Friday, May 25, 2012

How to Get a PI

eHow's Missy Jess tells us how to get a private investigator:

Individuals and companies hire private investigators for many reasons: for child custody cases, to catch insurance fraud, to locate a missing person, to perform a thorough employment background check or to catch a cheating spouse. Once hired, the private investigator uses various methods, such as taking video surveillance and interviewing your subject's associates, to gather information for your case. The information gathered by a private investigator can be used for your own personal curiosity or to build a court case in your favor.
  1. Find a private investigator in your area by searching online or looking through a phone book. If you have a lawyer, ask her if she has any recommendations.
  2. Ask if the investigator is licensed and insured. Most states require private investigators to hold a license in order to run their practice. In order to obtain a license, the private investigator typically must be insured, bonded and pass a background check, but the actual requirements vary by state.
  3. Inquire about the investigator's educational background and work history. Many private investigators are former or retired law enforcement officers, lawyers or insurance agents. Their expertise can help with your investigation if it aligns with your case's purpose.
  4. Discuss your case with the private investigator. During this consultation, the private investigator will tell you his fees and his initial plans on executing the investigation. This could involve conducting surveillance, searching databases and taking video. You also may be asked to share details on your subject: his work schedule, frequently visited places, information on his associates and other details.
  5. Get a contract and read it over in detail. The contract should explain the scope of all services you'll receive and how often the investigator updates you on your case's progress.
  6. Sign the contract to authorize the services to begin the investigation.

Tips & Warnings
  • A private investigator does not have the same authority as a law enforcement officer. Therefore, he cannot obtain search warrants or make arrests. Make sure your private investigator is working within your local laws.
  • Understand your investigation may not go the way you expected. If the private investigator performs surveillance on your subject and he turns up nothing, you'll still be expected to pay for his services.

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