Private Investigator Software: Essential Tools for Modern Detectives

Private Investigator software
Photo by: Matthew (WMF), CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The impact and broad utility of private investigator software, apps, and online services in the field of investigation.

Technology plays a key role in any investigation business. Detectives use a combination of private investigator software such as online search tools, OSINT resources, computer software, and mobile apps to support many aspects of investigations.

Private investigator software is a general term that encompasses programs and applications installed on a computer or web server and online, web-based solutions known as SAAS (Software as a Service). SAAS is a software licensing and delivery model offered on a subscription basis and centrally hosted. Users access the service via a web browser on a PC, tablet, or mobile device. It also includes apps installed on tablets and mobile devices.

Private investigator software helps detectives:

  • Manage business operations such as accounting, billing, invoicing, and customer contact management
  • Manage cases, including assignments, case documents, photos, contacts, interview notes, expenses, etc.
  • Search for public and non-public records such as criminal histories, divorce records, address histories, driving records, financial records, and more.
  • Conduct online research and due diligence, download documents, compile dossiers, and prepare reports for court cases.
  • Coordinate communications with clients, vendors, witnesses, business partners, and other investigators. This includes phone, text, video messaging, walkie-talkie, chat, and more.

Following is an overview of the various types of software private investigators use. We tried to list only the best in each category. If you’re looking for general software, check out the list of best-selling software on Amazon. Please leave a comment if you have suggestions.

Background Checks and Public Records Search Databases

Several reputable companies offer online background checks. These services aggregate billions of public records from various disparate sources. They offer easy online access to allow people to conduct background checks, verify facts and employment history, and find missing people. Best of all, they are surprisingly affordable.

For example, BeenVerified Background Search offers plans starting at just over $20 monthly. It provides search capabilities for public records, address and phone number searches, email searches, and more. In addition, it provides mobile access via iPhones, iPads, and Android devices. 

Companies like LexisNexis Solutions for Investigations, Thomson Reuters, Data-Trac, and IRB Search offer the most robust databases. These companies provide access to billions of public records and agency databases that allow law enforcement and investigators to find missing people, run background checks, solve cases, and prevent crimes.

In addition, please read our review of Spokeo People Search for more general options on conducting background checks, searching public records, and finding missing persons. Please note that we do not recommend doing business with TruthFinder or Intelius.

If you’d like to learn about other service providers, Read our complete list of online background check services.

Case Management Software and Online Services

Case Management Software programs help PIs manage information related to investigating cases. For example, to enter and store client records, collect billing information, employee and payroll records, billing, contacts, and more.

The latest case management solutions come in the form of cloud-based services. This allows easy access via computer, tablet, and mobile devices from anywhere in the world. Case management software is particularly useful for larger private investigation agencies and law offices. Below are links to our reviews of several of the best industry-leading systems:

Computer Forensic Tools

View a list of computer forensic tools that extract data and information from PCs, laptops, and mobile devices.

Computer Monitoring and Keylogger Tools

Various computer monitoring software programs are available to assist in conducting investigations, computer forensics, and online surveillance. Investigators who conduct computer crime or security investigations should be familiar with general computer programs for business communications, customer relationship management (CRM), accounting, data recovery, and security. 

The following are private investigator software programs used to monitor PC activity, monitor network activity, and more. Please note that most of the solutions in the articles below aren’t as powerful as the latest Mobile Phone Spy Software:

  • Email Monitoring – Monitor the activity of computers locally and, in some cases, remotely. It also discusses Email Spying and other forensic tools.
  • Keyloggers—Keylogger tools are programs that log computer keystrokes and record user activity on a computer. Parents can use them to keep track of incoming and outgoing messages.
  • Network File Monitoring – Designed to monitor and track user activity on a computer network.
  • Real Time Spy – RealTime Spy is a computer monitoring program that allows you to monitor the activity on a personal computer.
  • Spy Anywhere System – Another computer monitoring tool.

Mobile Phone Tracking Software

Mobile Phone Spy Software is a unique monitoring app that monitors cell phone use remotely. It allows someone to monitor a user’s behavior on a mobile phone, tablet, or computer. It captures incoming and outgoing calls, text messages, GPS location and tracking, social media use, pictures, and videos. In this section, we review the best cell phone tracking apps.

Mobile Apps for Investigators

Modern detective apps run on various devices, from personal computers to smartphones. Tech companies develop mobile apps to aid private investigators on the move, supporting surveillance missions and global travel. Below are reviews of top mobile apps designed to assist detectives in accessing crucial information efficiently.

Other Private Investigator Software and Apps

Private investigators use other types of specialized private investigator software, such as:

  • AT&T Active Armor—AT&T Active Armour is a mobile security app that protects your mobile device, personal information, and more.
  • Facial Recognition – An overview of companies that provide facial recognition systems that analyze facial features to identify people and traits.
  • Genealogy Search – Detectives use genealogy applications to research family histories, track down long-lost relatives, and build a family tree.
  • Hunchly – A web capture tool for online investigations.
  • Legal and Law – for generating documents, forms, etc.
  • Sex Offender Search – Search for predators and criminals in your area.

