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How To Become a Private Investigator in Florida

how to become a private investigator in florida

Are you a natural problem solver with an eye for detail and a passion for uncovering the truth? If so, a career as a private investigator in Florida may be the perfect fit for you. Private investigators play a crucial role in conducting investigations, gathering evidence, and providing valuable information to individuals, businesses, and legal professionals. In this article, we will outline the steps you need to take to become a licensed private investigator in the state of Florida. But before we begin, let’s dive into the good and the bad of being a private investigator.

The Good

• You Get to Use Your Brain

If you enjoy making independent decisions and using your creativity to solve issues, you will love being a PI. While you will work under the supervision and direction of a sponsor while you are trainee, you will still enjoy a certain amount of decision-making freedom when you are working out in the field.

• Excitement…and Lots of It!

There will be many times when you will be bored in this job, especially if you go into surveillance investigations. But, the excitement that you will feel when you get that ‘money-shot’ (aka video footage of catching someone ‘in the act’) or when you crack your case, is something so overpowering and amazing, that it actually erases all your previous memories of being bored.

• Satisfaction

Bringing the truth to light comes with a feeling of intense satisfaction. You will have the opportunity to help families make crucial decisions that will change their lives, to help companies succeed by making decisions based on facts, and to assist individual in getting the justice that they deserve.

• Learn About Human Nature

The life experience you will gain while being a PI is something that will help you for the rest of your life. You will see things that most people have never even considered. You will talk to people who you would have never interacted with. This will make you into a knowledgeable and well-rounded person, who understands the human condition and is accepts the world as it is…instead of what it should be.

• Have Lots of Stories to Share

You will be the most interesting person at any party you go to. Why? Because everyone will ask you to share your PI stories. Although the cases PI’s work on are always to be kept confidential, you are able to share general details about a case, without naming anything or anyone specific.

The Bad

• Finding a Sponsor

It is generally not easy to find an agency to sponsor you when you first start out. The reason behind this is because most small agencies don’t have the resources to train a new PI. Time is money and when you invest time in a trainee who decides they don’t want to be a PI anymore six months down the road, that investment is lost and the agency is back to square one. For this reason, it’s advised that new trainees apply to work for bigger, national companies. These larger companies have more resources to invest and are generally more open to hiring trainees with no experience.

• The Schedule

Do you enjoy spending time with family and friends? If you don’t, you’ll make a perfect PI. An investigator’s schedule usually includes night, weekends and all major holidays. PI’s work when the client wants them to work, not when they feel like working. This means that you may be called out on an assignment with an hour notice. Private investigation agencies that do any type of domestic work are notorious for this type of schedule. Agencies that specialize in Worker’s Compensation cases may also have a similar schedule. The main exceptions to this is if you work for a law firm. Law firms are usually on the 9-5 schedule. It’s also important to note that while you’re a trainee, it’s imperative that you have an open, flexible schedule. Your sponsor will be unlikely to tolerate you turning down assignments.

• The Instability

Unless you secure full-time employment with a large agency, you will have to work for a few smaller agencies – not just one! Most small agencies can’t guarantee you full-time work, so it will be up to you to find a few part-time jobs that you will have to juggle. If you’re a trainee, this is especially important, since you will need to prove that you are working 40 hours per week for 2 years in order to obtain your private investigator license.

• The Danger

As a private investigator, you will work have to work cases in bad neighborhoods, sometimes at night. If you will work surveillance, you will be required to follow people without being seen. Any investigator worth their salt will tell you that they’ve been busted a few times in their career. You might be confronted and put into the position of having to defend yourself. It is wise to have some defensive tactics skills and to also have firearm training. It is also wise to keep all your private information confidential, which means that social media accounts that show your real name and photos are a big no-no.

• The Surveillance Boredom and Frustration

As a surveillance investigator, you will spend many, many hours sitting in your vehicle, while staring at the subject’s door or vehicle. Your back will hurt and your legs will fall asleep…guaranteed! Let’s not forget about having to urinate in a bottle if you’re a male, or a Zip-Lock bag if you’re a female. Your lunch will most likely be whatever you have in your cooler. You will be hot and very bored! Services like Audible will be your best friend. But, once your subject moves, the excitement will begin. Unless you lose them at a red light! This is where the frustration sets in. There’s nothing more annoying than waiting for the subject to move for 4 hours, only to lose them a few minutes into the action.

