Hiring a Private Investigator: What You Need to Know

Do you need to hire a private investigator to track down a missing person such a long lost love or a missing relative? A good private investigator will carry out an investigation regarding your case discreetly, professionally and provide you with excellent results.

However, there are many private investigators practicing out there. 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. Doing some due diligence before you make a decision on who to hire can pay off in the long run.

To ensure that you make the right choice, make sure that they meet the following criteria.

Ask for Recommendations

The best way to find a private detective is request recommendations from people you trust like your attorney, friends, or colleagues who have hired PIs before and were happy with the results given. If they could not provide you with names, prepare a list of prospective PIs from these sources.

Referrals from your local FBI
Referrals from your county's police department
The watch commander of the sheriff's department
Private detectives from the District Attorney's office
Referrals from criminal defense lawyers
State association of private investigators

Check if They are Licensed

In some states, there are no requirements and anybody can call himself an investigator and try to make a living from it. Most states however require stricter requirements like a defined number of field work hours, passing a state licensing exam, and undergoing a thorough background and fingerprinting investigations. A license means that the private detective has more resources available at his disposal and no criminal record. Verify that the license was issued by the correct state agency, check the expiration data and the name on it.

Check if They Have Insurance

Does the private investigator have liability or commercial vehicle insurance? During the course of his work, the investigator may become injured or render damage to someone else's property so you could be indirectly liable for damages. To understand more about private investigators, check out http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/Private_Investigator.aspx.

Check if They Have the Necessary Experience

Check if they have relevant education such as degrees in criminal justice, criminology, and forensic science. Check their area of specialty and if your case falls under it. 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? Private investigators are not officially held to an attorney-client or doctor-patient level of confidentiality, but a good investigator will honor this.