There are a lot of reasons you may want to hire a private investigator, but once you decide on doing this, the problem you will face is how to go about finding a good private investigator agency in San Francisco. The following are a few good tips to help you.
Make Sure the Firm is Licensed
Anybody can call themselves a private investigator, but here in the state of California, it is a professional occupation that requires a license, and the license does not come easy.
Getting a license means passing a state examination. However, before you can take this examination, you must first record over a thousand hours of investigative work. The nature of this work is specified in the licensing requirements and includes working with a licensed private investigator or working in certain areas of law enforcement. An investigator, practicing in the state of California, will have a license number that you can double check with the licensing board.
A private investigator is not only a professional, but works with other professionals such as claims adjusters and attorneys. They will have a well-earned reputation of being protective and will always conduct themselves professionally. This means that there should be references from companies that have used their services as well as private clients.
Names and contact information of customers should be furnished upon request, and you should check a few of these sources. Although a good private investigator can help you with your problem, a poor investigator can make your problem worse with sloppy work.
Make Sure the Investigator Offers the Service You Need
There are a lot of different services that a private investigator may offer: locating people, serving court papers, finding hidden assets, insurance fraud and marital infidelity to name a few. Usually it is large firms that offer the broadest range of services. Smaller outfits may have a specialty, so if you are looking to hire a smaller company, you need to make sure your requirements fit their specialty.
Experience in the Law
This is a plus, and something that can help identify a quality investigator. Although it is not necessary to have worked in law enforcement to become a professional private investigator, it is common to find investigators with this type of background. Commonly, it will be someone who has worked as a police officer or detective. This type of experience helps when interviewing people and attempting to gather information in a non-intrusive and nonthreatening manner. It can also help in understanding the mindset of the person under investigation.
Most important of all is to get a feel for the investigator. If you find a firm that meets all of the tips outlined above, you should still contact them for a consultation. This will give you a chance to find out if you feel comfortable with a particular private investigator before you hire them.
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