Private investigators have been providing professional services for centuries, but many people do not really know what it is they do and how they learn their profession. The term private detectives is often used synonymously and their job is to use surveillance technology and techniques to gather reliable and accurate information about a person or situation.
There are certain skills required for this job that can be then applied to all different types of tasks commonly encountered, which we will highlight shortly. Some of the core skills include:
- Knowledge and use of high tech surveillance technology
- Personal communication skills for interviews
- Researching public information on a subject
- Undercover tactics to gather information and evidence
What Does A Private Investigator Do?
The main task of a private investigator is to gather information about a person or situation for their employer or client. This will involve researching a person or subject, setting up a surveillance plan and gathering facts and evidence in a way that can be used by the client.
The techniques involved vary and very much depend on how much close and personal interaction with the subject is required. One example would be an insurance company trying to prove a suspected fraudulent claim. An investigator would use covert surveillance using cameras to find proof that the subject may be overstating an injury. Both photos and videos can be used by the insurance company to start fraudulent claim proceedings.
Another very commonly encountered job is the investigation of a client’s spouse, most often to gather evidence of unfaithful behavior that may be used during divorce cases. These cases may involve getting close and personal with the subject to find out more about their habits and actions, which would require some kind of undercover tactics.
In many cases investigators tend to specialize in a specific field where they can hone their skills and become the go to person for such tasks. This specialization is common for jobs like missing person location, insurance fraud or computer forensics. The advantage of focusing on one particular area is similar to surgeons focusing on one part of the body; their skills will become very efficient and effective.
Help With Court Cases
The main job responsibility of a private investigator is to help with court cases. This is where most of the work is done in this day and age. Now, this doesn’t mean lawyers are being assisted; it can also involve clients who are representing themselves as well. The idea can work from both the prosecutor and the defense counsel.
The goal is for the private investigator to go through all of the details and figure out if additional evidence can be accumulated to strengthen the case for one side or the other.
Collect Physical Evidence
The actual job is going to entail moving forward with a physical investigation on a person, place, or thing to see what is going wrong and what can be used in the court of law as evidence. This is where physical evidence is collated to make sure it all comes together to paint a picture. This evidence is what the client is looking for to make sure they can come to a real conclusion moving forward. The private investigator has to collect as much as possible to prove what they are concluding is the case.
The private investigator will be hired to run a private investigation based on the requirements of their client. Each case is unique, and the investigation is done with attention to detail. The investigation will vary depending on the client and the charges will as well.
All of the work is done in a legal manner to ensure the evidence being collected is lawful and can be used. Sometimes, the goal is not to have an investigation, but to find someone, such as a long-lost relative. The private investigator can do this for the client.
These are the general job responsibilities for a private investigator in this day and age. The goal is to make sure a comprehensive solution is being found for those who are looking to see results. The client will be able to bring in as much information as possible to help the private investigator and then the process will commence.
Who are Private Investigators?
To become a private investigator there are a few ways to learn the trade. Traditionally the skills would have been learned by working with an experienced professional in a kind of apprentice relationship. However, today there are preferred ways to obtain formal training and qualification.
Most firms hiring an investigator will require formal training and even a degree in law or criminal justice. One very sought after qualification and experience is law enforcement, as the skills employed by police forces very closely match what a private investigator is required to do.
It is also important to note that 43 states in the USA require licensure to practice as a private investigator. These licenses are obtained at either the state or municipality level and are essential to make sure you are operating within the confines of the law at all times.
Hiring a Professional Private Investigator
You know a private investigator is needed for your case to move forward, but how are you going to hire one? What do you look for? Most people will never have hired a private investigator in their life, and that is fine. You will need to follow a few steps to make sure you are taking out the bad options and only focusing on those who will do a good job for you as private investigators.
Let’s see what you need to consider before hiring someone and giving them the case that you are focusing on resolving.
1. Check Reputation
Testimonials are the name of the game when hiring a private investigator in this day and age. You want to be able to go online and check their reviews. You want to know how good they are and be able to rely on this information as much as you can. See what others are saying about their experience with the potential investigation company you are interested in. Also look for a legitimate website of the PI and the company so you can see where they are located and learn more about the years of experience they have.
Do they have licensing for being a investigator or are you relying on someone who is doing this here and there? You want to think about licensing as much as you can. When you are not getting enough licensing, you won’t like how things work. Licensing does matter a lot, and you want to make sure they are accredited.
When they are not licensed, you are now assuming they know what they are doing. The market of private investigators is not like it used to be in the 70s or 80s. It is far different now, and that means you have to realize a well-educated private investigator is key.
3. Contractual Approach
You want private investigators that are professional and will set up a contract for you. They shouldn’t be those who are looking for cash under the table because you are then taking all of the risk on your end. Do not get caught in a relationship, which could cause legal trouble especially when you are dealing with cash.
You want to make sure a proper contract is there which both parties have to be aware of and follow. If you are not getting this contract, you know they are not the one for you.
Look at all of these things before you hire a private investigator. Sure, you might be in a hurry and don’t want to extend this for too long, and that is fine. You don’t have to extend this for weeks, but make sure you are doing your due diligence.
You are spending money on a private investigator, and this is one of those things where tangible results are a must in the form of evidence. If you don’t get this, you have wasted your money.
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