private investigator

What is the dark side of private investigations? Private citizens usually take what they know about private investigators from movies and television. Private investigators are typically cast in a seedy light with PIs following characters to take pictures of their movements and use that evidence against them in some way. The media tends to write high-stakes narratives about dogged private investigators who only want to get to the truth at all costs. The reality is that most of private investigations are not exciting enough for movies and television. However, there is a dark side to private investigations that the general public may not always hear about.


The #1 fear of any private investigator is obviously getting caught, or becoming “compromised.” This is when the subject of the investigation has become aware of the private investigator’s efforts, and their level of awareness becomes heightened. The subject becomes paranoid and now behaves as if his every move is being watched by the private investigator. This deeply complicates the investigation and makes it harder for the private investigator to get to the truth. The dark side of private investigations comes in when a private investigator is compromised in a dangerous situation. Over the years, many private investigators have come forward with stories about being assaulted on the job and otherwise harassed by subjects of their investigations. Repeated instances of getting caught could also result in negative public relations and bad word of mouth from clients and families.

Unsatisfying conclusions

Private investigators may deal with the dark side of private investigations when it comes time to deliver the solution to the investigation. At the conclusion of an investigation, when all leads have been exhausted, private investigators typically prepare a full report of their findings to the client. Private investigators can run into heightened emotions when they inform the client that there is nothing more to be done. In cases of infidelity, private investigators often meet resistance in cases where no infidelity was detected from the subject. Clients insist that their spouse must be cheating and the investigator must have missed something because of their gut instincts or other suspicions. In the worst-case scenario, private investigators can run afoul of volatile clients who—for one reason or another—are dissatisfied with their investigation. Private investigators can find themselves in physical danger or subject to various forms of harassment on behalf of the client, both online and in real life. Private investigators have been known to have their Google reviews or testimonials flooded with baseless accusations of fraud and incompetence that can devastate their business.

Criminal element

In many cases, whether as the subject of an investigation or otherwise, private investigations involve dealing with the criminal element. Some private investigators incur risk to themselves by conducting field investigations populated with violent felons, or going another step further to insert themselves into the criminal element as part of an undercover operation. Regardless of the investigation type, private investigators come into contact with the criminal element every day, and must have diverse experience and a comprehensive tool chest to remain undetected in the environment. For instance, let’s say a private investigator has been contracted by a family who has lost their daughter to sex trafficking. In a field investigation, there will be surveillance required to find out where the subject may be living and document any risk factors that might impact a rescue effort. If a private investigator is compromised at this stage of the investigation, they could be seriously injured by a member of the sex trafficking ring who does not want their operation discovered.

Family impact

With the exception of corporate investigations, the dark side of private investigations is also enveloped in the impact the intelligence in question has on the client. Private investigators are often a last resort for many clients in cases where law enforcement was unable or unwilling to help. Despite their personalized attention and objective methodology, private investigators still may not be able to deliver answers in a particular case. Cases that deeply impact the client are typically missing person cases. These are clients who are out of options and desperate for answers in the disappearance of their missing loved one. When all leads have been exhausted, it’s never an easy conversation to have with the family of a missing person. When it comes to private investigations, the intelligence that is being sought will ultimately affect the client’s life. It is a tall order, and a big responsibility, to get the client the information they need for clarification in their personal or corporate lives.

If you need a private investigator, consider Lauth Investigations International. We have been serving clients and corporations with our private investigation services for over 30 years. We are staffed by former military and law enforcement and carry a glowing A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. Call Lauth today for a free quote on our investigative services at 317-951-1100, or visit us online at