A private detective, private investigation, or an investigation agent, is an individual who can be legally employed by people, institutions or NGOs to undertake investigative investigation on their behalf. Private detectives usually work for lawyers in criminal and civil matters. Some private detectives work on a freelance basis, offering investigative services to individuals or organizations on a contract basis. However, most of them work in large firms providing such services.
Private detectives who have obtained the proper certifications from the appropriate authorities such as the FBI or the Criminal Justice Agency, may work in the form of private investigators, surveillance operatives, crime scene investigators, and forensic scientists. They may work for government agencies like the CIA, IRS, or the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, or become members of law enforcement agencies. Some may work privately for corporations to investigate frauds and other criminal activities in the workplace. There are also private detectives who monitor the activities of corporations and other organizations for security purposes.
Private detectives are employed in many different fields of activity. They can engage in investigating, gathering information, locating witnesses, gathering evidence and so on. Some private detectives are specialized in one particular field of investigation such as internet protocol investigation, credit card fraud, insurance fraud performing surveillance, intellectual property related crimes, bank fraud, computer frauds and so on. Others specialize in investigating financial crimes, for instance money laundering and embezzlement.
Private detectives may also conduct surveillance on behalf of the police. In such cases, they use video cameras and audio recorders to film people’s private lives and those of their associates. They may also use GPS trackers to locate people. Private investigators can use phone records and address books to gather information about people.
Private detectives may also interview people for intelligence or investigation purposes. This is common in intelligence gathering operations such as counter-terrorism. This method can also be used by private detectives to gather information about a business client. The detective conducts an interview with the client and collects information about the client that the detective can then use to protect the interest of his employer.
Private detectives offer many services, some of which include conducting background checks, gathering evidence and performing background checks. They may also assist attorneys with research and document preparation. These investigative services may sometimes cross into other criminal justice investigations. They can help attorneys with client interviews, document preparation, and law library research.
Many private detectives work with insurance companies to investigate computer crimes and prepare insurance claims. Computer crimes include identity theft, internet scams and fraud. Insurance investigators offer many services to help clients with insurance claims. These include investigating computer crimes and investigating insurance frauds. These professionals also investigate motor vehicle accident claims. Detectives also investigate motor vehicle accident claims made by teenagers.
One specialty that is growing in popularity is computer forensics. Professionals working in this area are investigating cases involving Internet frauds, viruses, worms and Trojans. This is one area where licensed professionals are becoming increasingly valuable. Some private detectives may conduct interviews and collect physical evidence in order to support their client’s case. Others may simply perform background checks and obtain documents needed to substantiate a client’s claims.
In the past, private detectives were required to be licensed by the state in which they worked. Today, most private detectives are self-employed, which allows them to be more flexible regarding the laws and regulations governing surveillance and investigations. Aspiring private investigators can obtain formal training by enrolling in an approved apprenticeship program. The CCDI (California College of Criminal Investigators) and the CCDI Academy are two of the most popular training programs for new private investigators.
Because investigators are required by state law to be licensed before they can practice, most states have instituted a series of tests to determine if an aspiring private detective is eligible to become licensed. In most cases, these tests are taken at the county clerk office where the private detective works. However, private detectives may also choose to take the licensing exam online. Those who pass the first examination are then awarded a licensed investigator license. Once the investigator has obtained his or her investigator license, he or she can apply for state employment or begin to perform research in the field.
Becoming a private detective requires not only a formal education but often requires experience working as part of a law enforcement agency or in a similar environment for a number of years. Many private detectives begin their field work experience by working as a case agent for a police department, which is similar to being an assistant constable. This experience allows private detectives to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to perform surveillance and investigation work in an environment that is as close to real life as possible. While this experience does not provide the investigator with the same type of classroom instruction as some private detectives may choose to pursue, it will provide him or her with valuable hands on training and valuable skills that are invaluable to many detectives in today’s world.