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What are different types of investigations?

As a private investigator in Birmingham Alabama, I have handled a variety of diffrent types of cases. The majority of the cases I deal with are marital infidelity cases. The reason for that is simple; that is the area in which we specialize. There is a broad area of types of investigations that an Alabama private investigator can do. This page may help you to understand a little about some of the different types of investigatons we conduct.

What is a 'background investigation'?

A background investigation, it depends on the level of the background. Background investigation can consist of looking into somebody's credit to see if they're the kind of person that is irresponsible, to their driving record, to criminal history, if they've been arrested or been prosecuted for crimes. Do they have any restraining orders against them for domestic violence? Have they been sued a lot because they haven't handled their finances right, or wronged somebody else. To extending that to their character, which you only find out from personal interviews with people that have known them. Now you're going to get a lot of biased information sometimes because not everybody is going to make everybody else happy. You have to know how to weight that as to whether what you're gathering…that's not written in stone…but if somebody's opinion is valid or not. That's your typical background investigation and that can be done as pre-employment, that can be done because you are thinking about investing with that person and you want to know what kind of person they are. Maybe they ripped somebody off in the past in an investment. Those kind of things.
What is the goal of a background investigation?

The goal is to find the truth, but there's a couple other levels. If they're in a business that requires a license, are they properly licensed? Have they ever had any kind of suspensions in their license? If they have any entry into any sexual predator databases? Any violence in their past? Any bit of information that might cause harm to the client that has hired you to look into their thing. And like I said, my biggest clients for that area are nursing homes, school bus companies, day-care centers. You get also, strangely enough, some people want to do a background investigation on a doctor or a dentist that they're thinking about using. They want to know if this guy has ever had any actions taken against him by the medical board or the dental board. You get various reasons to look into somebody's background. I've had people say, I want the guy that works on my car. I want to check to see if he's ever been sued because he did a bad job on somebody's brakes. You'd be surprised.

What is an 'undercover investigation'?

An undercover investigation is specifically to inject yourself into the particular entity you're investigating. I've worked on organized crime, but you also get industrial theft, internal theft, you get guys that are investigating the investigators. I'll give you an example. Let's say it's Colbert's Electronics. They have a huge anti-theft team working for them that do shoplifting and stuff like that. But there are other people that even the security team doesn't know, who were hired where they go to work as a regular employee - they might be a clerk, a salesman, a janitor, and that's just the job that they get put into. Sometimes they have something that's totally illegal – industrial espionage – where somebody will say “I want you to go get a job with this other company and report back to me on how they mix their pancake batter.” There are people that do that. The most typical undercover investigations involve going to work for a company, being hired as a regular employee, and looking for theft and drug use among the employees. For a lot of anti-drug investigations, you'll have an employee who's either selling drugs or using drugs and they want to find about it.
How is an undercover investigation conducted?

An undercover investigation is conducted by injecting yourself into that situation. Let's say, if it's a business, it's real easy. The company says, "Okay, you're going to be one of our employees. You're going to have that job, and you'll collect the money for that job, but you'll report to us everything that's going on, and how the employees are acting." They might be investigating a sexual harassment case. They want to find out if Billy Bob is really hitting on all the girls working at the factory. So they'll put you to work next to them. But, you have other kinds of undercover investigations that are similar to what law enforcement does, where you are going as somebody that has nothing to do with that company, that's working to see how they do their business practices. Let's say, if you're a private investigator, and you're hired by the Bureau of Automotive Repair. They may say, "We need you to check out all these repair places, and we're going to supply you with vehicles that have specific defects, or no defects at all, and we need you to send somebody in to get that car repaired, and see what happens." The County of Los Angeles hires private investigators that will be of any combination of ethnic group, a mixed couple that will go out and answer an ad to rent an apartment, to see if they are violating cooperative laws. There are just all kinds of undercover investigations that are done. They all involve injecting yourself into the opposition's position, like going in and being one of them.
What is the goal of an undercover investigation?

The goal of an undercover investigation is to gather information as truthfully as possible. For example when you are interviewing a celebrity and in the process ask them some question there is no case that they will be provide truthful answers. In that case, the best way to get the truth about them is by closely observing them. Observation is a critical technique used in undercover investigation. The key thing is that you have to observe the situation without others knowing that you are investing. This is called subrosa investigation. A subrosa is an old Latin term meaning "under the rose" and this is an important form of investigation.
What is a 'marital infidelity investigation'?

It's generally when one or the other member of a relationship doesn't trust or has a suspicion that the person has been cheating on them. The cheating can come two different ways. It can be either cheating on them with a specific person or they're just a cheat. They're somebody who will take any opportunity to be with somebody else.
How is a marital infidelity or adultery investigation conducted?

The ways of verifying the fidelity in someone can be done any where from checking out your activity on the computer. Lots of people are cheating and they think that their partner isn't going to check if they're on Facebook. There are a lot of things, areas that you can't go into. You can not hack into someone's email legally and find out who they're doing. Sometimes their spouse has their password. They might if they're married they both see the phone bills and say, "What's this number being that's being called all the time?" They might call up an investigator and say can you crack this phone number and tell me who it is. They might look at the credit card bill and say, "I don't remember staying at the motel 6 on the 23rd." What ever it is. There are a lot of ways of looking. There's physical surveillance. Physical surveillance is the number one way of checking out the fidelity of somebody. And the number one day of checking on a cheating spouse in the entire United States, probably the entire world is on Valentines Day. There are no unemployed private investigators on Valentines Day.
What is the goal of a marital infidelity or adultery investigation?

Alabama is a no-fault divorce state, so marital infidelity can be your reason; but you don't have to prove anything. You can get your divorce without it. In New York, a couple of other states and a lot of bible belt states, you can't get a divorce unless you can prove that your spouse has been unfaithful to you. So you want to get that information. You want to know and document on videotape that they are cheating. The goal always is to find the truth.

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