How Social Media Can Be Used By Investigators

Social media hasn’t ended the need for private investigators, but it has without a doubt made some of their tasks a great deal easier. In a world where social media plays such a big role, it is much easier to find information that was once very difficult to find. Many people don’t realize just how much personal information they are giving away on social networks.

But this is perfect for the private investigation industry. If you are a private investigator or are interested in how social media sites can be used for the purposes of private investigation, then please read on.

Background Checks

Although a background check using social media will be nowhere near as in depth and detailed as a paid background check from a private investigation firm, a lot of useful information can still be gathered. Profiles on Facebook and Linkedin allow users to input a lot of data about themselves such as work history, education history and other things like hobbies. This means you can start to find out about a person’s past extremely easily.

Location Logging

Most social media sites allow users to post updates to their profile that include their current location. This makes finding a person’s location simpler. Private investigators can just look at where the last update was posted from or where the person last checked-in to get a rough idea as to where a person may be. So if a private investigator wanted to find out whether someone was where they said they were it suddenly becomes a lot easier as you can just check where updates were made from.

Even if you don’t allow your social media sites to update your location investigators can still find out where you are pretty easily. This may be because an uploaded photo on Instagram or the mentioning of a place in a tweet may give it all away.

Finding Out Who A Person’s Friends Are

Before social media was invented if a private investigator wanted to work out who a person’s friends were they would have to conduct a lot of research. They would have to follow an individual around for a few days, try and find a few photos that gave it away or something similar. But with social media finding out who a person is friends with is much less complicated and doesn’t take as much time.

If an investigator needs to work out who is in a person’s circle of friends all they usually need to do nowadays is conduct a quick search of their name on a few social media sites. This will allow them to see all of a person’s Facebook friends, Linkedin connections, followers on Twitter, friends on Google+ or subscribers on YouTube.

Finding Out What a Person Is Like

Social media sites contain a lot of information regarding the personality of whoever’s profile you happen to be looking at. For example, a YouTube account will let an investigator know what sort of music an individual is into, by looking at what a person has liked on Facebook you can easily see what their interests are. Also, just by looking at someone’s tweets on Twitter you can judge what sort of person they are.

So these are a few of the ways that private investigators can use social media to make their job much easier and a lot less complicated. There are still some barriers such as people setting their privacy settings to private or people just not having social media profiles at all.

This is a guest post by Justin Meritt. Occasional guest blogger on online security and full time blogger on private investigation and asset investigation. Justin currently represents Beacon Investigation Solutions a private investigation company licensed in 45 states across the US.