Investigating on the Internet
Introduction to Internet Tools and Legal Issues
Today, a wealth of information is easily accessible to the fraud examiner online. Many of us are aware of the major search methods and websites, but there are more advanced methods and websites that specialize in areas most of us have never heard of. However, before beginning an investigation, investigators should be aware of the legal issues that can affect or restrict investigations. This opening session looks at various investigative scenarios and discusses some legal issues that examiners face.
Fraud has become borderless and it can originate anywhere. An integral skill for modern fraud examiners is the ability to effortlessly cross international borders while tracking down essential information. The Internet can help in many ways. With specialized search sites, obtaining information about foreign corporations is not as problematic as it once was. In this session, you will see what information is available and how to access it for your needs.
Beginning an Internet Investigation
Start your investigation using the broadest and most accessible Internet search tools, such as Google and Bing. This block will teach you how to take elemental searches to the next level and get a higher-quality results. Learn about proximity searches, customized alerts, search operators and other features most users never employ.
Taking the Internet as a Resource to the Next Level
The Internet is no longer a collection of individual websites — it has evolved. Learn how Web 2.0 is changing online experiences with the rise of blogs, social networks, web applications and more. In this block, participants will explore Web 2.0 developments and learn just how much individuals are revealing about themselves online. This can significantly aid an investigation if the examiner knows where and how to look. Hear about real cases where these sites have provided significant leads.
Maximizing the Search, Minimizing the Time
Investigations need to move along effectively and efficiently and conclude within a reasonable amount of time. New search tools specifically designed to retrieve particular information can now be brought to bear. For example, searching eBay, Craigslist and other websites requires a new level of Internet investigative acumen.
Investigating the Social-Network Environment
What you do not know about social networks can hurt you (and possibly your friends and family). Fraud examiners can uncover many aspects of a case with a good working knowledge of how these websites encourage sharing of personal information. Websites like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, LinkedIn and many more can be sources of investigative data to the fraud examiner who knows how to mine them for data.
Public Record Searches and Computer Databases
Today, everything is kept as an electronic record. Most of what a fraud examiner is looking for in public records can be accessed online—no more weary days in the depths of city hall or some courthouse. But how do you find what you are looking for? What can you expect to find? This block outlines what is available and where. The limitations of these records are also discussed.
Top Tools for Internet Investigations
This session takes all the websites you have seen and pulls out the key “first places to look.” These Internet investigation tools are the starting point for any and every fraud examination. If you want to make sure you cover the bases, these sites are the places you start.
Putting It to Good Use: Opening the Investigation
In this session, you will begin to put what you have learned to work in a case study developed specifically for this course. You will begin to look into and analyze the activities of suspects by searching for hints and clues they have posted on the Internet. If you have brought your laptop, then you can work alongside the instructor and take a hands-on approach to the practical problem.
Wrapping It Up: Closing the Investigation
You have all the tools you need to successfully analyze the evidence and make a determination on the case. What have our targets been doing? Is it illegal? Has a fraud occurred? How does the evidence you have uncovered inform your conclusions? Once again, participate in a hands-on investigation using your own laptop.