Technology plays a key role in a private investigator’s business and in the process of investigation. Private eyes use apps, software and online search tools to conduct investigations and search for records such as criminal histories, divorce records, address histories, driving records, financial records, and more. Private detectives also use various programs and applications (also known as apps) to communicate with with clients, witnesses, business partners and vendors. View a list of all of the posts in this category.
Most of the detective applications available today are designed for use on a personal computer. However, many software technology companies are building programs that run on smart phones and tablets via small apps. Systems designed for tablets and cell phones help private investigators run the software programs they need while out of the office on surveillance missions. Private detectives should do their best to keep up with the latest trends in technology and learn to integrate technology into their operations wherever possible.
Background Investigation – Detective software programs that allow private detectives to perform background checks and verify personal information are critical tools. A private investigator can outsource the process to a company that specializes in conducting background checks, employment verification, and fact checking. Alternatively, a private eye can invest in an online service, private investigator systems and tools to conduct all or part of the background check themselves. Some of excellent services for performing background checks, searching public records, conducting employment checks and finding missing persons include Intelius, U.S. Search and Spokeo People Search.
Following are reviews of various mobile apps that are useful for detectives:
- How to Use Google Maps to Prepare for Surveillance
- How to Use Google Translate
- How to Use the Google Voice App
- How to Use Zillow for Surveillance Research
- How to Use Evernote for Recording Case Notes
- SneakyPix for Taking Secret Photos
- A Review of GPS Phone Tracker Pro
- Trustify Network – A technology platform for finding and hiring P.I.’s
Private Investigator Software
Following is an overview of the various types of technology tools that private eyes may use during the course of their daily work:
- Case Management Software – These systems help P.I.’s manage information related to investigation cases such as storing clients records, managing billing information, employee and payroll records, and more. The latest versions come in the form of cloud-based services, allowing access via computer, tablet and mobile devices from anywhere in the world. This is particularly useful for larger private investigation agencies and law offices.
- Face Reading – A cool program that allows you to profile a person, business associate, or prospective employee with Face Reading technology.
- Genealogy Search – Detectives use genealogy software to research family histories and build family trees.
- Legal and Law – Legal documents, legal forms, etc.
- Mobile Phone Tracking and Forensics – A cell phone spy software tool that allows you to monitor cell phone usage.
- Sex Offender Search – Search for sexual predators and criminals in your area.
A variety of computer monitoring software is available to assist in conducting computer security investigations, computer forensics and to conduct online surveillance.
Investigators that conduct computer crime investigations or computer security investigations should be familiar with general computer programs for task such as business communications, customer relationship management (CRM), accounting, data recovery, and security.
Following are the leading titles for private investigators to monitor PC activity,monitor network activity, and more:
- Computer Monitoring – Monitor locally, and in some cases remotely, the activity of computers.
- Email Spying and Monitoring – Record Incoming and Outgoing Emails
- Keylogger Tools – Programs that log computer keystrokes and record user activity on a computer.
- Network Surveillance – Tools for monitoring computer network activity
- Pop-up Blocker – A powerful pop-up blocking tool to keep unwanted browser windows from opening.
- Privacy Agent Tool – Accessories for completely cleaning a computers history and deleting files.
- Real Time Spy – RealTime Spy is a computer monitoring program that allows you to monitor the activity on a personal computer.
- Spam Agent – Email Monitoring and Filtering Tool
- Spy Agent – PC Monitoring
- Spy Anywhere System – Another computer monitoring tool.
- Windows Undelete – Recover deleted Windows files using Windows File Recovery
In addition to programs used for conducting investigations, Private Eyes use a variety of business systems to keep their business running smoothly.
- Anti-Virus Protection – Protect your computers from viruses, malware, and keylogging software used by hackers
- PC Operating System – Operating systems for PC’s and MAC’s
- Skype Video Chat – Use Skype Video to video chat with clients and even interview witnesses.
- Tax Preparation – File your personal and business taxes.
- Voice Recognition – Voice recognition to help you translate verbal notes into text while you’re on a surveillance mission.
- Web Browsers – A list of the most popular web browsers.
- Web Design Packages – for designing your business website.
Online Search Tools
A variety of online search programs are available to help with looking 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 criminal records, divorce records, and driving records. However, it is little more than an outdated address search or white pages search tool
- eDetective – Another online search tool that claims to provide free background check capabilities. However, it is simply a scam. We do not recommend its use.
- Urgent Detective – Another online search tool that claims to provide free background check capabilities.
We tested each of these services and do not feel they live up to the claim of offering free background check capabilities. You are unlikely to find a legitimate service that provides a truly free background check outside of free public records searches.
You don’t necessarily need a 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 certain types of various certifications to confirm that you are operating a valid business and need to access information for legitimate business reasons.