Frequently Asked Questions

Where does our information come from?

We don’t hack or use illegal resources. We use skill-based research techniques that are akin to those depicted on the television show “Mr. Robot”, but we do not break any laws gathering your data and intelligence. Shannon belongs to many earned-access and credential-based data providers that allow access to licensed private investigators but are also generally not utilized by law firms or law enforcement.  These are the best available resources that provide up to the second current data that no online publicly available database can touch. In other words, we do not use the databases that the public uses. The public is not granted access to these very powerful data vendors since their data products are potentially dangerous in the wrong hands.

Do people who provide investigative services have to be licensed?

In most states, yes, as is the requirement in California. According to the CA Bus & Prof Code § 7523 (2018), it is a misdemeanor to represent yourself as a private investigator when you are not. When in doubt, run the person’s name through your state’s licensing agency to look them up. If their name does not show in the result, then that person is misleading you about their credentials, and if your matter does go to court, the other side’s representation will certainly bring up the fact that your case is predicated on evidence gathered by an unlicensed investigator the judge may throw out the evidence, causing damage to your case.

How do I find a good private investigator? Shannon’s advice is fourfold.

  1. Look on your state’s licensing site (https://search.dca.ca.gov/) and enter the name of the company or the investigator. The result will show you if they are currently or historically licensed by that governing agency. If their name or company name does not show up here with a current license, then they are not licensed and may not be in your state’s compliance requirements.
  2. Look your potential investigator up on LinkedIn.com. Your potential contractor should have an active and extensive LinkedIn profile that has been recently updated. There should be at least many continuing education credits or classes listed, and an impressive list of connections and followers indicating many years in business. Even though you are considering hiring a person who may conduct “covert” investigations, this is no excuse for a lack of a professional history on the platform that is designed to do just that – help you see someone’s legitimate professional history without an actual resume.
  3. Look for appearances and acknowledgments. It may sound counter-intuitive, but if your potential legal partner knows how to best serve you, then they will be asked to teach other professionals in their industry. Also, it is not uncommon for investigators to receive recognition from their peers and their clients publicly by being awarded top honors in some capacity.
  4. Ask your potential investigator if they are a member of any professional associations. Most of us in the investigations field choose to belong to many different professional associations, but some are more difficult to be accepted as a member than others. Four of the organizations that Shannon is a member in good standing with, the National Association of Legal Investigators (NALI), the California Association of Licensed Investigators, (CALI), the Southern California Fraud Investigator’s Association, (SCFIA), and the International Intelligence Network (Intellenet), all require a vetting process by their board members, and membership is not guaranteed. It is offered and accepted. If their name is not mentioned as a member in good standing with at least one professional association, then you may have cause for concern, so use your good judgment.

What does a private investigator charge?

While sometimes we can charge for a flat-rate task assignment, like a simple locate request, we have seen that most of our investigations have become more complex as our service offerings have evolved. We always consult with our clients to see how we might best serve them, then offer a purpose-built investigative path, that is outlined in writing and discusses pricing options and timelines that will meet your budget. Then we forward our retainer agreement which outlines all our agreed details including our scope of work, for signature. Once we receive the retainer (just like your attorney), we will begin your assignment as agreed. But we like to think of our investigations as a conversation that is had between our office and you. We may also make suggestions on how we may modify the investigation to serve you better, which will be agreed to in writing via email. We will always handle your matter according to industry best practices and serve you most effectively and efficiently. So, to answer your question-it depends. Schedule your free consultation, so we can talk about what matters to you.