A private investigator is hired by individuals or businesses to conduct investigations on a private basis. A licensed private investigator can provide a variety of investigative services, including running background checks, conducting surveillance and detecting infidelity. Private investigators are also skilled at digging through records, finding assets, uncovering insurance fraud and more. Some states require a private investigator’s license and those who hold one often work with attorneys, law enforcement agencies or forensic experts.
In cases involving divorce, child custody or domestic violence, a private investigator can help gather evidence that supports the claims of either party in a case. This could include a PI determining hidden assets for a client during a contentious divorce or investigating brazil private investigator evidence of child abuse for a court to make decisions regarding custody and visitation.
If a PI witnesses a crime in the process of being committed, they can contact law enforcement and alert them to what is happening. However, a private detective cannot arrest someone; this would have to be done by law enforcement officers. Private investigators can, in some circumstances, make a citizen’s arrest, if it is legal to do so.
Many jobs require a background in law enforcement or military service, but those with unique life or work experiences may still be qualified to become a private investigator. For example, Mullins says, “A lot of people who go into this business have been in phone sales or surveys.” This type of experience teaches you how to elicit information from people while staying within the boundaries of what you can and cannot say. Having a strong interest in solving crimes and being able to think outside the box is also important to working as a private investigator.
Some PIs investigate financial fraud, such as embezzlement, by digging through company or client records. This can be a lucrative field for private investigators, who might find that employees are hiding money from a company or customers are stealing products or cash. Those who specialize in this type of investigation might need to have a background in accounting.
During a divorce or child custody dispute, it’s common for one party to hire a PI to check for hidden assets. A PI can also run background checks on both parties, which could reveal criminal records or substance abuse issues that might play a role in a court’s decision.
When a potential employee applies for a job, private investigators can perform background checks to verify their employment history, education, professional certifications and other details they provide on the application. This can be a valuable tool in combating fraudulent workers and ensuring that companies are hiring the best people possible. Some PIs are skilled in electronic and video surveillance, while others focus on interviewing witnesses and preparing trial preparation. Some also write reports and conduct forensic tests for their clients. Those who are licensed to operate as private investigators must carry a million-dollar liability policy. This insurance protects them from claims made by clients for negligence, accidents or other damages related to their duties as a private investigator.