet suggestions to beat a polygraph test:

  1. A lie detector test is not just about the time that you are connected to sensors attached to the polygraph machine; the polygraph examiner will start observing your non-verbal cues and body language and the narrative you provide of the reason for the test. You can learn how you behave and what body language and non-verbal cues indicate deception to the examiner and focus on changing your behaviour to not indicate deception through your general presentation, speech and actions. This is not easy and quite often the effort you are putting in to change your whole natural demeanour will just come across as inauthentic to an experienced examiner and immediately raise alarm bells for deception.
  1. The polygraph machine records breathing rate, blood pressure, pulse rate, and perspiration. Try to be completely relaxed and calm to prevent any spikes in your bodily responses. Breathe deeply and focus on keeping your breathing and heart rate steady and rhythmical. Most people are not capable of doing this however, especially when they are attached to a machine and having to answer questions which repeatedly remind them of the event they are trying to lie about. It’s a lot for one brain to cope with and, contrary to popular belief, human brains cannot consciously multi-task; they can just switch very quickly from one focus to the next. A momentary drop in concentration will give the game away!
  1. Biting your tongue – this is a ridiculous suggestion as the examiner will hear you are doing this when you respond and record non-cooperation which is interpreted as deception so an instant fail!
  1. Think about lying when you tell the truth and telling the truth when you lie; only a small part of the human brain is available to the awareness of our conscious self. We are not in control of everything we do on a conscious level. Plus, the lie detector test is not looking for standard responses to lying and truth telling; it is just looking for significant responses or changes so showing any difference between your presentation lying and being honest will indicate deception so, sorry, but this won’t work either!
  1. Try winding yourself up and remaining upset, fearful and confused throughout the entire test. Keep yourself in a stressed and agitated state. If there is one particular question you’re worried about, imagine every question is that question before answering. This tip is designed to make you present as just uniformly stressed and reactive so that any spikes are not standing out in response to certain questions as you are just spiking all the time. An experienced and knowledgeable examiner will pick up on this behaviour and delay the test to spend time helping you to calm down and settle so that you are in an appropriate psychological state to focus. If they can’t calm you, they will ask you to come back on another day to sit the test when you are more settled so, unlucky, this won’t save your bacon either if the examiner knows their stuff!
  1. Practice the expected questions before the test; you are in most situations quite likely to know what the questions are going to be regarding in the polygraph test so think about and talk about these issues regularly to desensitise yourself to the subject matter and reduce the chance of your physiological responses being peaked in the test. Polygraph testing, unfortunately, is one step ahead of you here! The tests are not just cobbled together; the wording and question order is carefully considered and formulated to prevent any desensitisation from being able to influence the results and to enhance the tension and physiological response when the relevant questions are asked. You can’t prepare for this.
  1. Keep fidgeting and moving so that it is impossible to record your responses consistently. This wont work: the examiner will warn you a couple of times to sit still. If you don’t, they will stop the test due to you being in-cooperative and this indicates deception so an automatic fail.
  1. Think of other things, meditate, take your mind elsewhere, solve complex maths problems in your head….. um, so the examiner will be in the room with you and isn’t stupid. They are closely observing you. They will notice if you are not focused on the questions, listening fully and paying attention and will stop the test. You are also even more like to have a significant response when the examiner mentions the hot topics and rips you out of your happy daydream so no, this won’t work.
  1. Say the word “dream” inside your head over and over. Really?! No. Just no. This will not work. 
  1. Give the examiner a sob story when you enter the test environment; act distraught and like this test means the whole world to you and that you are the most innocent and hurt individual ever for being accused in this way. Cry. Make the examiner feel sorry for you so they believe your story and are on your side. So, polygraph examiners are lovely people and they do want to support you and help you through the test and appreciate it can be a nerve-wracking experience. However, they see this every day and deal with emotional human beings every day. They are there to get the answers and an accurate result. Whilst they will sympathise and understand how you are feeling, they know better than to be influenced by displays of distress or dramatic statements of innocence. Sorry!