Now that we’ve discussed the good and the bad, let’s jump into the steps involved in beginning your private investigator career.

private investigator in florida

Step 1

Decide on the type of investigations that you would like to do. There are many types of investigations and each entail unique skills, capabilities and work experience. If you’re interested in surveillance, you have to be able to sit in your vehicle for long periods of time (sometimes more than 10 hours per day) and follow the subject to their destination. Individuals best suited for these types of investigations are usually patient people with a calm disposition, who do well with multi-talking and are quick on their feet. If you’re interested in criminal investigations, you would need to either have experience in the Criminal Justice field or have some type of formal education in the subject. Criminal investigators usually work one-on-one with attorneys and spend most of their time interviewing witnesses and gathering evidence for trial. Strong interviewing skills are a plus for this type of job, as is the ability to build rapport with people in order to collect information. Once you decide on the niche you’re interested in, you can proceed to Step 2.

Step 2

Look up investigators in your area and find out what kind of investigations they do. When you find one who specializes in the niche you’re interested in, give them a call and ask them if you can shadow them for a day or so. Some investigators may not go for it, being that their work is confidential and also because their insurance won’t cover you being out in the field with them, but you might get lucky. If they say no, ask them to talk to you on the phone about their job. Most people love talking about themselves, so you might get some very helpful info!
Step 2 is very important and it’s highly advisable that you do not skip this step! The reason behind this, is because what you see on TV or read in books about private investigators is not an accurate picture of what the job entails. What you probably know so far about investigators from the media is most likely a glamorized version of reality. It’s also important to keep in mind that you might need a sponsor (see Step 3) and building a relationship with a private investigator might lead to them employing you or at least referring you to another PI who can sponsor you.

Step 3

Look up Florida Statute 493 and read Part II. This is the statute that governs private investigator licensing. All the requirements for licensing are listed there. When you finish, go to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services website and look up private investigator licensing. This is where you will find all the necessary application forms.
By this point, you will understand that in order to work as a private investigator, you will need a license. The only exemptions to licensing are:

• “In-house” investigators who are solely, exclusively and regularly employed as an investigator in connection with the business of an employer who does not advertise or provide investigative services for a fee;
• Active law enforcement officers while engaged in their official duties;
• Insurance investigators or adjusters licensed by the Florida Department of Insurance;
• Those who exclusively furnish investigative information about the financial standing, habits and responsibilities of applicants for insurance, indemnity bonds or commercial credit;
• Attorneys in the regular practice of their profession;
• Banks, credit unions, loan companies and consumer credit reporting agencies;
• Persons holding professional licenses in Florida when providing expert advice in their professions; and
• Those providing investigative services solely and exclusively for any United States agency.

To summarize, the only way around needing a PI license is if you work in-house for a law firm or an insurance agency. Otherwise, if you plan on doing private investigator work in Florida, you will need to apply for either a C license (also known as a private investigator license) or a CC license (aka private investigator trainee license). In order to apply for a CC license, you will need to find an agency who will sponsor you. You will have to complete a 40 hour course and take a test. The curriculum typically covers various topics, including legal and ethical considerations, surveillance techniques, report writing, and evidence gathering. You will send the completion certificate to the State with your completed CC application. It is advised that you find a sponsor first, before investing in the course. You can find a list of certified schools that offer the course here:
Once you submit the CC application and are issued your license, you will be required to show proof of working 40 hours a week for 2 years, in order to obtain your C license. Your sponsor will send in progress reports to the State, informing them on how many hours you worked.
You may apply directly for your C license if you have two years of lawfully gained, verifiable, full-time experience, in the following:

• Private investigative work or related fields of work that provided equivalent experience or training;
• College coursework related to criminal justice, criminology or law enforcement administration, or successful completion of any law enforcement-related training received from any federal, state, county or municipal agency, except that no more than one year may be used from this category; and
• Work as a Class “CC” licensed private investigator intern. This internship is done at a licensed private investigative agency.

If you have the 2 years of experience, you will be required to take a test and submit the proof that you passed the test to the State.

