Source: Internet Article: "Hiring a Private Investigator to Catch a Cheating Husband" by Dean Cortez
Realizing that your spouse is being unfaithful is certainly a painful experience. For many people, it's even more gut-wrenching to suspect that you are being cheated on, and that your cheating partner is lying to your face...but all you have at this point is your "gut feeling," and you don't have solid facts or proof.
Alas, when a spouse strongly fears that their partner is cheating, and that there is another person in the picture, they are frequently correct. But it can be a serious mistake for them to confront their spouse with these allegations when there is no concrete evidence. It is simply too easy for the cheating spouse to deny the allegations, and twist it around -- accusing their partner of being jealous, paranoid, etc.
So what do you do when your "gut" is telling you that your spouse is cheating -- but you lack proof? This is when many people turn to a private investigator. There are private investigators for hire in most cities, and they will often want to meet with you up front to get all of the details prior to them starting any kind of surveillance.
Yes, there are plenty of ways for you to gather evidence on your own, and use to "build your case" against your cheating spouse, but a private investigator is often your best bet for numerous reasons.
The first thing you need to understand is, you may be breaking the law by trying to keep an eye on your spouses's computer and phone usage. Although all kinds of "surveillance technology" and "catch-a-cheater" devices are sold over the internet, in many cases it is not legal for a private individual (such as yourself) to utilize them.
If you install software on your partner's computer to examine what they're doing on the internet, or tape their phone calls, or follow them and take pictures while they are with someone else, you could actually be arrested and go to jail!
There are serious privacy laws and anti-stalking laws that you must respect, even if you are simply trying to uncover the truth about a cheating spouse. Breaking these laws can be a serious crime, even though most people have no idea about this.
This is when a good private investigator can be extremely useful. An experienced private investigator will be well-versed in the laws in your state, and because they are licensed professionals, they have the legal right to put people under surveillance and gather facts in ways that you are not allowed to. Then, if the investigator is able to gather conclusive evidence on the cheating spouse, he will sit down with you and present it. In the future, if this case goes to court, this evidence can be offered because it was acquired by a fair and impartial third party (the investigator).
On the other hand, if you were to "stalk" your spouse and secretly record their activities, this evidence would be discounted -- and you could wind up in trouble.
It would be a dreadful mistake for you to accuse your spouse of cheating when they may, in fact, be doing nothing wrong. That could cause as much harm to your relationship as infidelity itself. If you tend to be a jealous or suspicious person by nature, then it can be a good idea to talk to a private investigator who will approach this without any bias, and focus purely on seeking out the proof.
Of course, this will require you to spend some money. An infidelity investigation to catch a cheater usually will not be cheap; the costs will depend on how wide-ranging and difficult the investigation will be. (In some cases, the investigator will need to travel to follow the spouse on business trips.) You can expect to typically pay around $100 per hour for an investigator, and he will normally ask you to pay a retainer up front.
But this can also be the best investment you will ever make. If you've been tortured by the thought of your spouse cheating, then you truly can't put a price tag on getting closure and being able to move ahead with your life.
Note: Refer to our "FAQs" tab for a list of signs your spouse may be cheating.
If one of your loved ones goes missing, the very first thing you should do is contact your local law enforcement agency. If you find that you still need/want the help of a private investigator, Innovative Investigations Inc.can help you. Below is a Missing Person's Checklist, which lists actions that Innovative Investigations Inc. will work with you on to help you locate your loved one.
MISSING PERSONS CHECKLIST*
You know your loved one better than anyone. If you feel something is amiss, you may have to convince law enforcement (LE). Also keep in mind that if foul play is suspected, a family has to be cleared first.
IMMEDIATELY AFTER SUSPECTING A LOVED ONE OF MISSING:
- Look around the home and property in case your loved one is hiding, has fallen or is hurt. Keep an eye out for any notes or clues.
- Contact family, friends, work and/or school to verify person is actually missing.
- Keep a journal or notebook from the very beginning to include every phone conversation, names, dates, times, what was discussed, points of contacts, what has been done, searches conducted, family and friends involved, and anything that seems out of the ordinary or suspicious.
