This might seem an odd question to put on a blog post for a PI website. However, many potential clients are unaware of the pros and cons of hiring a Private Investigator, and knowing the ups and downs before contacting the Detective for Hire benefits everyone involved.
In true TeamSPI form, we will put the bottom line up front, or BLUF as we like to call it.
The three biggest reasons to hire a PI are:
1. Legal protections.
2. Accuracy of Information.
3. Safety for the client.
The reasons NOT to hire a PI are:
2. The intended use of the information is for illegal or immoral purposes.
Bad purposes. If the intended use of the information is for illegal or immoral purposes. Don’t even bother calling. Most PI agencies will have it in their contract that the information provided will be obtained legally, and can only be used for legal purposes. Many agencies will only work through a lawyer to ensure this. And PIs are always on the lookout when a client might be misrepresenting their intent.
The Cost. Secure Point Investigations like most responsible Private Detective agencies will not scrimp on matters that are critical for accuracy and safety. Insurance, initial and continual training, multiple professional database subscriptions for OSINT investigations, detailed planning, and in some cases multiple investigators from varied backgrounds. All of these help to find the facts quickly and more importantly accurately. Cutting corners on costs only cuts your chances for accurate information, and potentially exposes you to legal hazards.
Now let’s get back to why you should hire a PI.
First and foremost are the legal protections hiring a PI provides you. There are multiple laws, both federal and state, that cover what information can be obtained, and significantly HOW it must be obtained.
There are numerous cases where people get in legal hot water for where they took a photograph more than what the photograph was about. In Washington State and many others, that photo could land you in legal hot water. The internet is even more fraught with dangers. Many “Free” websites advertise phone numbers, addresses, background reports, etc. Almost all the free or pay-as-you-go databases we evaluated were dangerously inaccurate and outdated. PI agencies have access to professional databases that in some cases government agencies also use. But to gain access the PI must maintain standards of professional and information security conduct as well as be screened and approved by the database company, in addition to a monthly subscription.
ACCURACY OF INFORMATION
At Secure Point Investigations, we process Person of Interest (POI) checks through two or more of the databases to ensure that the information is accurate and reduce the chances of missing something. Not all databases have all the information, and increasing access to multiple databases is something we like to do.
SkopeNow, Tracers, and IRB Search are some of the subscription-based databases we use to ensure accurate and complete data for the clients’ needs.
SAFETY FOR THE CLIENT
Unfortunately, many people don’t see the dangers inherent in uncovering the truth. From legal minefields in how the information was obtained to physical dangers when a spouse is caught cheating or a former employee in insurance fraud. Even some areas that require surveillance can be dangerous just to be around at night. Don’t expose yourself to the physical and legal risks involved in many investigations. A PI can keep you safe and help make sure that the information obtained isn’t spoiled by the way you obtained it.
Do you also need a lawyer?
If you intend to use the information in a legal proceeding, YES.
Get a lawyer first. Don’t use the PI to “see if enough is there” and then hire a lawyer.
While some PIs will be glad to take your money, a lawyer can let you know even BEFORE you hire the PI if it is even worth it. Some cases don’t stand a chance in court no matter what information you might find. A lawyer can tell you if you have a chance, THEN go ahead the PI should be hired. This way the law firm can help guide the PI investigation towards the information that will benefit your legal case the most. The focused investigation based upon the lawyers’ legal strategy will also save you money as it reduces the “shotgun” approach.
The other benefit to hiring a lawyer is that communications with the PI working FOR THE LAWYER (The Lawyers Agent) is now “Privileged” and has additional legal protections. This “work product privilege” is important for your legal case, and provides extra protections for you.
Always consult with the attorney for the best approach and if they feel a PI is beneficial, ask if they have one they regularly use. If not, feel free to recommend Secure Point Investigations. If our “dance card” is full, we can reach out to other PNAI-affiliated Private Investigative Agencies and find the right agent team for your specific case.