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Does It Sound Illegal? It Probably Is.

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Lately, the Smith Investigation Agency has received many calls, requesting our private investigators to dig up an individual’s:

  • Phone details
  • Text message records
  • Personal bills
  • Etc.

These callers insist that other companies can find this information for them and demand that we provide the same services.

Well, you can imagine their surprise when we give their request a firm, no!

Despite the fact that there are companies out there that will find this type of information for a client, we aren’t one of them. Why? The answer is simple: obtaining this type of information is illegal.

The thing is, we understand that sometimes, the law can be confusing. There is often a fine line between what a private investigator can or can’t do to get you the information you’re looking for. So, let’s clear the air!

Not Admissible in Court

The major reason why you don’t want a private investigator (or any company for that matter) to obtain someone’s information illegally is that the information becomes very difficult if not impossible to use in court.

For example, let’s say that you suspect that your husband or wife is cheating on you. You hire a private investigator firm to obtain information illegally. If you give that information to your lawyer, and if your lawyer presents that information in court, odds are it will be dismissed—or even worse—you and the private investigator could be the one facing stiff penalties instead of your cheating spouse.

Illegally Obtained Information:

While it might seem like an easy way to get your hands on the information you’re looking for, you likely won’t be able to do anything with that information. If the person finds out you obtained their information illegally, they could be the one who takes you to court. The advantage you thought you had will be gone in an instant.

So, first things first: if it sounds illegal, it probably is. Another way to clarify the difference is if the private investigator breaks a law to get the information you’re asking for, it’s considered illegal.

To provide you a few concrete examples, the following is a list of some of the private investigator activities that could land the both of you in a lot of hot water:

  • Opening and reading an individual’s private mail
  • Recording conversations without permission of the participants
  • Installing video surveillance equipment in the residence of the individual
  • Taking the individual’s phone to gain access to text messages
  • Hacking into an individual’s email
  • Film the individual through the window of their residence
  • Trespass on any property
  • Bribing an individual

Please note that laws are different depending on where you live. So some activities that a private investigator can do in one province, state or country, might not be legal in another. A good private investigator will know their rights and how to work within the boundaries of the law.

Legally Obtained Information:

Now, on to the good stuff! Here are some of the ways in which any good private investigator will go about gathering evidence that you can use to your advantage.

  • Photos of the individual taken in public
  • Conversations overheard in public settings
  • Recorded conversations with the permission of the individual
  • Background checks
  • Use public archives and records
  • Interview individuals who agree to participate
  • Credit Check – with legal purpose or consent

As you can probably guess, legally obtained information does not require the private investigator to break any laws.

Still unsure? Not to worry. We don’t mind answering any questions you might have. If you find yourself in need of investigation services, calling our agency is the best way to learn whether or not we can get the job done—the right way.

For more information, email us at: or give us a call at: 647-479-8474.

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