Discreet Investigation Service

Why It's Important to Tell Your PI the Whole Truth


After many years of being in the private investigation business, there’s only one thing that still catches me off guard: when a client hides information or shades the truth about their situation. I’m not naive to the fact that some situations are embarrassing—but if you’re paying someone for a service designed to help you, the information you provide the investigator needs to be the full truth and 100% accurate.

Following are three examples in which clients either hid information or were not forthcoming on where they obtained their information, and how this backfired and cost them a lot of money.

Example 1

Recently we were hired by a gentleman who claimed he had caught his wife cheating. She ended the affair, but the client still wanted an extensive background check, including surveillance, on the man she was seeing. He told us his wife had provided him with this individual’s name, address, place of employment, and phone number, and that he had spoken with him and was sure of the information.

We began the extensive background check as well as the surveillance investigation; however, we always complete a name and phone number confirmation. It turned out the name and phone number our client gave us didn’t match what we found. We contacted the client and he said not to worry about the phone number, as he may have written it down wrong but knew the name was correct. After about 20 hours of investigative time and 60 hours of surveillance, we put together a full report for the client detailing the subject’s background and current lifestyle.

Two days later the client called in a panic, saying he had given us the wrong information. The truth was that the client’s wife had never provided any of the information to the client except a first name. He had logged into her Facebook account and found a man with that first name; the phone number he’d provided was something he had found written down on a piece of paper in her purse.

Needless to say, the client had just paid for a complete 80-hour investigation and surveillance on the wrong person because he lied about how he came across the information. Had he told us the true version of events, we would have guided him to the correct way of finding out who the subject was.

Example 2

Our second example involves a criminal case where the client’s son was accused of assault with a weapon. The client’s son had claimed he was innocent, and that it was a case of mistaken identity. Due to the viciousness of the assault and a past criminal record the client’s son was not granted reasonable bail and the client could not bail him out. The client said his son had changed and the past record was from his youth; the client’s son maintained his innocence when we interviewed him.

After 3 days of investigative work, however, we found hard, undeniable evidence that the client’s son had in fact committed the crime—and the client himself had known all along that his son had not truly changed.

Example 3

The third example comes from a basic divorce case where a client had us document his wife’s affair. He told us he had already moved into his own place and didn’t really care about the affair itself, but that he wanted leverage for his upcoming court case—the information could help limit his alimony and division of property exposure.

We conducted a 32-hour investigation documenting his wife’s affair on three separate occasions, and provided him with the report.

After the trial the client called us displeased and said the report was not accepted into evidence. When I asked him why, he said the judge informed him that since he had left the residence and moved in with his girlfriend a year before his wife had an affair, that the infidelity of his wife was canceled by his own. The client explained that he didn’t originally tell us about the complete situation because he expected we might tell him the same thing that the judge did—and he didn’t agree with this.