Finding a private investigator is as easy an online search, but how much do you know about the person you’re hiring? Alaska is one of 5 states that does not require Private Investigators, or P.I.’s, to have a license.
We've received calls recently asking us to look into what it takes to become a P.I. and if there are any regulations on the industry.
It turns out you do not need a license to be a private investigator however having a license doesn't ensure the person you've hired is qualified.
If you've ever felt eyes watching you, or the feeling that someone was following you, it could have been a private investigator.
Anchorage police say despite the title P.I.'s don't have any more rights than the general public.
Anchorage Police Officer Dave Parker says, "They're held to the same laws as anyone else and they're also do not have access to the state computer system."
It's a common misconception that a P.I. has the ability to find out information that's not ordinarily available or that they are allowed to follow a person, but a local private investigator, in the business for over 35 years, says that's not the case.
Robert Shaw says, "I tell my clients you can do all this work yourself, all this information is readily available. The reason they hire us is because they don't have the time, they're busy running their business and running their lives, do they'd rather pay somebody to go and do it."
But that begs the question, if you're going to pay someone to do this kind of work for you, how important is it that they be licensed?
The state of Alaska does not require private investigators to have a specific private investigators license. They only require a business license.
Anchorage police officer Dave Parker says just like with anyone you hire, do your own research.
Even if you’ve done a reference check and the P.I. is licensed and bonded it doesn't mean you'll get the answers you want.
Shaw says, "I've been doing it for a long time and one of things I explain to my clients if I can't do the job I'm not going to work for you."
So next time you're looking for answers, consider this, you could be your own private investigator.