Frequently Asked Questions:

We understand hiring a private investigator may be intimidating the first time. We want you to trust us and encourage you to do your homework. Here are some answers to questions we get most often. We highly encourage you to interview us, don’t be afraid to meet and discuss your case. It’s free and I promise you will get an honest assessment of how we can help, what it will cost and even whether or not you need a us.

How much does it cost to hire a private investigator?

Answer: Like most things, the price depends on what you need, resources required for success and time involved. Our standard hourly rate is only $85 per investigator hour.  Some services have set fees like basic and comprehensive background checks, drug screens, pre-employment screening, tenant screening, etc. Evaluations and quotes for service are always free. Call us to schedule a confidential meeting with one of our investigators.

How long do investigations take?      

Answer: Investigations take anywhere from a couple days to a couple months. Some can even take longer. Of course every case is different and depends on a great many variables, the primary variable being you, the client.

How do you report the results?

Answer: We provide written report within seven (7) days of completion of the investigation. We prefer to close a case in person with a “Findings Review”.  This includes presentation of the report and any evidence obtained during the course of the investigation. If you prefer, we can send the report by email or certified mail. We can also release the findings to your legal counsel if this is your desire.

Will the target be aware of the investigation?

Answer:  That is up to you! It is sometimes beneficial that the subject knows you are investigating them. Sometime it is best to be discreet.  We are very discreet and what we do and what you tell us is always confidential. We will NEVER disclose information about your case with anyone without your permission or lawful order by the courts. Even then, depending on the case and whether or not you are also working with an attorney,  you may be covered by client privilege.

Are you licensed and insured?

Answer: Yes! The great State of Texas requires all private investigators be licensed and bonded. It also requires training and continuing education so you can be assured that PIs at Fort Bend Private Investigators have the training and experience to handle your case. FBPI’s license number is C20743.

How can I check the status of an Investigations License?

Answer: You can verify license status online at the Texas Department of Public Safety Regulatory Division website. (CLICK HERE).


Fort Bend Private Investigators is a certified enrollment station for Texas Department of Public Safety (IdentoGo)

  • What is the difference between a fingerprint-based background check and a non-fingerprint background check?

Fingerprint-based background checks run job applicants through both FBI and state criminal databases presenting a complete criminal profile of the job applicant. Conversely, non-fingerprint background checks or “name checks” are not nearly as comprehensive and run the applicants background against a limited amount of predetermined records which are commercially available. Modern automated fingerprint identification systems can produce identification error rates of less than one percent. Conversely, as compared to FBI fingerprint searches, “name checks” result in appreciable numbers of both false positives and false negatives.

  • Are “name checks” as reliable as fingerprints in criminal history checks?

In general, name checks are much less reliable than fingerprints. A name check is based on an individual’s name, as well as other personal identifiers such as sex, race, date of birth and Social Security number. Because it is rare for this information to be unique to particular individuals, name checks can produce inaccurate results, especially when names and other identifiers in the database are similar or identical to the information being checked. Mistakes can also result from misspellings or clerical errors, or from intentionally inaccurate identification information provided by search subjects who wish to avoid discovery of their prior criminal activities.

There are two general types of name check errors:

(1) Inaccurate or wrong identifications, often called “false positives,” occur when an applicant’s name check does not clear, producing one or more possible candidates, and the applicant’s fingerprint search does clear, showing the applicant has no FBI criminal record.

(2) Missed identifications, often called “false negatives,” occur when an applicant’s name check clears, producing no possible candidates, and the applicant’s fingerprint search does not clear but instead shows the applicant has an FBI criminal record.


  • What is a Background Check?

It means different things to different people, and the answer can vary widely. Background checks can include Name-Based Checks, Employment Reference Checks, Education Checks, Sex Offender/Violent Offender Registry Checks, Credit Checks, and Criminal History Checks. Each of these checks addresses a specific area of a person’s background and while each one is valuable in its own right, none of them are comprehensive and can independently confirm that a person has a “clean” background. Most of the background checks listed are self-explanatory, with the exception of Name-Based and Criminal History Checks. The subtle differences are explained below.


Name-based Background checks are a validation with a specific set of databases using a person’s name as the qualifier. Name-based checks are inadequate for a number of factors, including:  issues that arise over common names (i.e., John Smith), issues with incorrect or incomplete recordings to databases, and the need to run multiple checks if a person has had multiple names (i.e., maiden and married name). Name-based checks are one of the easiest and most common background checks to be subjected to and are probably the most likely to have incomplete, missing, or misidentified findings. Name-based checks are widely available on the internet and advertised on TV. Typically, there are little to no vetting requirements in place with the Background Check provider to insure that the person initiating the background check should even be running such a check on another person.


There are credible companies that do a good job of due diligence with regard to vetting entities submitting name-based checks. These companies also do the best job of compiling internal databases of criminal conviction data and sex offender registry data. Name-based checks range in price from $5 and up, depending on the specific databases being checked, what information is being verified, and how much research is required. A standard National Criminal Database background check, with a reputable background check provider, will cost in the range of $20-$30. If conviction information is identified, additional costs are incurred to request local courthouse records. Additional checks on housing history, credit history, employment history, etc., can all be requested for an additional fee and will take time to complete. These checks should be done for every name that a person has gone by; including names that may have been recorded erroneously (wrong spellings or different middle initials, for example).


