The Everything Private Investigation Book: Master the techniques of the pros to examine evidence, trace down people, and discover the truth


Observe someone without being observed.
Dig up long-buried dirt.
Catch a cheating spouse.

The Everything Private Investigation Book shows you the basic research techniques and tricks the pros use. You'll learn how to get background information using a wide range of sources, including newspapers, court ...

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Everything Private Investigation Book: Master the techniques of the pros to examine evidence, trace down people, and discover the truth

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Observe someone without being observed.
Dig up long-buried dirt.
Catch a cheating spouse.

The Everything Private Investigation Book shows you the basic research techniques and tricks the pros use. You'll learn how to get background information using a wide range of sources, including newspapers, court records, military files, and even the DMV. Written by experienced investigators, this guide helps you to:

  • Use the Internet to get information on anyone and anything
  • Conduct background checks for prospective employees or tenants
  • Uncover hidden identities and assets
  • Manage a physical or electronic surveillance
  • Protect privacy and avoid identity theft

Whether you're a journalist, an amateur genealogist, a business owner, a landlord, or just curious, you'll find essential information in this guide. In addition to being a valuable resource, The Everything Private Investigation Book is also a fascinating read. Even "armchair detectives" will enjoy reading about famous real-life and fictional PIs and the little-known secrets professionals use to crack the case.

Sheila L. Stephens was the first female Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms (ATF) special agent in the state of Alabama and one of the first in the nation. She recently graduated from Boston University with a master's degree in criminal justice. After leaving the ATF due to injury, Ms. Stephens opened a private investigation/security business. She is a criminal justice professor at Andrew Jackson University and a contributing writer and associate editor of The Agent, the newsletter of the National Association of Federal Agents (NAFA). Ms. Stephens lives in Bessemer, AL.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781598695359
  • Publisher: Adams Media
  • Publication date: 8/1/2008
  • Series: Everything Bks.
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 364,132
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.79 (d)

Table of Contents

Top Ten Items Every PI Needs     x
Introduction     xi
Do You Have the Right Stuff?     1
Powers of Observation and Concentration     2
Communication Skills and the Ability to Listen     5
Perseverance, Patience, and Courage     8
Quick Thinking and Discretion     9
A Good Memory     11
Keeping Secrets     13
Writing Skills     14
Organizational and Analytical Skills     15
Education and Training     19
Schools and Universities     20
PI Organizations     21
Internships/Onthe-Job Training     24
State and Local Requirements     25
Diploma Mills     27
Continuing Education     30
Ethics-The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly     33
Ethics Overview     34
Ethics: The Good     35
The Bad     37
The Ugly     39
Ethics and Privacy     42
Setting Up Your PI Business     47
Business Models     48
Pros and Cons of Business Ownership     51
Business Plan     53
Work Place-Home Office Versus Public Office     58
Office Equipment and Furnishings     63
Marketing and Money Matters     65
Startup Capital     66
Business Bank Account Versus Client Trust Account     67
Getting Paid     68
Licenses and Taxes     71
Insurance     72
Marketing and Promotion     75
Creating a Web Site     78
Creating Professional Reports     82
Missing Persons: Skip Tracing, Adoption Searches, and Genealogy     85
Overview of Skip Tracing     86
Types of Skips     88
Skip Tracing and the Internet     90
The Missing Birth Parent or Birth Child     94
Genealogy Searches     97
Divorce, Infidelity, and Child Custody Investigations     99
Clueing In on Infidelity     100
Divorce and Infidelity Investigations     101
Premarital and Infidelity Investigations     103
Check Your Mate: Hidden Camera Stings     104
The Missing Parent     106
Child Custody     107
Missing Children and Adolescents     113
The Missing or Abducted Child     114
Registering Children for Future Identification     118
Abduction Prevention      122
Abuse Investigations: Child, Spousal, and Elder     125
Child Abuse Investigations     126
Should You Investigate Child Abuse?     130
The Pedophile     131
Spousal or Relationship Abuse     133
Elder Abuse     137
Working Your Case     139
How to Begin     140
Crime Scene and Evidence Handling     144
Preserving the Scene     145
Documenting the Scene     146
Collecting, Packaging, and Storing Evidence     147
Processing a Homicide Scene     151
Processing the Exterior of the Scene     152
Processing the Interior of the Scene     153
Processing Trace Evidence     157
Preserving the Chain of Custody     158
Working Within the Law     161
Understanding the Law     162
Pretexting Law     163
Permissible Deception     165
Arrest Law     168
Citizens' Powers of Arrest     173
The Law of Evidence     174
People in the PI's Life     177
Working with Employees     178
Working with Clients     180
Working with Police and Other Agencies     181
Working with Informants and Contacts     182
Working with Experts and Resources     185
Dealing with the Media     186
Testifying in Court     189
Accepting a Subpoena     190
Demeanor and Dress     191
Rules of Evidence     192
Cross Examination Response     198
Be Prepared     199
Tell the Truth     201
Business/Corporate Security and Investigations     203
Insurance Investigations     204
Personal Injury Investigations     206
Corporate Fraud     209
Workers' Compensation     210
Theft of Time, Product, or Services     215
Special Investigations and Investigators     217
Background/Pre-Employment Searches     218
Choosing an Information Database     219
Negligent Hiring and Negligent Retention     225
Mystery Shopping     227
Cyber Sleuths     229
Collections and Repossessions     231
Bounty Hunters     232
Investigative Equipment     235
Video Equipment     236
Covert Cameras and Security     240
Audio Equipment     245
Surveillance     247
Moving Surveillance     248
Stationary Surveillance     249
Foot Surveillance     251
Insider Tips     252
Video Surveillance Law     256
Electronic and Audio Surveillance     258
Interviewing and Interrogation     263
To Interview or Interrogate-Know the Difference     264
Interviewing Witnesses and Interrogating Suspects     268
Taking Statements     270
Obtaining Confessions     273
Research Tools and Resources     275
Information Access Law     276
Internet Web Sites and Database Services     277
Understanding Databases     278
Legal Resources     279
Police Codes and Abbreviations     281
Phonetic Alphabets and Special Symbols     285
Index     287
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 8, 2009

