How To Choose A Private Investigator In Thailand
Many people have asked us whether they can trust us, or whether they can trust any private investigator in Thailand.
We have received a lot of secondhand cases from people who have already been to another private investigator who they were dissatisfied with, to say the least.
Here, I will make some suggestions about how you can investigate your investigator, and decide who to believe and who to trust.
It is not my intention to disparage all other private investigators. Quite to the contrary, some are my friends, both old incorporated ones and more recent unincorporated private individuals who essentially freelance. There are sincere private investigators who may not pass all the tests below but still do their best for you. However, slackards and scammers typically fail some of the basic criteria below. Scammers and slackards may cast a shadow on the image of private investigations in Thailand in general in the eyes of their victims and their associates.
- Are they a registered company?
A serious private investigator with experience in Thailand should have become "established". They should have a registered company name and address on their website. You should Google that company to make sure it really exists, and see its various business activities.
Many private investigators have come and gone, or just gone quiet. It is a competitive business. It is also a difficult business. If they don't have the diligence and perseverance to establish a company, will they have the diligence and perseverance to complete your case?
Registered companies in Thailand have the endings "Ltd.", or "Co., Ltd.", when in English, and their equivalent in Thai. However, I have seen many websites use the word "Group" or "Corporation" or things like in their names that without the "Ltd." whereby I have not found any information on an actual government registration of a company for them.
Our company information is on our About Us page, so you can research us.
You are more likely to have reliable and consistent service from a properly organized company, as well as experience.
- How old is their internet domain name, and who owns their domain name?
Some companies have said they have been in business for 10 years or more (so why didn't I hear about them...), but when I looked up their internet domain name, it was just a few years old!
Sometimes, their true identity is hidden by a proxy service, e.g., "Domains by Proxy" or "Domain Proxy Service" is what you see if you try to look up a domain's owner.
You can look up domain name details at the official, authoritative ICANN website here: https://whois.icann.org/en (or you can find a Whois service on your own).
For example, for our domain, thailandpi.com (leave off the www. and type in just thailandpi.com , and likewise for other domains), you will see:
- My full personal name -- I display my name. Some people don't. Some clearly hide behind a proxy company or anonymizer service.
- My postal address
- My telephone number -- you can also call me here
- My email address -- you can also contact me there, too
- "Created date:" for the domain name, in our case the year 2002
- Does the company display a landline phone number?
There are two kinds of phone numbers:
- Mobile phones
- Landlines -- fixed lines going to one address
In Thailand, landline phone numbers start with one of these prefixes:
02-xxx-xxxx = Bangkok
03x-xxx-xxx = Provincial land lines
04x-xxx-xxx = Provincial land lines
05x-xxx-xxx = Provincial land lines
07x-xxx-xxx = Provincial land lines
You can do reverse phone number lookup to find out who owns landline phone numbers and where they are located.
However, the phone numbers below are mobile phone numbers, which do not have a public lookup service but are instead private, could be anywhere, and could be registered to a poor proxy person who they paid a little cash to, or bought their phone and SIM card from:
06x-xxx-xxxx = mobile phone
08x-xxx-xxxx = mobile phone
09x-xxx-xxxx = mobile phone
There is nothing wrong with listing a mobile phone on a website as a primary point of contact, and that is often a better point of contact for practical reasons. However, there should also be a fixed landline phone number listed if the entity is claiming to have a company which is officially registered, or if they claim to have a fixed office address. They would normally need a landline for at least their internet connection, if not office phone for staff, and fax, too.
- Do they really have an office?
Just because somebody lists a physical office address, that doesn't mean it is real. There are more than enough customers overseas who will not try to visit it. Even many domestic customers won't visit it. Disgruntled customers may be the main people looking for that address. If you want to test to see whether their address is real, try sending a letter through the postal mail, asking for them to contact you back.
We have a real office. It is in central Bangkok in an office building. (It is not a rented apartment or anything like that, it is a dedicated office building with no residential space.) We are on the top floor. Our company is listed on the directory in the lobby. You can come visit us. We are in a very convenient location, on Sukhumvit soi 2 in central Bangkok, walking distance from the skytrain, a short walk from Nana, and not far from many embassies (American, British, others).
- Googling their personal name with the word Thailand, what do you get?
You preferably should get information on somebody who is well established.
Things to NOT rely on:
Many websites give customer testimonials which are very positive about the company or individual. It is well known that testimonials can be totally fictitious.
