“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche

Like many professions, private investigators have their own share of secrets about their work. Here are just a few secrets of the PIs.

1. They have informants – A good PI can turn almost anyone into an informant from a landlord to a neighbor to friends and associates. PIs are experts at getting information from people surrounding a subject.

2. They’ll use fake social media accounts – PIs create a number of different fake social media accounts to check out a subject. Being a friend on Facebook or Instagram can give them a wealth of information about a subject’s daily life just by looking at what they post about, who they post with, where they check-in or tag themselves and more.

3. They do undercover work – Often, when PIs do undercover work, it is in cases of business or corporate fraud or theft. They’ll often go undercover as an employee or officer of the company to get information on missing money, missing inventory and other types of fraud or theft.

4. They dumpster dive to get the dirt – PIs are excellent at getting a large volume of information about a subject through public records, the internet, social media and so on. However, for some issues they need physical evidence and this is where your trash comes in. In most states, once you throw something away and deposit it outside your house in a dumpster or pick-up bin, a PI can take it. Anything they find in your trash can be used as evidence.

5. They have tricks to follow people – Even the most non-paranoid person will notice if a particular car is following them. Some PIs work in pairs when trailing a subject and take turns following them so they don’t see the same car behind them when they look in their rearview mirror.

6. They are human lie detectors – Often, the subject of an investigation or their associates won’t be very forthcoming. This is normal and PIs expect this, however, they also have to deal with clients who are not as forthcoming as they should be either. Clients sometimes misrepresent their motives in hiring a PI and the PI has to be able to detect that their client is being less than truthful.

7. Social media is their goldmine – Aside from making fake profiles, they can also use information a subject and their associates post publicly to collect a wealth of data about their subject, including where they go, who they spend time with, who they interact with and what kinds of activities they are involved in.

8. They hide their identity – PIs are masters at hiding in plain sight. Many don’t post pictures of themselves online or allow themselves to be tagged or photographed by others. Their anonymity allows them to slip into any role they might need to during their work.

Private investigators have a lot of secrets about what they do and how they do it. A good PI knows how to work in various ways to get the evidence they need for a client or business. Sometimes that includes digging through social media or digging through a subject’s trash. It’s all in a day’s work for a PI.