Ok, so you have your case, and the client did not provide you with a picture so now you have to go look for one online. I know it’s common knowledge at this point, but you’re going to want to start with a Google search. When searching their name on Google be sure to try both with and without their city. Don’t put too much trust in the mugshot websites, especially if you cannot independently verify the arrest information with the criminal section of the comprehensive background report, which if you’re an employee, your company should provide.
Next, try Facebook! Of course you knew that, but a lot investigators give up after not finding them with a simple name search. Try harder! Use combinations with both first and middle and middle and last names. Some people go by their middle name. Look for variations of their first name (William – Try Bill, Billy, Will, Willie; Elizabeth – Beth, Liz, Betsy; Edward – Ed, Eddie, Ted, Teddy; etc). Still no hits? Your comp report should provide known and possible email addresses and phone numbers. Plug those into search bar and see what comes up. Know their company? Search that too! Lastly, start digging for known relatives and associates from the comp report. Insurance claimants are getting pretty hip to fact they may be followed during their case. So even if they have their profile on lock-down, or none at all, it doesn’t mean a friend or relative doesn’t have a picture of them on their page. So start searching their relatives too. Once on their page click on “friends” and start searching for the first and last names you know. Still no match for your subject? Start scouring through family photos. You see a family photo and run the cursor over each tagged person, and there’s an untagged 5’10” twenty-something white male matching your provided information standing in front of the Christmas tree with people you can confirm are his sisters? Congratulations, you just found a likely picture of your subject! So keep digging! Don’t be lazy, because if your client finds a picture that you should have found, they are NOT going to be very impressed with your investigative skills.
Repeat this process through various other social medias sites (Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, G+, Tumblr, etc.) until you’ve found what you needed or exhausted your efforts. But allow me to share a new tip I figured out last year and have had some decent results using. Try WhatsApp. If you aren’t already familiar with the service, it’s chat/messaging app owned by Facebook, with reportedly around 1 billion users worldwide. People use it to text, talk, and share pics on their phones, or computes. So if you don’t have it, download it. When you set up an account you have to use your phone number, and then it ask you to enter a name and upload a picture, which is optional, but tons of people opt to do it, and let me tell you, they are high-quality photos usually! People normally just select a picture from their phone or take a selfie and upload it to their profile. So what I like to do is take the phone numbers(s) and enter it into my contacts on my phone. Next I open the app and then you can search the contacts when starting a new chat (just don’t write anything or hit send) and if they use the app, boom, I often have a great pic and confirmed their active number. It even tells you the last time they used the app. So it’s a little trick most people aren’t trying and great way to snag a pic of your subject BEFORE surveillance. Not having a picture of the subject before the surveillance starts is the leading cause of followed-the-wrong-guy syndrome, and together with a little time and effort, we can work to eradicate this highly preventable and embarrassing disease. Good luck out there!
Till next time,
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