private investigationsBelow, we’ve demystified those misconceptions with the help of our sleuthing experts.

Learn 5 Main Tactics That Your Private Investigator Can And Can’t Do

No one ever wants to be in a situation where they might need a private investigator to look into someone else’s life. Yet, these professionals are sometimes necessary for many reasons. You might have suspicions of infidelity on the part of your partner, or you might suspect your children are subject to abuse when in someone’s particular care. You might even have fears of a babysitter or other person with access to your home not being fully honest about their personal background or respectful of your privacy and financial affairs. Hiring a private investigator to check things out can clear up situations and sometimes provide you legal ammunition against someone wronging you. However, there are limits to what they can and can’t do. Keep reading to learn 5 main tactics they can and can’t employ, regardless of how they are portrayed on television.

1) Private investigators can’t act like they’re members of a spy agency.

Good private investigators know how to obtain records that are public, but the digital world has barriers that most can’t get past. Hacking bank accounts, email, phone records, and social media are all against the law. Even in cases where a wife might want to know if a husband is cheating on her, a private investigator might have trouble. They might be able to find out incoming and outgoing phone numbers, but even if the wife is paying for the husband’s phone line and thinks it’s technically her account, a subpoena is necessary to access the protected information that forms the content of the calls. On top of that, while there might be limited legality to snooping a partner’s phone information, it’s still not likely going to be admissible in court.

2) Your private investigator can’t even act like a cop.

What makes them who they are is their experience in detective work, often from a law enforcement background or through apprenticeship, but even if they used to be in law enforcement, they are legally barred in most locations from pretending to be one, wearing a uniform, or having any kind of a badge. Many, but not all, states require private investigators to get an official license after training, but it’s not the same as an officer or detective.

3) Tampering with mail is something that a private investigator can never, ever do.

Opening up, messing with, or flat out destroying the mail of another person is a listed federal offense, which means it is illegal across the entire United States.

4) Mobile surveillance is possible, which is where a private investigator follows a person of their interest.

That’s actually reportedly one of the more exciting aspects about private detective work, as they have no clue where the person might go, why they are going there, or even how they might get there. For all the excitement of unpredictability though, mobile surveillance can get complex. Private investigators often have to follow a person through crowded areas, onto to mass transit like trains and buses, and they do lose their marks sometimes.

5) Stake outs are something that private investigators can actually do.

They can only happen on public property, but a PI can sit outside a house and track who is home, coming, and going. If you can’t get the ‘smoking gun’ texts of a spouse or partner you suspect of cheating, you can get visitors you don’t know of recorded entering or leaving your home. Private investigators do have to be careful though, if they happen to step onto private property. If they are asked to leave private premises, they are legally obligated to do so.

Now that you know 5 main tactics that private investigators can and can’t do, you can have realistic expectations of what such a professional might do for you.