People are the Best Sources for Private Investigators, Not Databases
As a Private Investigator it is crucial to find the right people and ask them the right questions to assist in getting all the facts and insight that needed. Databases will give you plenty of information and necessary records but people give you the whole story and can answer your pressing questions. Remember that people are driven by emotion, so profiling “witnesses” and understanding their background before you make contact is vital.
Here are some tips:
- The witness to the car accident can tell you how the accident really happened, which often contradicts what is found in the police report.
- The business owner or employee can tell a private investigator all about a brand or trademark and if it’s truly being used in commerce. They can tell you how long has the trademark has been used, if it’s been abandoned, and any future plans for the trademark.
- The former employee can tell you the dynamics of the managers and employees at the company and who you need to talk to. These are sources that no one else has uncovered or knows about.
- The neighbor can tell you about the activity level of your subject and if they are working or not. They can also tell you at what hours they come and go, who else lives with them and where they park their car.
- The friend, relative or spouse of your subject may be posting on social media about your subject. If you follow that trail you can glimpse into their behavior, location and lifestyle.
- In some situations a cover story or pretext is required to get your sources to cooperate. In other situations you can go in straight. As an investigator your job is to figure when to use a cover story and when to go in straight.
- One strategy that works extremely well when you are looking for incriminating information on your subject is something that I call the ex-factor. This technique involves locating; ex-spouses, ex-bosses, ex-neighbors, ex-coworkers, ex-girlfriends/boyfriends. If you can track down “ex’s” they are likely to volunteer tons of information.
Use your databases to find sources that will tell you the whole story. In today’s Information Age these skills are what separate you from the rest. This type of investigation shouldn’t be done paralegals and attorneys for ethical reasons.
- Bonus Tip: When you make contact with witnesses on the phone or in-person you should remember to ask them if they have spoken with anyone else about the case. This will help you and your client to better understand what you are up against.