    A great read.

    The Everything Private Investigation Book is not only a great read, but it is a great tool for investigators, business people, attorneys and anyone interested in security. There is so much in this book, it's hard to specifify everything that held my attention. However, I can say that I learned about new technologies and investigative secrets and tips that I had never heard before. I'll keep it as a resource, but I will also read several chapters again, just to refresh my memory.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 8, 2009


    Sheila L. Stephens' book, The Everything Private Investigation Book, is so much more than I expected. I have owned and managed a nanny-finder service for thirteen years. Ms. Stephens' firm does all my background and pre-employment searches. I would trust no one else to do them as I know her to be an expert in her field and scrupulous in her integrity. <BR/><BR/>Yet, when I learned of her book, I did not read it for some time--after all, I'm not a private investigator. However, others were reading it, and continued to tell me how much information has been included about keeping children safe and finding abducted children. I decided to buy it. <BR/><BR/>Not only was I engrossed in the part of this book that addresses the safety of children, but I found myself going back to the beginning and reading to the end. I learned more than I've ever realized I didn't know! I learned, also, that the book is not written only for investigators. There are so many interesting and helpful chapters, anyone will be happy that they've bought this book. The world in which we live is rapidly changing, and security is important in all aspects of our lives. Ms. Stephens has covered the bases, here. <BR/><BR/>I am very busy, and do not usually comment on books, even the ones I love, so this review is evidence of my admiration for what Ms. Stephens has done. This is an amazing book. Don't pass it by. <BR/><BR/>Cathy Shumaker

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2009

    Informative, realistic, helpful tool.

    I got my money's worth out of this book. The most valuable information it contains is the advice on ethics. Readers will gain a great amount of inside knowledge that is normally reserved for the serious detective. Stephens spends a lot of time showing not only how, but why the PI should use his skills for good and not evil. A lot of damage can be done by misusing the talents of a PI and the author explains how sensitive information should be handled. I've read other books that tell some trade secrets, but this is the first one that gives advice on how to avoid situations you don't want to get into. It's also a good reference book for those times that you may need to look up just one subject. For someone who is considering getting into the PI business, this book is for you. The first part of the book gives the reader some food for thought as to whether this is the right career to be in or not. Then, business considerations are discussed, along with financial matters, such as how to bill clients, what your services are worth, and setting up your business. The last part of the book is where most of the techniques are explained. It has many informative topics that you won't see on "CSI."

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    Posted June 26, 2011

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    Posted September 21, 2011

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