Cybercrime is now the greatest threat facing businesses in Australia. The average cost of a data breach was $2.51 million last year, according to the Ponemon Institute, and this can be especially damaging for legal firms if their clients’ confidential information is compromised. Other illegal activities such as fraud can also have a major effect on a business.

If you need to hire a professional cyber investigator or other investigative specialist following an incident, you need to be confident that you’re choosing a firm you can trust. Your choice of agency can directly affect the success of the investigation.

To avoid common mistakes and to make sure you’re choosing a reputable agency that’s committed to getting you the best outcome, here are four questions to ask before hiring a private investigator.

1. Are they licensed?

With the exception of the Australian Capital Territory, private investigators in Australia must be licensed to operate in their state. This gives companies the assurance that they have completed the necessary training and background checks to operate legally and ethically.

You can check whether a personal investigator holds a current licence by looking them up on state government websites. Search for a licensed private investigator in NSW here.

2. Do they have the relevant experience?

Cyber breaches and illegal intrusions into a computer system is a relatively new and constantly evolving field of crime. Not all investigators will have the specific knowledge and experience needed to help with the internet security issue your firm is dealing with, so this is something you need to confirm right at the start.

To check their credentials, you can ask to see examples of similar work the cyber investigator has completed for previous clients or carry out your own research online. While the specific details will be confidential, there should be enough information to give you an idea of whether an investigator is equipped to help your case.

3. What’s their reputation?

As well as checking their field of expertise, you should ask investigators if they can provide professional industry references from past clients or provide case studies from other clients who they have worked with in the past.

You should also look up testimonials or reviews from their previous clients on third party review sites to build a more complete picture and check for media stories for any notable cases. Make sure you get the full name of the investigator and not just the investigation agency they work for, as it may employ a number of agents.

4. Do they seem trustworthy?

Hiring the wrong investigator doesn’t only waste money, it also wastes time that could be crucial for a successful outcome. Arranging a face-to-face interview is the best way to get a sense of an investigator’s character, integrity and professionalism, as well as your chance to ask questions. If they are located too far away to meet them, ask them to come onto a Skype call so you can see their face.

If it’s your first time hiring a private investigator or surveillance specialist, you should be aware of possible red flags to look out for, such as:

  • The company doesn’t have a registration number (e.g. an ABN)
  • The investigator only communicates by email, never over the phone or face-to-face
  • Your calls always go to voicemail or are outsourced to a call centre
  • They’re not able to answer your questions or give you specific details
  • They divulge confidential information from previous cases such as client names.

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To see recent case studies of how IFW Global’s licensed professional investigators have helped our clients with a range of international financial fraud investigations, download our free ebook today.

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