Case Study
Commercial Defection

Can you really trust all your employees? (Characters are entirely fictional)

A text message comes through at 7am, Monday morning: 'Need info on corporate fraud. Suspected infiltration of my workforce. Please text a time and place to meet.'

No time like the present.

My new client is impressed by my promptness. He likes that in an employee, he says.

But in fact, he has started to notice one particular employee coming in to the office suspiciously early.

'He's always the first one there in the morning and the last to leave,' he says. 'Something's going on. That's what I want you to find out.'

'Ok, when he has left tonight, call me. I'll put a monitoring device on his computer. Survey his online activity, stream his emails. He won't notice a thing. Usually, these people get so complacent, they don't realise emails can be found, even after they have been deleted.'

Later that day, I park up outside the office. Whatever he is up to, I'll tap into it. If he's clean, I'll recommend he gets a pay rise for his earnest commitment to the company and all that unwarranted overtime. Call me cynical, but I don't think that's on the cards.

However, the guy looks pretty innocuous. His screen-saver is of mountains and lakes. On his desk he has family photographs; even one of his dogs. There are empty coffee cups and packets of biscuits on his desk. But often, underneath this seeming normality lurks a secret life: an unnerving truth.

To be fair, this guy has been more switched-on than your average first-timer. He's used a private email account rather than his work one. He's deleted everything, and his 'contact' isn't even on his 'Contacts' list. But from the emails I uncover, it is clear this is an inside job: that he is acting undercover, working for two masters. Essentially, being paid twice. In a climate where thousands struggle to get even one job, this really takes the biscuit.

'Looks like he's infiltrated your work-force for the purposes of good old-fashioned spying,' I tell my client. 'Your rivals really want to get to you.'

'What evidence have you got?'

'I've printed off a roll-call of incriminating emails, for a start.'

'Follow him as well, can you? I want footage or photos of them in each other's company.'

'Will do.'

I am the man no one notices, who lingers in the background, who sees everything but says nothing. I am his worst nightmare.

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