Three Facts You Should Know About Hiring a Private Detective

Private investigation companies

With the Veronica Mars movie out, public interest has once again been piqued by the idea of private detective firms. They’ve had their place in many television series, movies and books over the years, but it’s often easy to forget that they are, in fact, part of a successful industry with millions of dollars worth of investigations taking place each year.

What, exactly, do licensed private detectives do? These days, a lot of the business firms see deals with company-related investigations — approximately 50% of private investigators work for financial institutions or other businesses. Companies want to do everything from checking out their rivals, to making sure employees on disability leave are legitimately injured. PIs can do computer forensics, accident reconstructions, and private security consulting. As always, there are also requests to find missing persons, though these are less frequent than everything else.

Are you still curious about this trade, and what it could potentially do for you and the problems you’ve been having? Here are three things you should know.

1. How Do You Hire a Private Investigator?

It’s not hard to find the names of local private investigators — but what you want is one that will definitely deliver results. Make sure they’re licensed, which is something you can double check with the Department of Consumer Affairs. A private investigator will want to know why you’re hiring them, and what you want done. You will likely need to share information about addresses and schedules, and provide them with photographs or physical descriptions of the intended surveillance subject.

2. How Much do Private Investigator Services Cost?

This typically depends on a few factors, including how long you’ll need surveillance for, how far the investigator has to drive, and how many investigators are used for surveillance. Some firms will charge extra depending on circumstances (a remote or risky location, for example, might net you a higher fee), and they will expect a reimbursement for case-related expenses, such as hotel bills. The hourly rate can be anywhere from $40 to $200.

3. Can a Private Investigator Tap Someone’s Phone for Me?

Legally, investigators cannot obtain texts, emails or phone messages from someone who has not consented. Any information they did obtain this way would not be admissible in a court of law. They cannot trespass, wiretap, or pose as law enforcement either.

Do you need to hire a private detective? Let us know in the comments. Continue:

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