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  Gilbertson Investigations


Minnesota Private Investigation Services

Hiring a private investigator is an important step and one that needs to be closely scrutinized. Engaging the services of a private investigation service involves several issues that must be understood by the client. Proceeding with caution and understanding the risks, will make hiring and working with a private investigator more effective.

The laws, customs and practices in each state and/or jurisdiction may vary greatly when conducting a private investigation. There is potential exposure to the private investigator for violation of the laws and potentially to the underlying client who orders the investigation. Private citizens must consider these issues when hiring a private investigation service. In addition, the methods of conducting a private investigation vary greatly. If the investigator is not experienced and knowledgeable of the laws, it may turn out that the information gathered by the private investigator may have limited value to the client.

Outlined below are four essentials items to consider when conducting a private investigation or hiring a private investigator:

1. Be sure the Private Investigator is Licensed

In most U.S. States, the law requires that private investigators be licensed. The private investigator must register their business with the Department of State or other governmental authority and usually must post a bond and demonstrate that they have the proper insurance(s). In addition to the requirements for bonding and insurance, it is typically required that the private investigator pass a rigorous written test; that (s)he have experience performing investigations and that the investigator have a full background check, including criminal history, references, and prior employment.

2. Be sure the Private Investigation Service is reputable

In addition to licensure, it is important to verify the reputation, track record, integrity and history of the private investigation service.

Check with the BBB (Better Business Bureau) to see if there are any complaints against the private investigator or investigations firm.

3. Be sure to get a Letter of Engagement and Scope of Work

Any reputable private investigation service should supply you with a proposed letter of engagement. This agreement should spell out the precise terms and conditions of the proposed assignment between you and the investigation service. The agreement should cover, among other things, the hourly rate, an estimate of the total cost of the assignment, the time frame of completion, the list of objectives and the overall goals of the assignment.

4. Be sure to understand the legal and practical risks of conducting a private investigation

Just as with any important undertaking, conducting a private investigation brings with it risks and issues that must be identified and understood by the potential client. For instance, when hiring a private investigation service, you must know the limitations of any private investigation service in terms of the laws of the State and Federal government. Many state privacy laws may be implicated when conducting private investigations.

The private investigator should be familiar with these laws and rules and should be able to explain the significance of them as they relate to your particular case.

For further information on this and any other related issues, please email Dan Gilbertson at