There is nothing more interesting for me as a private investigator than getting to look into the deep dark past. In my career, I have done background investigations for clients that ranged from to international banking executives, to hardcore commerce executives. When people think of a background investigation, they might think of basic employment screening or a security clearance for a government agency. I want to give 5 scenarios where an individual or a company should get a background investigation done on somebody.










1. Your Son or Daughter is Getting Married

Getting married is one of the biggest life choices that a human being can make. This is magnified exponentially when it is your son or daughter that is getting married. After all, parents naturally want their children to be happy and to have a good life–this includes marriage. Before you pull out your checkbook and reserve the banquet hall for the reception, it might be a good idea to get the low down on the individual that your child is marrying. Love is blind, and sometimes those caught up in the emotion of the moment cannot see what you as a parent see. As a matter of fact, I have heard horror stories about young women marrying very ‘nice young men’, only to find out several months after the wedding that the ‘nice young man’ was addicted to pornography, not willing to work, or worse….

Ultimately, who your child marries will be their decision and theirs alone. However, if you as a parent run a background investigation and conduct due diligence to confront that nagging feeling you have in your stomach, there is no harm in that. In fact, your child never has to know that you had a private investigator run an in-depth background investigation into their potential spouse. If your private investigator conducts in depth background & lifestyle related investigations like I do at BrightStar Investigations, then either your suspicions will be confirmed or dismissed–either way, you can have peace. And if in fact your investigator finds something egregious in your potential son/daughter in law, you can potentially save your son or daughter years of heartache, financial troubles, and undue emotional stress: in fact, you might just save your child’s life, and relationship with you.


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2. Your About to Make a BIG Investment That Sounds too Good to be True

Ever hear of Bernie Madoff the ponzi scheme king? You would be surprised how many of these ‘dream investment’ schemes occur on a day to day basis. In fact, these schemes are just microcosms of the kind of swindling that Madoff was engaged in….they just happen on a much smaller scale. Imagine if one…..just one person dealing with Madoff would have hired a skilled private investigation firm to conduct a very very thorough background and lifestyle investigation into Madoff. They might not have been able to find a smoking gun, but a trained and professional private investigator would eventually be able to see the writing on the wall that something just isn’t right–which could have saved clients untold millions.

Before you start taking money out of your 401k and investing it with the latest and greatest investment guru–do some due diligence with a private investigator. The money that you spend with a private investigator will be a drop in the bucket compared to what you could end up losing.















3.  Your Company is in Various Stages of Negotiation and You Need an Upper Hand

You are approaching the biggest contract in your companies history, and you have been introduced to the team that you will be negotiating with. How about this scenario? Your company is in the final stages of negotiation and and you will be meeting with a team of stoic negotiators from the other side. In either scenario, it would be a great idea to have a professional investigator conduct a historical and lifestyle background investigation on the key members of the opposing negotiating team.


When you go into a negotiation, whether short or long term, your company needs an upper hand. Wouldn’t it be good to know that a key member from the other side is going through a divorce? It might be a good idea to pair him or her with someone who can sympathize what they are going through. Conversely, it would also be great to know what fraternity the other side is a part of; are any of them ex-military? What about those from similar geographic locations? All of these factors could potentially give your team a tangible psychological & negotiating advantage. In fact, armed with the right knowledge about the members of the other side, and using smart negotiating tactics, you might be able to find a soft spot in the opposition and get that extra 5 or 10% percent that your company is looking for. In the end, the background investigation will pay for itself, and could pay dividends for years to come.

4. You are a Small Business Owner or Your Company Wants to Prevent Turnover

Turnover is not cheap. In fact, turnover costs business’ roughly 20% of a persons total salary for employees that make under $50,000 a year. That number goes up exponentially with executives (see number 5 for executives). There is advertising, time lost to conduct interviews, follow up calls; moreover, it interrupts the office environment because someone new is introduced into your tight working community. All of these factors are a drain on your business and your bottom line. Especially if you are a small business.

It is just prudent to hire an investigator to look into the lifestyle and the history of potential employees….especially if you have had a streak of bad luck with turnover.

But we Already Pay Lexis Nexus or Some other Company to do Background Checks.

Congratulations. You have verified work history, address history, and your new employee is not a criminal. You know nothing about this individuals lifestyle, true behavior outside of work, or personal history. All that you know about this individual is what you have gathered from meeting for them for 45 minutes in an interview room. And everyone puts on their best face there!

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A private investigator can examine a prospective employees digital footprint, talk to people that the individual has previously worked with, look analytically into the individuals lifestyle for red flags, or even follow the person around to see what they do on the weekends. What if your new ‘prospect’ is posting on social media that he/she plans on moving in 5 months. That would be great to know. If you want to save time, money and prevent turnover, get a private investigator to add to your basic background check. You’ll thank yourself later.

5. Your Business is Hiring a Key Staff Member or an Executive

We aren’t just talking about hiring regular staff here. This is where hundreds of thousands of dollars and stock options start to fly around. I can say with great assurance that an investigator needs to conduct a deep lifestyle check of  a potential key staff member or executive.


A private investigator will not be looking to see if an executive is moving in 5 months. Your potential executive made it this far because they are good at what they do. A private investigator will be looking for anything that can be used against your executive and your company in the future. Do you see every few years that something ugly is uncovered from a politicians past? Who do you think does that digging? Private Investigators. A private investigator will take a long hard look ainvest3t this executive and their past. It will include interviews, digital footprint examination, passive surveillance and a lifestyle examination. If something ugly comes up from the past–perhaps it can be cleaned up. Everyone has skeletons in the closet–you just don’t want them to ever see the light of day. And if your investigator in fact finds any red flags, you can eliminate that executive from your pool if those red flags are egregious enough. You have a lot of money and reputation on the line. Don’t waste it because you didn’t conduct due diligence. 

Craig Smith is the Chief Investigator for BrightStar Investigations. When he is not investigating, you can find him playing football with his son and enjoying the outdoors in the Colorado Rockies. He can be reached at