- Dean Smith
Investigative Proprietary Databases Are Not the End All Be All
As private investigators, proprietary databases are crucial to beginning an investigation. Simply put, the data produced is the meat and potatoes of the investigation, and ultimately the report; the subject’s name, date of birth, social security number, address history, etc. However, our databases do not always possess the information we are specifically looking for. Sometimes, we need to get the information directly from the source, which is why we take to social media.
Even after compiling data from search engines such as Google in conjunction with public records, there still may be something missing. And that special something is that little piece of information (in most cases, BIG piece of information) that you would not have found otherwise if it didn’t come straight from the horse’s mouth. You may have never discovered it if they didn’t tell you themselves. And we know from extensive experience, that the human obsession with social media and the willingness to post every single detail of daily life, from the eggs and bacon they ate for breakfast down to the workout they suffered through at the gym, will not be slowing down anytime soon. That is precisely the reason why social media has evolved into one of the most integral parts of the investigative process, and also why we include our Internet Profile Reports in several of our investigations (skip locate investigations, asset investigations, surveillance, etc)!
We have included countless articles in our newsletter issues featuring fraudsters who incriminated themselves with their reckless use of social media. For example, the proud future bride who posted a photo of her previously “stolen” engagement ring on Facebook, the man who decided to post dash cam footage of his long string of staged accidents to YouTube, and the 60-year-old fugitive convicted of insurance fraud who tweeted “Catch me if you can” to mock law enforcement (her taunting acts led the DA’s Computer and Technology Crime High-Tech Response Team directly to her location).
The beauty of social media investigations? Sometimes, we get to sit back and watch claimants dig their own graves.