FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Where do I start?
Many times, when people call and share their situation with us, it becomes eminently clear that what the caller suspects is obviously taking place.
Now, I have to remind myself that things are more clear to me for a number of reasons. First of all, I’ve been dealing with these exact types of situations for several years. We’ve come across most of the deceptions, schemes, rouses and lies that people use to pull off and cover-up their activities. At the same time, I have the added benefit of perspective. Having been in a situation, myself, where my wife was cheating on me, I realize that, being human, emotions insert themselves in tense situations and can cloud our judgment. Hell, my wife had been having an affair for almost a year before I figured it out and accepted it for what it was…and I was already a real police detective! Looking back, I’m astonished that I hadn’t put it together earlier, especially looking at some of the red flags that were, in hindsight, slapping me in the face.
The point is, I think a part of my brain didn’t want to find out or know the truth, so I ignored the red flags and heard what I wanted to hear in what she was saying, ignoring (or as psychologists call it, “deleting”) what I wasn’t ready to deal with.
So, back to my point, once you do accept that something nefarious is afoot, try to determine exactly what, if anything, is to be gained by getting proof at all. We often have to point out to people that call into the office that they already have all the proof they need.
What can I expect when I call your office?
When you call, you will most likely get a live person answering (Don’t be surprised). The only exception would be when we are tied up on all of our lines with other callers, or when it is after 10pm.
We usually answer, “This is ____. How can I help you?” This is for a reason. We have had situations where our targets found our number in our client’s phone log and they called it to see who answered. How do we know this? Because the caller then, in a less than friendly tone, says, “Who is this?” We remind them that they called us and ask them who they were trying to reach and every now and then we will hear something like, “This number was in my husband’s call log. I demand to know who you are.” Well, the fact is, if they’ve made it this far, the cat is usually out of the bag as far as the target knowing that something is awry, but at least we now know that they know, so we can adjust our approach appropriately (and let our client know).
If you call during business hours, your call will be answered by someone in our office, most likely a receptionist. They will ask you how they can help you and if they determine that you are looking for an investigator, they’ll ask what kind of situation it is and direct you to an investigator (usually a supervisor). They will also ask you for your name (You can just give them your first name, or even make up a name). You will then be directed to someone you can discuss your case with.
If you call our offices during non-business hours (after 5pm or on a weekend/holiday), your call will most-likely be forwarded directly to a supervisory investigator. Know that if you call during non-business hours, the person you are speaking with might be taking your call on their cell phone, so they might be in a grocery store, or you might hear their dog bark if someone knocks at their door.
A few other things to understand before you call:
Anything discussed on the call is confidential. The fact is, we could/would/should lose our license if we violated your confidentiality. You don’t even have to give your real name when calling. We understand that you have probably recently been lied to, ripped off, cheated on or screwed over in some manner and that you aren’t very trusting of anyone right now. Your confidentiality is important and there is no reason for you to share any personal information before you make the decision to hire an investigator. However, we will need your real information if we both decide to move forward with an investigation.
In most cases, we can have a 5-10 minute conversation on the phone. You will most likely have some questions for us and we will probably have some questions for you to help us both better understand the issues. If it makes sense at that point to move forward, we can make an appointment to meet in our office to discuss the issue further, face to face. (In some circumstances, if we both feel comfortable, we can move forward with the process on the telephone)
We don’t take every case. First of all, we only handle a certain number of cases at any given time. Experience has taught us that when we exceed that number, the quality of our services drops, and that is unacceptable. If we can’t handle the case at that time, we will let you know and either fit you in when we have an opening, or else refer you to another reputable and competent investigation company. Additionally, we do not handle cases for criminal defendants. That means if you are under indictment or are in prison, we will not handle your case. We also will not take your case if we suspect that you are involved in criminal activity, or if we suspect you are being untruthful with us. We have been in business for over ten years and we are fortunate enough to be in a position where we can be more selective of the investigations we handle. We also will not conduct investigations for persons who have any kind of court-ordered protection or restraining order filed against them.
What forms of payment do you accept?
Be wary of businesses that only take cash.
Also, although PayPal can be an effective way of making payments under the radar (this is another form of payment we accept), be wary of companies that use this as a primary way of accepting credit cards. It’s expensive and usually a sign that the vendor doesn’t have good enough credit to qualify for a regular credit card processing merchant account.
Can you get started on my investigation right away (tonight)?
How many investigators are needed for a personal investigation?
Can I just drop into your office to discuss hiring you?
How will the charges appear on my bill if I pay you with a credit card?
Do you give free consultations?
What is the benefit to having a private investigator prove that my spouse is cheating on me?
Many of our clients have told us that the evidence we’ve uncovered in the course of our investigations has given them a lot of “leverage” in their divorce proceedings.
In other cases, concrete proof was the only thing that could force the unfaithful spouse to finally come to terms with the situation and admit the truth so that the healing process could begin to move forward.
I think my spouse is cheating; are there certain warning signs that I should look out for?
Will you provide me with copies of the video and photos?
Will you follow my spouse inside places and film with a camera? How do you do that?
How quickly can you start an investigation?
Are my communications with you kept discreet and confidential?
Do you handle cases of child custody?
I’m thinking of doing the surveillance myself. Is that legal?
Even though I’ve performed countless surveillances, I’d think hard before trying to do surveillance on someone who knew me. In most cases, you are too close to the action to think objectively, rather than emotionally. I guess it all depends on what the stakes are in the situation.
I don’t know where to turn. What is my next step to take?
Can I use the evidence in court?
Is it legal to put a GPS tracking device on someone’s vehicle?
