When many think of the term “Private Investigator”, the first thing to come to mind is Magnum PI, or someone hiding in the bushes snapping photographs of someone. Well- this is not always the case. Much information in today’s world can be found online, and the information available, can be quite shocking. In this article we will go over some of the information we are able to find online, information better found in the field and information used by other methods, such as pre-texting.
OSINT – or Open Source Intelligence, is a tool used to find information about people, places or things, given they have provided their information online, given access to apps, sites or had their information published online. Much information comes from social media, as we are ever so willing to publish photos and statuses of ourselves, and our daily lives publicly. Phone numbers, home addresses, family members names and information and other information is sometimes found even using state search tools and functions. For Example: A home owner in the state of Arizona (Maricopa county specifically), their full name, address and spouse information may be found in Maricopa county by merely searching their name on the Assessors website. A perk of owning a home is that the public now knows more about you!
Surveillance is an important part of an Investigators duty to a Client’s needs, but best served when the information supports the surveillance periods. As Investigators, we surely do not enjoy sitting in one spot, burning a retainer knowing a Client will be unhappy. Conducting mobile and foot surveillance can be beneficial for injury claims, infidelity and other cases where visual proof can solidify claims. This makes sure that there is no room for an alibi.
In cases where pre-texting may be beneficial; asset information, address locates, phone number verification, and the overall attempt to gather information under ruse. This information is much easier to obtain over the phone than in person. A typical person, given slight information, tends to provide additional information at will and sometimes without being asked. An example of a ruse, that typically works 9/10:
“Hello my name is John Doe, and I work with UPS customer care. I’m trying to deliver a package to a Jane Smith (insert random or old address here). It is a signature required package, is there a time frame for delivery that would be best?”
In some cases, the person on the receiving end of the phone will provide a new address, a phone number, spouse information, additional family member information and the list goes on. A ruse call can be excellent when conducting surveillance as well, as we are able to confirm residency and sometimes occupants.
In my many years of Private Investigations, the knowledge I’ve learned is vast; but you never truly stop learning new tricks of the trade. The people and professional relationships you build are what truly makes you valuable.
Mayhem Solutions Group has assets in over 160 countries and is able to assist Clients with needs that most agencies are unable. If you, a friend or a loved one is seeking to hire a Private Investigator, feel free to call 1-866-7MAYHEM for a free consultation today.