California Private Investigator FAQ

Published on May 2016 | Categories: Types, Business/Law | Downloads: 36 | Comments: 0 | Views: 709
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Facts and information pertaining to licensed private investigators in the State of California.



California Private Investigator FAQ
Q: What does a Private Investigator do? A: A Private Investigator performs a wide variety of services for their clients. These services include locating individuals, finding “hidden” assets or a person or business, collecting video or audio evidence with surveillance techniques, conducting infidelity investigations to determine whether a spouse is “cheating” or not, performing background checks, workers compensation claims, conducting bug sweeps and wiretap checks, GPS vehicle tracking, process service, and more. Private investigators use a variety of equipment, techniques, and processes to collect information, while accessing databases and files to which the unlicensed general public does not have access to, in order to do their jobs. Q: What kind of training is required for Private Investigators in California? A: In order to become a licensed private investigator in California, an individual must be at least 18 years of age, have completed at least 6,000 hours (three years) of state certified investigative work, pass a comprehensive examination, and undergo a complete background investigation to show they have no criminal or other past history that would bar them from the duties of a private investigator. Training often consists of hands-on field experience working with another licensed private investigator. Most investigators also have a college degree in the field of criminal justice. Some investigators enter the field with previous military police or law enforcement experience, or some have a combination of both police experience and military service. Chris Loomis, the Qualified Manager of Chris Loomis Consultations, has a combination of all requirements. His background encompasses public service including both the fire service and law enforcement, work as an insurance consultant and fraud investigator for multiple insurance companies, and service in the U.S. Army as a Military Police Officer. Mr. Loomis is also a published author on several subjects including surveillance, fraud, and criminal defense investigations.

©2012 Chris Loomis and Chris Loomis Consultations

Q: Do private investigators have access to records not available to the general public? A: YES. Licensed private investigators qualify for access to databases which are not available to the general public. These services include data aggregators, California DMV records, California Department of Industrial Relations records, insurance claims histories, and provide much more in-depth and detailed information than what is available on the internet and through retail information brokers.

Q: Will my information remain safe and confidential? A: YES. All information given to a private investigator by a client, as well as information obtained by the private investigator on the client's behalf, remains confidential, and passes only between the investigator and client. There are exceptions to this rule such as if there are illegal activities being witnessed, or if the investigator has reason to believe that someone involved in the investigation (either the client, or the person being investigated) is a danger to themselves or to others. The law that commands a private investigator to keep your information confidential is §7539 of the California Business & Professions Code. For more information on other California privacy laws, please visit

Q: Will the person I am attempting to locate be notified? A: NO. Your information and the reason for your locate investigation search will remain private pursuant to §7539 of the California Business & Professions Code. Private investigators in California have a legal obligation to keep client confidentiality, similar to that of a therapist, doctor, and attorney.

Q: Will the person under surveillance know that they are being watched? A: A private investigator takes every precaution necessary to ensure that the target of an investigation is unaware that they are being observed. If the person knows they are being watched, then the integrity of the investigation is compromised, as the person may not behave normally. It can also risk the confidentiality of the client's information therefore alerting the target to the investigator's purpose is avoided if at all possible.

Q: What can I expect from a consult with a Private Investigator? A: Most FREE consultations with a private investigator are about finding out what your options are. Those options can help with making a more informed decision on how to take the next step. We know you have concerns about letting someone else in on your situation. So when you contact a private investigator for the first time, whether over the phone or in person, there

©2012 Chris Loomis and Chris Loomis Consultations

should be no obligation to commit and the initial consultation should be free. The fee for services should clearly be explained, and the investigator may ask you some of the questions below: Why is the investigation needed? Who are we investigating? What are you looking to gain? What type of evidence do you need? How strong are your intuitions?

Q: Why do some Private Investigators charge more than others? A: Unfortunately, there is no simple answer. The average industry price for hiring a private investigator in the state of California from $50.00 to $150.00 per hour depending on which service you request. Cost can depend on many factors, including specialization, technology, sophistication of equipment, company size, geographic service area, security clearances and reputation, and the specific private investigator’s level of experience to name a few.

Q: Can I request a person's phone call records? A: NO. But sneaky private investigators back in the day used to obtain this information from sources within the phone company, and would pay hefty fees for a "call list.” Nobody does this anymore, and it's quite illegal. But, finding out phone number ownership is still legal and can be very useful. Private investigators have access to certain databases that may provide: phone number ownership, subscriber information and carrier information. You won't get the physical call records, but knowing who owns the number might just be the evidence you're looking for.

Q: Can I remain anonymous and still hire a Private Investigator? A: YES, but why remain anonymous? In California, private investigators are required to keep you information confidential pursuant to §7539 of the California Business & Professions Code. Keep in mind, an investigator may choose to decline your case based on suspicions arising as to the nature of your intended investigation.


©2012 Chris Loomis and Chris Loomis Consultations

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