Because of the media, books, movies and TV sensationalization of what a private investigator is, a lot of people connect a private investigator to a shady character working in a a dimly-lit, cluttered, sometimes smoky office in a poorer, darker part of town. His clientele range from battered, beaten women who have been wronged and are looking for ways to justify their claims. This is the mental image the public has of a private investigator. For the public, the private investigator acquires information that are relevant to his cases from witnesses and bystanders. He tails, he stalks, he takes pictures, he searches buildings and is very careful with clues. He is often victorious in the end and is successful in uncovering the truth. He returns to his distressed client, and gives her enlightenment. True enough, when you think of private investigators you think of Sherlock Holmes, Philip Marlowe and multiple film noir heroes from the 1940s and 50s. For the generation of today, you may also think of Adrian Monk and Veronica Mars, often a lot sassier and a lot quirkier than their older counterparts. What these characters have in common are that they have an uncanny knack for digging up the right information at the right time. Essentially, a private investigator is someone who is paid to gather facts. Private investigators work for private clients, citizens or business and not for the government. Private investigators only collect information. They do not prosecute criminals, mind you. The very first known private investigator agency opened in France in 1833. It was Allan Pinkerton formed Pinkerton National Detective Agency, which then became one of the most famous detective agencies in the United States. Decades later, the scenario has evolved. Most private investigators are self employed and do not work for an agency. An important fact of being an investigator these days is that you need to be conversant and versed in other fields, such as computers and the Internet; because in the process of gathering information, it is there that you will have to turn to for research.