I have noticed through what I can see in advertising and promises on the internet, that there is a large increase in people and companies doing private investigation work without a license.
Where I see this glaring increase, is in companies that are offering pre-foreclosure "assessments" of properties for banks and lending companies. Legally, only 2 types of people can do this in Texas and they are both licensed entities. You have to have a license to be a Real Estate Broker and also a private investigator. What is being done is considered an investigation under the law. It is not a "grey area" or "maybe" could be an issue, this is out right illegal activity in the State of Texas. You can be fined for doing it and you can be fined for hiring an unlicensed person to do it.
The other commonly occurring unlicensed activity is "skip tracing" by companies and people that are not licensed investigators or investigations companies. Skip tracing is basically finding or locating a person who has "skipped out" on some type of financial obligation. I have noticed that process servers are advertising that they will do these locates for a fee. If they are not a licensed investigator, they are doing it illegally. Process servers are only allowed to "skip trace" someone that they are actually attempting to serve. They cannot charge for locating someone. They can only charge for serving that person.
I am not talking about state or governmental agencies that do similar work, they are obviously not required to be an investigations company.
Why am I concerned? It is hard enough to do business the right way and compete with others who do business the right way. It is not just illegal for these unlicensed companies to to this service, it is an unfair advantage, by not fulfilling the requirements to become a licensed company.
Whatever you do - don't hire or use these unlicensed companies, and Stay Safe!