Nothing Humble About These Beginnings
When I started in the private investigation business, we had the Internet but not the Internet we all know about and use today. The Internet back then, and back then was about 15 years ago, was primarily the America Online community. Email was starting to replace snail-mail as the communication of choice and rightfully so; immediate communication of letters and attachments, the way we would all do business would be changed forever. Soon after, with the birth of MySpace and Facebook in 2003, so to would change human socialization, forever!
Although MySpace jumped out of the gate quickly, they soon faded away to the “new kid in school”, Facebook – no pun intended, okay, some pun intended. Facebook, although not without controversy, was started by a Harvard University student, Mark Zuckerberg; primarily as a way for college students to socialize. Since that time, Facebook’s growth has been staggering and has gone from one active user in 2004, to 1.2 billion active users in 2013. The social media journey and other incidentals could take up this whole article and then some but we’re here to discuss how this and other online social repositories affect the day-to-day claims investigation, to include the Internet Mining Investigation.
Serving the Insurance Community
In my role, I frequently travel with our sales staff or jump on a web-presentation and present to groups of claims handlers, risk managers, underwriters, even receptionists. No matter who it is, when they hear Internet Mining Investigation or Social Media, they all want to be in the room. Although I would like to believe they are all there to see me, I’m realistic, I know it’s the topic that captivates these people. When I start to show the audience what is actually available online, the mood quickly becomes that of concern and the smart phones come out as people start erasing information or revising they’re privacy settings.
The questions I find myself answering are:
When do we assign an Internet Mining Investigation?
How do I know what the best case would be to use an Internet Mining Investigation?
What do I do with the information once I get it?
Should I do surveillance first or the Internet Mining Investigation first?
With those questions and more in mind, I created a Top 10 List of things you and your investigative vendor can do to improve your results on each Internet Mining Investigation. Remember, the key to success in any investigation is the methodology used and the consistency in which the methodology is used. Trying to obtain all available information on someone by hopping from site to site with no game-plan is like trying to weed your grass blindfolded, you may get a weed here and there but take your blindfold off and you will see you missed more than you pulled and you ruined the grass in the process.