Step 4

Speak to your sponsor and ask them what type of equipment you will need for the job. While you’re waiting for your application to be approved, start shopping around for the necessary equipment. At the very least, you will need a video camera, so it’s always good to find one that you’d like to buy and be ready to purchase it once your application is approved.

Conclusion: Becoming a private investigator in Florida requires meeting specific requirements, obtaining the necessary training, passing an examination, and possibly having to find a sponsoring agency. Being a private investigator is a rewarding career path for individuals who possess strong analytical skills, attention to detail, and a passion for uncovering the truth. If you have made it this far in this article without yawning, fidgeting or rolling your eyes, you have the patience and laser focus of a true PI! When you are ready to embark on an exciting journey in the field of private investigations, follow the steps outlined in this article and they will set you on the path to success in Florida.

Grey Ghost – Private Investigator Miami

Grey Ghost – Private Investigator Miami
8300 W Flagler St STE 121,
Miami, FL 33144

At Grey Ghost Private Investigator Miami, we care about our client’s sensitive issues. We are committed to offering first-class private investigation services with a primary focus on customer satisfaction. We know that urgency is one of the most important factors in your case, so we treat your private investigation with the utmost attentiveness and care.

Established in 2008.Grey Ghost’s Miami private investigators are dedicated to solving your issue, however unique it is. After all, there are many aspects of life in South Florida that are outside of the norm in other cities, so if you have a strange “Only in Miami” story, call us and feel comfortable knowing that your situation will listen to judgment-free, and of course, our conversation will remain confidential.,-80.2946517,13z/data=!4m8!1m2!2m1!1sgrey+ghost+miami!3m4!1s0x88d9b69a3c5e59e1:0x499a5b9c737b490!8m2!3d25.7690615!4d-80.3301451

Grey Ghost Private Investigator Miami

Why you need to hire a Private Investigator

From companies to individuals, exposure to dangers is prevalent. Issues like infidelity, troublesome tenants, identity theft, espionage, romance scams, investment scams, fake resumes, false companies, among others are some of the dangers you are likely to run into.

Information available online may not be sufficient to deal with such threats. That is why you need a professional who has the means and resources to access accurate information that can help you solve such problems. 

Reasons you need a private investigator

🟦 Private investigators can conduct a company background check. Doing such a check takes an in-depth look into the history of a company. This investigation unearths the history of a company and provides information on a fraudulent dishonest past that can otherwise be buried and sealed.

🟦 Employee background checks can also be done by private investigators. Such investigation identifies lies on CVs and fraudulently obtained certificates. This investigation and the information provided can save a company’s reputation by identifying and weeding out such individuals early on. Private investigators validate application information and qualifications.

🟦 For real estate managers and homeowners, wrong tenants spell trouble. Vetting tenants, therefore, becomes necessary to protect the integrity of the property and prevent issues arising from friction with tenants. a private investigator checks a prospective tenant’s job status, legal status, and history of eviction.

🟦 Private investigators investigate fraudulent insurance claims. There are many fake insurance claims that are filled all over to claim what is considered easy cash. Using private investigators, one can substantiate claims that have been filled before they are paid for.

🟦 Private investigators validate records, especially legal documents. With connections to international partners, private investigators can also check the validity of international documents.

🟦 With increasing online dating and blind dates, dating background checks have become increasingly necessary. Such background checks authenticate claims of the person you are talking to online. Information that can be verified includes the marital status, name, career, and education level of a person. Private investigators can also investigate cheating.

🟦 In case you suspect that a spouse is involved in an extramarital affair, you can hire a private investigator. The investigator discreetly obtains information about the suspect’s whereabouts and activities. 

🟦 Private investigators can help with investigations relating to divorce and family law. Their investigation reveals hidden assets and other critical information. With access to sensitive information like surveillance and bank accounts, a private investigator provides you with the necessary information to facilitate any process relating to family law and divorce. 

🟦 In cases of a custody battle involving children, private investigators provide crucial information. The investigators can be witnesses for a custody hearing when they have the right information regarding the case and that can protect the children involved. With the right investigators, what would otherwise be a trick and complicated case is simplified because of having the right evidence to back any claims made.

