Client selection and case selection play large parts of how we run our business. These decisions not only impact our bank account but help ensure client satisfaction and results.
I like to explain how we work because there are so many misunderstandings about exactly what we do and how we do it. I can’t speak for every private investigator but can only provide information about our agency.
Perhaps the biggest misconception some might have is that we are purely “private” investigators, just waiting for the phone to ring and making a living on calls from customers who find us on the internet. The reality is that about 80-percent of our business comes from working for attorneys and through attorney referrals. It might be more accurate to describe us a legal investigators who do take some purely private party cases.
Here is a quick guide of what we can and can’t do in a Yes, No, Maybe format:
If you have a legal situation or might be heading for one, do work through an attorney. Attorneys are experts in the law (duh) and can tell you and us what’s relevant evidence and information for your case. We like guidance from an attorney and can often bounce ideas off them that are useful for fine-tuning your case. We want to make sure we are focused on what we need for your court case.
Working through an attorney also provides certain legal protections under attorney-client privilege. If we investigate through an attorney our work may not need to be shared or disclosed to the other party. Some of our databases and other information sources, such as Department of Motor Vehicles, even require that we access information in connection with a filed legal case.
We have done numerous domestic investigations without involving an attorney. We follow and do video surveillance on people in public places. We just need to make sure we have a good fit with our clients.
The old days are gone. We are not going to access: e-mails, phone records, text messages, tax returns, medical records and other sensitive information that is protected by federal and state laws. We are not going to audio record people without their knowledge. We are not going intimidate or threaten anyone, strictly prohibited. No to installing spyware on cell phones and computers. We will not use “decoys” to entrap people
We will not use a GPS device on a vehicle that the client does not own. The client needs to prove his or her name is on registration and title to the vehicle.
We will not find your old flame or friend –known in the trade as “nostalgia locates” –you lost touch with many years ago. No to helping you find someone you met at a restaurant and never go their number. No to helping you get a good address on that homeowner you want to approach about buying their property.
We have fielded numerous requests over the years from people who have been robbed or burglarized and want to find the perpetrator or recover the stolen items. The “maybe” in these scenarios is how much good or valid information you might have about a suspect. If you have a license plate or something more than just a grainy photo maybe we can do something.
If you think someone is breaking into your property or dwelling, it makes more sense to get cameras and use technology than to employ a private investigator to watch something for endless hours.
More on the subject of finding people. When we seek people, it’s usually in connection in locating a witness or a defendant in a legal case. But, we have also found long lost relatives and tracked down missing persons who might be at risk. If it’s for a serious reason we will always listen and maybe can help.
Every case is different. It’s what makes are business a challenge. We will always talk to you on the phone for free for 15 or even 30 minutes rather than rush into a situation where we take your money or can’t help you.