In the realm of legal cases, including divorces, probate matters, fraud investigations, or due diligence, the question often arises: Do you need to hire a private investigator or a private investigative agency? Interestingly, advancements in technology have shifted the landscape, making private investigations accessible to individuals in many cases. In this blog post, we explore the evolution of investigations and when hiring a private investigator might still be essential.

The Changing Face of Investigations

In decades past, hiring a private investigator was often the go-to solution for obtaining information, conducting background checks, or uncovering hidden assets. However, with the advent of the internet and widespread access to information, much of what used to require a licensed investigator can now be done by individuals themselves.

What Can You Do Yourself?

Nowadays, individuals can conduct research online to find information about others. Platforms like Google offer a wealth of data, allowing people to discover assets, bank accounts, real estate holdings, and even social media activities. With the right tools and time investment, many aspects of investigations can be undertaken without the need for a private investigator.

Where a Private Investigator Still Matters

While the DIY approach may suffice for various tasks, there are specific scenarios where hiring a licensed private investigator becomes crucial:

  1. Evidence Certification: If you need evidence for legal proceedings, some courts may require certification by a third party. In such cases, a licensed investigator can provide a written report, lending credibility to the evidence presented.
  2. In-Person Observation (Surveillance): Although individuals can technically conduct their own surveillance, there are legal considerations. Surveillance can easily cross into stalking territory, leading to legal consequences. A licensed investigator understands the limits and legalities of surveillance, ensuring it remains within acceptable boundaries.
  3. Requesting Private Information: Certain private information, when requested from government agencies or financial institutions, may require specific justifications. Checking the “licensed private investigator” box can grant access to information that might not be readily available to civilians.

When DIY Investigations Make Sense

For the self-reliant or the budget-conscious, many investigative tasks can be accomplished without hiring a private investigator. There are numerous online resources, including videos and instructional guides, that provide step-by-step guidance on conducting various types of investigations.

The need for hiring a private investigator has diminished significantly due to the wealth of information available online. However, the decision to hire an investigator or embark on a DIY investigation depends on various factors, including the complexity of the case, legal requirements, and personal preferences. Individuals should weigh the pros and cons, considering the specific needs of their situation.

If choosing the DIY route, it’s essential to educate oneself on legal boundaries and ensure compliance with all laws and regulations. For those seeking professional assistance, licensed investigators still offer a valuable service, particularly in navigating the intricacies of legal evidence and in-person observations. Ultimately, the choice between DIY and hiring a private investigator hinges on the unique circumstances of each case.