Private Investigator Used Fraud to Access My Personal Info – Can I Sue?

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When a private investigator is necessary for a case or claim, he or she is not given the permission to break the law even if he or she needs the information for the issue at hand. If there is proof that the professional did break the law in some manner, the target of the investigation may have legal recourse against him or her.

They mythical tales of what a private investigator does and is are not the actual truth. These professionals are often found tailing suspects of certain crimes or unethical activities. However, the PI looking into the case is not given the ability to break the law. He or she cannot break into a private residence and obtain evidence. These details would be inadmissible in a court of law. Additionally, if discovered, the professional may face court himself or herself for these actions. Many are in vehicles performing surveillance on the target without ever getting close to the individual.

What a Private Investigator Does

Many PI’s hired for a case work for a legal or professional source. These individuals have the access to search, research and surveil a target legally. Gathering and acquiring details through audio or video capture occurs with frequency. These professionals also may have special access through their employers that may permit the garnering of information that appears to be illegal. However, breaking the law is not an available option. With experience, tools and equipment, these professional hires are able to examine and assess the data they obtain with greater care than others in many situations.

What a Private Investigator is not Permitted

A PI does not have the permission to hack into computers or phones. He or she does not have the consent to tap phones unless working with a law enforcement agency with this type of power. And then, the PI may only tap the phones for the authority without actually listening to any of the calls. However, the professional may research the information needed in other ways such as accessing public records and using a computer to copy certain files available to the public through local and city records about various deals or situations. This could even include private financial data available in public access based on the entity or person included in the circumstances.

When investigating someone, the PI may make use of emailing or social media accounts. While not able to hack into these, the investigator may contact the target and initiate communication that is ongoing. Social media such as Facebook is usually open with the person capturing details easily without breaking any laws. Privacy is practically nonexistent in such formats, and the PI may use the information against the individual when building the case. None of these actions are considered illegal in most circumstances. Even using a fake account is not often a violation any regulations in the city or state.

Pursuing Action against a Private Investigator

Before trying to seek legal action, the person needs to know that a PI may follow, surveil or target a specific person based on his or her hire. He or she could follow the person provided the areas are public or within his or her rights in private domain. This could even include online presence and through communication with others. Many PIs are able to capture more evidence through various methods than many believe is possible. As long as none of these are illegal, the professional has free reign to complete his or her job. If any of his or her activities are within the legal realm, the person has little or no legal recourse available.

If the PI did commit a crime or harmed someone in the process of his or her investigation, it is possible to pursue a lawsuit against him or her. Using fraud to garner details or steal information is one way that the target may have legal options. Another is negligence or intentional harm. It is important to contact a lawyer to determine if the person has a possible claim. If the PI is working for law enforcement, this may be out of his or her reach.

Support through a Lawyer against a Private Investigator

Contacting a lawyer about a PI is important when it appears he or she has broken a law. These violations may provide the ability to seek a lawsuit against him or her. The lawyer will determine if there is enough evidence to progress to the courts.


Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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