To Catch a Cheater: How to Hire a Private Investigator?
Have things changed with your wife or husband?
Are there clues leading you to believe that something is going on?
Sadly, you are probably right. You know that person better than anyone, and your instinct is unfortunately accurate, most of the time. So what do you do now? Do you spy on your loved one? Do you track their phone with GPS or hack their email?
First and foremost, just because there’s smoke, there is not always fire in relationship. You are too close to be objective. When you are involved in a relationship, it is difficult to think clearly and rationally. Friends and family can help, but often they are adding fuel to the fire. If you are seeing the signs of a cheater, make notes or create a log and just start paying attention first.
Should you confront your spouse or significant other?
Unless you have slam-dunk evidence, don’t do it! Evidence in the form of videos, eyewitnesses, or photos are usually irrefutable. If you jump the gun and have that awkward discussion too soon, you may create a more careful and sneakier cheater. Subsequently, collecting the evidence after that discussion will be more difficult and may be more expensive if you need a private investigator.
Just in case you have your head in the sand, here are some of the clues to watch:
- Secret cell phone behaviors have been noticed such as a locking phone, turning it off when it is normally on, or just hiding it from you.
- A new interest in fitness or looking better. Are they tanning, working out, dieting, and using perfumes or colognes? Do they have the remnants of perfumes on their clothes if they are a man, or cologne if a woman?
- Your partner seems less intimate – this might be subtle unless it happened quickly. In that case, it is a red flag for sure.
You may want to start keeping track of your spouse or significant other’s spending. Is there a credit/debit card history of their spending? These records obviously reveal locations of restaurants, bars, hotels, and floral shops, to name a few of the common spending habits of cheaters.
In your relationship, you may have already suspected these behaviors from years past, and then suddenly, it happens again. Perhaps when things were off kilter back then, she/he was cheating. Maybe you both went to a counselor and perhaps a re-visiting of the relationship counselor is needed. It may be covered under your medical benefits plan, but if not, it can be expensive. If the relationship is worth saving to you, that might be the course of action before hiring a private investigator.
Another consideration might be to consult with an attorney. They are bound by attorney-client privilege, so you can confide and get advice from them. However, attorneys will not be able to provide proof of the infidelity or might not be the best to go to for advice on your relationship. But if your attorney has a great investigator, that may be a good approach. Also be aware, attorney rates are $200 – $400 per hour. An investigator’s rate is usually between $40 and $75 per hour, depending upon your area and expenses involved.
What to expect when hiring a private investigator for suspected infidelity?
Do a little bit of investigative questioning of your investigator. Here’s a checklist:
- Ask her/him if they will provide video documentation of their hours on-the-clock. You want proof of the infidelity and the investigator’s work product.
- What is the hourly rate? Be sure to know all the expenses in advance and get them in-writing. Retainers are common, especially in cheater cases.
- Be sure you have established communication protocol with the investigator. The investigator may not update you hourly, daily, or weekly, so they may not be the investigator for you. Updates are important, but too much communication can be detrimental to you and the investigator. Setting the expectations in advance helps ease the tension and makes for a better result.
- Don’t hire a rookie. Many investigators became involved in the industry after a successful career in law enforcement (detective work) or they have been doing domestic surveillance efforts for years. That’s what you want. Retired or former cops are good, most importantly is that they are capable of documenting and reporting back to you.
- Lastly, make sure that the investigator has video cameras, spy-cams, dash-cams, trackers, multiple vehicles and good intelligence or pre-surveillance from you, the hiring party.
Are you a concerned party or a stalker?
I know it sounds nuts, but we get hired by stalkers that cannot let go. People lie to the investigator, use the investigator to spy on their estranged lover that often has moved on (months or years ago). If you are under an injunction or a protective order prohibiting you from being involved with that other person, hiring a P.I. might seem like a good idea, but it could land you in jail and create double-trouble. The private investigator may file a civil lawsuit against you as well. In short, don’t be a stalker!
Do you want or need to know?
What is the value of your peace of mind? If you are married or considering marrying this person that might be cheating, your entire life is in play. If you can’t trust them, who can you trust? Not only is your peace of mind extremely important, but the financial aspects and the future trust issues may not ever be restored. Most need to know with a great degree of certainty what is happening with their loved one, if anything is happening at all. Once you have gathered your clues and noted your suspicions, they need to be confirmed. Now it is time to call a qualified and licensed investigator to provide the evidence and the peace of mind that you need to move forward.
David Ferrante of
David Ferrante & Associates, Detective Agency
Agency # 1700214
Serving Southwest Florida