There are many common myths surrounding private investigators. With the help of Hollywood, many people view PIs as fancy detectives shrouded in mystery, who are above the law and oftentimes clash with law enforcement in an effort to “serve justice”. While these illusions are certainly grand and captivating, private investigators are ordinary people who still need to follow the law.

If you’re looking to hire a private investigator in Tampa, St. Pete, Clearwater, and the surrounding areas, here are some common myths and misconceptions about PIs that you shouldn’t believe.

Private Investigators Are Above the Law like Police, CIA, & FBI Agents

A very common misconception is that private investigators can circumvent the law. Private investigators do not have clearances like government agents, nor do they work with these entities. Unlike police officers, PIs do not have any actual authority and must obey the law like every other citizen. They cannot impersonate people or trespass on private property and are never allowed to go inside someone’s home to find clues or evidence. In fact, private investigators need to be extremely careful when obtaining information, taking painstaking precautions to follow the law to ensure the information they gather is permissible in court and legal.

Private Investigators Can Arrest People

Many people sometimes fear PIs, thinking they can arrest people if there is any incriminating evidence to do so. Unlike police officers, private investigators do not have the legal authority to arrest people, even if they find incriminating information against someone or evidence that proves their guilt. Only police officers have the authority to arrest people. Instead, private investigators can simply provide information to law enforcement to further help a case and serve justice.

A private investigator, like the ones from Bales Security, can provide many helpful services, like helping to find a missing person or long-lost family member, and providing background checks for employers.

PIs Are Only Hired to Catch Cheating Spouses & Dangerous Criminals

Private investigators in St. Pete, FL are hired for many different reasons.

While private investigators are used in these instances, not all are hired to follow a suspicious spouse or alleged criminal. As mentioned above, private investigators cannot arrest people, no matter how dangerous the criminal is, even if proven guilty. Most often, investigators are hired to investigate people for insurance and workers’ compensation fraud, to perform background checks for employers, find missing persons, settle copyright infringement, and help in other lawful cases.

Private Investigators Can Access Private Information

Contrary to popular belief, private investigators cannot access private information. They do not have clearances and cannot access confidential information, such as CIA or FBI intelligence. PIs are, however, highly trained to use public information to their advantage. Investigators know what information is available to the public and are very adept at carefully sifting through that information to find what they need. A private investigator can often find information you might have missed in your research and can often uncover documents you couldn’t find. Often, PIs have connections with local police departments and can, therefore, obtain answers to information you’re looking for.

Investigators Can Wiretap Phones & Bug People

Thanks to Hollywood, many people envision PIs sitting in an office listening in on phone conversations and recording people in the hopes of getting them to reveal incriminating information. Contrary to this portrayal, investigators are unable to wiretap phones or record conversations without the person’s consent. It’s illegal for private investigators to do this, and if one ever claims they can, then they should be promptly reported. Similarly, it is illegal for PIs to bug people or areas to listen to private conversations. However, investigators can take thorough notes while having a conversation with someone to extract the information they need. PIs can also follow people as long as they do not follow onto private property.

Are you in need of a private investigator?

If you’re in need of a private investigator, give us a call at (813) 314-9101. We provide security services, including surveillance and private investigator services, to residential and commercial clients in Tampa, St. Pete, Clearwater, and the surrounding areas.