When you need a private investigator, you can find one through references from others or through your own online search. You need to be prepared with the right questions to ask, and it’s important to understand what a private investigator can do for you.
What a Private Investigators Can Do For You
On TV and in the movies, private detectives wiretap phones and engage in high-speed car chases. In reality, PIs don’t do either of these things. It’s against the law to tap a phone without a warrant, not to mention breaking the speed limit in anything other than an emergency vehicle. Instead, real private investigators search for and find information safely and professionally.
Here are some of the actual duties of private investigators:
- Background checks
- Internet searches
- Legal record research
- Video surveillance
- Evidence collection
- Debt collection
- Finding missing people
Decide What Your Needs Are
Businesses hire private detectives to do background checks on prospective employees, detect company theft and research accounting irregularities. As an individual, you’re more likely to be looking for a PI to help you in a child custody case, a background check for someone you’re dating, an infidelity issue or some other family matter. A private investigator can also help you collect money owed to you by an individual or company.
Look for a Private Investigator
If you know anyone who has used a private investigator, find out if they were satisfied with the work done by that PI. If they had a good experience, ask them for contact information. You can also find out the names of private investigators in your area by doing an internet search and checking the phone directory.
Most reputable private investigators will have a website where you can find out more information. Check the website to learn what kinds of investigative services they offer and whether they specialise in a particular area like family matters or legal issues. If the information you’re seeking is about a person or situation in another state, it’s best to use a PI who’s local to the region in question or has nation-wide coverage.
Once you’ve narrowed down your search to a particular private detective, ask for references. Ask to see the investigator’s license to practice, and make a note of the number so you can check it later. Don’t worry if this will offend the PI because a professional investigator should have no problem sharing their qualifications. Ask if they carry insurance for accidents on the job, and read any contracts you sign carefully. Take your time and ask questions before signing an agreement and make sure you understand the terms of payment for the work.
Be Prepared to Help
Remember that you’ll need to do your part in helping the investigator to do a thorough job. Be ready to answer questions in the first interview and in any follow-up calls. Provide any pertinent documents after the first meeting with the PI and send in any other information requested in a timely manner.