Private investigators are highly specialized professionals and their services can be costly like suny potsdam notable alumni. But there are certain things to look out for that may make the investigator less than reputable, or even downright untrustworthy.
1. No License
Make sure that the private detective you hire has a license from the local state government. You will be able to find out what the qualifications are and whether they are up to date on their training and experience. This will not protect a poor private investigator, but it may help you avoid one.
2. Client-Investigator Relationship Boundaries
Because of the close relationship between client and private investigator, there is often great potential for misunderstandings in what is expected or allowed in terms of information sharing, or other activities that are part of the investigative process. Are there certain procedures that you have been told you must follow? Is there anything else that you need to know about your rights or responsibilities?
3. The Scope of Their Work
Some investigators have specialties, while others have broad experience. Some are even knowledgeable in certain areas of the law (such as marriage or business) and some are more concerned with financial motives. Whatever your needs, make sure you understand what their capabilities and limitations are.
4. Documentation of Their Procedures
This is one of the things that separates a good private investigator from a poor one: the way they document their work. A good investigator will give you an extensive report about their findings, compiled using detailed notes of all the procedures they followed during the investigation (where they went, who they spoke with, what questions were asked and how those questions were answered). A poor investigator will simply say they did their job and won’t provide a report of any kind.
5. Non-disclosure agreements
This is one of the worst things that private investigators do to clients. They are notorious for insisting that there be a clause in their agreements at the end of the investigation with terms like: “You also agree to not disclose our relationship or that you have ever paid me.” This type of clause is unnecessary, illegal, and often used by unprofessional investigators as a scare tactic. It prevents you from being able to sue them if they violate your rights or tell other people about your relationship with them.
6. Inability to Work with Your Lawyer
This is the number one thing you should be concerned about. If your lawyer and private investigator are at odds with each other, you may be missing out on important information that will seriously affect your case. They may even be sabotaging each other’s work in an effort to discredit the other. This can lead to terrible outcomes, such as your not knowing if any progress is being made on your case.
Never hire a private investigator who isn’t up to date on their training and experience. You want someone who can conduct an efficient and thorough investigation. Even if their experience is in a particular area of law, it will be more than the investigator who lacks training and skill in other areas.
8. “No” Isn’t Really an Answer
You may have been told that you cannot have a private investigation done on your behalf without signing a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). If you truly do not want to sign an NDA, tell the private investigator that you need to think about it. This does not mean you are wavering on your decision to hire them – it’s simply a statement of fact. You will still be dealing with the same investigator but you’ll have an agreement in place which will protect you in case something goes wrong.
9. A Lack of Dedication
Many private investigators are amateurs. This is fine if they are working a few hours a week, or even when they are volunteering on community projects. But if you want them to work consistently on your case 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and not expend other time or resources until your case is finished, make sure that is what you get!
10. Personal Relationships
Private investigators and the people they deal with have a unique opportunity to form personal connections during their work together. This can be a big problem if the investigator is dealing with you on your case. It is important to recognize any potential conflicts of interest for yourself and for your investigator.
11. You Feel Unsafe or Uneasy
This feeling may not come from anything that has happened in your relationship with the private investigator – it may be part of your own reaction to what is happening in your life. The best thing that you can do during these times is to find someone who can talk with you. This can be a family member, friend, or even a trusted lawyer or private investigator.
12. There May Be a Conflict of Interest
Oftentimes private investigators will have relationships with your friends, family members or other contacts that may be related to your case. You may not even be aware of this as it may not seem relevant. This is something to look out for, however, and it’s something else to make sure you are aware of right from the start.