Methods for beating a polygraph test

Essentially there are a whole load of suggested methods and top tips for beating a lie detector test all over the internet and the majority of people know someone who, when you say you are taking a polygraph test, will be able to give you all kinds of hints and “scientifically proven” ways to pass it. The thing to remember is that polygraph examiners live in the same world you do and know about these things; polygraphy has been developed in full awareness of all of this and countermeasures provided to prevent people from being able to influence their results.

Admittedly there are some very unique people in the world who just do not produce physiological responses when they lie. However, they are extremely rare, and you are extremely unlikely to be one of them!

The simple answer: if you are going to lie it’s probably best just not to agree to sit the test. End of.

Polygraph examinations or, as they are more commonly known, lie detector tests, record several different bodily measures to detect changes in response to questions to determine whether someone is being honest or deceptive in their answers.

Sensors are placed on the subject to measure these bodily responses throughout the test and the data they produce can then be analysed according to a number of different measuring or scoring techniques that indicate whether the examinee was lying or telling the truth. In some instances, the data does not produce a statistically significant result, and this renders the test inconclusive and cannot determine whether the subject was honest or deceptive. However, these instances are quite rare.

Lie detector tests are generally considered to be about 87% accurate but accuracy does depend on the examiner, adherence to correct lie detector test principles and methods and the equipment used including the sensors and the analysis software itself.

It is widely accepted in the behavioural sciences that external stimuli such as sound, touch, smells and sights can activate cognitive and emotional response in human beings. Once the brain has processed these stimuli, it sends messages to other areas and systems within the body to activate them in response. The well known “fight or flight” response is an example of this where the brain sends messages to the nervous system and different bodily organs to ready them for physical conflict or a speedy exit.

Researchers in the behavioural sciences have found that the nervous system, the integumentary or skin system, the cardiovascular system and the respiratory system respond in more significant ways to other bodily systems when a threat is detected through stimuli received by the brain. Polygraphy uses these observable physiological responses to determine the probability of whether someone is telling the truth or a lie. The knowledge that one is lying and is undertaking a test to determine whether they are lying, which undoubtedly has some form of personal or social consequence conditional on the result, is perceived as threatening by the brain.

Polygraph testing uses the following physiological measures to detect deception:

Bodily Temperature

The bodily temperature will increase if the brain is activating and contracting muscles in response to threatening situations and the perceived need to potentially “fight or fly” from a stimuli. An externally placed temperature probe is used within polygraph testing to measure this.

Galvanic skin response (sweating)

Sweat gland response on the surface or the hand or fingers is very significant in indicating deception. The stimuli for sweat being produced on the hand is different to that which causes sweating in the armpit or other bodily areas. When threat is perceived sweat is produced in the hand and finger area to increase grasping capacity. Sweat gland activity on the fingers is determined during polygraph testing through use of two electrodes placed on two different fingers to measure conductivity.; when sweat levels increase, conductivity increases.

Pulse/Heart Rate:

When the brain perceives a threat either through cognitive or emotional processing, the sympathetic nervous system is activated to increase blood pressure to enable increased transportation of oxygen and nutrients to the muscles that are likely to be required to respond to the threat through fight or flight action. The need for increased blood pressure necessitates an increase in heart rate to pump the blood around the body at a greater rate and force. Polygraph testing measures pulse by a sensor attached to the finger.

Blood Pressure:

As stated above, when the brain perceives a threat either through cognitive or emotional processing, the sympathetic nervous system is activated to increase blood pressure to enable increased transportation of oxygen and nutrients to the muscles that are likely to be required to respond to the threat through fight or flight action. Blood pressure is measured in lie detector testing through either a cuff attached to the arm, or a sensor attached to the hand.