Private investigators handle issues across borders. They not only do background checks but also vet international hires. That is why they can effectively serve institutions that handle businesses and projects which are sensitive.

With skilled private investigators, you will be able to find the right information concerning the prospective hires. It is important to point out that you should find the right professional private investigators with an impeccable reputation and extensive experience for whatever job you wish to hire them for. 

10 strategies to combat employee fraud and theft in Fort Lauderdale

One of the leading challenges for small business owners in the United States is employee theft.

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) estimates that 44 percent of losses in stores attributed to theft are by employees while employees are 15 times more likely to steal from an employer compared to a non-employee.

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, employee theft or fraud contributes to a third of known business failures. The trend points to a clear source of concern for business owners.

Activities related to employee theft and fraud include larceny, skimming, fraudulent disbursement of funds, embezzlement of inventory or raw materials, and stealing of business opportunities. The rampancy of fraudulent and theft activities has companies that offer insurance to the small business encouraging them to be more vigilant to curb the losses.

It is posited that employees engaging in fraud and theft activities usually have been at the business for longer periods usually several years. Upon starting the theft and fraud, these employees do continue with such activities for averagely about three years before they get discovered.

This time frame explains why businesses incur huge losses by the time they discover the problem. You are advised to consider Private Investigator Fort Lauderdale for professional help. 

This post discusses some of the strategies a business can implement to curb theft and fraudulent activities:

Understand your employee

Familiarize yourself with your employees and their work ethic. That makes it easier for you to know when things take a turn for the worst. Armed with the knowledge of your employees individually and collectively, you can notice changes and key indicators to potential theft and fraud.

These indicators vary but can be stopped because they either stand out or are suspicious. For instance, sudden and apparent devotion like working late can be suspicious. Sudden changes in lifestyle or living lifestyles above salary levels is also another indicator.

Other activities can be alcohol and drug abuse, resistance to procedural changes especially relating to supply, inventory, or finances, moonlighting with materials that are available at the small business, and compulsive behavior of persistent borrowing, gambling, and writing bad checks.

One way recommended by NFIM to knowing your employees is doing background checks. Furthermore, checking with the references helps to vet employees. This vetting is especially important for employees entrusted with sensitive department’s life finances.

Closely supervise your employees

Lax supervision allows for increased theft and fraud activities. That is why it is important to check your employees’ activities. If possible, you can have more than one individual to oversee the employees. That should be the case particularly for employees directly handling your money.

Utilize purchase orders

The purchase orders should be handled and processed by different individuals. That means that the preparation, payments, and receipts of payment orders are done separately and not by the same individuals. The purchase orders that are serially pre-numbered enable you to easily verify all incoming orders.

Have control over your cash receipts.

That is achievable using pre-numbered sales slips that make it easier for you to do weekly audits. You can do some auditing by balancing the sales slips and the registered receipts by yourself of a third party you trust.

Informal audits

Informal audits entail unannounced internal audits and annual audits conducted by an outside firm.

Put up computer security

You should understand computer hardware and software. The knowledge of these systems can help you identify fraudulent and theft activities going on at the business. Putting up security measures can entail restricting access to records and computer terminals as well as regularly changing entry codes. Make sure to also regularly check if the security measures in place are effective.

Tracking business checks

Tracking business checks is effective when the businesses use pre-numbered checks whose payees and amount details are done with permanent ink. Financial software, like QuickBooks, can be used to produce all checks. When not in use the blank checks and signature machines should be kept in a secure place.

Inventory management and use of security systems

Separation of roles like shipping, stock keeping, and receiving orders can help with inventory management. Annual inventories should be done by third parties. You can also use security devices to monitor inventory, merchandise, and other activities at the store.

Monitor accounts receivable

One way to do this is by separating the mail opening and postage functions. Appropriate registers should be used for cash and checks records with stamp checks employed in deposits.

Open avenues for employees to report fraudulent and theft activities

Such avenues need to be carefully prepared and managed to avoid misinformation and misuse from untrustworthy employees. That way they can be more effective and beneficial to the business. With such avenues, Small Business Legal Center attorneys advise careful handling of suspected problems.

