The first step in hiring a private investigator is to verify whether or not the private investigator is licensed. If the private investigator works within an agency or has a name for his own private investigation business, a license check should be performed for both the investigator’s name and the name of the business.
In most states, a private investigator is required to pass a background check and undergo a character investigation before being issued a private investigator’s license. In addition, many states require the person to pass a test or another form of evaluation to prove adequate knowledge and qualifications. In many cases, a person applying for a private investigator’s license must also have prior law enforcement experience and be able to supply several positive character references before being eligible for the license.
A private investigator advertising services without having a license should be avoided because this person is likely to be inexperienced or unethical. There are several reasons to believe such a person is unscrupulous. First, a private investigator performing without a license is breaking the law. Furthermore, a private investigator without a license is most likely unable to obtain a private investigator’s license due to lack of experience or because of the existence of a criminal record. Either way, this private investigator is unlikely to provide professional, confidential assistance.
Thankfully, private investigator licenses are a matter of public record. Therefore, determining whether or not an investigator is licensed is a simple task. When considering the services of a private investigator, ask him to provide his license number. If he doesn’t have a license number, or refuses to provide it, his services should be avoided.
After obtaining the private investigator’s license number, it can be verified by a state licensing authority. In addition, the State Attorney General’s Office and the Better Business Bureau are excellent resources for checking a private investigator’s background. All of these sources can provide information about any previous complaints that may have been posted against the private investigator. This information should be looked at closely before deciding to work with a private investigator.
Also, keep in mind that having a private investigator’s license in one state does not necessarily give you the right to act as a private investigator in another state. So, when considering taking a case in another state, be sure to check into licensing requirements for that area before taking the case.
The field of private investigation is fascinating and rewarding, but it requires long hours, hard work, and dedication to be successful in the field.