What Can Private Investigators Not Do?

While there’s a lot a private investigator can do to assist you in gathering evidence for either civil or criminal cases, there are most certainly things a private investigator cannot do, at least not without crossing into illegal territory.

If evidence is gathered using underhand or illegal activities, the evidence will be of absolutely no use to you in a court case, which could leave you in a bit of a pickle with the law yourself.

If you have your own ideas of what you want a private investigator to do for you, you need to ask; what can private investigators not do? This will give you a clearer understanding of how private investigators work, as well as how to avoid unlicensed, unregistered PI’s who will do anything to fleece you of your money and run.

What can private investigators not do?

Here’s a look at some of the things a private investigator cannot do, just to make finding the right one a little easier on you:

He cannot operate without being registered

Any private investigator in South Africa has to be registered with the PSiRA in order to practice his trade legally. Owner of King Investigators, Jacques Botha is a registered private investigator and his company is also registered with the PSiRA.

If an investigator isn’t registered, you would be best served by avoiding him completely. The PSiRA holds private investigators to a certain standard, which protects both the investigator and the client should any problems arise out of an investigation.

He cannot break the law

Jacques and his team at King Investigators will tell you that they are not above the law, contrary to what most people think. They aren’t allowed to impersonate someone in order to gather information or trespass on private property. 

A professional private investigator knows exactly how the law applies to his investigation and how he carries it out, without creating a bad situation for their clients.

He cannot impersonate someone from law enforcement services

The only time a private investigator might wear any kind of badge, would be for identification purposes if they’re assisting law enforcement officers on a case.

Other than this, they may not, under any circumstances, mislead anyone into thinking they are a police officer. 

He may not trespass on private property.

No private investigator may use illegal tactics to gain entry into any property, whether it’s a house or a place of work, and they most certainly can’t pick locks or do anything else that would constitute forced entry.

He cannot wiretap a phone

Unless the PI has consent from at least one person involved in a conversation, they cannot use wiretapping or the monitoring of phone calls to obtain evidence. 

He cannot take photos through windows

A PI isn’t allowed to go onto private property to film anyone through a window, they are only allowed to take photos or video things that happen in public places such as a restaurant, shopping mall, casino, hotel or bar.

He cannot plant a GPS tracker on a car

The only time a PI can plant a GPS tracker on a car is if the person requesting it is the owner of the vehicle. For instance, if a husband thinks his wife is cheating and the car is in his name, the private investigator can then plant a GPS tracker on the car, with his consent.

He cannot hack into social media or email accounts

While social media platforms are a great source for information, no private investigator worth his salt would hack into any social media account or email accounts.

…and there’s more!

If you’d really like to know what a private investigator isn’t allowed to do, speak to the team at King Investigators. This is a team that operates from a basis of honesty and integrity, which is why King Investigators is still one of the top investigative firms in South Africa after well over a decade in the industry!

Whatever you do, stay away from any PI willing to break the law or use underhand tactics, you’ll end up the loser this way. 


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