When most people call our offices, it is their first time ever dealing with a private investigator, so they really don’t know what to expect. I think a lot of people expect to hear a recording (usually a tool of 1-man shows) and others expect someone to answer by identifying ourselves as an “Integrity Investigations.” To be fair, in our evolution as a company, we’ve used both of the above processes to handle incoming calls, but here’s what you can expect these days:
In most cases, when you blindly call a private investigator that you find on the Internet, you will either end up in someone’s voice mail or the phone will be answered by someone on a cell phone. When you call our offices, you will most likely get a live person answering (Don’t be surprised). The only exception would be when we are tied up on all of our lines with other callers, or when it is after 10pm.
We usually answer, “This is Kristen (or Paul, etc). How can I help you?” This is for a reason. We have had situations where our investigation targets found our number in our client’s phone log and they called it to see who answered. How do we know this? Because the caller then, in a less than friendly tone, says, “Who is this?” We remind them that they called us and ask them who they were trying to reach and every now and then we will hear something like, “This number was in my husband’s call log. I demand to know who you are.” Well, the fact is, if they’ve made it this far, the cat is usually out of the bag as far as the target knowing that something is awry, but at least we now know that they know, so we can adjust our approach appropriately (and let the client know). In any case, we aren’t going to reveal to them that they’re talking to a private investigator.
If you call during business hours, your call will be answered by someone in our office, most likely a receptionist. They will ask you how they can help you and if they determine that you are looking for a private investigator, they’ll ask what kind of situation it is and direct you to a senior private investigator (usually an investigation supervisor). They will also ask you for your name (You can just give them your first name, or even make up a name). You will then be directed to one of our licensed private investigators that you can discuss your case with.
If you call our offices during non-business hours (after 5pm or on a weekend/holiday), your call will most-likely be forwarded directly to a senior private investigator. Know that if you call during non-business hours, the person you are speaking with might be taking your call on their cell phone, so they might be in a grocery store, or you might hear their dog bark if someone knocks at their door.
A few other things to understand before you call:
Anything discussed on the call is confidential. The fact is, we could/would/should lose our private investigator license if we violated your confidentiality. You don’t even have to give your real name when calling. We understand that you have probably recently been lied to, ripped off, cheated on or screwed over in some manner and that you aren’t very trusting of anyone right now. Your confidentiality is important and there is no reason for you to share any personal information before you make the decision to hire a private investigator. However, we will need your real information if we both decide to move forward with an investigation.
In most cases, we can have a 5-10 minute conversation on the phone. You will most likely have some questions for us and we will probably have some questions for you to help us both better understand the issues. If it makes sense at that point to move forward, we can make an appointment to meet in our office to discuss the issue further, face to face. (In some circumstances, if we both feel comfortable, we can move forward with the process on the telephone)
We don’t take every case. First of all, we only handle a certain number of cases at any given time. Experience has taught us that when we exceed that number, the quality of our services drops, and that is unacceptable. If we can’t handle the case at that time, we will let you know and either fit you in when we have an opening, or else refer you to another reputable and competent private investigator. Additionally, we do not handle cases for criminal defendants. That means if you are under indictment or are in prison, we will not handle your case. We also will not take your case if we suspect that you are involved in criminal activity, or if we suspect you are being untruthful with us. We have been in business for over ten years and we are fortunate enough to be in a position where we can be more selective of the investigations we handle. We also will not conduct investigations for persons who have any kind of court-ordered protection or restraining order filed against them.
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The goal of this site is simple; to be the most-trusted and best source of information about every aspect of private investigators and private investigations, whether you are looking to do your own private investigation or considering hiring a private investigator.
Paul Baeppler retired as captain from the Cleveland Police Department after over 30 years of service. At the same time, he has also owned and run several private investigation and security businesses licensed in Ohio, California and New York for the past 20 years.