Criminal History Background Checks (CHRI) are different than name-based checks in that the background check is being done at the state (or federal, or both) repository level. Every state in the US, and the FBI, maintains a repository of criminal history information. This information includes arrest and conviction information for all criminal arrest submissions and a specific segment of non-criminal records (i.e. applicants processed for fingerprints for criminal justice employment, some military, and a few other reasons). For example, if someone is arrested, a record of that arrest is submitted to the state criminal history repository. County clerk offices, prosecutor offices, and other judicial offices then process and submit updates to the criminal history repository as criminal cases pass through the legal system. The processes followed by agencies can vary broadly, with some having fully automated tracking/reporting systems, while others have systems that require manual data entry to update the repository data. In a time when local governments have encountered increasingly fewer budget dollars to spend on technology, many smaller counties and municipalities have been unable to keep up with the demand for final disposition updates to the criminal history repository.


Criminal history repository agencies are then tasked with updating their databases to the FBI’s central repository. Criminal fingerprint and arrest records are generally made bilaterally (meaning, that an arrestee’s information and fingerprint are submitted to both the state repository and also to the FBI repository). The only variance to this is for some local ordinances, which may not be submitted to the FBI repository (typically very minor offenses).

Criminal History Checks can be done via one of two methods:

  1. Name Checks or
  2. Fingerprint Checks.

Many states have evolved to a place where they have electronic interfaces to their CHRI systems, which permits authorized entities to run name-based checks against the criminal history repository. In a few states, the state Criminal History Repository also permits residents to do self record reviews, typically through their electronic portal. In a few states, the self record review process has evolved and employers use the electronic portals, along with employee consent, to conduct name-based criminal history checks.

The other means of conducting Criminal History Checks is via fingerprint submission. Authorized entities are permitted to submit fingerprints (either via hard card or an electronic network) to the criminal history repository’s AFIS (Automated Fingerprint Identification System). Authorized entities are those state (or federal) licensing agencies that have been granted legislative authority to process, review and receive criminal history information from the central repository for the purpose of insuring that licensees are of sound moral character, free of criminal convictions, and/or are otherwise worthy of a license to function in a certain role.

Authorized entities (typically licensing agencies, like Personnel Management, Department of Insurance, Department of Children/Families, Professional Licensing Bureaus, and others) will be authorized by their respective legislative code to receive both arrest and conviction information from the central repository. Additionally, these groups must receive FBI approval for authority to have their fingerprint based submissions be sent to the FBI with access to the results of these checks. Typically, professional licensing bureaus will only receive conviction information. Agencies that handle licensing of personnel in positions of trust impacting children, the elderly, or other trusted functions will typically be able to review both arrest and conviction information.

CHRI results (either a No Record response or a “Rap Sheet” or “Hit” if there are records in the central repository) permit licensing agencies to make decisions on the suitability of an applicant for licensing approval on a broad level. These checks allow licensing agencies to quickly and efficiently make suitability decisions about licensing on a granular level for large number of constituents. It’s an efficient method. Some licensing agencies only do name-based CHRI checks, but because of the reasons noted, those name checks can be problematic for applicants with common names and costly for licensing agencies.

  • What is AFIS and how is it used for background checks?

An automated fingerprint identification system (AFIS) uses digital imaging technology to capture, transmit, store and analyze fingerprint data.

Historically, a number of state criminal history record repositories used name checks as the sole method of searching their state criminal history files because fingerprint-based searches commonly entailed long mailing and processing delays, which are inconsistent with the needs of record users with time-critical requirements. The FBI’s Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS) is the largest biometric database in the world, with fingerprints and criminal histories for more than 70 million subjects in the criminal master file and more than 34 million civil prints.


I’d like advice on protecting my identity. Where do I begin?

Answer: The Federal Trade Commission offers recommendations in four key areas:

  1. Keeping your personal information secure offline
  2. Keeping your personal information secure online
  3. Securing your Social Security number
  4. Keeping your devices secure

I am a victim of identity theft. What should I do?

Answer: The Federal Trade Commission suggests identity theft victims take three immediate steps to limit the damage. “Identity Theft: What to Do If It Happens to You.”

How can I protect my child’s identity?

Answer: “A child’s Social Security number can be used by identity thieves to apply for government benefits, open bank and credit card accounts, apply for a loan or utility service, or rent a place to live,” warns the Federal Trade Commission.

Check out the FTC’s Child Identity Theft web page, which includes a list of warning signs, repairing damage and advises parents on limiting risk for their children.

Where can I find good information about managing my identity online?

Answer: There’s a wealth of useful resources on the web to guide you in protecting your personal information and your reputation in cyberspace. Here are a couple places to start. [See ID Theft Info and Tools for more information]

  • The Internal Revenue Service maintains a web page on identity protection with advice for victims, tips for protecting yourself and an extensive list of resources related to identity theft including podcasts, factsheets, publications, press releases and tax tips.
  • All three major credit bureaus in the U.S. –ExperianEquifax and TransUnion – offer consumers extensive resources related to identity theft and identity protection on the web.

Identity-Related Organizations And Tools

For more information, email FBPI at or call us at 832.500.4254.