Business might be down across the board as a result of Covid-19 – but not when it comes to private investigators. Turns out that people don’t just stop being dodgy because of a little thing such as a global pandemic, tells Auckland PI Anna Jeffs.
Anna, of Fox Private Investigators
When Anna Jeffs found out her partner was cheating on her, she didn’t do what most of us would want to do – grab the nearest bottle of wine, a slab of chocolate and a packet of chips, and curl up in bed to curse the miserable human who broke our heart.
No, Anna decided to do something about it – and in the ultimate F-you move, the Auckland woman instead took what we like to call the ‘Veronica Mars’ route. She decided to become a private investigator, to help others who’d been through the same situation.
“It had a huge impact on me,” Anna tells Capsule. “But I wanted to make a really positive situation for myself and other people, out of what was a really difficult situation for me. I felt that having been through that situation, I had a lot of empathy for people who were dealing with the same things I had to.”
A New Start
It’s been a few years since Anna founded her firm, Fox Private Investigators, and she absolutely loves her job.
“It’s a very privileged position to be in,” she nods. “I wanted to be a service where people could come to me for the truth – clear results and evidence – so they can make informed decisions for themselves and their families. And these are life-changing decisions here. We see infidelity as a stone you throw into a pond. It has a ripple effect – it impacts families, relatives, children finances… and we’re well aware of that.”
One of the biggest lessons she’s learnt in her almost three decades of experience as both a licensed PI and in the legal services is a simple one.
“You can’t change the core essence of a person,” says Anna. “People are very consistent, that’s human nature. They do keep their core levels of character and integrity – or lack thereof.”
Lockdown Love Affairs
And that has been very clear over the last few months as the nation battled through various levels of lockdown. Despite physical restrictions, Anna says she’s rushed off her feet with business with infidelity cases, as well as business and financial matters. So just because the world ground to a halt, it didn’t stop people being dodgy?
“Absolutely. They continue, nothing changes. This is why this job is so interesting, human behaviour and psychology is fascinating.
“We’ve definitely seen an upsurge [in business], no doubt. We were hemmed in a bit with lockdown, obviously, where we couldn’t do any in-person surveillance, but those days after lockdown were a very busy time for us. Parties were straight away going to see their mistresses or their other as soon as it was lifted. People are totally, absolutely predictable.
“People would use the excuse of going to the supermarket – so trackers were important, which we can deploy in a legal manner only. But they helped, because people were clearly not going to Pak’n’Save! People were still taking risks, even though they shouldn’t have been.”
Sometimes it’s hard to piece together all the clues – enter a PI, who does all the hard work
As well as an influx of concerned partners concerned their significant other was cheating – six weeks locked in a house together would definitely raise some suspicions if there any dodgy behaviour going on, after all – Anna’s also dealing with businesses who are keen to ensure their employees working from home are doing what they’re supposed to be doing, and a rise of international clients who are desperate to get in touch with friends and family to check they’re going ok.
For Love or Money
Anna’s biggest concern at the moment is the rise in scams. With more people than usual emotionally vulnerable and lonely, the time ripe for nefarious criminals looking to cheat folks who might be looking for a financial or emotional quick fix out of their money.
“Make sure you never, never provide any money or financial information,” she implores.
“Make checks, have conversations. A lot of them are in relation to charities, so always make sure if you’re donating to a charity, to do it directly.”
“YOU CAN’T CHANGE THE CORE ESSENCE OF A PERSON. PEOPLE ARE VERY CONSISTENT, THAT’S HUMAN NATURE. THEY DO KEEP THEIR CORE LEVELS OF CHARACTER AND INTEGRITY – OR LACK THEREOF.”
After all of these years, it’s a wonder Anna can still be surprised, but she can – just recently she dealt with a catfishing case that shocked her.
“It was a female being catfished by another female – the catfish made up horrendous lies about her health and said she had various illnesses that she didn’t have. It was controlling and damaging and toxic. Catfishing is actually very prevalent, and it’s something that’s happening more and more. And it doesn’t have to be about money, either – it can be emotional.”
And as for good old-fashioned cheating, there are signs you can look out for if you’re concerned about your partner, she says.
“If they have different phones, or hide their phone when you come in the room. Taking the phone to the bathroom is a big one, and a red flag. How someone uses a mobile phone is often a big indicator of infidelity
“If there’s an inclination towards fraudulent behaviour or infidelity, then it will continue. They just tailor that behaviour and conduct themselves in different manners.
“It’s why I take my job seriously – I see myself as a truth bringer.”
Contact Anna at foxprivateinvestigators.co.nz