For many people, just the thought of having to hire a PI to confirm your suspicions seems quite uncomfortable, off-setting, and to some extent, even embarrassing. This is understandable. In many cases, this would mean having to trust complete strangers with our personal information, our problems, and our lives.
But there’s always more to private investigation than just having to open up their personal lives. In fact, the main reason why people often go to PI’s is not just because they have no other choice, but in face because they are trained professionals.
Before you choose to hire a private investigator in Singapore, here are the questions you need to ask:
1. What are the types of work that your agency/firm does?
A private investigator will often do/specialize in a wide variety of work related to surveillance and data gathering, such as the following:
• Spousal surveillance (for possible infidelity or philandering)
• Finding or locating missing persons/property
• Financial fraud
• Corporate matters
• General investigation for civil or criminal matters
The field of private investigation is really varied and diverse, which is why it helps to inquire about both their expertise and level of experience in specific case types and fields. If the PI is experienced in cases that are similar to yours, you can be confident in the quality of their services.
You can even expect the PI firm to have specialist agents who are exceptional at working certain types of cases, and you will often be referred to the agent who will be handling your case.
2. Is your firm both licensed and insured?
This is perhaps a no-brainer question, but you should still ask this anyway. All private investigator in Singapore, under the Private Security Industry Act, are required to be licensed (and undergo intensive legal training) before they can operate legally and conduct their business as a private investigation agency.
Even individual private detectives need to be both certified and insured before they can operate in Singapore. The good news is that legitimate agencies and individuals will tell you right from the start.
3. Do you have both male and female investigators?
Because certain clients will often ask for agents of a certain sex type to work their particular case, large firms or investigation agencies in Singapore will often employ both male and female PI’s to work on them.
The reason why this is a question you should ask is because there is a good chance that you may feel more comfortable if certain types of people were to be the ones working on your case, rather than others, which is an understandable personal preference given the circumstances.
4. How can you ensure that my case will be confidential?
A PI, whether working solo or for an agency, will often guarantee case confidentiality. Asking how they achieve this will give you an idea on whether you should hire the PI for your case – and the best indicator for this is through a signed legal document.
5. What methods do you use to conduct the investigation?
Catching cheating partners are some of the most common cases that PI’s work on, which is something they should be able to do using legal means, and strictly through legal means. They are often required to go through intensive training to make sure they follow proper procedure.
This also means that private investigator services are not above the law, and are working without the tools and methods that traditional law enforcement does to obtain information more easily. This affects how they conduct their investigations.
6. How can I stay in touch during the investigation?
It’s especially important that you don’t want to let any information leak, which is why you need to decide on how you can stay in touch as early as possible. This can either be in the form of a daily email, a telephone call, or a weekly report if the case is particularly large.
When asking about staying updated during the investigation process, you should keep in mind that there are certain instances when you don’t always get a regular update on the case. While most cases such as trying to catch cheating spouse can be updated regularly, there are times that constant updates are simply impossible due to the nature of the investigation.
There is good news, however. Most professional PI agencies and firms will have agents that will do their best to update you as regularly as possible on any developments on the case, whether your suspicions are true or not.
As a back-up question, you should also ask the investigator as to what their standard procedure is should they be compromised. Whether they have a back-up story or ceasing surveillance, it’s important that you know the measures that they take to make sure their clients stay anonymous.
7. How willing are you to testify in court?
You can expect a legitimate private investigator to be experienced in court hearings and proceedings as a professional witness, as many private investigators will do whether they are working solo or as part of a larger firm.
But with that said, it’s important that you still ask this of the PI just to be safe. If the PI won’t testify, your next best course of action is to find one who will testify in a court of law.
(Disclaimer: this list is compiled in no particular order.)