Common Misconceptions about Private Detectives

“I don’t mind a reasonable amount of trouble.”


The many iconic lines spoken by Humphrey Bogart’s laconic, wisecracking Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon weren’t just an influence on the Film Noir genre. They ended up shaping a lot of how people view Charlotte private detectives to this day. Although there’s a certain hard-boiled romanticism to that portrayal, it causes real private investigators no end of headaches. If all you know of our profession is what you’ve seen on the silver screen, it’s easy to overlook a couple of things. So it’s time to dispel some of the myths and misconceptions we hear most often at Barefoot Professional Investigations.


Surely You Can Bend the Law a Little Bit. Just This Once.

No, we can’t. We’re subject to the same laws as any private citizen, and would face the same consequences as anyone else if we broke them. If anything, we’re held to a higher standard. In part, that’s because of the licensing and certifications we hold, and the compliance requirements they carry. But it’s also because in many cases, our work needs to follow standards of evidence to either hold up in court, or to protect our clients’ best interests.


The Police Must Hate You.

This is one of the most persistent — and least accurate — myths about private investigators. We don’t have an adversarial relationship with law enforcement. Like them, we’re interested in finding the truth — and we have, in some cases, assisted law enforcement as an extra set of eyes or as a valued partner. Neither of us views the other as an opponent or enemy. 


You Can Uncover Pretty Much Anything, Right?

With rare exceptions — the times when we’re working alongside an attorney and have access to discovery information, or when we’re assisting with a law enforcement investigation and warrants are involved — we’re actually restricted in what we can access and uncover (we just happen to know more legal places to look than most people). Remember: following HIPAA regulations, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and the many other laws that govern our work isn’t just for our protection, or to protect the subject of an investigation; it ultimately protects you, too.


Well, Just Hack Their Computer. Or Track Them, or Something.

We understand the frustration; you suspect the information is out there somewhere, but it’s sequestered just beyond your reach. But the laws around wiretapping, computer surveillance, videotaping, and tracking are strict — all the more so if you need that evidence to stand up in court.


There’s a PI Uniform!

We don’t spend our time in trench coats and fedoras a la Bogart, nor looking rumpled and attractively disheveled like Bruce Willis circa Moonlighting. Generally speaking, we do our best not to call attention to ourselves


A Private Investigator’s Day is Exciting.

Honestly? Not really. Make no mistake, we enjoy what we do, but our job is often closer to that of a librarian or anthropologist than you’d think. There’s a lot of time spent combing through records, researching, interviewing, and synthesizing the information we’ve gathered into something useful.

Now that we’ve addressed the myths, it’s time for some truth. Jan Barefoot and the Barefoot Professional Investigations team have earned respect over three decades serving Charlotte. Our ethics and attention to detail have helped in that regard, but so has our commitment to our clients. Get in touch today for a confidential consultation.