Many people associate private investigators with non-contact surveillance, but sometimes it can help to disclose the investigation. If a PI is trying to contact you, chances are you know something that could help someone out. With their client’s permission, a PI might want to speak to you for several reasons.
A private investigator asking to speak to you is not necessarily a bad thing, and you might actually be of service to someone else by cooperating. We’ll take you through 6 of the most common reasons why a PI would reach out to you.
1. You’ve Expressed Interest in Hiring a Private Investigator
As PIs, we operate our business in the same way as everyone else. We need to follow up on client leads to keep things going. If you’ve contacted a private investigator on social media or through their online contact forms, don’t be surprised if they try to get in touch.
A good private investigator will want to have an in-depth conversation with you before they set about working on your case. It’s unlikely that they’ll be able to help you if you don’t tell them what you know.
It would be best if you spoke with the investigator about your goals to ensure that they can help you achieve them. Quality PIs offer free initial consultations, so you’ll know before parting with any cash whether they can, in fact, gather the evidence that you require.
2. You’re Being Sued, Getting A Divorce, or Involved in a Child Custody Dispute
Certain legal documents, including subpoenas, family proceedings, and restraining orders, need to be delivered in person by an independent third party. The papers are only considered legally served under specific circumstances called ‘process’.
Many private investigators offer process serving services. If a private investigator comes to your home or office and asks you to let them in, there’s a good chance they have papers for you. When a PI approaches you in public and ask you to identify yourself, you’re about to be handed papers.
If you want to, you can avoid being served with process. By hiding out in private property and refusing to let the server in, you can, for a short time, prevent the server from legally delivering the papers.
You should know, however, that this will ultimately be a waste of time. The PI will eventually get hold of you in person. You don’t have to take the papers, but they can still leave them at your feet, and they will have served you.
3. You Owe Someone Money
Tracing debtors is a crucial part of what we do as investigators. If their client has supplied them with your phone number, a private detective might try calling you to find out more information. You don’t have to cooperate or even positively identify yourself if you don’t want to.
However, as in process serving, having a PI hot on your heels isn’t an advantageous position. We might be biased, but we recommend graciously accepting defeat in these circumstances. Alternatively, know that the only effective defence against one good private investigator is hiring another to conduct counter-surveillance.
4. Someone You Know Is Missing
Some cases have a greater need for discretion than others. When looking for a missing person, we don’t have to be as secretive as in, say, a cheating partner investigation. When we’re looking for people, it can actually be helpful to disclose the search to others. Many people don’t even realise they’re missing.
A missing person investigation will involve searching through public records and, depending on permissions, bank accounts, email accounts, and other personal information. Information gathered from these sources rarely reveals the location of the missing person. Still, it can link them to people whom we’d potentially want to interview.
If a private investigator is asking to speak to you about a missing person, you should consider cooperating, as you might be able to help someone find a lost friend or family member.
5. You’re the Subject of a Background Check
Have you recently had a job interview and heard nothing back, but a PI is trying to reach out to you? The delay might be caused by a private background check, which a detective is trying to conduct. A lot of PIs offer this as part of their investigative services. If you’ve got nothing to hide, you’ve got nothing to lose by cooperating, and if it’s a pre-hiring background check, you might have everything to gain.
6. You Work in Law Enforcement
Although criminal investigations aren’t really in our jurisdiction, occasionally, we do uncover illegal activity. We’re always responsible about this and take the relevant information to the police. If you work for the police and a PI is trying to reach out to you, they probably have important information about ongoing crimes.
As we’ve seen, you only really have two choices when it comes to being contacted by a PI: cooperate or get an investigator of your own. You can try to avoid them, but it’s unlikely to work in the long term.
Private Investigations UK never discloses details of your investigation without your permission. Whether you need advice on how to stop another PI from contacting you or you’re interested in starting an investigation of your own, we’re happy to offer friendly, professional advice. Give us a call on 0800 002 0898 for a free 30-minute consultation. Alternatively, please fill out a contact form, and one of our investigators will get back to you today.