what do private investigators do

If you’ve never had to hire a private investigator, you might not realize what they can and can’t do. PIs need to be licensed to operate, and most states require you to either have a criminal justice degree, a law enforcement background, or experience as a trainee and apprentice under a licensed investigator.

Regardless of which qualifications a private investigator fulfills, there is usually also a test to establish their understanding of the legal aspects of their job. Contrary to their image in movies and novels as outsiders who act on their own accord, actual private investigators provide a range of legal and investigative services for individuals and businesses.

What Do Private Investigators Do?

It’s common knowledge that private investigators are often hired to gather evidence in legal disputes, but these professionals can do so much more. Here’s a list of the most popular reasons that businesses and individuals hire a private investigator.

  • Surveillance and Counter-Surveillance: Whether it’s tracking down a cheating spouse, finding a stalker, or just finding out whether someone has eyes on you, a private investigator can provide you with accurate intelligence and the professional testimony to contextualize it in court.
  • Background Checks and Due Diligence: Whether you’re screening someone you met online before meeting in person or checking out job candidates for sensitive positions within your organization, proper background checks take access to professional investigative resources.
  • Forensic Document Investigation: Document investigation using modern forensic methods can help unearth proof of doctoring and other evidence of fraud.
  • General Fraud Investigations: Fake or altered documents aren’t the only kind of fraud PIs can detect. They are also useful in uncovering the workings of larger fraud and confidence schemes to aid victims or legal professionals who represent them.
  • Landlord-Tenant Disputes: Investigators are often hired by one side or the other in disputes between renters and landlords. For landlords, finding out how properties are being used and whether tenants abide by agreements can be the key to an eviction when one unit is creating a disturbance that bothers the other residents. For tenants, an investigation can uncover past violations and ongoing issues with the landlord that add evidence to support the case for a lawsuit or other civil remedy.

This is just a cross-section of the services offered, which can vary based on whether the client hiring an investigator is an individual or a business. Corporate background checks and employment screenings are governed by laws that allow them, under some conditions, to request information not available to private individuals who request background checks or to companies who are conducting them for reasons other than pre-employment screening.

If you’re wondering whether a private investigator can help you, chances are the answer is yes, even if you need some help figuring out exactly what that investigator should do to gather evidence for you.

Expertise and Independence

The biggest reason why people hire an investigator is to gain access to the intellectual and professional capacities of someone who understands the process of uncovering evidence, because it’s a skill set that is difficult to develop and highly specialized. The methods used are usually very dependent on the situation, so many times the client request is for evidence about an issue, and the exact range of services used are devised by the investigator, who explains why they are necessary and gets client approval for the expenses involved.

This means clear communication is key when you are hiring an investigator, and it’s an important part of the job. If you are looking to hire a private investigator in NYC, Beau Dietl & Associates offers a range of services and can help you navigate the legal system when you need to resolve a dispute.