A private investigator is also referred to as a PI, Private Detective, or Private Eye. This is a person hired to undertake an investigation or seek out information that is otherwise difficult to find. Washington State requires that Private Investigators be trained, licensed, insured, and bonded. Investigators often have a law enforcement and/or a military background.
Reasons to hire a Private Investigator?
Law firms, corporations, insurance companies, private parties and entities not involved with the government or police all have reasons to procure the services of a private investigator. The most simplistic answer is that their is a problem identified and information that is needed to make an informed decision.
What should I do prior to hiring a Private Investigator?
When you consider hiring a Private Investigator you want to do your due diligence in verifying their license number to make sure they are a listed company and that their are no complaints. You may check for references and also see if their are any issues noted on the Better Business Bureau website. Take the time to do your research on the company that you hire and verify that the services they are offering will meet your needs.
How much does it cost to hire a Private Investigator?
In the majority of cases, private investigators will charge an hourly rate or depending on the service require a retainer with an hourly minimum. Hourly rates do vary by service and prices are available upon request or during consultation.
What is the best way to reach out to a Private Investigator?
Once you have determined which investigator or company you would like to work with you can make contact by e-mail, phone, website contact form, or social media. When contacting an investigator, if discretion is important, you should make sure that you are not using an email or a phone number that you share with others. Additionally, if you are emailing or leaving a voice-mail you should give specific instructions as to when you would like your message returned.
What are some of the functions of a Private Investigator?
Gather information on individuals
Gather information on businesses
Locate sensitive records
Use specific searches using advanced technology and field resources
Interview friends, family, and associates
What are the limitations of a Private Investigator?
Private Investigators are often times able to access information that is otherwise difficult to find. However, information that is gathered is done in an ethical and lawful way. Here are a few things Private Investigators are not allowed to do:
Operate without a license in Washington State.
Impersonate law enforcement
Break the law
Participate in unethical practices
Enter your home or place of business without consent
Tamper with mail
Film subjects through windows of private residences as this is an invasion of their privacy
Place GPS trackers on automobiles without consent
Hack into social media accounts that are set to private
Run a license plate without reason to do so
Wiretap phones without two party consent (Wash. Rev. Code Ann. §9.73.030(1)(a)
Phone: (206) 465-5692
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