10 Things A Private Investigator Cannot Do

Here's a quick run down on a list of things a private investigator can't do.  

  1.  Phone Records - In the United States, no third party has access to an individuals phone records of individuals.  It is my current understanding that if a private investigator were to try to get these records, it would have to be with a court order to do.  They have multiple layers of security that prevent people from having access to such information.  If a private investigator says they can get you phone records because they "know" someone, be warned that you will not be able to legally use those records.
  2.  Bank Records - If a private investigator doesn't have a court order or written consent from the individual that owns the accounts then there is no legal way for them to obtain these records.  I have heard several cases where some unethical private investigators claimed they could get off shore accounts and just provided fake information to the clients for thousands of dollars.  I recently protected a client from this happening to them.
  3. Trespassing - By law we are not allowed to trespass on property.  However, unless a verbal warning has been issued or a sign is currently up that says "No Trespassing" a citizen is able to walk on your property just normal.  
  4. Credit Checks - This is only available to the account holder so it requires consent from the individual in such cases as a background check in order to release such information.
  5. Wiretapping - Wiretapping is illegal and if a private investigator is going to record phone conversations he or she must do so while obeying the law in the state they reside in as well as the caller.  This may require verbal consent of recording or only one party knowing, either way wiretapping to record someones calls without them knowing is illegal.
  6. Tamper with Mail - In case you didn't know, tampering with mail is a federal offense.  You can't hire someone to do it for you.
  7. Hack Into A Private Account - A private investigator cannot hack into a private account.  Some private investigators do have the forensic ability to be able to pull information on where a person was at a particular time for example, but they cannot break into someone's personal account.
  8. Run a License Plate - A private investigator cannot run a license plate for someone unless they are doing it for research purposes to do a background check or finding a missing person.  That or they are going to use it for later use in a court proceeding.
  9. Operate Without A License - Except in a few states that do not require a license.  In most states, a private investigator must be licensed by the state in order to practice their profession.   
  10. Impersonate Law Enforcement - Private investigators are under no authority to impersonate law enforcement by means of arrest or obtaining information from an individual or business.