Social Media isn’t just changing the way we share information – it’s changing the way we access information as well. People and businesses are utilizing these platforms more frequently. They’re revealing much more about their lives and business activities. This is helping investigators gather vital information for firms—but only if it’s done right.
Here are some real life examples of how social media has been used to provide evidence in three different types of cases:
Evidence in a Criminal Case:
In a particular criminal case we were involved in, one of the complaining witnesses said the he was injured in a fight that was started by our client. The police officers took pictures of the injury of his leg. Our team of investigators found posts on his Instagram feed showing that the injury was actually caused 3 days prior to the fight. In fact, we were able to download the pictures with captions explaining the actual injury. It had actually been a result of a motocross injury, not from a kick as he had claimed.
Evidence in an Asset Case: In an asset investigation case, we were able to find out that the subject was renting her residence primary, a San Diego beach front mansion, as a get-a-way retreat.
We tracked down the VRBO (Vacation Rentals by Owner) number, which lead us to a website. From there, we found out weekly prices and even found a calendar of when the property was rented out. The weekly price in peak season was over $6000 per week. Yet not one dime was paid to the foreclosing mortgage lender.
With this evidence in hand, our client was able to obtain receivership of the property.
Evidence in a Civil Case: Sometimes we don’t even need to access a witness’s social media page. Most of the time, we access the pages and profiles of family members and/or friends. In a certain civil case, we were able to gather all the information needed on a non-disclosed business from the LinkedIn page of one of the subject’s family members. In some states, businesses are not obligated to register with the Secretary of State.
We were able to download pictures of the business as well as pictures of the inventory and thereby gain information on pricing. We obtained the name of the business through other family members connected to the subject. Once we had the name, we reverse-searched the web address and found the registration of the company with the subject’s information.
Is this legal? There is case law on point (Nucci v. Target Corp.,) which holds that photographs posted on a social media site are neither privileged nor protected by any right of privacy, regardless of the privacy settings established by the user. The court pointed out that the very nature of social media sites is to share photographs with others, so a user cannot later claim a legitimate expectation of privacy.
Pilum Defense Agency has countless other examples by using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, MySpace and Instagram. One small piece of information can lead to a much more relevant evidence.
Pilum Defense Agency is your go-to investigation agency for social media background checks.
With our military intelligence backgrounds, we are experts in using open-source intelligence (OSINT). Not only do we know how to obtain the information, we know how to analyze it and use it for evidence. By using sophisticated technology, expert analytics, and skilled investigators, we deliver information that can be crucial to the success of your case.
Pilum Defense Agency specializes in Criminal Defense & Civil Investigation & Corporate/EEOC Investigation and Computer & Digital Forensic services. Veteran-owned and veteran-run, we were founded by former U.S. Marine Corps and Navy SEAL members.
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