How to Become an Undercover Agent: 9 Specialties

Private investigators are offering different services to individuals and to businesses. They can conduct insurance investigations or corporate investigations, and they can provide surveillance and assistance for different needs.

For many of their missions, they will have to go undercover, which means they will assume a new identity and wear undercover clothing to avoid being detected by the persons they need to spy on, or to uncover information about.

If you want to learn how to become an undercover agent, here are 9 specialties you should master:

1. Pretend they are someone else

For their undercover missions, investigators often have to pretend they are someone else. They could rent a home in a new city, get a regular job, make new friends, and even speak with an accent or in a different dialect.

Undercover agents can also alter their appearance by changing their hair colour, and wearing undercover clothing every single day. Undercover clothes are simply normal clothes that match the personality or the occupation of the person they are pretending to be for their mission. They allow agents to work undercover without being identified.

2. Live a different life for a few years

Depending on what they have to do, undercover agents might have to assume a new identity for a few hours, a few days, a few weeks or a few months.

The more complex assignments can take up to a few years to be completed. It’s certainly better for an undercover agent to not have any family if they need to go and live a different life for this long!

3. Use body worn video equipment

For some of their missions, undercover agents have to use body worn video equipment. This can include small wearable photo or video cameras, or audio recording equipment that can be used without being detected.

This type of equipment can allow an investigator working undercover to discreetly gather some photo, video or audio evidence during an assignment where they need to spy on someone, or to take a close look at something important.

4. Search for a missing person

A private investigator might need to go undercover to search for a missing person. Whether a teenager ran away from home, a young child got kidnapped, or a relative simply vanished without a trace, it might be easier for an investigator to find them under a different identity.

For this purpose, an undercover agent might engage in surveillance, or infiltrate a group or an organization to search for clues.

5. Identify dishonest employees

When a business owner suspects some of their employees of being dishonest, or if they need help in solving cases of workplace theft, they can hire an undercover agent to gather evidence of what is truly going on.

The agent will be hired as a regular employee, and might try to gain the trust of the employees suspected of being dishonest. They will learn more about their activities, and help resolve the situation.

6. Gather evidence of a fraud

Whenever there is a suspicion of an insurance fraud, a workplace fraud or a government fraud, someone can hire an investigator who will go undercover to uncover information, gather evidence, and help them find a solution.

Undercover agents can help companies and organizations protect and recover their assets, and they can help them get the legal support they need if the solution involves going to court.

7. Purchase illegal goods or services

Undercover agents can work with the police to help them find and catch criminals who are suspected of selling illegal goods or services. For this type of assignment, they will pretend to be someone who is interested in purchasing these goods or services.

For example, an undercover agent might contact a drug dealer to buy what they are selling, and to learn more about their operations so they can help the police.

8. Infiltrate a criminal group

On the other hand, an undercover agent might also try to infiltrate a criminal group. For example, if they manage to become a drug dealer working for a criminal organization, they will be able to learn more about who is in charge, what they are doing, and where they are operating from.

By infiltrating a criminal group, an undercover agent can help the police dismantle this group once and for all.

9. Help solve a crime

By infiltrating criminal groups, locating missing persons, and resolving serious fraud cases, agents working undercover can help solve different crimes. They can be called to present the evidence they have gathered during their investigations in court, and to testify against criminals.

For undercover agents, it’s important to not be identified. If their cover is blown during one of their assignments, it could compromise the success of their investigation, but also put their life in danger if they are working around criminals.