A key part of any investigation, whether it be a background check on a potential employee or the start of a potential cheating spouse surveillance case, which is sometimes forgotten is a social media search. When added, it can give vital insight into the subject’s acquaintances, current or past locations and information about their beliefs or values. Yet, when we are hired to do a background check, basic or advance, a lot of clients are surprised that we can easily add this great investigative tool at minimum cost.
In recent years social media has grown to be as much, or sometimes more, a useful took as any databases. People all around the world, every second of every day, are updating their information, location, thoughts and activities into multiple social media formats. When done properly, a social media investigation can open up that world and access all that up-to-date information. Where a subject may have “checked-in”, who they are “friends” with, what their political views are, what sport teams they follow, and even their relationship status is all online with time stamps. With so much posting on these different channels, many people do not do their due diligence to ensure they are not exposing themselves. Once it’s posted, it’s forgotten. This gives a investigator the ability to find useful information with the click of a mouse.
So how can a trained investigator gain this access without giving the subject the 411 that they’re being watched? There is something called “pre-texting” that gives a false identify to a person visiting a social media account. The problem with this is many social media formats have made rules to cut down on fake accounts. The other problem that arises is that if “Tammy” checks out subject #1’s page, “Tammy” is then linked to that page. “Tammy” may show up as a friend suggestion or a “Tammy viewed your page” notification may pop up. This can alert subject #1 that there is someone looking into them. A trained private investigator has databases that scour the web and pull posts and account information without actually visiting the page. They pull the post, date and time of the post and even the metadata (the computer code of the posting) and put it all in one location. And it’s not just Facebook; this type of report scours multiple social media accounts including Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and many more.
So if you are in need of a background check on someone, or you are interested in what a subject may be posting online, a social media investigation can be added to any background check and give you a picture of your subject’s activity online. As the world continues to grow it’s technology footprint, the social media report will continue to become a much more important tool when looking at any subject.