Thanks to movies and books, like Sherlock Holmes, we have a stereotypical image of a private investigator. In fiction, a private investigator works from a dimly-lit office, usually in a poverty-stricken part of town. However, let’s separate fact from fiction and learn more about this exciting yet risky career.
In fact, you’d be surprised at how helpful a private investigator can be. Unlike their government colleagues in the police department, they have a little more freedom and can do things that most detectives can’t. They’re smart and witty and can do whatever it takes to get the job done. Nevertheless, their job tends to be quite risky.
So, let’s learn more about private investigators, what they do, and what to expect in case you are considering becoming one. Read on!
Prepare to Get Your Hands Dirty
Most of your work involves snooping around; this means that you will check everything there is about your client’s target. So, investigating through their trash cans and garbage for any clues or evidence is never beneath you. Even in our modern time, you can still find a lot of interesting things there that people toss away thinking that they will never be found. Prepare yourself to gather information from there.
Be Ready to Tail a Lot of Cheaters
Your clients are not only those archetypal damsels in distress who appear in fiction. You will, surely, meet a lot of disgruntled or suspecting wives, husbands, girlfriends, and boyfriends; that means that getting infidelity cases will be quite common and frequent no matter where you’re serving.
Even if you’re living in North Carolina, USA, people will still need a private investigator greensboro based professional who can be discreet and won’t get caught following a suspected spouse or lover who’s accused of unfaithfulness. Also, you might be tasked with checking people’s bank accounts to make sure they aren’t withholding anything in divorce cases. What’s great about these cases is that most of them have a 100% success rate.
The Internet Is Key
Things have changed over the years for PIs; you can owe it all to the rise of the digital world and how you can do most of your investigations online. You can find a goldmine’s worth of information about your target on social media platforms and Google, not to mention that you can find everything there is to know about your target’s habits, the places they visit, their colleagues, and their friends. Luckily, this will simplify the job tremendously for you, making the investigation, surveillance work, and evidence searching a lot easier.
You Collaborate with the Police
Don’t let the movies and shows fool you, as much as people love the idea of law enforcement detectives and officers being a private investigator’s rival, it’s far from the truth. Both parties don’t hate each other. On the contrary, PIs, law enforcement detectives, and officers collaborate in many different cases to make sure that justice is served.
Overall, there is no animosity between private investigators and the police. But it’s not entirely unexpected to have some run-ins with the cops. If there are any problems, they tend to be more personal rather than professional.
Although a lot of people think a PI’s job is full of chases and exciting fieldwork, most of the time it’s surveillance and reconnaissance. So, stakeouts mean you will be stuck in your car for many hours and sometimes for too long just to get those important pictures or evidence for your client. It’s not as easy as it sounds, so make sure you stay sharp and focused. Stock up on food, water, and snacks because it might be a while; investigating can be 70% surveillance for most jobs, so you better get used to it.
It’s Better to Go Casual
Even though it’s tempting to show up with that famous hat and trench coat like those we see in movies, it’s not a very good idea in real life. You need to blend in and be inconspicuous, especially when you’re tailing someone. You have to go casual and comfortable with your attire; choose something nice and cozy because you’ll be spending most of the time in your car anyway. So, remember that the best thing for you is to hide in plain sight; no one would ever suspect someone who looks like any other ordinary citizen in the street.
It’s Okay to Call a Friend
Depending on the case you’re working on, it might involve a lot of following around with your car. If these drives tend to take long, you might want to call in some backup to follow the target for you to keep any suspicions low. You can alternate to avoid any patterns from getting noticed; this is a very smart and stealthy method to follow your target and not get made.
The great thing about it is that even if your cover is blown, one of you can still finish the job; collaborations with other PIs can be very beneficial and it’s common to help others with their cases because you’ll get the same help too.
Time Your Bathroom Breaks and Be Creative
This is probably going to disappoint a lot of people. However, because of the nature of this job, sometimes you will find yourself unable to leave your spot and go have a bathroom break. This is why you need to get creative. You can use water bottles or jugs to relieve yourself during a stakeout or in a tight situation where you can’t be seen leaving a car. Extreme measures come with the job; remember to do everything in your power to not blow your cover or miss an opportunity to get some helpful evidence.
Most private investigators are retired law enforcement officers, detectives, and army veterans who had a job before this and already have retirement and pension plans. However, starting this career from scratch is what makes things interesting. It’s important to know that a PI works hard at what they do best; the work can get difficult, but if you’re passionate about it, then it wouldn’t be a problem. This job is more than just serving justice; it’s a thrill that most people wouldn’t understand.