Reasons for using a private investigator can be legal, like when a court of law needs a certain witness whose whereabouts is unknown, or personal, like when you’re searching for a lost loved one, discovering your biological lineage, or confirming doubts of a cheating spouse. In any case, take take time to choose the right investigator and ensure a positive outcome.
Most states require that private investigators be licensed. And they should be able to show you a copy of their license as soon as you ask for it. Note that there are several companies providing private investigation services online without the necessary qualifying background. Because the industry is unregulated, anybody can do just that. Most of these companies are merely “information brokers” who get access to public records, such as addresses, phone numbers, and the like. Before committing to anyone, know who they are, what they do, and what they can actually give you.
Do you actually have to meet your private investigator? Experts say no, not unless you feel it’s important. What investigators usually do can be done quickly and easily, and having to meet personally is optional to the client.
Like any other service, you need a contract that indicates your reason or reasons for using the investigator as well as the results you’re expecting. If an investigator doesn’t and can’t give you a contract, take your business elsewhere.
Believe it or not, some people offering private investigation services have little or even zero investigative experience. These may be police or military retirees who suddenly decide that being a “private investigator” would be exciting, so they enrol in a two-month private investigation course and start advertising themselves as private investigators!These could be ex-cops or military personnel who all of a sudden decide they want to be a “private investigator,” so they sign up for a two-month private investigation class and voila, they’ve got a new career!Sometimes, these are police or military retirees looking for some excitement, thinking that finishing a two-month private investigation course is enough to launch them a new career as private investigators! It is obviously critical that you know the your prospective investigator’s qualifications and experience. In most cases, more experience means better results. Private investigators need not be ex-FBI agents or ninjas, but they must be experienced in surveillance activities.
Note that whenever you hire a private investigator, they are working as your agent. If your agent gets in a car accident or accidentally ruins someone’s property while performing his job, you could end up paying for the losses, but not if they are insured. Besides that, you will be exposed as the person behind the investigation, which can lead to trouble. Thus, be sure that your investigator is insured, and make it a point to ask for proof.
Finally, keep in mind that private investigators not created equal. In most cases, you will get what you pay for.