Why Private Detectives Don’t Have To Identify Themselves
If you are going through a contentious divorce or child custody battle there is a possibility that your former significant other may have hired a licensed private investigator to follow you. A legal investigator will use GPS tracking devices to track a car, security tools to scan phone records, and observe social media accounts on any private citizen to gather the private information needed for private security and investigation. But what if you believe you are being followed and confront the person potentially investigating you? Do federal laws make private investigators required to show PI Licenses and identify themselves to you? Let’s take a deep dive into the rules and regulations and get the facts when it comes to legal answers!
Private investigators cannot legally enter private property and have to adhere to the Investigative Services Act so they do not have the same authority as police officers. However, they can still legally equip a GPS tracker on your car, access public record documents, acquire a concealed weapon permit, and work with a local law enforcement agency on a number of activities. So PIs certainly have more authority than a security guard. But if you corner any PIs working for investigation agencies do they have to tell you who they are or if they are investigating you? The answer is no.
PIs Identifying Themselves To Law Enforcement
Police officers are required by law to identify themselves and show their badges when specifically asked if they work for law enforcement. Of course, this code of conduct excludes police working undercover, as identifying themselves as police could jeopardize their investigation. But do private detectives have to identify themselves to the police? Although there is no specific law we found, it is common practice for PIs involved in many types of investigations to willfully provide protected information to police.
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Can Private Investigators Lie About Who They Are?
Let’s pretend a PI is in a neighborhood gathering evidence for a woman who believes her husband is cheating. In the spirit of public safety, a concerned, friendly neighbor sees the unfamiliar individual as asks if they are a private detective. What happens next? Private investigators legally can lie or deceive someone to hide their identity or get the information they are after, but the behavior is often viewed as unethical. Therefore, if you believe a PI is spying on you and you ask them about your concerns you can’t reasonably expect them to tell you the truth.
Please know that private investigation and security laws can vary from state to state in regards to audio recording consent, firearms permits, professional licenses, recording conversations, and other activity related to surveillance by PIs. Therefore, if you want the most accurate and up-to-date legal answers and a private detective code of conduct, it is best to speak with an attorney in your local area.
Matthew is a freelance writer who is passionate about technology, music, photography, and decentralized finance.