Can private investigators hack phones or social media?

May 29, 2023 - Reading time: 6 minutes

As leading private investigators based in the UK, we are often asked by our clients to investigate suspicions relating to infidelity... If you suspect that your partner is cheating on you, then finding the truth is understandably a priority for most people. Phones, instant messengers, and social media profiles now form a large part of most people's social lives, and can often contain clues that a person could be cheating on their partner. So, can private investigators hack into phones? Can private investigators hack into social media profiles or instant messengers?

No, private investigators are not allowed to engage in any form of hacking. Hacking into someone's phone messages or social media profiles without their permission or consent is against the law, not only in the UK but also in most other countries around the world. Please do not contact us in order to request any form of hacking service - we will not be able to help you.

Scam alert displayed on a laptop screen

We have recently been contacted by several individuals that hired so-called private investigators in order to hack into a social media profile, instant messenger app, or device... After money was paid for these services, the vendor either took the money and did nothing, or requested even more money and then did nothing after more money was paid. Remember, no legitimate private investigator would ever offer any form of illegal hacking service. In most cases 'hacking services' are nothing more than scams which are being offered by unscrupulous fraudsters in various countries around the world.

Can private investigators trace phone numbers?

Tracing phone numbers is a different topic altogether... In some cases we are able to trace phone numbers in order to link them to specific names or addresses. We also offer people tracing services which can be used to trace individuals for a range of different reasons. 

How can private investigators catch cheaters?

We do not offer any form of hacking services, as explained above. However, this does not mean that we cannot help to investigate infidelity and gather proof if your partner is cheating on you.

If you suspect that your partner is dishonest, then our investigators can help to monitor their activities whilst collecting photos/video as part of our personal surveillance service. In addition to surveillance, we may be able to utilise technology such as GPS trackers to check on the movements of subjects during investigations.

In addition, we also offer a facial recognition background check which in some cases can be used to locate dating website profiles, social media profiles, and even adult material featuring the faces of subjects.

Phone hacking scandals in the UK

Readers in the UK may recall having heard of the 'News Corporation scandal', during which private investigators and journalists were alleged to have hacked into phones, voicemails, and computers. The scandal resulted in private investigator Glenn Mulcaire being convicted after an eight month trial; Andy Coulson, who was former editor to the 'News of The World', was also found guilty on a charge of conspiracy to intercept voicemails (phone hacking). He was ultimately sentenced to 18 months in prison on July 4th 2014.

Prior to the revelation of this scandal which began in the early 2000s, issues relating to the privacy of electronic communications and data had seldom been discussed or thought about. This scandal, and the resulting criminal convictions, further highlight the need for private investigators to remain within the confines of the law at all times whilst gathering information and conducting investigations on behalf of clients.

In recent years of course, numerous more rules and regulation have come into force which govern issues relating to data privacy... Private investigators today understand exactly what they are and are not allowed to do, and no legitimate PI will ever knowingly offer an illegal service.

Are you the victim of electronic surveillance?

If you believe that someone could be taking the step to monitor you electronically by attempting to hack into your devices or accounts, then you should take steps to protect your data and privacy... Changing your passwords and enabling two-factor authentication (2FA) wherever possible are basic precautions that can be used.

If monitoring software has been installed on your phone or tablet, then in most cases performing a factory reset on the device will remove any unwanted spyware.

Be mindful that if an adversary is willing to take steps to hack into your devices or monitor your communications through spy software, then you should also be mindful about the possibility of them planting discreet microphones or cameras which can be used to monitor and eavesdrop on you. We offer a bug sweeping service across the UK which can be used to locate and remove electronic monitoring devices.

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