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Questions & Answers About Private Investigator Services

Why would I want to hire a private investigator?

If you have employees, you would want to protect your company by having a private investigator perform background checks on all potential employees. Background checks would uncover troubling behaviors or criminal records.

Background checks are also useful when:
• considering a baby sitter
• renting a home or apartment
• considering a marriage partner

Private investigators can help adopted children find their birth mothers.

What can private investigators uncover?

Private investigators can provide a detailed profile of individuals or companies by searching public records, conducting interviews, and verifying reference checks. Law firms, corporations, and private citizens use background checks.

How do private investigators work?

Although private investigators sometimes help solve crimes, they are not law-enforcement officials who work for the government. Private investigators collect information for private citizens or businesses.

Can private investigators take photos?

Private investigators are subject to the laws that govern all of us. Private investigators can’t take pictures of people inside their homes without their permission. Trespassing on private property is also illegal. However, Private investigators can take pictures of you from the street because there is no expectation of privacy from your front yard unless a fence hides you.

Can private investigators find bank accounts?

Identifying undisclosed or hidden bank accounts is difficult because the United States has no comprehensive database of bank accounts. Investigative techniques like interviews and public records searches may be able to identify bank accounts.

Is it legal for a PI put a tracking device on a car?

Only if the licensed investigator has a good reason to do so. Generally, you can’t put a tracking device on a vehicle that doesn’t belong to you. So putting a tracking device on a car gets tricky.

Can private investigators use drones?

In many states, using a drone for surveillance of a person or private property is highly restricted by law. Many private investigators won’t use drones because of murky laws.

What traits make a good private investigator?

Integrity has to be the most important trait of a private investigator. Trustworthiness follows as part of integrity. A good private investigator will be without prejudice and impartial to the evidence. Above all, a good private investigator will respect the confidentiality of his clients’ cases.

Can private investigators cross state lines?

Private investigators may operate in other states where they are licensed. Many states allow private investigators to cross state lines for private investigative purposes, provided they initiate their investigation in their home state.

Can a PI get someones' cell phone records?

Accessing cell phone records requires a search warrant or consent of the individual cell phone owner. Many times a private investigator can get comparable evidence using other methods.

How do private investigators charge?

Private investigators commonly charge an hourly rate. The rates vary depending on the expertise of the private investigator, the complexity of the work, and your location. In the United States Fees can range from $40 to over $100 per hour.

Is it legal to use a Private Investigator?

Hiring a private investigator does not violate any rules of law. However, there is certain conduct that private investigators cannot engage in, or else they will be violating the law.

What is the cost to investigate a cheating spouse?

Hourly rates vary between $40-$120 per hour, depending on the investigators’ experience and your location. Because surveillance investigation often takes considerable time, many private investigators require a deposit or retainer. Deposits are applied against fees for services and expenses. An infidelity case might require a deposit of up to $5,000.

Can private investigators make arrests?

Private investigators are not part of the police department and are not licensed to make arrests. An exception would be in the case of a citizen’s arrest if a private investigator witnesses someone committing a federal crime.

Can a private investigator carry a gun?

As a general rule, private investigators do not carry guns. .There may be some circumstances when private investigators do need to carry a gun, in which case they would need a weapons permit.

Do private investigators work with police?

Law enforcement agencies occasionally have situations that call for the use of private investigators. Private investigators have proven to be a valuable asset in criminal investigations.

How do text messages factor into investigations?

According to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), text messages and emails are treated the same. The ECPA statute prohibits a third party from intercepting or disclosing communications without authorization. However, phone records and text messages older than six months are relatively easy for police to obtain without a search warrant.

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