Tuesday, October 14, 2014

What can a Private Investigator do for you?

There are so many misconceptions on what Private Investigators do - no doubt influenced, in part, by popular television shows and movies. Quite often we field calls from would-be clients asking us to undertake some course of action that we cannot do legally; isn't possible because we don't have access to that kind of technology (if it even exists); or shouldn't do because while TV PIs may get results that way, it just doesn't happen like that in real life.

Let's start off by looking at what kind of things we can't do. Or at least without the consent of the party concerned.

  • Intercept or trace phone calls or obtain phone records
  • Access banking or financial records
  • Personal information held by WINZ or other governmental agencies
  • Obtain criminal records
  • Access credit histories (unless they are a legitimate debtor to client)

Private Investigators have no statutory powers and no more rights than any other person.
So what does a Private Investigator actually do and do you really even need one? We can undertake such activities (by way of example) as:

  • Locate missing persons, skipped debtors, potential witnesses
  • Identify persons responsible for theft, fraud, or other criminal offending
  • Determine whether a fraud has taken place (usually claimant misrepresentation in insurance matters) 
  • Investigate workplace incidents or accidents
  • Build up a profile of a person's movements and activities
  • Obtain information in regards to a business competitor's operations

To put it simply, we are primarily seekers of information. All investigations are, essentially, concerned with getting answers to the who, what, where, why and how of a matter. Getting this information is usually a combination of deskwork (ie research, either online and/or offline) and fieldwork (making area enquiries, conducting interviews etc).

Depending on the goal of the investigation, methods might be covert (hidden from the party being investigated) such as with physical surveillance, or overt (done with the party's knowledge and even co-operation) such as with interviews or door-knock enquiries.

While we have no more powers than any other person, we do have experience in collecting information from a variety of sources, and may also have access to particular commercial databases that individuals do not. While anyone might be also able to obtain the information sought, professional investigators should be able to do so more efficiently, and with a degree of objectivity.

So, if you have a problem that needs a solution, feel free to contact us to discuss further. We will advise on whether that is a matter that we can assist with and, if not, where else you might enquire.