Call Us

Surveillance & Cheating Spouses – What Does a PI Look For?

Posted on

One of the most common reasons people call a private investigator in North America is because they suspect their spouse is cheating. In most cases, the person has already found evidence, while others just want to confirm that when their spouse says they’re, “working late at the office”, that’s actually what they’re doing.

In order to properly address a cheating spouse case, or a suspected cheating spouse case, a private investigator will use very specific techniques. A licensed private investigator in North America will know how to use these techniques properly. Why? Well, in order to pass their exam and earn a license, private investigators will need to demonstrate that they know and understand the tricks of the trade.

There is one technique in particular that comes in handy when working a cheating spouse case. That technique is what private investigators call, surveillance.

What is Surveillance?

Surveillance is a technique that every private investigator in North America (with a valid private investigation license) is trained to use. The purpose of surveillance is simple. It is a technique used to observe something or someone as they normally go about their day.

For a private investigator, documenting what they observe about a person’s actions is a pretty critical element to surveillance. At the end of the day, if recorded correctly, the client can use the information in court as evidence.

Before a private investigator can (or should) start surveillance, they need to learn a little bit more about the suspected cheating spouse. This includes pertinent details like, places frequented, name, phone number(s), employment information, date of birth and other relevant facts.

Surveillance & Cheating Spouse Cases

When it comes to cheating spouses, surveillance can sure come in handy. A private investigator does not want the spouse to know or suspect that they are on the case. The reason for this is because it will give the spouse the opportunity to change their actions and alter the results.

Surveillance provides the best way to catch a cheating spouse in the act. A private investigator will watch the spouse, and record their actions. If the spouse meets up with anyone, surveillance will help the private investigator piece the details of the case together.

Surveillance: Equipment and Tools

Most private investigator techniques come with a certain set of tools or equipment. A well-trained, licensed private investigator will prepare for surveillance by gathering the following equipment:

  • Non-descript vehicle (SUV, van, etc. with muted colours)
  • Video camera
  • Still Camera
  • Binoculars
  • Pen
  • Note pads
  • Two-way radio
  • Money
  • Digital tape recorder
  • Other props as needed
  • Change of clothing

While some of the equipment listed above depends on the cheating spouse case, as well as the private investigation agency the private investor works for, they all help the private investigator to blend in. Blending in is the most important element to surveillance. Otherwise the cheating spouse will start to suspect someone is watching them, which will cause them to change their behavior.

Surveillance: What’s Legal and What’s Not?

When working a cheating spouse case, a private investigator in Canada or the United States, needs to know what is legal and what is illegal. If you decide to work with a private investigator or private investigation company that does not follow the rules, the evidence they collect is useless in court. In addition, your spouse can sue you.

For example, private investigators are not allowed to access banking records, credit information or tax information. They must obtain a signed release from the individual or have lawful authority.

That being said, those laws mentioned above pertain to Ontario, Canada private investigation regulations. If you live somewhere else, like the United States, surveillance laws could be very different. So, your private investigator must know all laws at all levels.

Illegal Surveillance Techniques

All licensed private investigators in Canada and the United States (and the private investigation company’s they work for) really should know what is and isn’t illegal when it comes to surveying cheating spouses. In most cases, this means that private investigators can’t gather evidence like they do in the movies.

For example, a private investigator cannot enter the client’s home to set up hidden video recording devices, or bugs to record conversations. Even if the private investigator uncovers activity that proves the spouse is unfaithful, it cannot be used in court.

Now, you might think that this doesn’t matter, but if your spouse is unfaithful and you aren’t able to work things out, it could lead to divorce. Divorce proceedings often end up in court, and if you have information that will help you to split your assets more equitably, they need to be obtained legally.

The Benefits to Catching a Cheating Spouse

If you or someone you know is looking for a little peace of mind, hiring a private investigator is a great idea. As mentioned, they come with the knowledge needed to set up a successful and safe method of surveillance. They also have the right tools to gather the evidence you need.

If your spouse is cheating on you, the evidence your private investigator finds can be used in different ways. One of the most common is that it gives you the information you need to move on. In other situations, that evidence can help to support divorce cases in court.

Evidence Your Spouse Might Be Cheating

If you’re still unsure as to whether or not hiring a private investigator is the right thing to do, there are a few questions you can as yourself. These questions include,

  • Does your spouse always want to attend work functions alone?
  • Is your spouse very distracted or daydreaming more often?
  • Has your spouse started to delete emails after reading them?
  • Has your spouse increased their texting and/or phone use?
  • Are there unexplained charges on your spouse’s credit card?
  • Does your spouse want to spend more time alone?
  • Do your calls to your spouse always go unanswered?
  • Have you found strange phone numbers on your phone bill?
  • Is your spouse suddenly keeping more cash on hand?
  • Have you found odd emails or text messages on your spouse’s phone?
  • Can you smell someone else’s perfume or cologne on your spouse?

If you said yes to any of these questions, it might be time to consider hiring a private investigator. They can set up surveillance to determine the truth and give you peace of mind.

For more information about surveillance techniques or cheating spouse cases, feel free to contact the Smith Investigation Agency.

Email: or phone: 647-479-8474

About the Author

Whitney Joy Smith

Whitney Joy Smith is a prominent figure in the field of private investigation and security, serving as the founder and CEO of The Smith Investigation Agency Inc., Smith Security Inc., and Training Centre Canada, as well as a sitting politician.

With a remarkable journey that began in the early 2000s, Whitney's professional background as a private investigator is underscored by her unwavering dedication to the role. Born in Canada and having spent her early years between Canada and the United States, Whitney possesses a unique perspective shaped by her experiences in both countries. This background equips her with an in-depth understanding of the intricacies of private investigative laws, regulations, and operational standards in North America.

Throughout her career, Whitney has garnered numerous industry awards and accolades. She takes great pride in working closely with her continually expanding agency, striving to elevate industry standards, maintain compliance, and effectively meet the diverse investigative needs of clients.

Whitney actively engages in various membership, committee, board and support roles, demonstrating her commitment to the industry and professional community. She is affiliated with all local chambers, associations and more.

Whitney's wealth of experience is not limited to her professional achievements; her thought-provoking articles have been featured in publications ranging from Readers Digest, Cosmopolitan, Huffington Post, and Mens Health to Business News Daily. She constantly seeks to redefine standards and push the boundaries of excellence within the private investigative and security fields.

To discover more about Whitney Joy Smith and the dedicated team at The Smith Investigation Agency Inc., visit our website to learn more.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *