What debt collection services are available?

If you search for ‘debt collection’, Google will throw up a whole host of company pages, mostly law firms, offering two types of debt collection service: amicable recovery and judicial recovery. That doesn’t sound too complicated, does it? The lawyers either negotiate with the debtors or institute legal action to recover the debt. But what happens next?

Once the debtor has been ordered to pay by the court, there are three possible outcomes:

  • The debtor pays the amount they have been ordered to pay (the best outcome for lenders).
  • The debtor declares insolvency, claiming that they possess insufficient assets to pay the debt.
  • The debtor disappears to avoid their assets being seized.

How can private detectives help you to recover difficult debt?

Even if your debtor has been ordered to pay by a judge, complications can arise when it comes to settling the debt:

(i) the debtor may declare insolvency

 (ii) they may claim to have insufficient assets to cover the debt

(iii) their whereabouts may be unknown… 

That’s where private investigation and open source intelligence (OSINT) come in, helping lenders to recover the amount they are owed. How? Via the following three phases:

  • Phase 1: OSINT
  • Phase 2: Asset and mercantile investigation
  • Phase 3: Field investigation

How can private investigation and OSINT services help you recover debt?


Open source intelligence is very useful for obtaining as much information as possible about the debtor. Intelligence analysts will identify:

  • Any relevant business and personal relationships
  • The debtor’s social and professional circles
  • Their habits, interests and lifestyle
  • Their economic and business activity

Using intelligence analysis techniques, this information will be processed objectively to inform and target subsequent mercantile, asset and field investigations.


Asset and mercantile investigations are of crucial importance in these situations, supplementing the information held by the lawyers with more specialised, in-depth information.

Asset and mercantile investigations are intended to:

  • Locate any property titles not listed on the Land Registry
  • Identify shares in commercial companies
  • Detect any paid management positions


The final phase is carried out by private detectives, who check the information obtained in previous phases and demonstrate links to the debtor. This will include:

  • Checking the actual ownership of the property and assets identified
  • Checking professional activity
  • Checking the debtor’s living standards and those of their family circle

 At VESTIGERE, we believe that private investigation and intelligence services are fundamental in situations of this kind. By combining the different phases of the investigation, we can go one step further to find inconsistencies in the debtor’s alleged insolvency or assets hidden by the debtor to avoid seizure. With our help, lenders have a greater chance of recovering their money.