USI Security Tips

7 Questions to Ask When Hiring a Private Investigator

August 28, 2018

Hiring a private investigator is one of the best ways to find hidden information fast. PI’s are trained to investigate documents, conduct surveillance, and comb through computer history to find the information, person, or asset you’re looking for. However, not all private investigators are the same. It’s important to ask the right questions to make sure your PI is up for the task at hand. We’ve compiled a list of questions that you should ask your PI during your initial meeting to make sure they will find the information you need.


1. Are You Licensed?

Most states require licenses for private investigators. If your state has this requirement, then it’s important to verify the license to ensure the PI is reputable. A license will also indicate that the PI has an understanding of their position and of proper protocol. Typically, when you use an agency to hire a private investigator, they will always be licensed. However, if you’re hiring a private contractor, be sure to verify their license.

2. What Type of Training Did You Receive?

To make sure your PI is properly equipped for the task, you should inquire into their training. Do they have a police background? Do they work for an agency that provides training? Are they self-taught? Proper training is important to ensure that your PI is up to date on the latest technology and techniques. Proper training will teach private investigators how to look through documents and what to look for in the documents. They will also learn how to conduct proper, covert surveillance as well as how to properly gather evidence that can be used in court. A PI that has not been properly trained will not have all of these skills, meaning they might not be equipped to handle your task.

3. Do You Have References?

An experienced, reputable private investigator will be able to provide a list of references. These references should include past clients who can attest to the PI’s ability, professionalism, and success. If your PI does not provide references, it’s a red flag that probably means that they are either inexperienced or are often unsuccessful. Be sure to look into private investigator’s references to make sure they have a proven track record of success.

4. What Types of Cases Have You Handled?

Different private investigators might have different specialties. If your company is conducting a fraud investigation, you probably don’t want a private investigator who typically catches cheating spouses. It’s important to look into your PI’s past cases to make sure that they have proper experience in your type of case. More importantly, you’ll want to find out whether they’ve had success in your type of case. When your private investigator can provide a detailed history of their past cases, you can feel confident knowing they are prepared to handle yours.

5. Will You Provide a Report?

Most private investigators provide reports of their investigation to their clients. However, you might want to ask the PI what this report will include. Will they provide photographic evidence? Will they include documents that helped their investigation? If your case involves a trial, you should ask your private investigator if they will provide documents that can be used in a court case. It’s important to find out what type of report to expect at the end of the case to be sure that they will satisfy all of your needs.

6. What Types of Tools Do You Have Access to?

The best private investigators have special tools and equipment that help them do their job. They might have surveillance equipment and a surveillance-friendly vehicle. Depending on the case, they might need covert recording devices or GPS tracking equipment. Some cases will not require any specific technology. However, if your case needs specific equipment to get the job done right, it’s important to make sure your PI has access to all of the tools he or she needs.

7. What Information Do You Need From Me?

This question is important to ask at your initial meeting with a private investigator. When you explain the case to the PI, they will be able to tell you what information or documents they need to get started on the case. It’s important to gather the information as soon as possible to avoid any delay in investigation. Although private investigators are the ones doing the work, they will count on you to provide a background on the case as well as personal information about any person being investigated. When you’re prepared to provide this information, you can keep the investigation process running smoothly.


United Security Incorporated | Private Investigator Services in CT, NY, MA, NJ, and PA

While many of us want to see the good in people, the world does have its fair share of dishonest and fraudulent people. We recognize that there are situations that call for professional guidance and assistance when individuals and companies are concerned about the truth.

Whether our private investigators are working to help an attorney gather evidence, investigate investment scams or follow a suspected unfaithful spouse, our clients rely on us to minimize the risk and gather clear objective evidence. In today's world, it's definitely better to be safe than sorry, and get the facts.

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