Updated: Sep 23, 2022
Many people have a picture of a private investigator in their mind. One that may paint a PI acting in a legally questionable manner, toeing the line of legal and illegal for their clients by hacking phones and computers, bugging phone lines, or breaking into residences or buildings to gather information. Although a private investigator's life may not resemble James Bonds' as society has been lead to believe, the life of a PI can be very exciting, and can ultimately can be extremely rewarding for all parties. The work of a private investigator can lead to missing people being found, crimes being solved, uncovering fraud, invaluable information being gathered, and so much more!
Private investigators can investigate organizations, companies, individuals, fraud, missing persons cases, court cases (criminal and civil), workplace incidents, infidelity, perform background checks and provide skip tracing services. Private investigators can perform many services using different techniques and processes, as long as they follow the relative laws. Although private investigators do have access to databases the public does not, and can sometimes get information not available to the public, they are not exempt from the laws pertaining to the services they are providing. If a private investigator is willing to break the law for you, the client, you may ask yourself if this is really someone you not only want to pay to provide a service, but someone you want to give personal information to.
On the subject of what private investigators should not and cannot do, they cannot harass or stalk a subject, trespass, use bribery, pretexting is illegal in some states and illegal federally to impersonate a cop or a real person or business, impersonate a police officer, hack computers and phones (without the owner's consent), or use bribery to gather information. There are very strict laws on stalking in almost every state, that's why using a licensed private investigator who is knowledgeable and mindful of the law is so important.