Someone says you should hire a private investigator. It probably leaves you with an image of Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade. That PI is a hard-used guy who wears a fedora and talks with his fists.

Unless you’re looking for the Maltese Falcon, though, that kind of investigator isn’t very helpful. Modern PIs are tech-savvy professionals more likely to mine data than protect damsels.

That said, there are a number of situations when it makes sense to hire a private investigator. Let’s jump in and look at some of them.

You Suspect Infidelity

It’s a hard thing when you suspect your significant other of cheating on you. Even so, it still happens on a regular basis. There are some telling signs, such as:

  • odd expenses show up
  • secrecy about their schedule
  • reduced or non-existent sex life
  • communication starts breaking down
  • a lot of lying

There are alternate explanations for any and possibly even all of these signs. When they start piling up, though, it’s time to hire a private investigator. For more info check out

Regardless of the outcome of the investigation, you won’t wonder anymore.

Child Custody

After a divorce, custody is one of the most contentious issues between former spouses. Getting a change in the custody agreement almost always requires showing that the other party isn’t holding up their end of the agreement.

Hearsay from you or the kids won’t do it. You need solid evidence that your ex violates the terms. When things reach that point, you hire a private investigator.

The child custody investigation might include discrete observation, Tech, and covert cameras. The investigator sees how your ex-partner acts when they don’t know someone is watching.

If they are falling down on their agreement, that’s when it’ll happen. If they do, you get the evidence you need for a change in the terms of the agreement.

Find Hidden Assets

It’s a sad truth that spouses will hide assets in the run-up to a divorce. They’re so angry or disenchanted that they decide their spouse doesn’t deserve any part of those assets.

The law takes a dim view of this behavior, but can’t do much about it without evidence. If your spouse stows valuable art with a family member or quietly moves money offshore, it’s unlikely anyone will tell you.

If you think your spouse did hide assets as punishment or out of greed, hire a private investigator. A good PI can look for digital footprints of hidden assets, track down storage units, and look into your spouse’s family.


Do you own a small business? Then the odds are good that an employee is stealing from right now or has in the past. Approximately 35% of small businesses suffer from theft of one kind or another.

The most obvious form of theft is business products or supplies. Most businesses catch this when inventory control numbers start getting weird.

The tougher one to catch is fraud. This typically happens in bookkeeping, but it can also turn up as insider data theft. If numbers don’t add up or insider information keeps getting leaked, you can take a few routes.

Launch an internal investigation. This is tricky because you can’t know for sure who’s clean. That makes the results of any internal investigation questionable at best.

If you think the fraud is financial, you can hire an outside CPA to look at the books. This is a solid move, but you’ll need a forensic accountant for sophisticated fraud.

If you’re not sure where the fraud stems from, hire a private investigator. They can look at everyone and help pinpoint suspect behaviors.

Background Investigation

Whether you’re hiring a new employee or looking into a potential business partner, you’re well advised to do a background check. The financial health of your business is at stake.

Yet, companies that specialize in background checks frequently offer a minimal service. For example, they only run a check in the same jurisdiction as your business.

That’s not very helpful if the other person supposedly spent the last five years in a different part of the country.

If you’re looking at a big business deal or hiring a key team member, hire a private investigator for a thorough background investigation. In the best scenario, you find out the person is exactly who they say they are. In the worst case scenario, you find out they’re a criminal and dodge a disaster.

Either way, you walk away with a win.

Counter Surveillance

The modern business landscape isn’t always friendly. While it’s illegal, corporate espionage is alive and well. You can tell by the extreme lengths big corporations use in protecting their secrets.

Of course, big corporations aren’t the only ones with sensitive information to protect. Doctors, lawyers, and mental health professionals all deal with sensitive information on a daily basis. Businesses with pending patents or government contracts also need to worry about security.

Assuming someone can find a reason for entering your office or building, they can probably plant a listening device. These days, the devices are small enough to go unnoticed by untrained eyes.

While most people will never face the problem of a bug in their office, high-profile clients can make you a target. Say you suspect someone bugged your office. Hire a private investigator who understands countersurveillance.

There are devices they can use in pinpointing listening devices. Just as important, they’ll know the most likely hiding spots for bugs.

Parting Thoughts on When to Hire a Private Investigator

There are many personal and business situations where you need an outsider. That’s when you hire a private investigator.

Custody disputes are often settled with evidence that someone is violating the custody agreement. A PI can get that evidence.

Is your spouse cheating or did they hide assets? A PI can find out.

Private investigators can help run background checks or investigate potential fraud for businesses. In extreme cases, they can even help you run counter surveillance.

Sillinger Investigations offers a full range of investigation services throughout South Carolina. For questions or more information about our investigative services, contact us today.

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    Call Us Today! (888) 699-3350 
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    Stillinger Investigations is the Best Private Investigator in Columbia SC! Brian Stillinger is the owner of one of the most prominent private investigation companies in South Carolina.
    At Stillinger Investigations, we have 125+ years of combined investigative experience and a diverse team with a wide range of backgrounds and qualifications.
    We are a private investigation team focusing on adultery, child custody, insurance fraud, civil litigation and criminal defense investigations. With 12 full-time, licensed investigators, we provide prompt, thorough, dependable service to attorneys, insurance companies and individual clients throughout the Southeast US. We maintain a full range of technical and surveillance equipment, including specialize
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