June 23, 2020 /

What Private Investigators Can Do and Cannot Do!

Contrary to popular misconceptions about private investigators, they are unable to do the most of what the public thinks of them. Sometimes, PIs are asked to do things that are not legal – things that are not even legal for anyone to do.

Private investigators are professionals who use many investigative techniques such as skip tracing, GPS, and background checks to find information. They are hired by anyone who needs to dig up the matter and find facts about a person or business.

Well, let’s talk about seven things PIs can do and what they cannot do.

7 Things a Private Investigator CAN and CAN’T Do

A PI can be helpful to you in several ways, including looking for assets, finding a missing person, conducting a security audit, have an infidelity problem. To find out other common circumstances in which you can leverage the expertise of a PI, check out different private investigation services.

  1. CAN Run Background Checks

A licensed Private Investigator does have the legal right to perform background checks and obtain information not accessible to the public as required.

Perhaps you need to know or validate the claims of a new partner or you’re thinking about hiring someone, hiring a PI to run a background check can help you minimize risks in such situations. Keep in mind that the data collected is sensitive as it may contain previous criminal convictions, credit history, or prior investigations.

Read here on how a private investigator help in a background check

  1. CAN Run a License Plate

Contrary to a popular myth, private investigators can run a car’s license plate. However, PIs must run such only for investigative purposes (i.e. when conducting a background check or trying to locate a person). Sometimes, it could be for future purposes in a court proceeding or any other legal needs.

Note that you cannot hire a licensed PI to run a license plate out of curiosity. This is considered an illegal action and they can be charged with a crime.

  1. CAN’T wiretap a Phone Without Consent

Private investigators cannot wire a phone conversation without the approval of at least one of the parties.

According to federal law, wiring or monitoring a phone communication and intercepting emails without approval from at least one of the parties is illegal. However, if you live in one of the states

Several cases require a warrant for a legal phone wiretap. So, PIs often must work with official bodies to avoid breaking any local or federal law.

  1. CAN’T Always Record Private Conversations

Like the rules that apply to wiretap a phone, PIs are restricted from recording private chats of unaware individuals. For instance, you can’t have a Private Investigator bug your competitor’s conference room.

However, an exception to this rule is depending on the location where the conversation takes place. I mean if it was held in a public place where virtually anyone could eavesdrop, a PI is allowed to record such chats.

Additionally, if one of the parties involved in a conversation gives a PI approval, then it becomes legal to record such private conversations.

  1. CAN’T Arrest People

Although the services of a PI may include performing investigative research, uncovering a crime, and even tracing missing fugitives. But here in Canada, private investigators are not authorized to make an arrest.

However, there are exceptions to this rule as well. If a PI witnesses anyone endangering the public or committing a federal offense, he or she can arrest such a citizen.

If a PI wishes to make an arrest, some states require written consent from a law enforcement body before granting such desire.

  1. CAN’T Run a Credit Check

A credit report or credit information is considered private data and is only available to the account holder. So, a private investigator would not only need approval from the individual, but also a legal purpose for attempting to run a credit check.

  1. CAN’T Trespass on Private Property

A PI can’t enter a property or break into someone’s home without the consent of the homeowner. This act is regarded as an illegal one, and such PI will be punished, serve a jail term, or even lose their licensing.

Find a Private Investigator You Can Trust

PiPRO investigation is a leading private investigation agency in Toronto with a track record of delivering industry-best services. Additionally,

If you require any of private investigation services such as identifying a WSIB fraud, cheating spouses or infidelity case, or investigative research, you can trust PiPROs and our over 25 years of experience.

Reach out to us today to learn more about what we CAN do, and how we can help you with your investigative needs.