What is the difference between a private detective and a private investigator?
Private investigators assist regular people, attorneys and corporations with any problems they might have going on that they can’t solve by themselves. Private investigators have been portrayed on television and in the movies as swashbuckling, booze-swilling, lady-killers who drive fast, expensive sportscars. Reality couldn’t be further from the truth.
Private investigators can be called many things: private dick, gum shoe, sam spade, dick (yes…), private eye, and of course, private detective.
A private investigator and a private detective are the same thing.
The terms “private investigator” and “private detective” are interchangeable as they both mean exactly the same thing and describe the same person, the same role and the same function. Many people think that because the word “detective” is in “private detective” that there’s a difference between them and a private investigator. There is not.
A private investigator and a private detective do the same things and are asked by people to do the same tasks, such as:
- Maybe they’re looking for someone – people lose touch for many reasons. People run from debts they owe; people just lose touch; people become reclusive and don’t want contact with anyone; people witness incidents or accidents. All these reasons would cause someone to hire a private investigator for their case.
- Gathering other information – private investigators can gather information on places and things. Sometimes they search for stolen property. Sometimes they search for items that are counterfeit. Sometimes they monitor the comings and goings of an establishment. Can you hire a private investigator for these things? Sure!
- Can you hire a private investigator for computer crimes? Certainly! Many private investigators are trained in computer forensic techniques and software and those who don’t usually partner with a reputable computer forensics firm to assist their clients with technical investigations.
- Worker’s Compensation Claim Fraud – it’s unfortunate, but there are people out these who fake injury to get compensation from insurance companies. This type of fraud hurts everyone as the insurance companies then raise their rates to cover their losses. So, essentially you and I are paying for the fraudulent person’s claim. Private investigators are trained to catch these fraudsters.
- Witness statements are often taken by private investigators. Private investigators often have training and experience in advanced interviewing techniques and their skillsets are particularly suited to interviewing witness to get truthful statements.
- Private investigators are also often involved in child custody disputes. They can document abuse of children and whether the children are being neglected while in the care of a parent. Crimes against children are increasing and private investigators play an important role in document and helping to stop this terrible situation.
- The protection or people, places or things also brings in the skills of a professional private investigator. Private investigators are often armed and are trained in the use of firearms. They make the perfect undercover protection for executives and valuable places and expensive items.
- The research conducted by private investigators usually can’t be done by ordinary citizens. Other than police officers, nobody has the capabilities of research like a private investigator does. Private investigators can conduct court research far more efficiently than regular citizens because they have the experience of conducting thousands of courthouse searches every year.