How NOT to Hire a Southern California Private Investigator

It's a sad fact of life, but people who are in need of something are usually the easiest to take advantage of.

Whether it's information, money, power, or a slimmer physique, if you are searching for something, there's a good chance that someone is out there ready to take advantage of your needs.

When it comes to people who are looking for answers, one of the most malicious group out there is fraudulent or immoral private investigators. These individuals, whether intentionally or simply through their operating style, put the clients that they work for in a terrible position.

Let's take a look at the two major types of private investigators that do things the wrong way, why they do it, and some steps on how you can avoid them as you search for a legitimate source for answers to some of your most pressing questions.

The Two Main Types of Harmful Southern California Private Investigators

If you let them, there are many different ways that you can be taken advantage of by a private investigator. Over our years in the industry, however, we have found that most PIs who do wrong by their clients fall into one of two categories (or sometimes both):

  • Fraudulent private investigators who have no training, licensure or experience with private investigative services and no desire to gain any of these things. These are the worst kinds of criminals: they care only about making a quick buck off people who really need help. These are often fly-by-night professionals who travel from town to town attempting to take advantage of people. They often use quick, anonymous advertising methods like Craigslist or posting up signs around the community. They will sometimes not even attempt to provide private investigative services: instead, they talk themselves up, convince their victims to pay them a hefty deposit, and then flee with the money
  • Private investigators who use illegal or immoral tactics to help their clients. These private investigators are a bit more complex to deal with than the straight-up conmen. In fact, it is very possible that wrongdoing private investigators who fall into this category have no idea that they are harming their clients. They could be inexperienced or unaware of the laws in their field. Other private investigators who fall into this category are sometimes under the impression that "the client is always right." If someone is willing to pay money for something, they will do it, even if the task is immoral or highly illegal.

Private investigators in both of these categories can harm you, but for different reasons. It's obvious why you want to avoid private investigators who are out to con you of your money: you will get nothing from these people except a dent in your wallet.

Private investigators who use immoral tactics, however, are hired very often by unscrupulous clients. In fact, some people prefer to work with private investigators who will break the rules and the law to get the answers that they need. Working with a private investigator like this is bad for numerous reasons. First, if they are caught by law enforcement, and it can be proven that you knew they were going to be breaking the law, you can be convicted of a crime as well.

Second of all, consider what the end result might be. Even if you get answers to a question that you feel like you must find out about, will you be able to use it in a court of law? If these answers were obtained illegally, the answer is no. Also remember, if a private investigator is willing to act unethically during their investigations, what's to stop them from being unethical with the way they bill you, or the way they record the hours they worked? It's hard to tell where the line will be drawn.

How to Find a Quality Southern California Private Investigator

So how can you avoid working with a private investigator who steals from you or gets you in legal trouble? Several ways:

  • Do your homework. Never hire a private investigator without looking into their name or company
  • Ask for references. If they make excuses or cannot produce at least one reference, you should be worried about hiring them
  • Request that they provide you with their certification credentials. In California, there are stringent standards for licensed private investigators.

Don't waste time with private investigators who seem suspicious or who can't prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that they can help you get the answers you need. Whether you are searching for surveillance services, a complete background check, or an asset search in southern California, hire a quality private investigator whose reputation you can verify.

Published on: 
May 7, 2015
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