Regardless of why you need a private detective, you will want to ensure the person you hire is a licensed professional.
Most states in the U.S. have a regulatory and licensing authority for private investigators, as well as professional associations of which reputable investigators will be a member.
The requirements for a private investigation license vary by state
so you might also want to ask a potential investigator about his or her education, past work history (outside of investigation), and investigative experience including any specialization in areas such as:
– Background investigation
– Legal matters
– Surveillance (covert or overt)
– Asset protection
– Finance or fraud investigation
– Accident reconstruction
– Computer forensics
– Arson investigation
Asking questions is a good way to find out whether an investigator is actually qualified for what you need to do. Even licensed detectives have areas in which they have no knowledge or experience. There are also plenty of unlicensed private detectives willing to take on work, but you are taking a risk by hiring such an investigator: you may be dealing with a con artist, or the admissibility of the information he or she finds may be compromised by poor evidence gathering or handling techniques. Additionally, you don’t want an investigator who could get you in trouble by harassing or intimidating witnesses or persons of interest.