The Modern Day Private Investigator

The Modern Day Private Investigator

The modern day private investigator is not what you see on television, they usually work for private citizens, corporations or attorneys.  They act of behalf of their clients to either uncover or get to the bottom of some type of suspicious activity, unlike television there are no car chases involved.  Here are some of the tasks that the modern day private investigator actually does for their clients.

Jobs of a Private Investigator

One of the more common jobs of a private investigator is investigating divorce cases, they look for evidence of infidelity or other behavior that is used in court during divorce or custody proceedings.  They also do background checks, skip tracing, process serves and they look for missing persons.  While there are many branches of investigation many agencies will specialize in one branch, for instance some might specialize in fraud investigations, personal security or forensic accounting.

A private investigator rarely has a set schedule and 9-5 is not often part of the job.  Some investigators spend hours away from the office doing things like surveillance while others spend many hours behind a computer doing research or forensic accounting.  Personal security is also a big part of the job and that involves working hours around the clock.  If the job requires carrying a handgun or firearm bear in mind that the investigator will need a license from the proper authority.

Licensing and Experience

Almost every state will require that a private investigator be licensed, and there are still strict laws that regulate the industry.  There are only seven states without any licensing requirements at all.  The remaining states requirements vary from fairly lax to extremely rigid.  There are a number of states that have mandatory training programs, for example the California Department of Consumer Affairs states an investigator must be over 18, have an education in political science, criminal law and justice.  They must also have more than 6,000 hours of experience  along with passing a criminal background check and pass a two hour written exam.

Many come with degrees in criminology, from backgrounds in law enforcement, military, insurance investigations, government auditing and even accounting.  All the skills you can learn from these careers transfer easily into the field of private investigation.  Corporate investigators are even better educated with bachelor’s degrees in related fields.

The modern day private investigator is a long way from what you see on television and the job is nowhere near as glamorous.  They are highly educated and well trained professionals ready to help you with your case.

Protect Your Business from Fraud


Fraud is a wide spread and costly problem for many business, it can go on for years without management even realizing it is happening.  The more of your staff are involved with the fraud the easier it is for them to hide things like faulty billing and financial information, tax evasion and money laundering.  Fraud investigations within a business usually happen after someone reports some suspicious activity or someone in the financial departments notices something is not quite right with the accounts.

Once an investigation begins a private investigator can discover if there is fraud going on in the first place, how long it has been going on, how much it has cost your business and who is involved.  There have been some very high profile cases of fraud where millions of dollars were stolen either from the corporation itself or their clients.  White collar executives who thought they were virtually untouchable are now serving lengthy prison sentences.  One of the most famous cases of financial fraud is the Bernie Madoff case.  Fraud can affect millions of people so it is important you protect your business from fraud, both from within and externally.  Here is a video to help you understand how and why fraud takes place.

How a Corporate Fraud Investigation Works

Private investigators handle a wide variety of different cases but the basics of a corporate fraud case include speaking with the person reporting the fraud to understand why they suspect fraud is taking place.  Once the details are determined be it financial losses, missing documents, or some unexplained transactions taking place, the investigator will begin.  They start out by collecting data, setting up surveillance and going over financial records.

Criminals, even those doing corporate fraud are always under the belief that their activities will never be suspected.  They take measures to have privacy when it comes to accessing company equipment whether it is the computer system, phone system or simply on company property, they will do what they can to avoid detection.

A private investigator knows how to set up covert surveillance, read through computer logs, financial records and protect your company with security measures.  They are uncovering evidence of fraud while at the same time as taking measure to protect you in the future.

Making Sure it Never Happens Again

If you suspect fraud and call in an investigator there is a high probability that some level of criminal activity has taken place.  However, the best way to deal with fraud within your company is to prevent it as best you can.  Once investigations are underway and crime has been discovered you need to start looking at fraud prevention measures in the future.

Hiring a private investigator to look into company fraud, is just the beginning when it comes to protecting yourself.  You can also work with an investigator on a regular basis to do thorough background checks into potential employees, provide up to date security measures and look into potential business dealings for you.  Most employees are hard working individuals looking to do a good job, but it only takes one person who is much less honest to destroy your business.  Working with an investigator can help prevent this from happening.