How to Hire a Private Investigator: The 12 Basic Questions You Should Ask

Are You Prepared to Be an Expert Witness? (Podcast)

Whether you are in a court of law, an administrative hearing or a civil deposition, providing testimony is not an easy matter. It requires knowledge of your topic at the very least, but it also requires confidence as well as authenticity.

Depositions are an integral part of the legal discovery process and are not to be taken lightly. It is the “other side’s” opportunity to gather information and do as much damage to the opponent’s case as possible. Often the success of the case for the prevailing party rises or falls on the results of a deposition.

“Take the initiative to get on the same page with your lawyer rather than waiting for them to suggest it.” – Francie Koehler

Francie Koehler, host of PI’s Declassified! radio show and a longtime private investigator and I talk about this important topic in her latest episode. I share my deposition experiences and the key elements I use to make sure my testimony is well received.

Listen to the podcast here:

Francie Koehler, CPI, CCDI (@specialcirz) is the host of PI’s Declassified!, a radio show lets you listen in as authentic private investigators discuss their real-life cases. Every week, private detectives (like me) spill the beans, — discussing investigator specialties that you wouldn’t even imagine exist! You’ll hear stories about lies and false confessions… tracking down missing persons… forensics… workplace violence… innocent people freed from prison… human trafficking… and other tantalizing cases. Tune in every Thursday 12PM Eastern Time and 9 AM Pacific Time on the VoiceAmerica Variety Channel.

How do you prepare for depositions or when giving testimony? Let me know in the comments below.

Giving a Deposition – The 10 Best Tips for Private Investigators

So you’ve collected some great evidence from your latest case and now you have to testify as a witness. But first you’ll be summoned to a deposition.

What’s a deposition? A deposition is your sworn, out-of-court testimony[1] that takes place during the fact-finding point in the case, which is called “discovery.” In a deposition, opposing counsel will ask you questions about your evidence and your role in the case, and then your recorded and transcribed answers will become official court record.

Depositions typically take place in a law office, but can sometimes occur over the phone or via video conference. You’ll be accompanied by your client’s legal team, opposing counsel, a court reporter, and many times a videographer or judge.

The difficulty is that the process can take several nerve-wracking hours, and one vague answer might derail the case. So, what can you do?

Here are 10 pointers an investigator can use to give an effective deposition:

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How To Choose The Right Tenant Screening Service

What is a tenant? Why do I need to conduct a background check on them? And who should conduct the tenant screening?

What is a Tenant?

A tenant is an adult who has signed a lease or rental agreement (or has an oral rental agreement) with a landlord to rent property, such as an apartment, condo, or house. The tenant has a legal relationship with the landlord that creates various responsibilities for both parties. The tenant is also referred to as the “lessee” of rental property. The tenant may use and occupy the rental property as longs as she/he complies with the terms and conditions of the rental agreement, including, but not limited to, the payment of rent. In every state, tenants are afforded certain protections under the law.

Why do I need to conduct a background check on my tenant?

A tenant must be thoroughly screened before leasing your property to her/him. Whether you own an apartment complex, a number of duplexes, or even a home or two, knowing exactly who your tenants are is paramount. Conducting a proper tenant background screening can save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars. A tenant credit check will indicate whether your tenant pays on time or if at all. A tenant screen will indicate whether you are renting an owner’s dream or a nightmare.

As a property owner, it is always better to be safe than sorry. Tenant screenings provide owners with a certain level of security and help deter undesirable situations. This is why choosing the right background service is so important. Most background screenings are relatively economical, however, one must consider the quality and the know-how of the screening company.

A thorough background screening should include criminal history, evictions, and a credit check. There are a number of ways to obtain these reports, but the fastest, most cost-effective, and best method is through an online company. The pricing usually ranges between $25 to $100 depending on the depth of your report.

Who should conduct the “tenant screening?”

The key to finding the right background screening service, or tenant screening company, is simply to research. Seek out ones that follow the law and regulations when it comes to conducting background checks. Avoid shady firms as they can lead to getting you into some pretty hot legal water. Violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act or a Consumer’s Right to Privacy is something you want to avoid at all costs.

Make sure the background screening service:

  • Has a valid business license
  • Possesses a clear and concise pricing
  • Defines their total process for protecting sensitive information
  • Has proper paperwork for needed consent and release of information
  • Verifies the name of the applicant, DOB (Date of Birth), and Social Security Number (SSN)
  • Follow all the laws pertaining to the Fair Credit Reporting Act
  • Searches Circuit Court and County Records for every county the potential tenant has resided in for the past five years
  • The screener has customizable services such as Patriot Act Terrorist Watch List searches, Office of Foreign Assets searches (OFAC), and landlord reference searches
  • Verifies the accuracy of your completed report

Conducting background screenings is not a negative thing. It is not used to cast judgment on the character of potential tenants, however, it should be used as an indicator as to what type of tenant you’ll be renting your property.

Gravitas Investigations offers tenant screening that includes: Credit History, Evictions, Criminal Backgrounds, and much more.

How To Beat A Surveillance Investigator At His (Or Her) Own Game

If you want to beat surveillance, let’s assume a few things first.

Let’s say you get hurt at your job and go on workers’ compensation (WC). And let’s also say that after you’re off work for a few days you start to enjoy not having to get up and go to work every morning. You get paid about two-thirds of your weekly paycheck for sitting on your behind. Occasionally, your employer makes you go to medical checkups and visits, but that’s it.

You like your new life.

What you don’t know is that your employer has hired a surveillance investigator to find out exactly what you are doing with this newfound free time.

There are tons of red flags that signal to an employer that a workers’ compensation claimant is fraudulent. To find out if an employee is abusing the system, employers hire private investigators to conduct surveillance to follow up on those suspicions.

We stake out your house, dig through your public records, and scour your social media posts for clues. We want to catch you, but you don’t want to get caught. You’ve become accustomed to your lifestyle.

Here’s how to get away with a workers’ compensation fraud and not get caught by a PI like me.

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