How to Find the Right Private Investigator

So you think your spouse is cheating? Or maybe you need evidence in a child custody case against your ex. You may even work as an adjuster and you need evidence to prove someone committed insurance fraud. Whatever the case may be, a private investigator is your man (or woman) for the job. Now, you’ll just need to learn how to find the right private investigator.

Private investigators can not only catch a cheating spouse, but they can provide an entire list of services for you. They can gather legal evidence against frauds and other crimes, track down “missing” persons, and obtain personal information about anyone on the planet, just to name a few examples. You can open your phone book and cruise down an alphabetical list of PI’s in the yellow pages if you’re looking for one. But a name is just a name, and this method won’t assure that you find the right private investigator for the job.

“Word of mouth” advertising has always been an effective means for locating the best contractors or service providers. So, unless you want to keep your plans of hiring a private investigator private, check with your friends and family members to see if they have a trusted name they recommend.

The right private investigator for you will be licensed if it’s required in his or her state. The states of Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin all require PI’s to be licensed.

A good way to find the right private investigator is to contact your State P.I. association. You can easily find it by performing a search on the Internet.
Just key ” private investigation association” in your favorite search engine. Once you find the appropriate website for your state, find their list of licensed private investigators. On North Carolina’s site (at, for example, there’s a link titled, “Search for a NC PI”. The lists will give you individual’s names and their company names, along with contact information. If the person has a website, that URL is also listed. Be sure you check the websites to find out more information on any PI’s you’re interested in hiring.

Keep in mind that this state list of PI’s covers the entire state. You’ll want to find a private investigator who has an office near you. Write down a list of five or six possible names. After you have some names of possibly the right private investigator for you, check with the state licensing association again.
Find out if any of the persons on your list have had complaints filed against them. Any of these persons could have had their state license revoked, but that fact hasn’t shown up on the website yet.

Now, after you’ve narrowed down your list to your geographic area, you’ll need to contact each private investigator. Find out how many years experience, they have, if he or she has ever handled a case like yours, and, do they use assistants? Or will they handle your case personally. To find the right private investigator, find out if they have references you can check too. Don’t forget to ask about their billing rates. And finally, ask about any professional associations they are members of.

Once you have all the necessary information you need to make a decision, choose the right private investigator for you.

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