One way to do that is extreme care when leveling accusations and conducting subsequent investigations to avoid lawsuits. All suspicions should be verified through investigation. Armed with the right information after an investigation of an accusation, you can proceed to single out the employee responsible and take the right action.

That can be employee termination followed by the appropriate legal action if necessary. For more complex issues, legal counsel should be involved as well as investigators and forensic accountants.


How to Find a Person in Florida: Professional Tips from Our Private Investigators

How to Find a Person in Florida: Professional Tips from our Private Investigators

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Are you looking for a long-lost friend, lover or family member? If so, this article will give you all the tools you need to find them without spending a dime. All searches listed here are free and provide accurate results. Our Miami private investigators have used these tools as adjuncts to our private investigator databases to locate people for many years and they don’t usually let us down. If you’re ready to be your own private investigator, let’s begin!

Step 1 – Always begin your search with good ol’ Google.

This may be obvious, but it may be so obvious that it’s sometimes overlooked. Do a basic search like this: “Person’s name, Florida”. You may be surprised with what you find. This may show active social media accounts, phone numbers and addresses. 

Step 2 – Run their name through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and other free websites.

If they don’t show up on any of these social media platforms, try running the name of a friend or of a family member of theirs. Then search this person’s friend list on Facebook to see if you recognize the person you’re looking for in any of the pictures. Keep in mind that they may be using a fake name. 

Other good websites that are completely free are:

Step 3 – Check the jails and prisons. 

If you’ve taken all the steps above and found no trace of the person, it would make sense that they may be incarcerated. For the prison inmate search, you can go here:

Click on ‘Search All Corrections Offender Databases’, enter the person’s name and start searching. This particular website will show all individuals that currently are or have been in the state’s prison system. It does not show jail information. Remember, jails are operated by the counties and prisons are operated by the state. To search jails, you need to have an idea of what county the person lived in. Then you would Google ‘name of county + jail search’.  This will give you a list of sites that show these records. Always choose the official county site and not these private, paid sites. For example, if a person lived in Broward County, you would go here:

If they lived in Miami-Dade County, you would search here:

Step 4 – Check death records. You can look for orbituaries online or you can try the site here: 

You can also check this site for records, but it tends to be have older information, meaning that you might not be able to find records from the last 5 years:

Step 6 – Look for the person’s relatives and call them.

If you know the relative’s names, look them up. If not, you should have been able to collect some relatives’ information through the steps listed above. If you had a good relationship with the person and you just want to reconnect, explaining your story to the person you call will most likely result in a positive response. If you don’t know the person that you are looking for (e.g. biological mother or father) or if you did not have a great relationship with them, you can try doing a ‘pretext’. A pretext is a term used by private investigators, which basically refers to using a fictitious story to obtain information. So, when you call the person’s relatives, you can say that you went to high school with them and would like to personally invite them to the reunion or something similar. They may be nice enough to give you the person’s direct phone number. 

It should be noted that this step was left for last because it’s often used as a last resort. Calling someone’s friends’ or family can be somewhat intrusive and may not be well-received. Therefore, it should be mentioned, that you should only call these people once. Under no circumstances should you call anyone repeatedly. This can be construed as harassment, so please use common sense. 

We hope that these tips help you find the person that you’re looking for. If you’re still stuck after following all these tips, please contact us and we will find them for you. We utilize paid databases that are only available to licensed private investigators. These databases compile data from credit bureaus, utility companies and other accurate sources of information that are not available to the general public. Our basic search reports are $100 and are usually sent to you within 1 business day. You can order them on our Background Search Page

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Vehicle Registration Scam in South Florida

Identity theft no longer involves just financial hardship, it can get your driver’s license suspended too!

Here is a twist to identity theft:  A fraudster who has stolen your identity can get a vehicle titled in your name, get issued a license plate and registration, and drive the vehicle around for at least a month, unbeknownst to you.  If the scammer bothers to pay the initial car insurance
payment, they can then drive the car for longer.

This situation exposes the victim to:

Liability in the event of an accident – since the vehicle is titled and registered to the victim.
Toll violations – the scammer will drive the vehicle willy-nilly through any and all tolls, just because they can.
Driver’s license suspension. Your license getting suspended is ultimately a race between the mounting toll violations and the car insurance company sending a driver license suspension notice for lack of insurance.

