Hiring a Private Investigator in California

Ask someone you trust for a referral. This person could be a friend, attorney, or professional associate. What you want to avoid is letting the word get around that you’ve hired an investigator. If no one in your immediate circle can provide a referral, you can check one of the reputable California professional investigator associations that monitor licensing status, customer feedback and overall performance. The two largest organization in California are the California Association of Licensed Investigators and the Professional Investigators of California.

More than likely, it will be in your best interest to hire an investigator in your local area so that travel and lodging expenses can be mitigated. However, it is important to ask the potential investigator about any “conflicts of interest” prior to engaging their services.


Verify the investigators license status. Most states require that private investigators have a license issued by the government. The requirements to obtain such a license are usually quite rigorous and demand that the licensee has no criminal record. California investigators must also pass state-specific tests to gauge their qualifications and experience and provide proof that they have 6,000 hours of associated experience prior to applying.

Ask for the license number.Once you’ve located an investigator you want to hire, ask for their license number. The California Department of Consumer Affairs / Bureau of Security and Investigative Services is the California government agency that regulates licensing in the state of California. They have a very consumer friendly on-line license verification system. The system is located at the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services website.

Remember, it is illegal for a person in California to act as a private investigator without a license and it’s also illegal for a consumer to engage the services of a unlicensed person to provide “investigative services.” If the person refuses to give you their license number, I would stop all dialogue immediately, report you findings to Bureau of Security 針孔鏡頭 and Investigative Services and start your search over.


Determine if the potential investigator has appropriate insurance coverage. Although California state licensing does not require insurance to be licensed unless armed, most “professional investigators” will carry insurance sufficient to cover all aspects of their business. An investigator without insurance coverage becomes a liability for the consumer in that they are working at the direction of their client.


Now that you know the investigator is legal, you need to make sure their competent. A few minutes spent talking with them can be enough to make a sound decision.

Start by looking for online references to the investigator. You can often learn a lot from a simple Google search that may yield information about past cases, successes, blunders and areas of expertise.

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