General Computing

Private investigators face the same challenges as most business owners. Therefore, they must have a solid working knowledge of typical business operating programs, such as Windows, Linux, Mac, etc.

In addition, detectives need to know about productivity software such as Microsoft Office, Google Docs, etc. Other business solutions include:

  • Anti-Spam Tools & Resources: Learn how to use spam protection tools to filter unwanted emails and protect your identity.
  • Anti-Virus Protection – In today’s age of hacking and scams, you must protect your computers from viruses, malware, and keylogging software used by hackers.
  • Voice Recognition – Voice recognition helps you translate verbal notes into text while on a surveillance mission.
  • Web Browsers – A list of the most popular web browsers. We recommend using Google Chrome.
  • How to Setup a Website—This article advises establishing an online presence for your investigative business. You’ll find helpful tips on web design software. In addition, we offer suggestions for content management tools and, finally, some web hosting options.

Online Search Tools and Software to Avoid

Various online search programs are available to help look up information online. The most common private investigator systems search for people, look up addresses and phone numbers, and conduct background investigations.

Beware of such programs as Net Detective and Urgent Detective that claim to offer free background check capabilities. They are of little value to the serious professional.

  • Net Detective Online – This online detective program claims to help you find everything from criminals to divorces and driving records. However, it is little more than an outdated address or white pages search tool.
  • eDetective is yet another online search tool that claims to provide free background check capabilities. However, it is simply a scam, and we do not recommend its use.
  • Intelius – Not recommended. Bad business practices.
  • Truthfinder – Not recommended. Bad business practices.
  • Urgent Detective – Another online search tool that claims to provide free background check capabilities.

We tested these services and did not feel they lived up to the claim of offering free background check capabilities. You are unlikely to find a legitimate service providing a free background check. Most of these are free (and weak) public records searches.

Questions and Comments

You don’t necessarily need to be a private eye to use many of these programs and apps, nor do you need to be licensed. However, some companies may require specific certifications to confirm that you are operating a valid business and need to access information for legitimate business reasons.

If you have questions about private investigator software, please comment in the page’s comment section. View a list of all of the posts in this category.

Michael Kissiah is the owner of Brandy Lane Publishing, LLC, which owns and operates a small portfolio of websites, including Michael created more than 20 years ago after working as a private investigator in the state of Florida. Since that time, he has become an expert at how to find information online and has written over 1000 articles on topics related to the investigation industry. In addition, he is the author of the "Private Investigator Licensing Handbook", available at


  1. Respected Sir, i am Advocate Dr. Saleem, Nilgiris. Currently i am running a private Detective Agency, its registered with OPC of Corporation of Comanies, For my business development I need Private Investigator Software (All Modules). Kindly reply me with your specifications.
    Thanking you.
    dr. mubarak

    • Hi Jeffrey. The articles on this site are simply reviews of various software solutions. eInvestigator does the reviews but does not actually sell the products. Visit the website for the specific product you are interested in and visit their contact page to get their contact information.

  2. HELLO,
    My Name is Susie Maldonado and I’m a licensed private investigator in Texas. I’m interested in purchasing your software for our company. Thank you

  3. I’m a private investigator and I will like to no how I can purchase your private investigator software I am living in Trinidad can you send me INFORMATION on my Gmail account merlastewart@gmail com Thanks you

  4. I am a private investigator in Portland, Oregon. I especially appreciated the many resource links in this article. I will make immediate use of the Other Private Investigator Software resources referenced in this article. Thanks!

  5. Do you guys provide soft ware for MPI (military police investigator)? We are looking for a soft wear that could help us out. Could you please let me know what you provide and the cost of the software? Thank you.

  6. I need to pull up a fishing license for three individuals in Alaska; however, the Alaska Fish and Game requires a notarized signed letter from each individual I am looking into. This kind of defeats the purpose of looking into these individuals. How do you circumvent this and obtain the licenses without their knowledge?

    Thank you.

    • Sounds like a tough one. Many states allow verification of professional licenses online, but I don’t think fishing licenses are considered professional licenses.

      Earlier this year, Alaska enacted legislation that allows fishermen to carry electronic licenses on their smartphone. This is intended to make it easier for law enforcement to verify that they have a valid license.

      These are just ideas, but since law enforcement can check, perhaps you might try to contact law enforcement in the appropriate city or town for assistance.

      Another option might be: Contact the Alaska Professional Licensing division’s Investigative Unit at They might be able to point you in the right direction.

  7. I need a private investigator to investigate to investigation online for me I have really weird things in my phone and I think it’s my boyfriend I don’t want to believe it could you please call me my name is Rachel Allen my phone number is 573-721-2546 thank you.

    • Also, review all of the applications installed on your phone. Disable or uninstall any apps that don’t look familiar to you. Be careful not to disable any important apps that are necessary for your phone to run. Once you disable any suspicious apps, see if the weird things continue to happen.


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