As an investigator we use a barrage of sources to get information on our subjects.  Much of the information can be obtained from open sources such as public records, the person’s online activities, what they do and where they go in public.  Social Media for instance has transformed how we share personal information in general and who gets to see it.  Just because something exists does not mean it is determined to be safe.  The following is a list of what this investigator recommends you do not share online.

Too much identifying information

As an investigator, all I need is 2 pieces of information about you and I can access everything I would ever need to know about you.  This could be your name and date of birth, your name and address or telephone number, an email address with your name and so forth.  You can bet that there are cyber criminals out there that can do the same.  Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in the world.  Be cognizant of what you put in the public domain because you never know who is watching.

Photos you wouldn’t show your Grandmother

Employers are looking online for more information about you before they decide to extend a job offer.  In litigation, we search extensively online to identify anything about a person that could be used to paint a picture of their character.  Negative information found online in the public domain can significantly have an effect on a jury trial or the outcome of a case, especially if what is found contradicts anything you may have previously stated.  On another hand, if you call in sick at work, don’t post pictures of yourself at the beach either.

Note: Be mindful of geo-tagging.  Most smartphones these days come with the geo-tagging feature on them automatically activated.  Geo-tagging allows a location to be attached to any photos taken with the phone.  When those photos are uploaded online, to say your social media profile, the geo-tag gets attached to it.  Although this can be good for locating missing persons, pedophiles have been known to use it to locate your child.

Advertising that you will be out of town

This is a good way to get your house broken into.  Even if you believe that your social media profile only contain actual friends, you don’t know who sees their posts when they comment on your topics.

Boasting about committing a crime

Yep, people actually do that and they get busted.  Police agencies more than ever are checking with social media for anything as simple as a traffic stop.  If you are online bragging about something you did that was illegal, be sure that someone is watching and will close in on you to hold you accountable.

Written by lead investigator, Kelly Cory of Keystone Investigative Services, Inc.