If the scammer changes the address on the registration so that the victim does not receive court notices, the mounting traffic court cases on toll violations could eventually result in a bench warrant issued for the victim.

Below is a timeline of an actual case:

Victim had a van titled, tagged, and registered in their name, as evidenced by a database report that our Grey Ghost investigators ran.

They were out of the country when this transaction took place on August 30.

The only reason they found out about the transaction, was because they received an after-market warranty advertisement in the mail for a van they did not own.

Our Miami private investigators ran their name through a database and found the van’s information.

The victim immediately filed a police report. This took place on September 13.

On November 11, the police detective assigned told the victim they do not handle these types of cases and that they should go to the Florida Dept of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FDHSMV) to clear her impending driver license suspension (for lack of insurance).

That same day they were able to clear the pending driver license suspension, and was given the proper complaint forms to file with the Motor Vehicle Fraud unit in Tallahassee, Fl.

There was a delay somewhere, and the victim received another suspension order set to suspend their driver license on December 7th.

They went back to the DMV in person, and they told her they could not clear her license until she files a complaint with the Motor Vehicle Fraud unit, so they can remove the vehicle from her name.

On November 29, they filed a complaint with the Motor Vehicle Fraud Unit.

On December 7th, the victim’s license was suspended. It stayed suspended until December 14th, after countless phone calls from our Miami private investigators.

The vehicle was removed from the victims record, but no arrests were made and the van was never found.

As you can see this process can be extremely stressful to a victim. Our advice is to pay close attention to anything suspicious that you receive in the mail and always follow up. Don’t dismiss things as ‘mistakes’ or ‘unimportant’. Do your research because the sooner you find an issue like this, to sooner you can solve it without letting it spiral out of control. Also, be advised that currently, the State of Florida does not mail out any notices to the public when a vehicle is registered in their name.  However, private companies have access to this information, and will mail people ads for extended warranties or insurance offers.  If you begin to receive ads for extended warranties on a vehicle you do not own, you may have become a victim of this scam.  If you feel you have become a victim of this scam, or if you want to get a baseline search of property titled in your name, we can help. Our asset searches will show everything that has been registered to you.

Contact us at: Grey Ghost Investigations 

How Much Will It Cost?

There are many factors involved in calculating the cost of an investigation. One of the most important factors is the amount of information you can provide regarding the subject of the investigation. As a general rule of thumb, the more information you provide, the less you will pay.

Another factor is whether a case will go to court or not. Generally, cases that go to court need more evidence than those that do not. Some of these cases require several days of surveillance, through which our investigators will have to document a certain ‘pattern of behavior’ rather than an isolated event. This generally applies to child custody cases, child support cases, etc.

For cases that cover a specific event (e.g. you know that your spouse is meeting up with their lover on a certain date and time), we only charge a four hour retainer fee. If the case happens to go longer than the four hours, than we will ask for your permission to continue. If you agree to that, than we will bill you hourly for the duration of the surveillance.

We offer discounted rates for extended surveillance cases, so please call us and ask us about our current specials. You can also find our private investigator fees under the ‘Prices’ tab on our homepage.

Why Hire Grey Ghost Private Investigators In Miami

We all experience hardships in life. There are times when we need to take matters into our own hands and times when it’s smarter to reach out to professionals and hire them. When it comes to investigations, some people decide to begin the process on their own. There are a few things that might go wrong when making that decision:

1. You might end up in jail if you follow someone and they catch you.
2. You might end up being sued by the subject of your investigation for
invading their privacy.
3. You might hurt yourself or others.
4. You might mess up the investigation, making it almost impossible to hire
a professional agency later.

This is why hiring a professional investigation agency is the prudent thing to do. At Grey Ghost, our Miami private investigators work hard to make sure that we get you the results you need. We are licensed by the State of FL, trained in all rules and regulations pertaining to investigations, and we utilize the best technology available. Our investigators are the best in the field. In addition, when compared to other investigation agencies, our agency offers affordable hourly rates, with no mileage fees and other bogus charges. We do our best to make this process as easy and as affordable as possible for you. Don’t hesitate any longer – give us a call today!

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