What type of confidentiality guarantees do private investigators offer?
Private investigators do not officially have to guarantee confidentiality within the same stringent set of regulations that govern attorney-client confidentiality. Most good PIs will not only have an explicit clause in their written material guaranteeing they’ll keep private information secure, but will have references to corroborate that they’ve done this in their previous assignments.
What are the primary services that private investigators provide?
Private investigators primarily do background checks, perform surveillance (most often to corroborate infidelity suspicions), and gather evidence for civil investigations. They also do research on missing persons cases and domestic/family issues. Some private investigators have niche industry specialties such as process serving and insurance fraud investigation. Then there are corporate specialists who investigate potential business partners and employees. One primary function of private investigators for corporations is to implement other strategic security measures in the workplace, an offshoot of which is the “bug sweep.” It’s illegal for a private investigator to plant “bugs,” i.e., hidden listening/monitoring devices including wiretaps, but it’s not illegal for them to remove them from the premises where they were planted.
Do private investigators work with police?
Some private investigators work with police, and with the court system--some highly respected and experienced private investigators even assist state and federal law enforcement. PIs are called upon to support a broad range of functions, including search and surveillance, securing evidence, and giving testimony.
Can a private investigator tap phone lines?
A private investigator cannot wiretap phone lines without consent from at least one of the people who will be having the phone conversation--and in 12 states, a phone conversation cannot be recorded without all participants consenting in advance. Exact laws vary by state, however, a private investigator can legally sweep for hidden audio recording devices and get rid of them.
What limitations do private investigators have?
The limitations to which private investigators are subject depend on the state, but for the most part across all states, private investigators cannot pretend to be members of law enforcement, can’t use illegal methods in the course of their investigations, can’t trespass in a home or business, and can’t place a listening or tracking device without at least the primary party’s consent. In some states, they can wiretap phones if one party is aware, and, likewise, with recording conversations. They also can’t hack people’s emails or private online accounts. Nor can they collect private protected data on their subject without a subpoena. They can only put a GPS tracking device on a car if the owner of the vehicle approves it.