Nowadays, everything is on Social Media. People share their location, thoughts, milestones, and worries with the world – you can learn a lot about someone by examining their Instagram profile.
Just take a look at the Depp vs Head trial everyone keeps talking about – a big chunk of the evidence comes directly from social media and their messaging services.
Now, there are many ways you can use social media posts in an investigation, but it has to be done properly in order to be believable.
So, in this article, we have decided to provide you with some tips on utilizing social media to find evidence for your investigation.
Here they are.
1. All the evidence should be obtained legally
Hacking into someone’s account to aid your fraud investigation is simply not a good idea. All the evidence you obtain unethically or illegally won’t be admissible in court. You can only use those posts that are either public or easily accessible to you. Similarly, you can’t make a fake profile to pry for evidence – that would be an invasion of privacy and well, a type of fraud itself.
So, if you’re not a part of the law enforcement, make sure you obtain all of your evidence ethically. As we mentioned before, creating fake profiles or hacking into someone’s social media is completely unacceptable. The evidence obtained in either of these two ways would be considered faulty and therefore couldn’t be used to prove your claim.
2. Look into different platforms
People usually keep their Instagram and Facebook accounts private, but they’re not the only credible sources of information for your investigation. In fact, there are more than 100 widely-used social media platforms you can look at. So, don’t get discouraged if you can’t access someone’s Facebook or Instagram profiles – they’re probably „slipping“ somewhere else.
Make a list of the most probable social media platforms your target may be using. Once you do, all that’s left is to start digging.
Since many people prefer to stay anonymous online (rarely does anyone keeps their full name as their username on Instagram for example), try searching for their existing usernames on other platforms. This will probably give you more results than Googling someone’s full name.
3. Be prepared to defend your evidence
Simply screenshotting social media posts won’t always hold up in court. Instead, legal teams are required to utilize advanced capture methods in order to be able to prove the authenticity of the data in question. You should do your research to find software solutions that will allow you to do this properly.
Remember, you don’t want the person who’s under the investigation to question your evidence. Do everything you can to defend its authenticity – capture the post’s metadata and don’t hesitate to seek expert help where you feel like you need it.
Either way, preparing to defend your social media evidence is of the utmost importance. You’ll need to prove the data you’re providing is authentic in order to use it as evidence in a legal proceeding.
4. Ask the professionals for help
Believe it or not, there are companies and individual experts specializing in collecting trustworthy social media evidence to aid in different fraud investigations. If you feel like you’re stuck or you can’t find what you need to prove your claim, don’t hesitate to consult with a professional.
For example, experts at truepeoplecheck.com are well-versed in gathering social media evidence for insurance frauds and other similar claims. Intelligence companies such as this one can make your job so much easier. They’re probably able to recognize viable court evidence much better than you, so don’t hesitate to seek their assistance.
No matter what you choose to do, remember to always do your research. Not all social media „investigators“ are worth your time or money – make sure you’ve done a background check on them before you decide to hire them for your investigation.
5. Look at social media posts from parties unrelated to your case
Just because the person who’s under the investigation keeps their social media activities private, it doesn’t mean you won’t be able to use social media to gather evidence for your claim. Look at people who’re close to them, especially their older family members (those rarely know anything about keeping their privacy on the internet).
You’re likely to find out more from their social circle than from their own social media pages, especially if they have something to hide.
Again, we recommend that you hire someone to help you with this, as it can be incredibly time-consuming for a newbie to handle. Find a social media investigation company you can trust and everything will go much more smoothly than you’re probably expecting.
6. Use online tools to seek out profiles
As we’ve mentioned before, the person who’s under the investigation probably has accounts on platforms that aren’t Instagram or Facebook. Sometimes, these pages can be a bit difficult to find, especially if you’ve never done anything similar.
The best solution to this issue is to use online profile-checking tools such as Pipl and PeekYou. These can help you find someone’s social media profiles in no time whatsoever.
Again, if you’re planning on using online investigation tools for your „profile researching“, make sure the brand is reliable and trustworthy first. Not all software can fulfill your needs (and your budget!). As we’ve already mentioned, research is your best friend – so, never stop researching. We’re certain you’ll find a quality tool you’ll use to collect social media evidence in no time whatsoever.
The bottom line
All in all, using social media posts as evidence in court should be done extremely carefully. Your legal team should be prepared to defend their evidence, and you’ll need to obtain it in a legal way.
We hope our tips and tricks helped you learn how to utilize social media for fraud investigations. We also want to wish you the best of luck in all of your future endeavors, especially when it comes to your social media presence.