By: Chris Kaszak
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Social Media Investigations: Leverage Open Source Information
Social Media Investigations
Leverage Open Source Information for Your Benefit
Hi everybody. This is Chris Kaszak from Brown, Kaszak, & Associates. I wanted to take a few minutes and talk about social media investigations. This is something that a lot of investigative firms overlook as a valuable information resource. But, we’ve found that it benefits our clients a great deal.
If you want to take a look at just the numbers that supports social media as an information resource, there’s approximately 3.17 billion internet users, and this is according to Brandwatch. They put out a lot of marketing information. Of those 3 billion users, they estimate that 2.3 billion are active on social media. Now, here’s the crazy part: of that 2.3 billion, 73% of all social media accounts goes to Facebook, with just over 1.7 billion accounts.
So, you wonder, “Why is this information valuable?” or “How can this information be leveraged?” Well, social media investigations differ from a traditional background investigation in that a traditional background investigation is “rear facing”. It’s a historical snapshot of somebody’s activity at some point in time. And, it’s not going to give you an accurate representation of what the subject of the investigation is doing in their day-to-day lives.
Now, remember, we all have two different personas. We have our outward facing persona. That’s our professional image, what we portray to our coworkers. And then we have the persona that is more of who we really are, where we are relaxed around our family and our friends, and outside of work.
So, the leverage that social media investigations can provide is that it gives a unique look into that person’s life. You can pinpoint it around a specific incidence. So, imagine if you’re an insurance investigation client, you need a workers comp case done and you can use social media investigations as a tool to get an idea of what this person is doing before they claim their injury, in conjunction with, parallel to, while the injury is taking place, and then after the claim is filed. So, they might be giving one picture to their professional persona where they’re unable to do certain things but, personally, around their friends – when their guards are down – they might be doing things that are being captured on social media that are contradictory to the very things they’re claiming.
So, the important thing to notice about social media investigations is, the way that we do it, and the way that most reputable places will do it, is that you’re just getting information from open source intelligence. It’s public facing. So, we’re not hacking anything, we’re not doing anything with social engineering. Everything that we obtain and put together and analyze is all done through open source. (And, anything other than that, I have to caution you, you’re going to run yourself into the risk of liability- civil liability and, in some cases, probably criminal. So, any company that says that they can hack into accounts and get this information – and believe me, there are some out there that will promise you that – do not, do not, do not do business with these folks.)
It’s open source, it’s compiled, it’s analyzed, and it’s presented. And, this is the way that social media investigations is just one more tool that a professional investigative firm can offer their clients to get the best information they need to protect their interests.
Thank you for watching.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Christopher Kaszak is a partner at Brown, Kaszak, & Associates, a licensed Maryland private investigations firm. He is a 22-year industry veteran and has conducted numerous criminal and civil investigations during his tenure in law enforcement and in the private sector, and has conducted numerous due diligence investigations for the Maryland Lottery and Gaming and Control Agency, and other corporate clients. Brown, Kaszak, & Associates has been featured on Dateline and TrueCrime for investigative work that brought resolution to a cold case homicide.
Social Media Investigations, Insurance Investigations, Private Investigations, Private Investigative Firms, Background Investigations