Private investigators gather information and evidence for attorneys, corporations and individuals for a variety of matters including, cheating spouse, alimony modification, child custody, insurance related matters and many other kinds of cases. While you will see many different agencies advertising on the internet, and you feel as though one of these companies might be able to assist you, you should ask yourself, “What are the risks of hiring a private investigator?”
Private investigators are required to be licensed in almost every state in the country. This licensing serves 2 major purposes:
- Protect the public from unlicensed charlatans
- Provide a regulatory system for people who want to be private investigators
Hiring an unlicensed private investigator brings with it a world of problems.
- They know they’re unlicensed and so know what they’re doing is illegal
- You might be held liable for hiring an illegally operating private investigator
- Any evidence they get for you will be illegally obtained and can’t be used
- They might just disappear on you because they know you have no way to verify who they are
- They might be incompetent and ruin any chances of you getting the evidence you need
Unlicensed private investigators are a huge problem for the industry. Their illegal practices reflect badly on the private investigators who are properly licensed.
Do they have a website? If so, is it up to date. Does the website display their license number and any credentials they may have?
Also, if you meet them in person are they clean, well dressed and well spoken? First impressions count and if your first impression of a private investigator is not a good one, then it’s unlikely anything will improve over time.
Any private investigator should be able to show you a portion of the clients that you can use to obtain references about the private investigator. If they’re unwilling to share clients, or tell you that their clients are “private” you should run a mile away from them. The cases they’ve worked and the details of those cases may be private, but if a private investigator tells you their clients are private it’s very likely they don’t have very many clients.
You should also check their references and any testimonials/reviews that clients have left about the private investigator. You want to hire a private investigator that has received good reviews on average. If you can’t find any reviews for them, then you should consider going with another private investigator.
Private investigations can be a risky profession. Situations can develop quickly and many of these situations can become violent and may involve the use of firearms. If this situation occurs, there will be lawsuits and you want to know your hired private investigator carries the adequate amount of insurance coverage. $3 Million is the standard amount.
If the private investigator only carries a bond, you should be very wary. Bonds usually only cover up to about $50,000. That won’t last long at all if you get sued.
This boils down to how you feel in your gut about them. Do they sound experienced and do they suggest ideas to you? Do they listen to you and ask relevant questions? Do they suggest things to you that you can do yourself to help your case? Do they sound trustworthy?
All the above tips will help you take out some of the risks of hiring a private investigator.
If you are looking for an affordable licensed private investigator, with 20 years of experience assisting individuals, attorneys and corporations feel free to contact us here. You can also view a portion of our extensive client list here, and see what actual clients say about us here.