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Move over Cupid, Valentine's Day is busy one for private investigators

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Valentine's Day is coming up - that time of year when people might be feeling extra affectionate or extra suspicious. It's a busy season, apparently, for private investigators. Ashley Wardlow is a PI at Nathans Investigations in Florida.

ASHLEY WARDLOW: People want to know what their position is with the person they're dating. Honestly, Valentine's Day, it's a cute day, but it's a harsh reality for a lot of people because you get to find out if you're No. 1, 2, 3, or however many others there are.

LEILA FADEL, HOST:

Wardlow says she sees drama on the job that rivals the plot twists on reality TV. One person used a burner phone to secretly contact their other partner.

WARDLOW: Someone hired us because their significant other was going away for a work trip around Valentine's Day, and this person tried to be two steps ahead by leaving their cellphone at home. So I conducted a data extraction on that cellphone, and lo and behold, there was text messages and we were able to see the whole plan.

INSKEEP: Maybe not surprisingly, the private investigator encourages you to consider hiring a private investigator.

WARDLOW: A lot of people have that hunch. And if you have that hunch, go with your gut feeling because, you know, you're very likely to be right.

FADEL: Don Haworth owns Chicagoland Detective Services. He's been doing this work for nearly four decades.

DON HAWORTH: We call it domestic cases - the husband, wife, girlfriend, boyfriend, etc. We probably average about maybe eight to 10 a month.

FADEL: He says a good PI is always on the move. In fact, he spends about 60% of the time in his car.

INSKEEP: Although Haworth says finding evidence can sometimes be a little tricky.

HAWORTH: Just like a news reporter, anything can be filmed in public view. You can't record conversations, and a lot of people call us and say can you put a mic in a car? Can you bug my house? Put it under my spouse's bed? I mean, just all types.

FADEL: Wow. And Haworth says if an investigator doesn't find proof of infidelity, that doesn't mean you're in the clear. If you think your partner is cheating, they probably are.

HAWORTH: If it walks and quacks like a duck, it is.

INSKEEP: One thing to consider - hiring a private investigator will cost way more than a dozen roses.

(SOUNDBITE OF BOOKER T. & THE M.G.'S "MY SWEET POTATO") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

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