The distinction between a good private investigator and a bad one is the distinction between working with an ethics person who conducts business professionally and somebody who may rip you off. Has a reliable friend lately hired an investigator and is she satisfied with the results? If not, you will have to begin by preparing a list of prospective PIs.
Tactics to find a good PI
The duty agency of your local Federal Bureau of Investigation, a clerk at your county’s police department, a watch commander of a sheriff’s department, investigators working at adistrict attorney’s office, criminal defense lawyers, your state’s association of private investigators.
Since it is easier in certain states for an individual to call himself a private investigator, you do not want to rely only on the title as a final qualification. Contact a licensing department of your state to learn your state’s requirements and confirm that PIs you are considering are indeed licensed. What kind of educational background do they have? In law enforcement? Private investigation? Do they have technical abilities, like computer savvy? In what area is their specialty? Are there areas wherein they are inexperienced, like computer security or polygraphs? Will this affect your needs? Discover how many years they have been practicing and how many of their cases are like yours.
Contact your state association of private investigators to see, if any complaints have been registered or disciplinary actions filed against an investigator. He’ll never surrender an informant, and will keep private everything shared between the both of you. There are occasions when a private investigator wants to let subjects know they are being investigated, like in a pre-employment screening. Individuals with a law enforcement or federal agent background know the system and how to work within it. Ensure that a private investigator you choose has this background.