The business world is full of negotiations, contracts and deals. It’s how things have always been (at least in the 21st century) and for the most part, this system works out just fine!
Unfortunately, not everyone is as honest or transparent as we would like. Many companies get caught in a bad deal and lose hundreds of thousands in stolen product. Other companies hide money or participate in fraudulent activities to avoid paying taxes.
It is why a company’s assets become so important. Assets can make or break a company, and this blog post helps to explain why.
What are Assets?
Assets can be anything that adds or increases value to you as a business (or person). Some examples of assets include,
- Business ownership
Overall, owning assets is a good thing! However, there is one situation where the way in which the asset is owned, is illegal. In this situation, an asset is known as a hidden asset.
What are Hidden Assets?
When someone opens a bank account under a fake name, or in an offshore account, these are an example of hidden assets. Hidden assets are illegal because the person hiding is usually attempting to avoid paying taxes on those assets. Other reasons might include fraud, and this is more common in business transactions.
Business and Hidden Assets
All companies do business with other people and other companies. This is how typical business transactions work. The thing is, sometimes business transactions don’t go as planned. Sometimes, customers will try to purchase large quantities of product, pay a small deposit and then disappear. In other scenarios, one company will merge with another company that has stolen goods or hidden accounts.
If you are a business owner in a situation where you need to recover assets or make sure that a deal is legit, there are many things you can do to protect yourself. The best option at your fingertips is to conduct what is known as an asset search.
What is an Asset Search?
An asset search is a way to uncover any hidden assets that might be stolen from your company. It is also a great way to find out if a company you want to do business with is lying about their current financial situation.
It is possible to start this type of investigation at any time. While it is ideal to initiate an asset search before any deal or transaction is made, it is possible to initiate an asset search at any time.
Why Hire a Private Investigator?
Private investigators are licensed professionals that specialize in finding hidden assets. While they can work with individuals, many private investigation organizations, like us, have lot of experience working with a wide range of companies.
At first glance, tracking down your assets or doing a quick Google search on the business you want to work with might make asset searches seem easy. The thing is, an asset search is much more complicated than that. Think about it. Do you have immediate access to public records? Do you know for sure that the name of the company or person you’ve found is the right one? Do you have the time to hang around at the company you’re going to sign a big deal with to see if what they say is true?
These are only some of the questions you need to ask yourself or other members of your company. Chances are if you’re not a licensed private investigator, your time is better spent elsewhere.
Private Investigator Asset Search Techniques
Private investigators use several techniques to find assets—hidden or not. These techniques include,
Database & Record Searches
The best place for a private investigator to start is with a database and record search. Private investigators have access to different public databases that provide all sorts of information about the company or people they are investigating.
Social media, for example, is a modern tool that private investigators now use. So many people have profiles with a lot of details about their life, what they’ve done, and where they’ve been.
All the data that a private investigator finds on a company or individual is used to piece together information about any hidden assets. If there are no hidden assets, this information helps the private investigator to determine whether or not the company or individual is okay to work with.
In some business, asset search situations, the company closes their doors (or never existed in the first place). Regardless of the circumstances, if the person or people who owned the company leaves town, or can’t be found, a private investigator will initiate a skip trace.
Skip tracing utilizes all sorts of private investigation techniques like database and record searches, interview, and even surveillance. The ultimate goal is to track down an individual and get any stolen or lost assets back to the right owner.
This particular technique is very common in all sorts of private investigation cases. The reason for this is because it requires the private investigator to track or follow the natural movements of the individual in question.
When it comes to asset searches in business, a private investigator can use surveillance and act as an employee. They can also follow an individual from a particular company to see what kinds of activities they get up to during their day.
Whatever the private investigator observes during their surveillance is recorded. These records then get presented to the client (in this case, the business that hired the private investigator).
Overall, private investigators don’t just hang out waiting for infidelity cases. They have become a very important part to how businesses function. After all, if a private investigator can prove that a deal with one company is a fraud, while another employee is stealing funds and hiding them in a secret bank account, that business will be much better off in the long run.