How Private Investigators Have Changed Their Methods with the Use of Social Media and the Internet

Investigators conducting an investigation

There is a mystique to being a private investigator. Movies and television keep showing tough men and women doing their jobs. They engage in various activities to bring criminals to justice.

However, the truth is that the job of a private investigator is less of police work and more of keeping watch and spying. Many private investigators would rather be called surveillance investigators, as the term is less imposing and describes the job better.

Investigating Through the Internet and Social Media

The job of investigators has evolved in recent years due to the Internet. Before the Internet, investigators went through public records and going through information about a subject. Nowadays, the search is mostly done through social media.

There is a lot of information on social media, which the subject has placed on their own. These include houses, cars, purchases, trips, food, and friends. This wealth of information was not available before social media. Investigators had to find people who were willing to talk off the record and dig dirt on the subject. Although social media posts and images seem harmless, they are still full of information which the account owner or subject does not know is exposed.

Old and New Methods

The work is still the same. There are still stakeouts and other types of surveillance. Old-fashioned information gathering still continues, with face-to-face interaction from sources. Investigators still go through the trash to find clues and information.

Anything thrown in the trash can be evidence. Dumpster diving is a common activity for an investigator. In addition, investigators still go undercover as an employee. As a co-worker, an investigator can talk to a subject without them knowing that they are under investigation. There are still a lot of divorce investigations. However, there is an increasing number of requests for background checks for new employees.

A private investigator searches and finds information for their clients. In most instances, they never meet their subject face-to-face. There are other sources of information collected by stealth and are submitted by the investigator to their client. Then they leave it to them to go through proper legal channels for any further action.