5 Common Misconceptions of Private Investigators

From Sherlock Holmes to Nancy Drew, private investigators are often the topic of popular mystery novels and movies, but unfortunately, these Hollywood representations can sometimes create a lot of misconceptions about real life investigators. Here are a few of the most common myths about private investigators in today’s society:

  1. Private Investigators have access to private/confidential information: There is sometimes an expectation held that investigators have secret access to confidential and personal information.  Private investigators are certainly more familiar on how to find information; however, they are restricted to information that is either available to the public or only to licensed private investigators.
  2. Private Investigators have special privileges when it comes to the law: Private Investigators are not above the law. While they may be licensed and given more access than the average person, they are not allowed to break the law even if involves in an important case.
  3. Private Investigators wiretap peoples phones or bug their homes for information: This myth is common, again, due to the Hollywood portrayal of Private Investigators.  Any type of wiretapping is illegal and can only be done by law enforcement with a warrant.   In fact, Barefoot Professional Investigations offers a service to de-bug any of your personal spaces in case you think they have been compromised.
  4. Recording Conversations: The law varies from state to state.  In North Carolina, it is legal to record a conversation if one person has consented to the recording.  Many states require that both parties give consent for the conversation to be recorded.  It is, however, completely legal to eavesdrop on a person who happens to be talking particularly loud in public or private areas.
  5. Private Investigators have same authority as police officers:  Private investigators do not have any authority to make an arrest.