How to hire a competent, trustworthy, professional private investigator

What is a prudent way to hire a competent, trustworthy, and professional private investigator? The most important criterion should be actual and verifiable experience of the investigator. What skills should this person have to best meet your needs?


The actual skill of the investigator is important, and the employer should not rely on the published skills listed in an advertisement. The employer should conduct a personal interview with the investigator to assist in determining the actual experience and skill sets of the investigator.

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The professional certifications: 

An important aspect is whether the certification was earned or awarded without examination of abilities. CFE awarded by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners is a similar certification with an emphasis on the investigation of financial fraud. These certifications require continuing education credits.

The ability to conduct the necessary activities:

Will the investigator personally perform your investigative requirements or will he or she be subcontract to another individual?  This can create a potential problem: What are the qualifications of the subcontractor? To comply with IRS requirements to be a contractor or subcontractor, the employer or contractor cannot direct the subcontractor to conduct the investigation in a particularly defined manner.

The task is given to the contractor and the contractor determines how the task is to be accomplished. When interviewing a potential investigator, it is prudent to determine the extent of investigative resources available to the investigator.

The question is, “What are the qualifications” of the individual from whom the investigator may obtain investigative assistance. This is especially important if portions of the investigation will be conducted in other states or countries.

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