What are Social Media Investigations, and Why Do They Occur?
After every mass shooting or serious crime, the suspect’s social media accounts come under scrutiny to see if there was something that would have predicted such atrocious behavior. There are many other reasons for social media investigations, and In this blog, we will discuss some of them.
Often, when debt collectors want to make sure they have the correct person or cannot locate a person they are trying to collect a debt from, they may dig through social media accounts to figure out where they might be able to find them. People share almost everything on social media. Maybe you told your loan company you could not pay your car payment because you lost your job. You may think you have it perfectly hidden out because you recently moved to a new apartment, but the repo man shows up at your favorite restaurant right after you posted a picture of you and your honey sitting at your table. You may get a huge shock when you go out to drive home.
Employers had found social media is one of the best ways to learn what happened the other day when you had that accident at work. Maybe important confidential information keeps getting leaked to your competitors, helping them to stay a step ahead of your company. A social media investigation of a current employee can tell an employer all kinds of information. Remember last week when you called in sick with the flu? Why do we find pictures of you at the beach with your girlfriend?
Employers should not only perform background checks on possible new hires but even current employees ever so often. This helps to protect other workers from possible violence from employees that may have gotten off the path a bit after a death or illness or some other stressful event in their life.
Insurance companies can save millions of dollars if they can prove a person is lying and has fraudulently filed a claim. You told Geico your ribs were back severely injured in that car wreck where that lady hit you coming out from the parking lot. It was probably the impact of the seatbelt that did all that damage to your spinal cord. Good thing she was only going fifteen miles per hour.
Oh, but what do we see on your social media accounts? Are you dancing in that dance contest at your local bar with your girlfriend? You sure can cut a rug on that dance floor, injured back or not! I would not have thought you could lift her that high with a good back. You may not want to start spending all that money you think the insurance owes you just yet.
Then, of course, there is the criminal investigation. When a crime is committed, investigators will look through all the evidence they can find, including your social media accounts, looking for possible evidence to help prove the case. Anything you have posted, commented on, or liked can be gathered as evidence to present in court against you.
Some people are bold enough to video the crime and post it on their social media pages like a badge they proudly won.
Divorce and Custody Cases
Other reasons your social media accounts may be ripped apart include divorce and custody hearings. Maybe your husband suspects you are cheating on him, and you have a pre-nuptial that says he owes you nothing if you have. Perhaps your husband is abusive and plans to take the kids away from you; you need evidence to prove that. Hiring a private investigator might help prove your case when they look at his social media accounts.
Investigators will look for photos or messages that may support the infidelity and prove the clients’ suspicions. Investigators will sometimes use the location data to prove the case. Both Twitter and Facebook have direct messaging that can be used as evidence.
Maybe you believe your ex is using drugs around your children. Will investigators find evidence in the social media platforms they use to support this theory? Investigators will set up alerts about specific items to help them get proof from future posts that the person might share.
For custody cases, social media is a great way to prove who someone associates with and what kind of influence they may be on the children or would they possibly cause them to be in dangerous situations.
Social media is considered in most court cases as a way of establishing one’s character and can help provide or eliminate an alibi or other pertinent evidence for court.
Social media investigations are part of most standard background checks when hiring someone or choosing to do business with them.
Why Social Media Investigations?
We live in a time where most people share every aspect of their lives on their social media pages. They argue with their spouse; it often finds its way online. If they have an accident at work, it may get shared online. They get involved in a wreck and will probably tell everyone about it while posting pictures of their damaged vehicle.
People share their political affiliations, religious affiliations, recipes, sporting events, and concerts, all documented online for all the world to see.
Investigators are up against many social media platforms and must understand how each works to do a thorough job. They can also use some helpful tools to help them during investigations. A couple is Spokeo and Knowem. Spokeo helps check for a person’s known email address to see if it is linked to a social media platform, and Knowem helps locate people who are not using their real name on their social media accounts.
Social media is so integrated into our daily lives that it makes sense it would be investigated when looking for the truth about a person. Trained social media investigators know what to look for and where and how to preserve and present evidence in court. Please check out the BLD Forensics service page for more information about social media forensics.