What you need to know before hiring a Private Investigator
Should you need the services of a private investigator, don’t make a mistake in hiring someone simply because they claim to be a private investigator. There are many fraudulent individuals who claim to be licensed private investigators. Unlicensed activity is a crime in Florida. We are licensed as private investigators and we maintain a license as a private investigative agency. Our associates are also licensed by the state, and we verify licensure before assigning an investigator to your case. If you're not sure how to find a private investigator you can trust, we can help. Today's qualified investigator is a highly experienced, skilled, hard working, and dedicated professional. Unfortunately, there are a lot of amateurs who will try to convince you that they are experts. If you come across an unlicensed private investigator during your research, make sure to report them.
Confirm that the private investigator and agency are properly licensed in Florida.
Florida law requires that all private investigators and private investigative agencies be licensed. Private investigators must work for a licensed private investigative agency. To verify licenses, use the below links:
If you want even more assurance, check with county or state governing agencies to see if any complaints have been filed against them. An investigator and agency with a clean record, speaks to their credibility and level of professionalism.
Florida law requires that every private investigator have identification for the agency they work for, and their original Florida issued license. Both of these identification cards will contain a photo. Having just a business card is not enough. Investigators must carry both forms of ID while working. Be sure to check the expiration dates.
Make sure you hire an experienced private investigator.
Make sure the private investigator who will be handling your case has the experience and knowledge necessary to do the work. This is not a job for an intern. You want someone who has been in the business for a while and is well-versed in the local and state laws that apply to your case. Do they have a background in law enforcement or experience handling your type of case? What other skills do they have that apply to your case.
Make sure the investigator and the agency are insured.
Florida law was changed several years ago, and it is no longer a requirement for Florida licensed investigators to carry liability insurance. This means that there are hundreds of licensed investigators who do not carry any liability insurance whatsoever. We believe that as professionals providing investigative services, we are obligated to carry liability insurance to protect our business and yours.
The work of a private investigator varies from case to case. It is important that an investigator has adequate liability insurance to cover all potential risks in their line of work. Having proper insurance coverage is just a part of doing business today. If the investigator you meet with doesn’t have insurance and can’t provide you with valid licenses, then you better keep looking.
Does the investigator and/or agency belong to professional trade organizations?
If an investigator and agency are members of groups like the Florida Association of Licensed Investigators (FALI) or National Association of Legal Investigators (NALI), this adds to their legitimacy, and it tells you that they value their place in the larger community of investigators. As a member of a professional trade organization, investigators and agencies have numerous opportunities to stay on the cutting edge of industry trends and technology. Continuing education is an ongoing obligation for professionals. Certifications from legitimate accrediting associations are valuable indicators of an investigator’s skill development and commitment to ethical standards. Our investigators carry many certifications. Many organizations offer continuing education classes, seminars, and yearly conferences for their members. Ideally, training should never stop for a private investigator. Technology continues to advance and laws evolve and change so it is important for an investigator and agency to stay on top of these changes. Investigator trade organizations are also a great resource if you need a referral for a PI in your area.
Listen to your gut.
When in doubt, just walk out. Often times investigative work is very personal and of a sensitive nature, and it is important that you can speak freely and trust the investigator you hire. If the voice in your head tells you that something isn’t right, it probably isn’t.
Make sure to discuss the issue of confidentiality with the investigator at your first meeting. The ideal investigator will remain objective while being delicate with the sensitive information you are entrusting them with.
If their fees or promises sound too good to be true, they probably are. When you work with an unlicensed, illegitimate private investigator you should not be surprised by hidden service fees or illegal methods of investigation.
Investigators must keep their clients informed of the investigation and provide them with detailed reports and billing statements.
It should be noted that a private investigator cannot guarantee you the result you require or want. A private investigator is hired to find out the truth, regardless of what you think or expect.
Most people will never have to hire an investigator in their lifetime. But if you find yourself in need, we hope that it works out for you in a positive way. If you have questions, we are available to talk to you anytime. We are here to help. At the end of the day, you need an investigator who takes pride in their work, has your best interests in mind, and will work diligently to reach a successful conclusion to your case.