Reasons to use a private investigator may be legal, such as a court of law tracking a needed witness’ whereabouts, or personal, as when you’re looking for a biological parent or gathering evidence of a cheating spouse. In any case, choosing the right investigator is key.
In most states, private investigators must 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. The industry is unregulated, so anyone can do exactly that. These companies are usually no more than “information brokers,” or people who can look into otherwise private information like addresses and telephone numbers, voter’s registration filings, and the rest. Before committing to anyone, know who they are, what they do, and what they can actually give you.
Do You Have to Meet?
Do you actually have to meet your private investigator? According to most experts, no, not unless you think you should. What investigators usually do can be done quickly and easily, and having to meet personally is optional to the client.
As with any other professional service, hiring a private investigator should come with a contract that indicates what the investigator is being hired for and what results you are expecting to get. If an investigator doesn’t and can’t give you a contract, take your business elsewhere.
It’s hard to believe, but anyone, with little or without investigative experience, can offer private investigation services. 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. More experience often yields better results overall. Private investigators need not be ex-FBI agents or ninjas, but they must be experienced in surveillance activities.
Take note that the private investigator you’re paying, is working for you. 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. On top of that, your identity will be revealed as the person who hired the investigator, and that can spell more trouble. Hence, before hiring an investigator, make sure they have insurance coverage, and never hesitate to ask for proof.
Finally, remember that not all private investigators are created equal. Usually, you get what you pay for.