Detectives and investigators also conduct surveillance. Investigators make phone calls to verify, for example, someone's income or location of employment. While conducting missing persons or background checks, detectives conduct interviews to collect information. Sometimes investigators conduct undercover work to monitor people without being identified.
Most private detectives and investigators understand how to conduct physical surveillance while some specialize in using technology for surveillance. Sometimes private detectives conduct surveillance from a car or a location where they will not be noticed. Using video cameras, mobile phones, and binoculars private detectives conduct time consuming surveillance.
The duties of private detectives are dependent on clients' requests. For example, if a private detective were investigating workers' compensation fraud, he or she might monitor the person suspecting of committing fraud to determine whether it is being committed. If the person is defrauding workers' compensation, the investigator would document it by taking pictures and report the person to authorities.
Detectives and investigators must obey all laws while conducting investigations. They must stay updated about privacy laws, as well as other federal and state laws affecting their work. Often private detectives must make judgment calls when the legality of certain surveillance methods is unclear. They must collect evidence legally, so it will be admissible in court.
Many private detectives and investigators become specialists. For example, those specializing in intellectual property theft investigate piracy and provide information to be used in law suits. Other investigators specialize in finance, usually assigned to search for missing financial assets. They collect information through interviews, surveillance, research, and the examination of public documents.
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