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To Catch A Cheater

Apr 28, 2008
To Catch a Cheater

Your instincts tell you he's cheating. Your girlfriends say confront him, follow him, check his phone and email; threaten him with physical violence . . . Okay, skip the violence unless your calendar is open for the next few years. Forget trying to follow him yourself, but do check his cell phone records and email. (Doing your own surveillance is rarely successful and more often tips him to your suspicion.)

It's really about opportunity. If you narrow your focus to the mostly likely times of opportunity, you'll be more likely to find the evidence to back up your instincts. Also, if you've decided to hire a private investigator, you can save yourself a lot of money by targeting these highly suspicious times of opportunity. Here are some of the more common cover stories of cheaters:

"I have to go out of town on business."

This is a great opportunity for all the obvious reasons and should certainly be a time you consider deploying surveillance. If that isn't an option, make notes of this time period and be sure to study phone records when you receive your next bill. Look at calls before, during and after the trip. Check phone numbers on Google; you may be surprised how many phone numbers will show up in a search as they've been listed on websites such as Linked In, Manta, etc. Remember, if you are unable to identify the owner of a phone number, a private investigator may still be able to.

"Honey, I'm headed to the gym."

This is a great opportunity for one simple reason: he or she can return home showered--meaning their bodies are void of incriminating scents and other evidence without raising a lot of suspicion. They may also feel empowered by being able to look you in the eyes and say they had a great workout; maybe they did!

"I'm working late tonight."

We all know the dangers of workplace romances, but the question is whether your significant other is really working late at the office or has he or she slipped off for a little fling? Time it and call an hour later. Is he still in the office? Is he answering his cell phone? If not, is there a legitimate reason why? If you suspect something is going on, this is another great time for surveillance. Other considerations would be monitoring his odometer to see if the miles add up to his commute, or placing a tracking device on his vehicle. Most private investigators can provide this service. Some people have businesses where they can actually have their affair at their place of employment! This is a whole other challenge but depending on the circumstances of your case, a competent investigator should have several suggestions.

"We're going fishing . . ."

Hunting, hiking and fishing trips can be a great cover for a weekend with the other man or woman. For one, oftentimes the trip is planned for an area where cell phone service is unavailable. This allows them to turn off the phone and not worry about having to lie to you all weekend. Again, surveillance would be best. Check the odometer and ask plenty of questions. What about photos? Didn't he take some pictures? Wouldn't most people have a digital camera in their pack for their prize catch or that beautiful view?

"My girlfriend, Amanda . . ."

Let me pick on the girls here a bit. I've seen more than a couple flings of women where their cover story is simply their girlfriend. If the "Girls Night Out" evenings or weekends are too common, pay attention. The mention of a Tupperware party makes a man's eyes glaze; what a perfect cover story that could be! If they leave you with the remote, a pizza and plenty of beer, either be suspicious or thankful!

As a final note let me say this: Sometimes your instincts are wrong! I have worked a few cases where after a couple nights of surveillance I've been convinced the alleged cheater isn't that at all. Maybe insecurities are causing false suspicions, or maybe you are unfairly judging your guy by your last guy or other men. Having said that, I've found that in those instances, the client thought the knowledge I provided was a worthy investment for their peace of mind. But if you're going to rely on an investigator's report and opinion in this regard, make sure you've hired a reputable, competent and reliable investigator.
About the Author
Danny R. Smith, a retired homicide detective from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, is the founder of DRS Investigations, LLC, a full-service private investigation firm in Boise, Idaho. http://www.drsinvestigations.com This text is a link to DRS Investigations, LLC.
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