The information developed through background investigations can determine your next course of action with regards to an investigation. This is especially true when considering surveillance. Background investigations, including social media profiles, maybe one of the most overlooked and underappreciated aspects to a successful investigation.

A background investigation can provide information helpful to further fact-gathering.

At McDonald & Associates, we always encourage a background investigation to be done prior to surveillance.  It can assist in determining:

  • The best times for surveillance
  • Places the person frequents
  • The investigator best suited for the case

The first two points may seem obvious enough. However, not every investigator is comfortable crashing a wedding or riding a four-wheeler in the dunes.  Knowing your own investigator’s strengths and having enough full-time investigators to provide a variety of skill sets, allows us to put the right people in the right places, at the right times. This can be crucial to the success of your investigation. 

What information is provided in a background investigation?

 A thorough background investigation should include the following:

  • Criminal/Civil Records
  • Bankruptcies
  • Social Media Accounts
  • Licenses
  • Assessors Records
  • Pretexting*

Aside from the pure data collected in a background investigation, having a knowledgeable and experienced private investigator who is able to interpret that information, is just as crucial. At McDonald & Associates, our investigators are able to assess the potential impact a background investigation can have in the planning and execution of the overall investigation and case.

**Pretexting is a form of social engineering in which an individual lies to obtain privileged data. A pretext is a false motive. Pretexting often involves pretending to need information in order to confirm the identity of the person he is talking to. An example of pretexting could be the investigator acts as someone interested in purchasing a home to get a tour (also gives them an idea of claimant’s schedule, etc.). Or the investigator takes his car to a car wash fundraiser and takes a video of claimant potentially doing an activity they say they cannot do.

For additional information regarding our complete line of investigative services, please visit our website at or contact us via email at