A private investigator, an undercover investigator, or private detective, is somebody who is able to be employed by individuals, associations or NGOs to undertake private investigative service. Private investigators can also work for lawyers in criminal and civil cases. Most private investigators work independently. However, in certain countries, some investigative agencies are incorporated as cooperatives, incorporating a range of expertise to offer clients the best possible legal advice and support.
There are a number of areas where private investigators find a niche. Their services include intelligence collection (oral and electronic), surveillance, investigation, protection of assets, and law enforcement and public information. In addition, they help prepare briefs and report to senior executives of large law firms on any specific issue under study. Many private investigators specialize in one or two particular areas. For instance, they may specialize in corporate security and information management, trace criminal activity online, protect intellectual property and conduct financial research. There are a number of government agencies and other authorities that depend on the services provided by private investigators.
For example, the CIA and FBI (Central Intelligence Agency) use private investigators to provide timely and reliable intelligence information on current events or to track down agents and assets. In turn, these firms hire an extensive range of other private investigators to assist them. Security firms, insurance agencies, banks, developers, multinational corporations, celebrity protection firms, and lawyers are a few of the other organizations that frequently employ the services of private investigators. Even the U.S. military has been known to rely on these services, especially in counter-insurgency training.
Private investigators are adept at tracking down people involved in scams. They can acquire hard to find information such as the social media passwords of an individual or company. They can get information about someone by tracking his or her online activities, like blogs, websites, posts, and instant messages. Sometimes, private investigators use their surveillance equipment to monitor cell phone records or even bank accounts without consent from the person being investigated.
Some private investigators specialize in cyber investigations. Cyber investigations refer to investigating cases that are based on computer crimes like data theft or hacking. Cyber investigators monitor an individual’s internet usage, like accessing credit card or financial accounts without authorization. The U.S. government is one of its most important customers. Cyber investigators also help companies detect, prevent, and mitigate the damage caused by malicious attacks on their networks, and restore networks after unauthorized intrusion. This service requires expertise in computer systems.
Many private investigators offer a full range of investigative services, from background investigations to corporate and consumer fraud. They are often hired for investigations that require witnesses or physical evidence, to protect a company from potential competition. Private investigators can also be called in to serve as negotiators between businesses and employees over disputes, such as harassment. When it comes to corporate and personal issues, hiring a private investigator may be the best way to get proof about an employer’s or employee’s misbehavior.
One of the most important jobs for investigators is building a case. Private eye detective agencies often have to build their own cases, since they do not work for the government. To build a strong case, private investigators need to gather information from witnesses, documents, and computer files. To build the case, private investigators will interview potential witnesses, and visit places where statements can be taken. To investigate a company or organization, private investigators use secret methods to find out more information from their sources.
There are many jobs available for private investigators, depending on their experience and education. Most private investigators may start out by working as assistants for detectives or lawyers. Later, they may start their own private investigation agency, where they serve their clients with surveillance and other types of investigations. These investigators may choose to work on either a freelance or contract basis. Before starting any investigation, private investigators should research the laws and regulations surrounding the area of investigation that they will be working in.