Private Investigations and Personal Security/Increase in Polygraph business.


I've struggled a bit to find the right expert for this question. I hope you can help.
Has there been a marked increase over the past few years, in the number of companies offering polygraph services to both commercial and private clients.

Thank you

Hi Nicola-

As to the number of companies in business, since many of them are merely solo practitioners, I can't say, however, there is no question that the need for qualified examiners has increased markedly in recent years.

Most of the growth has been in the government sector, not the private or commercial sector.

Federal, state and county governments, because they are not constrained by the laws that apply to commercial clients (i.e. private businesses) have increased their usage of polygraph examinations, especially in the area of pre-employment examinations.

The federal Polygraph Protection Act prohibits the use of the polygraph for pre-employment purposes, however, it is permitted for some specific exceptions, such as a theft situation.

As a former psychological stress evaluator (voice polygraph) and a polygraph examiner, I can tell you that I am very disheartened to see the increase in use. The polygraph only measures physiological changes and it is not all that hard to beat. Many individuals who are otherwise qualified also fail the test on questioning by polygraph examiners who determine that the person is "lying", when in fact, they are not. But this is just my opinion.

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Nichols (Nic) J. Smith


I can answer almost any question with regards to the individual state laws concerning private investigators; best practices and procedures used in private investigations;how to determine if the agency or investigator you are contemplating using is sufficiently qualified to do the work and if an investigation was conducted in accordance with the standards of practice and care used in the professional investigative industry. I can also direct you with regards to doing your own research in certain situations, such as finding someone who owes you money. I can steer you through the database "minefield" with regards to which databases contain useful information and which don't. I can also advise regarding the kind of information that you can legally obtain and what's not legal.


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Life Fellow- American College of Forensic Examiners

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