The Knowledge Nook

What Are Some of the Specialties Practiced by Professional Private Investigators?

Posted by Tami Russell on Mar 14, 2017 2:26:27 PM


A professional Private Investigator is often the go-to expert in providing surveillance services, uncovering records and personal histories that might be difficult to track down, gathering substantive background information and conducting complex investigations. compiled a list of common specialties among professional Private Investigators.  Here’s a look at some of the customary tasks and specialities practiced by thousands of working PIs across the country.

Background checks

Popular consumer advice site agrees that “Private Investigators offer a wide array of services, but background checks account for the majority of their business.” The popular site also advises, “The more information you have on the person, the easier the process, but a PI can get results with little to go on.”

Who hires a professional PI to conduct a background check?  Many organizations perform background checks on applicants before hiring them, and many PIs are hired by these organizations to conduct these background checks.  Although some organizations keep investigators on staff, others hire out these tasks to private practitioners.  Private Investigators are trained to conduct searches that might reveal troubling issues before they become a problem on the job. 

For the working Private Investigator, accepting an assignment to check the personal or working history of an individual will lead to a public records search, according to  This can include “details on a divorce…and any criminal or civil charges filed over the years.” PIs also conduct financial background checks (“state and federal tax liens, judgements and bankruptcies, notices of default or private assets,” according to, and thorough interviews with references and former employers.

Civil Investigations

Another area of expertise is that of civil investigations, where a Private Investigator “helps uncover and assemble the information needed for a civil trial.  A civil trial is the opposite of a criminal trial.  In most cases, this type of course case involves two individual citizens who are arguing about an issue that relates to their rights as citizens,” according to  Investigations of this type may include gathering witness interviews, collecting evidence, obtaining available photos and video of the issue in question, and much more.

Surveillance/Infidelity and Divorce Cases/Domestic Issues reports that surveillance “is one of the oldest and most common practices in investigative services.” The Houston Chronicle explains further that “surveillance is the covert observation of people, places and vehicles, which law enforcement and private detectives use to investigate allegations of illegal behavior.”

Private Investigators are hired to conduct surveillance on individuals for a number of reasons, including evidence in divorce cases, child custody cases and other domestic issues.  PIs can often find current addresses, identify aliases, locate birth and death records, search for marriage and divorce filings, uncover improper relationships and numerous other issues that can affect divorce and child custody cases, according to the Diligentia Group, a Private Investigation company in New York. 

Accident Reconstruction/Insurance Claims

Author John C Glennon Jr. wrote an article for, where he explains that “independent investigators are normally hired by the insurance companies or attorneys of the parties involved in an accident.  The job of the independent investigator is to analyze the causes of the accident so that liability and/or financial responsibility can be determined.”

The field of professional Private Investigations is opened to anyone who in interested in any of the many specialties conducted by field experts.  Is this career something you’d like to learn more about.  Begin your own investigation today, and see if the work of a professional Private Investigator is the next career for you!

 Overview of the PI Profession



Topics: private investigations

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