We willingly share the highs and lows of life on social media. Each post or picture tells a story. Over time, all those stories bring into focus a person’s likes, dislikes, motivations, associations, and character. In a criminal or civil investigation, a social media investigation is a key piece of evidence.
When a high-profile crime happens in the United States, the social media account of the suspect is immediately analyzed. What did he / she post in the weeks and months leading up to the incident? Did he / she post videos or follow the target online? It helps investigators form a possible motive for the crime.
We pay attention when it happens in a crime that attracts the eyes of the nation. This social media analysis is happening on a much smaller scale every day. A social media investigation is helpful in everyday investigations like insurance fraud, claim abuse, and worker’s compensation.
Why hire a Private Investigator?
You might wonder why you need a private investigator to search social media when most things posted are already public, and easy for the average person to find. A qualified and trained investigator can find a person’s activity even if they’re trying to hide it. It’s out there in the deep web. A PI uses sophisticated tools to find hidden information.
While Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube are mainstream social media channels, there are far more. A private investigator can unearth all of them. When a person is trying to hide something, they often look to non-traditional channels. An investigator can find those alternative social media channels, and bring a user’s activity to light.
A PI needs just one nugget of information like a phone number or email address to geo-locate an individual’s social accounts. Through legal methods, PI’s have access to effective and cost effective tools far beyond what’s available to the general public.
PI’s also connect the dots between accounts. Every social media platform serves a different purpose. That’s why we have multiple accounts. We not only use the tools differently, we act differently and share unique things on each one. Every social media account taps into a different side of a person. Alone, the information is useful. Together, it’s powerful. A private investigator can connect all of a person’s social media accounts. That creates a richer profile of a person giving you multiple layers of evidence for an investigation.
An active person on Facebook, may have thousands of posts and likes. With sophisticated tools, a private investigator can sift through the digital footprint in less time and with more accuracy. A private investigator creates a social profile faster and better. It’s accurate, detailed, and connects the dots between all social accounts.
People speak the truth on social media. Raw emotion pours out with the few strokes of a keypad. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram give the average person a megaphone to broadcast their message to followers and unintended followers like the insurance company investigating a fraudulent claim.
With sophisticated tools, a comprehensive report is created showing an individual’s social activity and timeline. This is key in a workman’s compensation claim if a claimant says he’s injured. An insurance company wants to know everything the insured did before and after the accident. A private investigator can gather the insured’s digital and social footprint to see if it tells a different story. Is the insured still lifting weights or engaging in activities that show he’s not truly injured? That social profile can then be used by the insurance company during a deposition or trial.
The information gives an attorney insight into the person long before a deposition. That knowledge leads to better answers during a deposition. The social media profile helps attorneys find holes in a respondent’s story or claim. You can say with exact precision that the respondent’s answer is true or false because the evidence is as clear as the black and white words on a social media post or the color selfie / photo.
Social media profiles give you a clearer picture of who you’re investigating. It’s an investment that pays off quickly because of all the ways you use the information gathered.
Depositions are formal events. Social media is casual so perhaps the respondent said something while they were casually relaxing one day that’s key to your case.
Before social media, an investigator relied on surveillance as a key piece of evidence. While it’s still important today, it’s time-consuming and therefore costly if you don’t have a clear profile of who you are looking for.
Without a social profile, you’re guessing when a person might be somewhere. You’re even guessing what they look like. An insurance company may have a driver’s license photo of the person on file. Nobody looks like their driver’s license photo. With a social media analysis, we have dozens of photos to compare to the person on the street. We know how the person dresses professional and casually. Surveillance is quicker, accurate, and better with a social media investigation.
In one case, a claimant told the insurance company he hurt his back. The private investigator found a digital footprint revealing a different story. Instead of sitting on the sideline, he was actively engaged in athletic activities. With the information gathered from the social channels, surveillance took a minimal amount of time. The evidence the social media profile and surveillance provided helped the insurance company’s case.
In this day and age where social media is such an important part of our lives, it also needs to be a key part of an investigation into workers’ compensation claims, insurance fraud, and claim abuse.