There are different reasons for wanting to locate someone, keep a keen eye on what a person is getting up to, or find out details that otherwise elude you. In any case, choosing the most appropriate private investigator for the task is not as easy as it seems.
It’s always best to research beforehand and move forward appropriately, rather than rush any decisions. Accordingly, here’s some advice on how to find a private investigator and other issues relating to that pursuit.
What’s Needed with the PI?
Not all private investigators are ideal with every investigative task.
Whether needing to perform extensive background checks, look into the possibility of ongoing infidelity, or even corporate espionage, PIs have specialties as well as limits to what they can do.
Some investigations may lead to legal proceedings relating to child support requirements, custody arrangements, or other matters. Therefore, searching through public records, using the internet to help locate people, and following potential leads to learn more is often part of what’s involved. (Source: Southern Recon Agency)
List Down What Services Are Required
What do you need from a PI?
Be clear on that before you get started because it will help narrow down the search. Giving a PI hire a vague idea about the services you want will get you nowhere. The results won’t be interesting or useful, and you’ll waste valuable resources too.
Think about it and list down what services are needed. It will help guide the initial discussion. Also, the PI can inform you what is and is not possible with any investigation in their state, so you know what to expect and can be realistic.
Ways to Start Looking for a PI
There are different ways to look for a private investigator.
Referrals from Another Person or Company Who’s Used their Service
A friend, a friend of a friend, or someone else may have a recommendation of a private investigator that they’ve used previously and were happy with.
Do check whether the investigator is based in your state or a different one. Also, verify whether they provide the right list of services to match your requirements. The friend or colleague may have needed different services than you do.
A Listing in Google
Searching for a private investigator in Google will bring up various local listings for a PI.
Getting a few names should only be the start of the search for a good investigator. Sometimes, a referral or a law enforcement contact will be more beneficial to find someone experienced or appropriately qualified.
Law Enforcement Contact
One of the better options is to seek out a recommendation for a private investigator directly from law enforcement. There’s very often someone who recently left the Police, Sheriff’s Department, or a federal agency and held a position that was oriented towards conducting investigations.
Make contact with a local office that conducts investigations and ask for a referral. Usually, there are plenty of trained investigators who now work alone or with a partner in private practice. They will have the training, experience, and knowledge of what’s possible, be professional, and can advise you well.
Licensing Issues and Insurance
Licensing and being insured are both important considerations.
The majority of U.S. states require a private investigator to hold an appropriate license for that state.
A license number will be issued, which is verifiable. Investigators with a state license will have no problem confirming it to you. Also, carrying a firearm for protection may require a private investigator license to validate that practice too.
Currently, the states that don’t require a license include Alaska, South Dakota, Idaho, Alabama, and Mississippi. It’s also voluntary in Colorado, so not every P.I. there has a license.
It’s possible when a private investigator is out and about that they get themselves into trouble. This could be a fender bender because they’re overly focused on following the target of their investigation and didn’t pay enough attention to the other drivers or pedestrians.
Also, they could accidentally cause harm to themselves or other people in other ways. Because you hired them, this could create a potential legal problem for both of you. Therefore, insurance is required to protect against potential lawsuits.
Sound Them Out In-person or on a Video Call
While checking their reputations and asking for references are both solid ideas, you also should talk to them directly.
Depending on their location and how convenient it is, an in-person meeting might be appropriate. But when this isn’t possible, then a video call is beneficial. Look for signs that they’re trustworthy (or not) and have the capabilities that you need.
Hiring a private investigator should be done with appropriate care to find the right one. Doing this avoids paying several times over to get the job done right. Also, when wanting the PI to not get spotted tailing someone or surveilling them on foot, proof of successful previous investigations is worth noting too.