If you have been receiving threats, or if you need to trace those strange phone calls that you keep on receiving at home, or if you think that your spouse may be cheating on you, or if you simply need to set your mind at ease about an issue, you may be thinking about hiring a private investigator.
A private investigator can do phone tracing, lead to the apprehension of anyone who is threatening you, tell you the truth (however painful) about your spouse, and settle any issues that you might have that might need a private investigator to resolve. However, not all private investigators are as angelic as you might think them to be; in fact, you may need to do some investigation on your investigator in order to know if your investigator is a scam artist instead of a helping hand.
First, check if your private investigator has a license. Most U.S. states require that private investigators be licensed before they do any private investigations. Your private investigator should show you a copy of his or her official license. You may also be tempted to solicit the services of “private investigation” firms online, which may not have private investigator licenses. These firms simply do background checking by going through directories and public records for you, but if you want complete information that is accurate, you may need to hire a private investigator.
You do not need to do a big background check on your private investigator, although you could ask about him or her through your better business bureau, just in case he or she has been involved in a scam before. On a less devious front, when talking to the private investigator, have a contract ready. This contract should indicate completely why you are hiring the private investigator, what they are expected to do, what information you expect to get out of them, and how much they will be paid for their efforts. A contract ensures that all expectations are met, and that both parties, that is, you and the private investigator, get what you want. If a private investigator does not want to work on a contract with you, then that attitude is more powerful than any background check: simply go and look for another investigator.
Ask your private investigator for a resume that details his or her background in investigation. Once you have a copy of this resume, cross check on a few random details. For instance, some private investigators may have been policemen before, or may have served in the military, and can thus use their experience in carrying out private investigation. Check the veracity of these credentials and you can check the integrity of the private investigator that you may be working with.