In fact, there are people who sell testimonials on the internet.
How can you tell the difference?
- The excuse that a private investigator needs to hide their identity for safety
If a private investigator needs to hide their identity or location, then they should not be in this business. They should be established in their community, and have the necessary contacts with established officials who know them and trust them, i.e., they should have people who are willing to help them if necessary. If they cannot rely on others, then who can rely on them?
However, scammers may be motivated hide their identity from customers who have been ripped off.
- A proxy to send money to
This is one of the oldest tricks in the book for scams in Thailand. The money must come in to somebody. There are many poor and uneducated people who are tricked into letting somebody use their account for receiving money, such as for a fee or commission. There are some phrases to describe these people, the most popular being "money mule" which is a person who receives payment on behalf of another person for a commission and doesn't care or doesn't know what it's for. Often, the money mule is just a lazy person needing money, or has an addiction needing a fix urgently, and/or overconfident or don't consider the consequences of their behavior, so they do it without thinking or caring about it. Sometimes, they are duped as a "money transfer agent" or somesuch if the scammer has a cover story for why they need to use the person as a proxy.
Notably, a foreigner technically cannot open a bank account in Thailand without a Thai government issued Work Permit, and banks routinely turn down foreigners (though some branches will approve a foreigner bank account anyway without a work permit, but these are exceptions to the rule). However, this technical difficulty is sometimes used by foreigners as a reason for tricking a proxy, and they can find a willing Thai person to help them by setting up a bank account and giving the foreigner the ATM card, possibly without knowing the real reason. "Because of Thai law, I cannot open a bank account, but I need it for business, can you help me? I will pay you for your help."
Of course, it's not necessary to have a bank account in Thailand. You could send money to their overseas bank account in their name and they pull it out by an ATM card of their own anywhere in the world, or you could send money by Western Union or MoneyGram in their name to be picked up in Thailand.
- Overselling their services
If they seem to guarantee fantastic results, claim to have reliable agents everywhere, and can do so many things, then you may want to analyze whether or not they appear really capable of that.
It is not easy to find good, reliable people in the difficult private investigations business. If they claim to have agents in so many cities, then I have to wonder how reliable those agents are to do work which is acceptable. Maybe they can, maybe they cannot. Do they care about quality and after sales service?
Keep in mind that many services on the internet guarantee money back. Some of those haven't actually given money back.
Talking the talk is easy, but walking the walk, successfully, may not work out.
There are people who may employ some of these tactics and still really do your case, and even may do a good job. However, there may be other people who employ these tactics mainly just to get your money. There may be other factors which you consider important, such as rapport with your contact, their willingness to take on your case, and so forth.
These are mainly suggestions to consider, for somebody asking whether or not they can trust a particular private investigator in Thailand.
You may also want to see our page on the issue of private investigator license in Thailand.
> Trust Your Private Investigator?
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Our company is located in central Bangkok on Sukhumvit soi 2, within walking distance of the skytrain, between the Ploenchit and Nana stations.
Thailand Private Investigations,
a division of:
Lucky Lion Pride Co., Ltd.
Ploymitr Office Building, Floor 7
81 Sukhumvit soi 2
By appointment only, please.
Sometimes, an agent can meet you at
your location (depends on location).
Email: inbox at our domain name.
Office Tel.: +66-2255-0620
Mobile Tel.: +66-8-0062-4243 (native English speaker)
Old customers please note:
We moved our office from Pakkred, Nonthaburi (next to the government post office) to the city center. Please do not go out to our old office in Pakkred, on Bond Street. We are no longer there.
Our office is co-located with Export Quality Services Co., Ltd., aka EQ, which is the same company we previously operated under, but we split off the private investigations business to a daughter company, Lucky Lion Pride Co., Ltd., whereby EQ now focuses on language translation and some other things.
Mobile Tel.: +66-80-062-4243 or 080-062-4243 (native English speaker) -- call ANYTIME, 24/7 (I turn off my phone volume when asleep and leave the phone in an unoccupied home office room, so no worries about 24/7 activities.)
If you want to chat via LINE / WhatsApp, please add the phone number above to your phone's contacts, and it should automatically add me to your LINE and WhatsApp shortly after that.
For expediting in LINE, my LINE ID is alphalion (alpha lion with no space between the words).
2023 public website, expat in Thailand since 1994.