Hiring a Private Investigator: What You Need to Know

Do you need to hire a private detective to conduct surveillance on your spouse to establish grounds for divorce or child custody? A good private detective can help with this task and acquire the information you need discreetly and covertly.

However, there are lots of private investigators to choose from. The difference between a professional private investigator and a bad one could mean the difference between someone who could give you the results you wanted and someone who would just rip you off. It is important to do some background research such as checking resumes, visiting company websites, calling references, and verifying licenses before you enter into an agreement or contract.

To make sure that you are choosing someone who is experienced and reliable, here are some factors that you should take into consideration.

Request Referrals

The best way to find a private investigator is to ask somebody you know and trust if they have ever hired a private investigator, and what their experience was like. If your friends and colleagues could not give you any referrals, the sources below are good starting points for your list of prospective private detectives. For more info about private investigators, visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Private_investigator .

Your local FBI's duty agency
Clerk at your county's police department
Staff from the sheriff's department
Investigators working at the District Attorney's office
Criminal defense lawyers
State association of private investigators

Look for Their License

Some states, like Idaho, have no state wide licensing requirements for private investigators. The majority of states, however, have specific requirements like a set number of hours of field work, a state-administered test, and passing a thorough background check. A license means that the private detective has more resources available at his disposal and no criminal record. Ask for a physical copy of their license and verify the details stated there with the appropriate state licensing agency.

Verify if They are Insured

Check whether the private investigator is properly insured (i.e. liability insurance, bonded, etc.). If a private investigator you have retained does something for you (such as committing some type of petty crime, an assault, a trespass, or he could get in a traffic accident while on your case) that results in a law suit, you also could be sued.

Check if They Have the Necessary Experience

What type of educational background or training do they have - law enforcement, private investigations ? Evaluate the work history for relevant experience to your case. The best private investigator will be able to get you better, more cost-effective results.

Does it Seem Like They Can Be Trusted?

Do you connect with the PI and does he understand your situation? A good private investigator should never surrender an informant or information, and should always keep private everything shared between the two of you.