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Selecting a Private Investigator

There are many considerations you need to know before selecting a private investigator.

Think about the following issues before you meet up for the 1st consultation with a private eye. After you explain your situation, and if you decide that you have made a wrong choice, the private investigator may use your scenario to further explain or reinforce future cases. Before you know it, you would have consulted multiple investigation firms. And perhaps, your private information is no longer as private.

Research on the established firms in the market before making your choice.

1. Is the firm licensed by Police?

Licensed private investigators hold private investigation licenses. This grants them special permissions by the Police especially if they are tasked to do a stakeout on your subject. Some suspects may be fully aware that they are being followed, and if they spot suspicious persons hanging around in their cars or motorbikes, they may call the police to make a 'suspicious person report' to the police. Once the Police arrive at the scene to interrogate the PI, the subject might have enough time to escape from the premises. A PI with a license pass will not be hauled to the police station for a report. The firm's PI license should be clearly displayed in the firm's office for proper recognition.

2. Does the Private Investigation Firm have a proper address or business set-up?

Try to do meet up at the private investigator's office rather than outside. If the private investigator has a name card, be aware of addresses that are commonly known for shared offices such as Anson Road's International Plaza, Raffles Place and Suntec City. The firms around these areas are normally attributed to one-man operations with the use of a prestigious address as an office.

3. Does your private investigator firm have previous successes with similar cases?

What is the success rate of cases solved? For matrimonial cases, the success rate should be good and close to 100%. Beware of investigators who divulge too much details on past clientele as well as this could be a breach of professional ethics. Be especially wary if company names and other details that can indicate the person's identity are mentioned.

4. What is the firm's commitment to private investigation work?

Do they have full-time private investigators? How many jobs are they undertaking currently? Will there be enough time and attention to take up your case?

5. Is there accountability of time use and charges?

Does the firm provide logs or reports on the use of their time by their private investigators assigned to the case? A good private investigation firm will provide video logs and time-clocked reports to account for the usage of time. Beware of firms who also overcharge by clocking extra hours in.

6. Is the private investigator able to explain how they can get the evidence?

Does the private investigator have any recommendations on obtaining the evidence without detection? Is he able to tell you the approach in detail or does he brush it off by commenting that they are tricks of the trade? A good private investigation firm should be able to devise and explain how their execute their plans.

7. What is the ultimate goal of the private investigation firm?

Does the private investigator worry more about their success rate of solving cases and would reject yours if they deem it improbable? Do they boast of their credentials and past achievements? A reputable firm should be well-known among the community as well as in the industry and related partners, such as law firms. They should put the customer's concerns ahead of their own.

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