“Why can’t I just carry out this investigation on my own?”
As a private investigator, I have been asked this question more times that I can remember. And to be perfectly honest, people are likely asking this because good private investigators don’t come cheap. While there may be instances when a person can conduct his or her own investigation, the scope of the investigation should be the determinant for deciding if this is something you can do on your own. For example, does the investigation involve business due diligence or civil litigation? If so, heavy financial losses could be a concern.
So, here’s my short answer to the question: You shouldn’t carry out your own investigation for the same reason doctors shouldn’t operate on themselves!
There are a number of variables that must be taken into consideration. A reliable private investigator will ensure that all are revealed prior to commencing the investigation.
Goals of the Investigation
I always recommend that my clients share with me their investigation goals. Knowing where you want to go determines the direction the investigation should take. During an investigation, an investigator should always assume that the information he or she obtains, or in some cases fails to obtain, could be pertinent in future litigation. A seasoned private investigator will focus on clear investigative goals and create a plan to accomplish them.
It is common for individuals who need a private investigator to be emotionally involved with their cases. This is human nature. The problem is that emotional involvement can quickly turn into a tendency to use improper judgement. Stalking, harassing, trespassing, eavesdropping, and violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act are common mistakes made by individuals not trained. Evidence obtained through improper investigative techniques could be tossed out in court. Professional investigators are adept at staying detached and steering clear of legal violations.
The best attribute that a private investigator can bring to the table is neutrality. A professional private investigator’s purpose during an inquiry is to openly and honestly investigate, collect and present the facts, wherever those facts made lead. This neutrality ultimately allows the client to make well-informed decisions to remove or reduce risk.
Sources of Information
Private investigators have at their disposal a vast network of resources. Competent investigators are seasoned in the art of exploiting online resources and source-based documents. They are also skilled in conducting human intelligence operations. State licensing allows investigators to access restricted commercial proprietary data brokers. In addition, many investigators are closely connected to independent laboratories and other investigators around the world.
A common theme throughout self-help author Napoleon Hill’s book, Think and Grow Rich, is that knowledge will not attract success unless it is organized, intelligently directed, and practically practiced through plans and action. Experienced private investigators develop investigative plans designed to follow each case to its logical conclusion. When a case involves the potential for litigation, acquisition, hiring a caregiver, reinstating or revoking child visitation, or even loss of someone’s freedom,hiring a good private investigator is always a smart investment.