Respiration/Breathing rate:

In a normal situation where threat is perceived the muscle contraction and movement that follows would typically necessitate a dramatic increase in respiration. This would occur to obtain the greater levels of oxygen and nutrients to the areas of the body that need them (such as the muscles) and reduce the levels of carbon dioxide that can build up to become toxic.

In response to threat and the expectation of this imminent need to act, norepinephrine is released to the muscles which dilate the airway which results in a reduction in resistance and an increased air flow to the lungs. However, due to a lie detector test requiring a person to remain still and static and the muscle physiology not increasing as would usually be expected in fight or flight response, the dilated airway means that a person will have adequate airflow with a reduced number of respirations or breaths.

This causes a reduction in breathing rate to be observed and this is measured by means of a sensor being attached to the torso (around the chest area) of the subject in a polygraph examination. 

Body movement/Fidgeting:

The increased arousal in the body through perceived threat and the activation of systems stated above can cause difficulty for a person to sit still during a lie detector examination. This can be measured during the test through use a seat sensor or through visual observation of the subject by the examiner. Any prolonged fidgeting or inability to sit still once reminded by the examiner will cause the examiner to be unable to undertake testing or to render the test inconclusive.

Following a polygraph test having been sat and data collected form recording the above physiological responses, the charts that this data produces are assessed to ensure that adequate data has been collected and that this data is reliable.

The data is then analysed through use of the scoring system chosen by the examiner to be most applicable and relevant to the testing model utilised during the polygraph examination.

This score, in combination with the observations made by the examiner during the testing process, will enable a decision to be made as to whether the subject was being truthful or lying and a result produced.

Where the data is not reliable or sufficient, for whatever reason, this will not achieve a statistically significant result and the test will be judged inconclusive meaning that it is not possible to say whether the subject was lying or telling the truth.

Another test could be sat with some changes to variables such as ensuring the subject sits still, making adaptations to the language used within the questions, the examiner gaining greater clarity over the issue at heart, increasing the level of saliency promoted by changing comparison and irrelevant questioning or making changes to the physical environment to be more conducive to a conclusive test.

Where a subject is found to deliberately not co-operate with a test by, for example fidgeting a great deal, not answering questions in the correct format, repeatedly interrupting or stopping the test or not focusing on the test and the examiner’s questions this will be perceived as indicating dishonesty and, although it will not be possible to determine a conclusive result the examiner will provide their professional view that there was some reason for the subject being avoidant and evasive during testing and the obvious reason for this would be that they intended to be deceptive.

The American Polygraph Association, and leading international body on the subject of polygraphy, officially estimates lie detector testing to be 87.5% accurate. They have reached this figure through the undertaking of numerous, vigorous studies and research compiled in the field of lie detector testing. 

Many providers of lie detector services claim their polygraph testing to exceed this figure in terms of accuracy but it is unlikely that they have carried out the independent and objective studies and research to make such a claim valid and reliable; think about it, how would they actually know how accurate their testing is?

Subjects are unlikely to call the examiner after a test for research purposes to let them know “by the way, you know that lie detector test you said I passed? Well, I was actually lying…”! Testing on friends and family for research purposes using non-consequential examinations do not work to produce reliable estimates of accuracy as they lack the significance and saliency of a real-life lie detector test and, therefore, the genuine perception of threat and resultant bodily responses that lie detector testing relies on to detect deception.

Despite the general figure of 87.5% lie detector test accuracy being recommended by the American Polygraph Association, there are many other factors that can influence the accuracy of polygraph test results and findings. At the end of the day, the test involves humans, human responses and bodily changes and the correct recording and analysis of these. 

Humans differ from individual to individual and responses and reactions can be different from one person to the next. Whilst there are scientifically proven and evidenced standards of bodily response in all human beings, there are subtle changes and nuances from person to person and all kinds of factors can cause atypical responses in people on occasions. There is also the matter of human error and, whilst, testing employs technical and scientific instrumentation and computerised recording devices, the potential for error remains and this can impact on the end result.

