When you think of a private investigator, what comes to mind? Maybe someone taking pictures of a clandestine meeting between two affair partners. Or, it could be someone in frumpy clothes sitting in a car throughout the night, keeping an eye on a suspicious person’s house.
While you probably have ideas about the work private detectives do, they perform a lot of different services you might not have thought of before. Check out this list of reasons why people hire private investigators to see for yourself.
Help Locate Missing Persons
A missing person is anyone whose location is unknown under any circumstance. A missing person can be categorized as a lost person, a missing person who has voluntarily gone missing, or a missing person under the influence of a third party.
A lost person is temporarily disorientated and would want to be found, such as a lost person with dementia. A person who has voluntarily gone missing has taken action to disappear, such as someone who has run away from home. And a missing person under the influence of a third party is missing against their will, such as an abduction victim.
Private investigators (PIs) can scan public records, question witnesses, and use other techniques to learn more about the circumstances around the disappearance. They also seek clues about the missing person’s whereabouts and can track suspects’ movements.
Run Background Checks
Employers commonly perform background checks on prospective candidates. Through background checks, employers verify the candidate’s information and can dig up hidden issues. These checks often include looking into criminal, financial, and employment history.
Other people can request background checks, too. For example, you might want to know more about a potential date that you met online—or you might be hiring a new babysitter for your kids. Investigating the prospect’s past can bring you peace of mind, and that’s why performing background checks is a popular reason people hire private investigators.
Thorough background checks require a lot of research, which can be time-consuming and complicated. But private investigators know where to go to find the information their clients seek. PIs can access databases and interview acquaintances to uncover detailed information about the people they investigate.
Private detectives perform surveillance on people, places, or objects. While Hollywood often portrays PIs as engaging in sketchy surveillance practices, such as covertly bugging phones, investigators have legal limits on what they can do. For example, PIs must have the consent of at least one of the parties in a phone call before they can listen in on the conversation.
Detectives use many monitoring techniques to obtain information. They can actively surveil, such as when staking out a location or following someone on foot or in a car. They can digitally surveil by monitoring the target’s online activity, such as posts on social media or in online forums. PIs can also use surveillance technology, such as cameras, to capture and record information.