I think it must be pretty strange to have to hire a P.I.
Maybe a person suspects their spouse of cheating or maybe a business partner is making some shady business deals…the possibilities are endless.
But a lot of people do hire private investigators for a variety of reasons.
And AskReddit users shared the stories about what they learned from their P.I. experiences.
1. Long lost brother.
“My grandfather did.
He was separated from his brother when the Japanese occupied China. My grandfather safely made it to Hong Kong and eventually to Canada. His brother made it to Singapore or Malaysia according to family friends back then. So my grandfather spent a good 5 years or so working with a PI to find his brother so they can be reunited.
Sadly, with just a picture and the fact many people died in the war, it wasn’t much to go on. My grandfather is still alive and always thinks of his brother. It’s his wish to see him one more time.”
“My Grandmother hired a PI back in the 1990s to catch my Grandad cheating.
It uncovered he had been cheating with multiple other women and he even has a Daughter with another woman who is the same age as my Mum (who is the middle child of 5).”
3. Seemed normal…
“When I met my wife, she seemed to have a normal modern family. Two moms, two dads. Over time it became apparent her step-dad wasn’t around much. Holidays, birthdays, you name it, he’d pop in to say hi, grab a nap, whatever, then take off again.
My wife’s family thought this was normal, just the way it had always been since they were teenagers. He claimed to have a job following FedEx trucks around the state to prevent theft and drug trafficking. But I thought it strange and started making jokes about him having another family.
Well, I guess it got my sister in law thinking because she gets a favor from the PI at her law firm. Sure enough, he has not two but THREE wives around the state, and five other (step)children between them.
My sister-in-law breaks the news to her mother who immediately changes the locks and files for divorce. They never speak again. Cold Turkey. Divorce is even uncontested. As a FU they also send the report to his other wives.”
“My boyfriend’s family hired a PI to do some covert geneology, because they’re white but all have thick wiry hair that only black hairdressers can handle. And because there are things older folks in these parts Just Don’t Talk About.
Turns out there’s a fair amount of Lumbee Indian (a community founded by disenfranchised Native Americans and escaped slaves back in the day) in boyfriend’s family, which explains the hair.”
5. The Best PI story.
“I used to work for an insurance defense firm years ago.
Best PI story I have is where we hired one to tail a guy who was suing our client for an injury that wasn’t entirely our client’s fault. The guy was refusing to settle, and was insisting on going to trial even though we offered a fair sum that would’ve paid his medical bills.
The PI we hired got some good pics that showed the plaintiff was nowhere near as “injured” as he claimed, but the crown jewel of the photos was one where the guy was walking on a pier with a woman who wasn’t his wife. Had his hand on her ass and everything.
Later in a deposition, the attorney slid the picture to the plaintiff and said something like “Mr. Smith (obviously not his real name), who is the woman in this picture? We would like to schedule a deposition with her as well.” The guy went ghost white and told his attorney he wanted to settle.
At least he was smart enough to realize that if his wife found out the other woman was gonna be deposed, he was gonna have to get a family law attorney as well, because the divorce papers would soon follow.”
6. Here’s the story…
“I had to hire one to help gather evidence to defend myself against an assault charge. The story goes like this:
Ex attacks me in front of a witness that I don’t know, steals my phone then calls the cops on me. I get arrested and she wipes my phone and steals some incriminating evidence from my place while I’m in jail. I get out and hire the PI to try and track down the witness.
The Friday before a Tuesday trial I finally find the guy and have the PI go to talk to him to avoid witness tampering. Guy refuses to get involved, so I think I’m f*cked, bc my ex is this tiny little girl who plays the victim all too well. I call up my lawyer to accept the plea deal. Turns out the prosecutor had barely spoken to the ex until that day.
Due to fortunate timing the prosecutor met with my ex before my lawyer could get ahold of them. The prosecutor realizes my ex is completely deranged, and also admits to having attacked me multiple times that night, destroying any case. I get the call – all charges dropped. Most relief I’ve ever felt in my life.
So, the weird thing was, the PI didn’t really help, directly, but working with him to find this witness kept me from accepting the sh*tty plea deal for just long enough for things to work themselves out.”
“My grandma’s older brother was kidnapped whenever he was under 10 years old (I cant remember exactly how old) from the state fair.
It was believed his uncle was the one that took him because his dad passed away early on and his brother wasn’t happy that my great grandma got custody and another man was raising his nephew. One day we were sitting out on the back porch looking through old photo albums when we came across a picture of him and my grandma told us about what happened.
About a year and a half to 2 years later her health went downhill. It was 60+ years since he was kidnapped and my grandma was a couple months from passing so my mom and aunt hired a PI who managed to find him.
