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    21 Things You've Always Wanted To Know About Private Investigators

    It's not as glamorous as it sounds.

    1. We spend a lot of time working on insurance fraud cases.

    E!

    Which means we're tasked with tracking down people who have made false claims. For example, we might follow a guy who is claiming to be wheelchair-bound only to find that he is actually capable of going for a job

    2. And lots of private investigators actually specialise in work cover and injury claims.

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    Sometimes we'll find out that individuals are claiming disability benefits from their employer because of things like a neck injury, but then we'll spot them working for another company when they're meant to be resting.

    3. Lots of us used to work in the police force.

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    You develop lots of the necessary skills as a police officer, so it's a pretty natural next step.

    4. And a lot of us are former shopping mall security guards.

    Happy Madison Productions

    Being a security guard teaches you how to keep an eye out for any suspicious activity.

    5. But a good way to get into the industry is to start off doing computer work for an existing agency.

    6. If you want to set up your own firm, you don't actually need a university degree.

    Ailbhe Malone / BuzzFeed

    You can go straight from school to getting experience in the field.

    7. But if you want to work for an existing agency, studying something like Criminal Justice or Criminology won't hurt.

    8. Unlike the private investigators you see in films, our first jobs are never actually very glamourous.

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    We usually start out doing background searches for companies who are hiring before we move onto the bigger jobs.

    9. And even when we eventually start doing surveillance work, we spend a lot of time sitting in a car, waiting for something to happen.

    Paramount Pictures

    We can easily spend three ten-hour days doing surveillance and only come away with five seconds worth of useable video.

    10. But at least we don't have to dress up for work.

    Marvel Television

    If we know we're going to spend the day sitting around in a car watching someone, we dress as comfortably as possible. Going to work in your pyjamas is not unheard of.

    11. Sometimes, we have to pee in a teeny tiny container in our car.

    CBS

    If you have to spend a day in the car, you're gonna have to pee somewhere. See, I told you it's not all that glamorous.

    12. And we have to be really careful not to lose concentration, otherwise we could miss the action.

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    Spending seven hours in a warm car is enough to make anyone feel sleepy. So we have to listen to podcasts and the radio to make sure we stay awake for the main event.

    13. Sadly, a lot of our time is spent following people who's partners suspect they're cheating.

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    The things we find out can often lead to couples separating or getting divorced.

    14. We can only film people when they are in public places.

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    So while we can't record someone through your window at home, we can record them in the queue to the McDonald's toilet.

    15. Our biggest expense is buying our own surveillance equipment.

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    We need a good quality DSLR camera with at least two lenses, a polarising filter, and a decent video recorder. So the costs can be pretty high when we're starting out.

    16. And we usually have to get our car windows tinted too.

    Nickelodeon Movies

    Which can occasionally lead to members of the public getting suspicious about us lurking around near them.

    17. Sometimes we make fake Facebook pages with the sole intention to adding our subjects as friends.

    E!

    You'd be surprised at how many people add absolute strangers and how much information was can gather from a Facebook page.

    18. And some firms employ a dedicated group of people to work on social media investigations from the office.

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    People are a lot savvier at keeping their social media setting private these days, so gathering information can be difficult.

    19. Being a private investigator is the dream job if you're very patient and you like spending time on your own.

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    But if you thrive off being around other people, you should consider a different career.

    20. Despite what films would have you believe, we won't do absolutely anything to get the information our clients are after.

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    We're very aware of the ethical implications of our jobs and we take them very seriously. We won't hack into your boyfriend's emails, or try to seduce your girlfriend to prove that she'll cheat on you. Basically, we won't do anything we'd be ashamed of telling a judge we did.

    21. And the best part of the job is undeniably the adrenaline rush you get when you finally find evidence for something you've suspected all along.

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    There's no feeling quite like it.

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