What Not to Ask a Professional Investigator to Investigate

Given our investigative prowess, the team at Barefoot Professional Investigations can seem to wield extraordinary power. But, as the expression goes, with great power comes great responsibility. Our capabilities as North Carolina professional investigators come with certain legal and ethical constraints, so there are certain things we cannot — and will not — investigate, for our protection and yours.

 

What We Won’t Do

We Won’t Impersonate Law Enforcement

It’s illegal to impersonate a member of local or federal law enforcement. We won’t coerce or mislead an individual into talking or otherwise cooperating with us by leaving the mistaken impression that we’re something, or someone, we’re not.

We Won’t Conduct Illegal Surveillance

In and of itself, surveillance isn’t illegal. However, there are constraints on detective agencies. Law enforcement officers need a warrant, and we’re not law enforcement (see above). As such, we’re confined to things that are publicly available (like public records databases and searches), or publicly visible; in the latter case, we will not engage in activities that would be an invasion of privacy — including snooping through homes, installing trackers on people’s vehicles, rifling through mailboxes, videotaping or filming indoors, or breaking and entering.

We Will Not Conduct Illegal Records Searches

Background investigations are one of the most useful tools in our kit. However, even here we face significant hurdles. Under the FCRA, we’re unable to conduct a credit check or certain other activities without the written consent of the person being investigated.

We Won’t Record Conversations

As with records searches, there’s a place for audio and videotaping. That said, there are two very specific conditions under which those recordings can take place: either with a warrant, or with the consent of one of the parties being recorded (North Carolina is a one-party consent state). We can record a conversation between you and your business partner, or you and nearly anyone else, with your consent. We cannot, however, record a conversation between your spouse and their suspected paramour without the consent of at least one of the parties.

We’re Not Hackers

While computer forensics is an important part of what we do, it generally follows in the wake of wrongdoing by an employee or a third party. If you’re expecting us to snoop into personal accounts — bank accounts, credit cards, social media, and the like — you’re going to be disappointed; we will not do this. These disclosures are governed by strict rules and regulations, and — like the background check services we provide — would require the consent of the person being investigated.

We Will Not Break the Law

The law applies to all equally, including private investigators. We follow the law to the letter. So even if there’s something we haven’t explicitly mentioned here, if it’s illegal, unethical, or just plain questionable, don’t expect us — or any other reputable PI — to do it.

 

What We Can Do

That may seem like a lot of restrictions, but it’s not really. It hasn’t kept us from doing our best for our Charlotte clients — private individuals, businesses, and law firms alike — for more than three decades. Background investigations, computer forensics, electronic debugging, and witness interviews are all within our remit, and sticking to the letter and spirit of the law doesn’t just protect us, and our clients; it ensures that the information uncovered by Barefoot Professional Investigations is reliable and can stand up in court. For a confidential consultation, we encourage you to reach out today.