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What Private Investigators Really Do

Licensed Private Investigators carry out their duties in very different ways than movies and television shows seem to suggest. Rather than kicking down doors, they use professional means of gathering information for clients. Private Investigators handle anything from documenting affairs to insurance fraud and corporate impropriety. 

Many Private Investigators use prior military, law enforcement, or loss prevention experience while combing through records, following leads, and trailing a person of interest. Despite their demonstrated professionalism, they still have to think on their feet and do what might be called snooping to get the job done.

How Private Investigators Do Their Jobs

Private Investigators work undercover to complete assignments. They may end up posing as a new employees, accountants, or even hospital staff to gather information that would otherwise be inaccessible to their clients. 

Personal relationships have always provided a solid caseload for Private Investigations. Today,  the prevalence of online dating is creating even more of these cases. Many clients want to find out if their online lover is indeed who they claim to be, especially if they haven’t met in person. In this case, sending in a Private Investigator allows the client to find out the truth without the risk of their romantic interest discovering their snooping.

Social media is a goldmine for intelligence work. Because so many people readily hand out their personal information, combing through accounts can yield plenty of results for Private Investigators. However, not all social media is made public, and more than a few users place restrictions on their posts and accounts, limiting them to friends only. Private Investigators often have several social accounts they can use to send friend requests and gain inner-circle information, photos, and relationship connections. The more they use these accounts over time, the more believable they become, helping them out for future cases. 

Uncovering Financial Information

Private Investigators have methods of uncovering assets and bank funds. While this type of information is not admissible in court, they can share it with attorneys. In divorce cases, clients may hire a Private Investigator on the suspicion that their former partner is withholding assets. Private Investigator can find evidence of available funds or assets that were not disclosed and provide that information to the client. This practice, though, may be restricted based on location.

Private Investigators do follow cars in certain cases when they need to tail a person of interest. Most people will not notice the car behind them, making the same turns as they are, but that’s not always the case. Private Investigators may work together with multiple cars in order to avoid detection. Switching between two or more cars makes it more difficult for the subject of the investigation to realize what’s going on.

Use of informants is not a tactic limited to your local police department or the FBI. Private Investigators use informants as well to quickly and easily gather information about someone. By developing strong connections, they can tap into their human resources when needed. When a relevant informant is not available, Private Investigators may locate one specifically for the case, which could be as simple as persuading someone involved in the case to inform out of mutual interest.

Furthering Your Education to Excel in Private Investigation

If the world of Private Investigators intrigues you, consider taking professional development courses with the National Investigative Training Academy, Inc. (NITA). The best way to start on this exciting and rewarding career is by taking the classes that will teach you what Private Investigators do, and how they do it. Call NITA at 866-235-7918 or request a free consultation to find out more about how our state-approved courses can help you.

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