- A trusted family member or friend can help you with these tasks.
THE FIRST 24 HOURS (THERE IS NO 24 HOUR WAITING PERIOD!)
- File a missing persons report by contacting local, county OR state law enforcement (LE). Or you may call 9-1-1. When speaking to LE it is important to be completely honest regarding the circumstances involving your loved one’s disappearance.
- If your loved one was involved in illegal activities, drugs, etc., it is very important that detectives be made aware. Despite some public opinion, this does not make the case less important to detectives.
- Keep a copy of the case number and name/phone number of detective assigned to the case.
- Request information to be entered into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database and keep a copy of the NCIC number - starts with “M” followed by nine numbers (ex: M-123456789).
- (NOTE: Some LE are reluctant to give out the NCIC number – just make sure your loved one has been entered.)
- Contact local hospitals including psychiatric wards, drug rehabilitation centers, and short-term emergency clinics. Include surrounding county and city hospitals (including ones in larger cities around your area). Consider covering a 50-mile radius. (Note: hospitals may not release patient information due to HIPAA laws, so consider faxing fliers to the hospital and request they put them in their emergency room.)
- Contact local jails or juvenile detention centers, homeless shelters, and area motels.
- Contact the state (and surrounding state) medical examiner’s (ME) office or coroner to inquire about any unidentified persons they may have. (Note: Some ME/Coroner’s Offices are too large to accept individual missing person’s flyers so you may have to simply contact them periodically to inquire about unidentified persons.)
- If your loved one’s car is also missing, check with local towing yards and impound lots within a 50-mile radius. Also, check the department of motor vehicle to see if tags have been turned in, any moving violations have occurred, and if the car is under a suspension.
- Contact the Red Cross in the event there was an accident and they have had contact with your loved one.
- Contact the Salvation Army in the event your loved one has been staying in their shelters.
- Contact the local Search and Rescue (SAR) team. Depending upon the circumstances of disappearance, a man tracker can locate someone whom may have left on foot. He/she should be one of the first on the scene as the scene is likely to become degraded as more people/dogs are around. Organize family, friends and community to conduct subsequent searches. (Note: Most police agencies have to authorize searches.)
- Drive and/or walk the areas your loved one frequents. If your loved one was driving, be on the lookout for areas that appear to be places where a car may have left the road. Some vehicle accidents may be hidden by brush.
- Make a list of contacts for Law Enforcement. The list should include friends and places frequented by the missing person. Include full names, phone numbers, home addresses, and work numbers and work addresses.
THE FIRST WEEK:
- Gather recent photos of your loved one (head shots are best – smiling and not smiling, profiles, frontal views). If recent photos are not available, be sure to clarify the year of the picture being used and what the physical differences are. You can also obtain a copy of your loved one’s driver’s license or ID photo through your state’s Department of Public Safety, but this can be a time consuming task. You may also consider having the photo age-progressed to better represent what your loved one now looks like. This service may be provided by various missing persons’ clearinghouses, LE or Project EDAN at www.projectedan.us at no charge.
- Create flyers using the photos chosen. Write a description to include: the color of hair and eyes, height, weight, date of birth, race, and gender. Include identifiers such as eyeglasses, braces, marks, blemishes, scars, hair texture, tattoos (include description, color, location and photos if available), piercings, any unusual characteristics, clothing/shoe/jewelry description. Include anything that sets your loved one apart from other missing persons within the same age group, physical characteristics and time frame. List all known medical problems (Asthma, depression, glasses/contacts, hearing aids, heart problems, medications, disabilities, psychological problems, previous broken bones/fractures, etc.). Did they take any money, a purse/wallet or extra clothing? NOTE: DO NOT put your personal contact information (phone/home address) on the flyer. This could put you in a vulnerable situation.
- Post flyers in allowable, high traffic public locations: homeless shelters, hospital emergency rooms, convenience stores, local coffee shops, grocery stores, gas stations, bus stations/taxi cab services, churches, social services office, drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers, local media (news stations and newspapers), tattoo parlors, salvation army, etc.
