Private Investigators are, by breed, a crafty people who understand the requirement of being innovative when it comes to searching for information. This means that a great investigator thinks in creative ways to gather information rather than relying solely on go-to places. Many investigators make the mistake of receiving an assignment and heading straight to a paid database. But there’s one place they may want to start first.
It’s uncanny how much personal information Americans are willing to share openly on the internet. From relationship statuses to their precise locations at any given time, the challenge of finding and knowing a person with remarkable detail has become infinitely easier with the advent of the internet. This is great news for private investigators, and a space with free and accessible information to take plenty of advantage of.
Some social media sites allow users to set privacy settings, which requires the public to ask the profile owner for permission to view. The beauty about this, however, is that these privacy setting are rarely set by default. This means that many social media participants may not even be aware that they can lock down their profiles, and their public information is out there in plain sight for you to investigate. An example is Instagram, the site built for the purposes of showcasing photography, that hides its privacy restriction settings rather well. As a result, few Instagram users have “private” accounts, which makes it a great spot to start with a search.
Then of course, Facebook is a common go-to. However many users are now aware of the dangers of Facebook account sharing given that this particular social media site hosts a great deal of personal information like hometown, occupation, education, relationship status, and more. While you may want to start at Facebook, don’t get discouraged if you don’t find the right information right away. First of all, just because a user has a private Facebook, there is normally at least some information you can glean from the page. Friends are often visible and may not have the same privacy settings – so checking out their friends’ pages may deliver at least some information you are looking for. Facebook is also highly integrated with other social media sites like Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Spotify and more – and these integrations are often displayed clearly on the user’s timeline. This information can guide you to new places where you might find data on the subject.
Twitter is another great resource you should surely check in any case. Although it’s not as rich in personal information as Facebook, most of the time Twitter accounts are open to the public and can help guide you to subjects and places you might find more information on the person. Follow the rabbit hole to what this person is talking about and who they are tweeting to, and you’ll likely get more information than you hoped for.
Finally, don’t forget social media sites that are not as well known or widely used. As previously mentioned, Instagram is a great spot to check. Take a look also at Google+, Yelp, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Vine, WordPress, and FourSquare. You can even persuse online dating sites! Additionally, and this may sound funny and antiquated, but even MySpace is still up and running. You might find old posts that are a decade old that may give you exactly what you need.