He had been living in Brazil ever since he was taken and had an entire family down there. They got to reconnect over facetime and she got to meet an entire side of her family she didn’t even know existed. They talked on the phone and FaceTimed numerous times a week all the way up until she passed.”
8. Spying on the school.
“My mother hired one to spy on the school.
See, my little brother is dyslexic and has severe social anxiety, and so was struggling a lot in a public school setting. He had an IEP, which the teachers and principal were insisting was being followed. But everyday my brother would come home in tears shaking because he felt abandoned and stupid.
So mom hired the investigator, and sure enough the teachers were basically just ignoring my brother. They’d sit him in the back of the room and demand he do his work, then wouldn’t help him through it. Then they’d yell at him because he didn’t do it (again, he couldn’t write because of the dyslexia).
With all the evidence, my mom was able to arrange a meeting with the school board and threatened to sue. They agreed to pay his tuition for a private school that was supposed to help. It didn’t, and mom ended up just pulling him out and homeschooling him. He’s been doing a lot better.”
“My uncle disappeared without a trace in the 1990s, about a year after his daughter was kidnapped and murdered. We hired a PI to track him down, and the PI found next to nothing.
As my uncle had developed a hero*n problem following my cousin’s murder, the best guess the PI had is that he had died by OD or suicide, and that his body hadn’t been found or he was reported as a John Doe.
Imagine my family’s surprise two decades later, when my uncle calls my mother, who is his only sibling. My grandfather had been on his deathbed for a month, and somehow the uncle found out. He arrived to make a show of paying his respects, in an attempt to get money out of his parents. When it was clear he wasn’t getting anything, he took off once again.
He never gave us a real or detailed explanation of why he left, where he’d been, and what he’d been doing. He left no address or telephone number and made no attempts to remain in contact.
The PI we hired must have been a sh*tty one, that or my uncle really knows how to disappear.”
“My work requires us to hire PIs to investigate injury claims.
We had this high schooler claiming a head injury so severe that he basically couldn’t live a normal life specifically, he had an issue with bright lights. Couldn’t stare at a computer or TV long etc.
Our PI caught him on several occasions at the movies, arcade, basketball games, etc. so basically he was making a fraudulent claim.”
11. Exaggerated injuries.
“I used to work for an insurance company that handled injury claims.
More often than not, the investigator would find nothing, or would give us a lot of video showing that the claimant was indeed injured (we would then bury the video of course).
There are, on occasion, people who are exaggerating their injuries but they are by far the minority. The few cases where that does happen has a way of placing unfair suspicion on the legitimately injured people.
My fave example was a time when the insurer sent me hours of video where they had followed this young, healthy-looking (and quite physically fit) fella around, leaving his house, going and working outside on a home renovation, doing lots of heavy lifting, carrying things up and down ladders. All this despite a reported back injury. The insurance adjuster was all gung-ho on taking the case to trial without making any offers.
Lo and behold, I look at the video, check the age of the claimant in the file, and think to myself “this guy looks awfully young for someone in his 50s”. Ten minutes of facebook research later, I work out that the PI had been following the claimant’s 25-year-old son for two weeks.
The few cases where there is actual fraud make for good stories and get told and re-told, but in reality the vast majority of claimants are on the level despite insurance company kool-aiders wanting to believe otherwise. I spent a lot of time having to talk them down while I did that work.”
12. A sad story.
“My family hired a PI.
My grandpa had a younger brother, I’ll call him John, that was always the black sheep of the family. Apparently my grandpa was quite protective of John and would always defend him to family and friends, saying he was a good kid who would figure his life out eventually.
One day John asked my grandpa to loan him a couple thousand dollars to buy a house, which was no small amount in the 60s, and after talking it over with my grandma they eventually did. John skipped town shortly after that and never contacted my grandparents again. My grandpa, being the brooding Irishman he was, never really talked about John after that.
In the 1980s, one of my moms cousins was curious what happened to John and hired a PI to go looking for him. They lived in a small town in northern British Columbia, Canada, and after a while the PI found John living on the streets of Vancouver. My grandmother and my great aunt flew to Vancouver to see him, because my grandpa still wanted nothing to do with it, to see if they could bring him home.
My grandmother said when they met with John he was livid, absolutely f*cking livid, that they had found him. He was living with a small group of people that had turned into his little sort of street family. He told them he was very happy with life the way it was, to leave, and to never try to contact him again. And that was that.
My grandmother and my great aunt got back on a plane and flew home without him. To our families knowledge, lived out the rest of his days on the streets of Vancouver.”
How about you?
Have you ever hired a P.I. before?
If so, tell us how it went in the comments. Thanks!