The following factors can have a significant impact on the accuracy achieved with8in a lie detector test:

The Examiner:

The examiner plays a crucial role in the lie detector test process and can definitely directly affect whether a lie detector test is accurate, ethically undertaken and even remotely valid. From the formulation of the test order and questions used, to the creation of a suitable environment for testing, to the correct application of sensors and to the analysis of data, the examiner is responsible for ensuring that all stages of the test are undertaken correctly to gain an accurate result.

The majority of people undertaking lie detector testing are nervous; the test is important to them and often will have significant consequences for them in their personal or professional lives. The failure by the examiner to obtain baseline readings or undertake an acquaintance typeset can cause these nerves and anxieties to provide a false indication of deception or hide deception that is present.

Incorrectly worded questions can cause confusion and ambiguity, sometimes causing the subject to respond in ways that indicate deception when in fact they are just unsure and panicking. It is important that the examiner word questions clearly and without any room for confusion to provide an accurate result.

Polygraph machines and software do not produce a ready formulated decision and data needs to be analysed by the examiner to achieve the result. If the examiner does not have sufficient knowledge and understanding around this or is not thorough in their application of scoring this will reduce or prevent accuracy.

The Environment:

The environment the examiner creates for the test to take place is important to achieving accuracy; the area needs to be free of other influences, distractions or pressures such as other people, TVs or recording devices other than those being used for the purpose of the lie detector test itself. The environment also needs to allow for confidentiality and be sufficiently private so that the subject can speak honestly and openly. The environment also needs to be a suitable temperature so as not to affect the bodily changes being recorded to detect deception.

Language Barriers:

If English is not a person’s first language or their understanding and use of English is limited or compromised in some way and the questioning is being provided in English, this could impact on their responses due to confusion or incorrect interpretation. In such situations, an interpreter can be used as a third party intermediary within the test but this does complicate the analysis of data and the timing of responses, as well as potentially changing the end wording used to communicate questions. Any language barrier is likely to impact on the accuracy of a lie detector test.


Any impairment to being able to hear and understand the questions asked within a lie detector test, or being able to understand the issues at the heart of the test, will render the result inaccurate. It is important that any physical or cognitive difficulty or disability is recognised and either adaptation made to prevent the result being inaccurate or careful consideration given to whether it is ethical and correct to undertake a lie detector test with a particular individual.

Substance Use:

Alcohol and illicit substances such as cannabis, cocaine and amphetamine affect the brain and bodily responses which can cause incorrect or inaccurate results in a lie detector test. It is important that you are not under the direct influence of any substance when you take part in a lie detector test and that you make the examiner aware of you have recently used alcohol or any drug or if you are a chronic user of alcohol or any drug.

Prescribed Medication:

Medication prescribed to manage depression and/or anxiety can cause changes in bodily responses. Whilst this does not mean that you cannot sit a lie detector test, it is important that you make the examiner aware that you are currently taking this medication so that they can take this into account when the data is analysed to ensure a valid and accurate result.

Medication prescribed for heart or blood flow issues (hypertension medication) can also impact on the bodily responses that an individual exhibits in response to threat or fear. Once again, this does not mean that you cannot sit a lie detector test but it is essential that you let the examiner know what medication you are on and what symptom the medication is prescribed in response to so that they can take this into account when analysing data to reach an accurate result.

Equipment Used:

The sensors attached to the body of the subject and the software used to collect and analyse data obviously needs to be in full working condition and properly maintained to achieve accurate lie detector test results.

Essentially, whilst there is an evidence-based universally accepted figure of the accuracy of lie detector testing of 87.5%, this is dependent on correct methods and principles of lie detector testing being employed. It is vital that your test is undertaken by an examiner who is knowledgeable, experienced and ethical and who is able to be robust and committed in ensuring the best conditions possible to obtain an accurate result, and that you as the subject are co-operative and communicate any information requested of you by the examiner to the best of your knowledge.

Copyright Bond Rees 2021

Call Us: 0800 002 9468

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.