MD Private Investigators
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From the Legitimate to the Downright Illegal
Sherlock Holmes, Magnum PI, The Rockford Files, and a host of other programming throughout the years have created an aura of mystery and intrigue around the field of private investigations. Certainly, there is an inherent degree of excitement in the profession of a private investigator. However, it simply isn’t a life of continual thrills, secrecy, and espionage. There are such things as mundane cases, tedious surveillance details, and investigative assignments that feel like plain old work. As licensed MD private investigators who have been in the field for well over two decades, we have to admit that it has been a rare occasion that we have felt like Thomas Magnum. No amount of chest hair shown off under our aloha shirt could change that. For us, the private investigations industry is our work. Our profession. Our bread and butter. For those on the outside looking in however- those who have grown up watching crafty detectives and secret agents- the field of private investigations is certainly seen differently.
It’s been a rare occasion that we’ve felt like Thomas Magnum.
The prevailing misconception, regarding the work of MD private investigators, has been rather entertaining, to say the least. From comical conversations to unrealistic expectations, to downright illegal requests, we’ve heard it all and frequently have to shatter preconceived notions about the work we perform.
To counter the overwhelming amount of misinformation, we felt it would be helpful to provide some illustrations, from our own experience, of what is an acceptable investigative request and what is simply illegal and off-limits. This list is by no means exhaustive, but it highlights some of the more frequent requests we receive.
1. Can You Follow Someone for Me?
Surveillance comprises a large amount of the work that private investigators perform. Whether an insurance company hires us to surveil a claimant who may (or may not be) taking advantage of a workers compensation policy, or a husband hires us to follow his unfaithful wife, surveillance is part-and-parcel to the job.
Surveillance is vital in many cases as it has an uncanny way of uncovering crucial information. This fact is generally known and accepted. Thus, we receive calls all the time, asking us if we can we follow someone for a prospective client. So, can we? Well, sometimes yes, sometimes no. While MD private investigators welcome the opportunity to work, we must consider public safety, privacy laws, and other such parameters in determining whether or not we can be retained to follow an individual.
Allow me to give some examples of what would be acceptable. Let’s say, for instance, a wife suspects her husband’s late work nights aren’t for work at all. She would like us to conduct surveillance in order to determine if he’s actually at work or if he’s spending evening hours with someone else. As long as she has no protective order against her, this would be perfectly acceptable. Why? Well, some of the factors to consider is that the prospective client has a relationship with the would-be subject of the investigation. She also has a purpose in the investigation– to find out if infidelity is occurring in order to make decisions relating to divorce and/or custody issues. This is a case that we would gladly accept.
On the other hand, let’s say we were contacted by an individual who had just experienced heartache from his ex-girlfriend, who had broken up with him after four short months. He explains that he was really into her and that he can’t stand to live without her. He finds himself constantly wondering if there’s someone else that caused her to leave him. He simply wants surveillance done for his peace of mind and to discover the truth. He would like us to follow her and document any men that she is seen with. While it seems like a no-brainer to us, we have had to reject this type of request on more than one occasion. Why did we have to turn this work down? Well, there’s an absence of a relationship, for one. There’s also an absence of a greater purpose, except what could be construed as a potential threat to members of the public (i.e. the ex and any men she is seen with). To be honest, this request is merely creepy. As industry professionals who strive to uphold the ethics and standards of our profession, we cannot accept an assignment that would essentially facilitate stalking. In the words of a popular Disney song… let it go. The answer is, and always will be, a resounding no.
2. Can You Find Someone for Me?
These types of private investigations, often referred to as “locates”, are common. Like all casework, these, too, must pass certain qualifiers before our MD private investigators will accept an investigative assignment. Common, legitimate requests include:
- Helping an adopted individual find his/her birth parents
- Aiding family members in finding an estranged relation for notification of an upcoming estate hearing
- Assisting an attorney in locating his/her rogue client
These would all be perfectly acceptable instances in which yes, we would certainly help find someone.
However, there are several instances in which ethical private investigators should politely decline to locate an individual. For example, anyone that lives in Baltimore, MD would be intimately aware of the Freddie Grey riots and the events that resulted in the charging of six Baltimore City police officers. Shortly after the State of Maryland announced their charges against the officers, our firm was contacted by a well-known news agency who desired our investigators to obtain the addresses and phone numbers of the six police officers. Although this news agency was willing to disregard privacy and ethical issues for their own personal gain, our firm was unwilling to lower our standards or compromise the safety and well-being of these officers.
So, to answer the question, yes, we can help find someone if there is a legitimate reason for doing so.
3. Can You Help Me Uncover Information Electronically?
Requests for electronic investigative work are perhaps the requests most entrenched in the Hollywood depiction of private investigators and secret agents. Frequently we are contacted in hopes that our investigators will aid in tapping a phone, or installing key-logger spyware, or to track someone in real-time, 24/7, via GPS. While we certainly have databases and connections that the general public does not have access to, we do not “spy” electronically. Reputable private investigators will never agree to violate privacy laws and would never accept a case in which spyware is installed on an unsuspecting individual’s electronic device(s). While we do utilize GPS from time to time, there are strict parameters involved in the legal use of GPS units as well. For one, prior to any GPS installation, the person requesting the service must provide proof of ownership as a title holder or co-title holder.
We hope that you have a better understanding of what parameters MD private investigators consider when agreeing to or rejecting an investigative request. Since every investigation is unique, with its own set of circumstances, there is no clear-cut mold that can be used in determining whether an investigative request is legitimate or not. Much of the time, the fine line must be determined by a private investigator that is resolved to be of assistance to the best of his/her ability, while always resolving to uphold only the highest standards of ethics.
If you have an investigative need, we encourage you to contact our investigators to discuss your case specifics. If laws allow, we will be more than willing to go above and beyond to obtain the truth that you seek. Call the MD private investigators of Brown, Kaszak, & Associates today or simply contact us online.
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