When you hear the terms «private investigator» or «detective,» we’re sure a certain image appears in your head. Whether it’s an older man smoking in a dim office, or a beautiful young woman dressed in leather pants at the scene of a crime, private investigator stereotypes in pop culture persist. The reality is that private investigators are from all walks of life and investigate a broad range of matters. It’s not always glamorous or even exciting, either.
Here are a few assumptions private investigators encounter in daily life:
- Private investigators are above the law. Private investigators must respect privacy laws and standard procedures for securing access to places and information. While our licenses and status may grant us more privileges, we still cannot trespass on private property or misuse information.
- Private investigators secretly use audio recording devices and GPS tracking devices all the time. Different states have different laws when it comes to recording conversations and placing GPS tracking devices on vehicles. In Florida, a private conversation can only be recorded with the consent of all parties involved, and someone can’t blindly place a GPS tracker on a vehicle without the owner of the vehicle’s consent.
- Private investigators can hack into social media, bank accounts, telephones, and other computer systems. While there are firms that specialize in digital forensic investigations, ethical private investigators generally do not even think about attempting to hack into personal accounts or systems with private information. However, there are legal and acceptable ways for private investigators to secure information that follow applicable HIPAA and FCRA guidelines.