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Beware of Unlicensed Private Investigators

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If you are searching for investigative services, please make sure you are cautious as to who you hire. When searching for an business to assist in your investigative needs request a copy of the companies agency license and insurance to ensure you are dealing with a company who is properly licensed and covered to complete the work you require. If you have surveillance or investigative services that are done by someone who you believe is a legitimate business but that is not actually the case, you may find yourself wasting your hard-earned money and any evidence is not admissible in court.

We have recently reported several private investigators who are not licensed agencies offering investigative services. These individuals have been reported to the Ministry of Community Safety & Correctional Services, and we have asked that any and all applicable fines be issued to the individuals. However, we do ask any persons interested in investigative services to ensure the people they work with are legitimate.

Ways to ensure you are not being taken advantage of?

Demand a copy of the agency license and insurance. Ask for the agency license number and verify the license is still valid at the Ontario – Licence registry for Private Security and Investigative Services page.

Also, ask for the investigator’s license of who is working the file. The easiest way to tell if the investigator is new or not is to read their license number. If their license number is six numbers or less they likely have been in the industry for a minimum of 8-12 years or more. If their license has eight or more digits, the investigator is likely brand new to the industry as the current license numbers are eight numbers.

Ask questions! Who, are they? How long have they been in the industry? How many files have they completed? It’s important to ask how many files have been completed. We offer investigative training and see students become agency owners and deceive clients with their level of experience. These types of companies have little to no experience and will certainly cause issues due to lack of experience. Ask for references to ensure they have knowledge and ability from a credible client. Many companies offer services like insurance investigations and legal investigations but do not possess the experience nor capacity to provide services to these enterprises. If you see a company advertising for W.S.I.B. investigations, be extremely cautious as there are less than ten companies that are legitimate agencies who are preferred vendors with W.S.I.B and they do not advertise on sites like Kijiji. Be careful in what you read on a website as many companies steal content from the sites of legitimate companies.

Ask questions about the company you are choosing to work with!

The Ministry of Community Safety & Correctional Services has issued more licenses to companies than should be issued. This causes critical issues within the industry as individuals who have no knowledge or experience in the industry offer services. We see this all the time where customers call us and share their story from spending hundreds, and even thousands of dollars with a company they thought could assist to then find out the company is juvenile and unable to complete the requested tasks.

What damages will arise if its exposed you hired an Unlicensed Investigator?

We had a client several years ago who hired an individual without doing the proper due diligence on the company and the client had her husband followed. When the investigator who had no idea of what he was doing was caught (almost immediately), and when confronted by the subject the investigator shared information about the client and purposes for surveillance. This caused the client to be fearful of her life from past abuse and forced her to move temporarily into a women’s shelter with her children to remain safe. By the client not knowing who she was hiring, she faced danger and continued abuse as well further surveillance was highly difficult as the subject was exceptionally aware and potentially hostile.

We just urge you to be highly vigilant when hiring an investigator. You are spending your hard-earned money, and you need the best results and the best service. Ensure the company you are working with understands PIPEDA, and the Privacy Act, as well as the Evidence Act. If you have a company obtain evidence and fail to handle the evidence according to these acts the evidence will be inadmissible in court. Please be cautious as we see all too often customers calling after being burnt by inexperienced and or unlicensed individuals.

If you are looking for exceptional results and you want us to exceed your expectations and not your budget, then start with trust with The Smith Investigation Agency. Feel free to visit our website or call for any information.

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