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The Integrity of a Modern Private Investigator

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For many people, the term, ‘Private Investigator’ is enough to leave them thinking about awkward meetings in a seedy neighborhood, or run down office. Others might envision losing their hard-earned money to a private investigator that is more interested in getting paid than uncovering the truth.

The modern day private investigator is nothing like the private eyes of the past. In fact, these days, if a private investigator in Canada wants to be successful and taken seriously, they need to act with integrity for every case that comes their way.

For example, if a business wants to work with a private investigator to uncover fraudulent activity, they want to know that the money they spend on the investigation is going to good use. They also want to know that the private investigator isn’t making up reports or results.

Integrity = Trust

When hiring a private investigator, people want to hire someone they can trust, and trust starts with integrity. The reality is, sometimes a private investigator shows their true colors only after money exchanges hands.

To save yourself the headache, any private investigator worth their salt will have no trouble producing proof that you can trust them. Verifying that the person has a valid private investigator license is a great place to start.

Conducting research on a private investigation firm is also a great way to determine if a private investigator is trustworthy or not. Thanks to the magic of the Internet, finding reviews, or checking out Better Business Bureau ratings can identify the level of integrity a private investigation company strives to maintain.

What a Private Investigator Can and Can’t Do

Even if a license is granted to a private investigator, it doesn’t give them the liberty to develop their own set of rules. Remember, a private investigator isn’t a police officer or FBI agent (despite what a few Hollywood screenwriters might think).

Licensed private investigators are required to follow a code of ethics. For the most part, this code of ethics is pretty straightforward. However private investigators that lack integrity might not hesitate to step outside their boundaries.

Can’t Do…

Private investigators are not allowed to:

  • Tap phone wires without the individual’s consent or knowledge
  • Access private property
  • Break into email or social media accounts
  • Open a suspect’s standard delivered mail
  • Enter a business or home without consent
  • Record or film an individual through a window of a private residence
  • Arrest a suspect or individual

In addition, provinces and cities within those provinces all have different rules and regulations regarding proper practices for a private investigator. It is up to the private investigator to abide by those laws at all times.

Can Do…

The following is a list of actions or techniques a private investigator can use to solve a case.

  • Run a license plate
  • Film a suspect in public location
  • Look into bank, phone and other financial records, but only for legal purpose or with consent
  • Conduct interviews to gather witness statements
  • Gather information on a suspect using:
    • Employment History
    • Family History
    • Social Security Number
    • Assets
    • Birth Date
    • Property Holdings
    • . . . And more
  • Set-up surveillance
  • Monitor a suspect’s daily habits and actions

Again, some of these items do depend on the area or location in which the private investigator operating.

Want more information from a private investigation firm you can trust? Reach out to the Smith Investigation Agency today!

About the Author

Whitney Joy Smith

Founder of The Smith Investigation Agency in 2014, Whitney Joy Smith’s extensive background as a private investigator is matched only by her passion for the role. A graduate of several respected institutions, including Northwest Florida State College and George Brown College, her early years in life were spent between Canada and the United States. This education, along with her formative years as a private investigator in various agencies, informed much of her knowledge of private investigative laws, regulations, and operating standards in both countries.

The recipient of numerous industry awards and accolades, including the Consumers Choice Award, Best in Ottawa, and many others, Whitney takes pride in working closely with her ever-growing agency to raise the bar, maintain compliance, and meet the investigative needs of clients. Whitney is active in various membership and supporting roles, including the CPIRC, CBN, CAPI, Canadian Women’s Chamber of Commerce, and many others. Her experience-driven, thought-provoking articles have been featured in everything from Readers Digest to Business News Daily, and she strives to continually redefine standards for those in the private investigative and security fields. Learn more about Whitney and the team at The Smith Investigation Agency today.

2 thoughts on “The Integrity of a Modern Private Investigator

  1. Dear all,
    My nephew is 18 and he left home and we need to check that he is ok and know where he live and see if that everything is ok with him
    Can you help us

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