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What Can Private Investigators Do?

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Upon hiring, private investigators or private detectives commonly undertake the task of investigating various types of cases as professionals. Their job is to gather information, evidence, and intelligence on behalf of their clients. They can work for individuals, law firms, corporations, or government agencies.

Private investigators have a wide range of skills and techniques they use to solve different types of cases. Their training includes conducting surveillance, gather evidence, interviewing witnesses, performing background checks, and other related tasks. However, they must operate within the bounds of the law, and there are limitations on what they can legally do.

So, what can private investigators legally do?

  1. Conduct Surveillance – Private investigators are legally allowed to conduct surveillance as long as they do not invade a person’s privacy. They cannot use hidden cameras or microphones to record conversations without the consent of the parties involved. However, they can use their own senses to observe and record any activities that take place in public spaces.
  2. Gather Information – Private investigators can gather information from public sources such as court records, social media, and public databases. They can also conduct interviews with witnesses and gather information from their clients. However, they cannot use illegal methods to obtain information such as hacking into someone’s email or phone.
  3. Perform Background Checks – Private investigators can perform background checks on individuals as long as they have legitimate reason to do so. They can check criminal records, credit reports, and employment history. In order to comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act, private investigators must obtain written consent from the person being checked.
  4. Serve Legal Documents – Private investigators can serve legal documents on behalf of their clients. They can deliver subpoenas, summons, and other legal documents to individuals or businesses. However, they must follow the rules of the court and serve the documents in a legal and ethical manner.


Different Types of Cases

Now that we know what private investigators can legally do, let’s take a look at how they can solve different types of cases.

  • Infidelity Cases – Private investigators are often hired to investigate cases of suspected infidelity. They can conduct surveillance on the suspected cheating spouse and gather evidence of their activities. They can also perform  background checks on the individual and their suspected partner.
  • Child Custody Cases  – Private investigators can gather evidence to help with child custody cases. They can investigate the lifestyle and habits of the other parent and gather evidence of any inappropriate behavior or neglect.
  • Fraud Cases – Private investigators can investigate cases of fraud such as insurance fraud, corporate fraud, or identity theft. They can gather evidence of fraudulent activities and provide the evidence to law enforcement agencies.
  • Missing Person Cases – Private investigators can help locate missing persons. They can gather information from witnesses, search public databases, and conduct surveillance to locate the missing individual.
  • Business Investigations – Private investigators can investigate cases of employee theft, embezzlement, and other workplace misconduct. They can gather evidence and provide it to the business owner or law enforcement agencies.


In conclusion, private investigators can legally conduct surveillance, gather information, perform background checks, and serve legal documents. They can help solve various types of cases such as infidelity, child custody, fraud, missing person, and business investigations. However, they must operate within the bounds of the law and ethical standards. If you need the services of a private investigator, make sure to hire a licensed and reputable investigator.  If you liked this article you should read more about how to hire a private investigator near you or check out how Paramount Investigative services is rated the top private investigator in Los Angeles. 

Ken Childs

Author Consultant

Paramount Investigative Services Inc. is a highly reputable private investigation agency based in Los Angeles, boasting over 25 years of experience in the field. Founded and led by expert witness and author Ken Childs, the agency offers a comprehensive range of investigative services to clients, including insurance fraud detection, infidelity investigations, background checks, and legal support for attorneys. With a proven track record and a commitment to professionalism, Paramount Investigative Services Inc. stands out as a trusted choice for individuals, businesses, and legal professionals seeking reliable and discreet investigative solutions in Los Angeles.