- E-mail and post the flyer on Facebook to everyone in your address book/friend list. Ask friends and family to post and email the flyer also.
- Contact your loved one’s dentist and obtain a copy of the records. Provide police with the dentist’s name and number. Verify that a copy of the dental records have been picked up. Know which database dental information will be kept (i.e., NCIC, CODIS, with LE, with ME, etc.)
- Contact your loved one’s doctors and obtain copies of x-rays and medical records. Provide police with the doctor’s name(s) and phone number(s). Provide medical information and verify where it will be kept (LE, ME etc.)
- Find out if fingerprints are available (or footprints). These may be obtained from previous ID/Safety initiatives, military records, previous arrest records, etc.
- Contact your local media; Inquire about doing a Public Service Announcement (PSA).
- Contact your local cable company; Inquire about doing a Public Service Announcement (PSA)
- Contact your local/county crime stoppers organization. Note: Allow time for board approval. If foul play is suspected they may offer a reward, which families can add to.
- Contact your local assemblyperson and/or senator for your voting district. Ask for their help in getting the flyer and information out to the public.
- List your loved one’s case with the state’s missing persons clearinghouse (usually within the Department of Public Safety) from which your loved one disappeared. If LE is to take care of this, verify that it has been done and that the information is correct.
- For children under 18, list the case with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) at missingkids.com or 1-800-THE-LOST. If the missing person is 18 or older, list the case with the National Center for Missing Adults (NMCA) at theyaremissed.org or 1-800-690-FIND.
- List the case with other missing persons’ websites such as North American Missing Persons Network (NAMPN) at www.nampn.org, Help Find The Missing at http://www.helpfindthemissing.org/missing_database/, or Doe Network (for cases older than 9 years) at www.doenetwork.org. There are several other sites. Any of the above should have links to take you to other sources.
- Maintain a good working relationship with LE and don’t be afraid to ask for updates. Keep in mind that a detective may not share information that could jeopardize the case.
- Ask the detective how you can help (posting approved flyers, contacting other organizations, conducting personal searches.)
- Give LE notes, computer files, etc. anything that may help with the investigation.
- Consider having the case escalated to the FBI IF you suspect that your loved one has been abducted and possibly taken across state lines.
THE MONTHS AHEAD:
- Consider offering a reward if you haven’t already.
- Organize events to keep the case alive in the media and with the public (loved one’s birthday, missing date anniversary).
- Provide LE with any updates or leads that you may have. Let them know if your loved one has been located or heard from.
- Provide updates to the missing persons sites you’ve listed the case. Let them know if your loved one has been located so that the case can be removed.
- Notify LE of any address, phone or email changes if you move.
- Submit a DNA sample to be entered into the database for comparison with unidentified remains. There is no cost for you. Your local LE will be able to collect the sample.
- NOTE: The DNA sample can only be used to cross reference Missing Persons and Unidentified Persons. It is not cross-referenced with the criminal DNA database.
- Find out your state’s laws on victim’s rights because you may be entitled to certain privileges as the family member of a missing loved one.
- Verify that your loved one is still listed in NCIC about every 6 months.
- Contact crime shows such as America’s Most Wanted, 48 Hours, etc. about profiling your loved one’s case.
- Have a dedicated phone line installed complete with CallerID and a recorder. Designate someone to answer the phone.
- Create a website that includes a dedicated email address and phone number (DO NOT USE YOUR PERSONAL PHONE NUMBER)
- Find support groups for people who have missing loved ones. One suggestion is "Help Find the Missing", http://www.helpfindthemissing.org/missing_database/ has a forum where family members can discuss their loved one’s case.
- For information regarding other countries, please contact the Doe Network Administration Team at firstname.lastname@example.org
National Center For Missing Adults: www.missingadults.org
“What To Do” Missing Persons Pamphlet by Robert Cooke
Doe Network Administration Team
*This checklist is taken from the DOE website.