In what situations do you employ GPS trackers?
Why not just buy my own GPS tracker?
Other issues to consider, are those dealing with how immediate your need is and how tech-savvy you are. After you research which unit to buy, order it, have it shipped, receive it, put it together, charge the batteries, set up an account and then figure out how to mount it to the car and then how to access and monitor it through your computer (without screwing any of these steps up), you’re then probably ready to try it out.
Just as important as what kind of GPS unit you use is where and how you place it on/in a vehicle. Believe it or not, a matter of six inches or a difference in 45 degrees angle of placement can make the difference between whether you’re going to get a strong enough signal or not. Different makes and models of cars have different “best spots” for placement for reasons ranging from issues of electrical interference, to what the car is made of…and if you don’t have a signal, you may as well not even have the unit.
Additionally, there are many situations where it may or may not be legal for you to utilize a tracking device. Law enforcement and licensed private investigators have been granted special rights when it comes to issues, such as conducting surveillance and tracking people. As mentioned above, if you don’t have a PI license or aren’t a police officer, you very may well be guilty of criminal stalking, trespassing, invasion of privacy or even criminal mischief.
In regard to the above, we have the best available GPS units ready to go. We know how to install them quickly, how to use them, how to monitor them and most importantly what the law is when it comes to using them. In most cases, we can have a unit installed on a vehicle within hours of receiving your call. It usually takes less than one minute to install the unit. We won’t need access to the inside of the vehicle, meaning we can put it on while the vehicle is parked in the driveway overnight, while parked in a lot at work, or even when the subject leaves the vehicle in the parking lot of the grocery store to go shopping. We have other methods, too, but would probably be better left off of this web page.
One final advantage to having a professional install and monitor the device is that once we see and know where the problem is, you will have a professional and experienced investigator, armed with professional cameras suited for the situation, whether it be night vision, long-range or covert cameras ready to pounce once the opportunity arises. Our investigators have computers in the vehicles and can zero right in on situations to obtain the concrete proof and evidence that will give you the peace of mind you deserve.
What it comes down to is how important it is to find out what you’re after and how serious you are about getting to the bottom of the issue without taking unnecessary risks.
How does the GPS work?
Our trackers will show you real-time views of where the vehicle is at any given time or they will show historical re-plays of exactly what path a vehicle followed, with exact times and locations all recorded.
Can I get access to view the GPS tracker on my own computer?
For those situations, our clients are given a link to our IntegrityGPS website along with a unique username and password to use for access. We also have a mobile website portal so that clients can get real-time access on their iPhone and Android devices.
How will you get the device on the vehicle?
What should I do if he/she finds out?
In any case, we will give you specific, carefully thought-out responses to have ready in case your spouse confronts you about a GPS tracker.
I think someone is tracking my vehicle...how do I find out?
Can you do a social media search?
Can you do a background investigation on someone without them knowing about it?
What does a background investigation include?
Do you conduct pre-employment background investigations?
We use Corporate Screening to conduct all of our pre-employment background investigations. They have been around for over 25 years and their client list is nothing short of impressive.
Can you take my fingerprints for a job application and send them to the F.B.I. and/or B.C.I. (a web check)?
What kind of information can you retrieve from a smartphone/computer?
Can you retrieve text messages?
Do you need the device to retrieve information?
I think someone is listening in on my phone calls. Is this possible? Can you see if it is bugged?
I have tried out some of the services and devices that are advertised on-line to “listen in” on phone conversations, to see if they actually work, and so that I could help my clients defend themselves from these types of intrusions, but I haven’t come across anything legitimate yet.
I think that my house is bugged. Can you do a bug sweep to find it?
Do you handle Criminal Defense cases?
This is not to be confused with the fact that we can and will investigate criminal matters from the prosecutor’s side of the table. If you take a look at our “Integrity In the News” webpage, you will see that we have actively investigated, prosecuted and sent to prison, numerous criminal offenders through the private investigation role.
How much does a private investigator cost?
How much can I expect to pay for a cheating spouse investigation?
How much is the retainer?
How much do you charge per hour?
Some services, such as asset research, GPS tracking and computer or cell phone forensics are handled as flat fees, whereas any time we have to put a person in the field, an hourly rate will usually apply.
Do you accept credit cards?
What other forms of payment do you accept?
Do I pay for your services before the work is done, or after?
What is a Retainer Fee?
How much does a background investigation cost?
How much does GPS Tracking cost?
How much does a bug sweep cost?
Why do you cost so much more than other private investigators?
investigators, but the best investigators aren’t usually the best at effective communication with clients or organized enough to run a business well. I would never have been able to stay in business since 2004 had I not been lucky enough to surround myself with a competent support staff and investigative team. I most certainly would’ve burned out a long time ago. We are more selective when accepting cases and clients, because we can be…when other P.I.’s have to take every case that comes along. Employing a top-notch support staff, keeping the best investigators on the payroll and having the best equipment means that investigations are consistently handled in a professional manner. It also means that our rates are higher than other P.I.’s, especially the ones that are so desperate that they have to lower themselves to offering their services at a discounted rate. We are not for everyone or every situation. Our clients are usually not the same people that look for the cheapest doctor for their open-heart surgery, the cheapest attorney for their divorce or drive the cheapest cars (even though the cheapest can usually still get the job done). I absolutely detest incompetence and tardiness. At the same time, I have no tolerance for people that don’t take my calls or at least return them in a timely manner. I have the same expectations for my staff and I think that that is one of the reasons people recommend us, refer us and return to us for business. You will rarely be greeted by a recording when calling our offices, and on the rare occasions that this does occur, a timely return call can be expected.