"Dog and pony show" The informal expression is familiar to most of us. Usually, it is said with disdain or other negative connotation. This short blog post is pointing to the public distrust of the message some private investigators espouse.
Is there any wonder why some private and professional people distrust the people they really should have reason to trust — their private investigators? Consumers are savvy these days. Long gone are the days of hiding behind a phone book advertisement and an answering machine. Consumers have the right to trust someone they are placing a great deal of confidence in and someone they share some pretty important personal matters and secrets with.
What To Watch Out For
It is fairly straightforward to identify the "dog and pony shows" in our modern era of private investigation and the hiring of private detective agencies. We live in a fairly transparent (we're getting there) society that wants fair treatment and understanding when they hire an investigation firm.
Consumers don't mind paying for professional work, so setting aside price as a barrier to hiring a private investigator, we are left with the question: "Do I feel like I will be getting my monies worth in a confidential, discreet and understanding manner?
With that said, here are a few things we deem "dog and pony" that some private investigation agencies do:
1. Fake reviews. Just click on many reviews left for P.I.'s by outsourced review mills. You will see that the same reviewer will leave reviews for multiple detective agencies...that's one way to tell it's a fake review.
2. Badges. I have said this before, and I will say it again. In most states, like California, it is illegal for private investigators to use a badge, since it can be confused for law enforcement. If you see badges flashing on a website...it's a dog and pony show.
3. Offices all over the world. Very few private investigators have offices everywhere. Really, only some of the giant firms like Kroll, K2 Intelligence and Pinkerton (to name a few of the few) have offices all over the U.S. and abroad. At $500+ per hour, these guys can afford it.
4. Associates. Most of the time, this means that they outsource to other private investigators. This is not necessarily a deal breaker, but you should be aware that the majority of the time, it is not an office full of investigators.
5. Bodyguard pictures. Private investigators, in California, can provide bodyguard services. However, it sounds much more glamorous then it really is. And, bodyguard services are incidental to an investigation when perhaps your matter is about stalking, harassment or other issues that require investigation while protecting your life from harm. Pictures of military and private security operators on a PI website is a quick way to know you are dealing with another dog and pony.
6. GPS trackers on the site. GPS trackers have very limited legal use. Don't get caught up in they hype. If you do, you could unknowingly get involved in illegal actions that could end with you in a pot of hot water.
7. Websites with spam. If you see industry buzz words all over the site, in an unnatural manner, you are dealing with a desperate PI who is just spamming in order for someone to find them. No doubt their site will be sensationalized when you see loads of spammy words being used.
8. Looks like a PI, but really a referral site. There is nothing wrong with referral sites, but beware that the site you go to may not be one you want to share your personal information and situation with. They often collect your information, then find a local PI to handle the matter and collect half the money in the process.
These are a few things to look for. I think you will have a good idea when you see a private investigator dog and pony show. They are pretty easy to spot. Knowing this will help you to focus on quality professionals rather than the glitz and glam some portray.