Private investigators have secrets. Many laymen think that they can learn our secrets by buying Net Detective or some other useless program.
There are books, such as The Complete Idiot's Guide to Private Investigating (available on the Sherlock Investigations site under Employment), that reveal some of our cherished secrets.
Private investigators have long used unorthodox methods for obtaining information. However, some of these are illegal, and any investigator using these methods is taking a real chance.
One of our clients recently complained because we hadn't located a person as fast as he thought we would. He paid $395, and expected that we'd send an investigator out on the street for a week looking for the person. For that amount, we can't afford to send an investigator out, but we can let our fingers do the walking. Which brings up our biggest secret.
Good private investigators take full advantage of the telephone. For example, when locating a person, we know that there is always someone, and, usually, quite a few people, who know where the person is that we're trying to locate. So, we start calling friends, associates, former neighbors, former employers, and ask them if they know where the person is.
While we employ public and non-public databases that we subscribe to, a successful locate often comes down to using the telephone.
Some of our secrets are not high-tech, but just plain old-fashioned investigative methods.