asset investigations

Open source asset investigations: What not to do

I’m heading to the OSMOSIS conference for open source intelligence (OSINT) professionals where I’ll present a short “Bits and Bytes” roundtable session on asset investigations. When preparing for a lawsuit, conducting due diligence, or enforcing a judgment, you may need to evaluate a person’s or firm’s open, tangible, and hidden assets. But, without their permission […]

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red flags-due diligence background checks

Warning signs: How to spot a scoundrel

Running a due diligence background checks is a great way find out if if someone is not as honest as they appear – before you agree to do business. To do this, investigators look at past and current behavior to help predict the likelihood of future fraudulent activity. It’s the “once a crook, always a […]

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Pros and cons of negative news searches

Negative news searches – Pros and cons

Many providers of due diligence background investigations limit their media research to just negative news. Rather than gather everything they can about their subject from news and social media, they construct searches with keywords such as lawsuit, fraud, sanctions, and investigation to pull out just the bad news. If they don’t find any past instances […]

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Use Google Image search in due diligence background investigations

Google Images for due diligence investigations

Google Images plays a big part in Phelps Research’s due diligence investigations. A photo of a subject can help confirm an identity and add a face to a name in a report. But sometimes Google’s image search results can lead to much more. On several occasions I’ve found some great non-image content that’s had a […]

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Prevent fraud by verifying their degrees

The easiest way to catch a crook

I just received one of the best phone calls an investigator can get. A client called to say thanks and let me know that our due diligence process worked. A fund manager lied about their MBA and had even supplied a falsified degree. Apparently, he’d gotten away with this for a while – until our […]

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Be prepared when people searching

People Searching – Be Prepared

Researching or investigating people can be one of the more challenging types of online searching – for several reasons: Precision is everything, good sources are hard to find, and the information can be error-prone. Like any difficult endeavor, we generally get the best results when we prepare for the task at hand. People searching takes […]

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Good sources are hard to find

People-Searching: Good Sources are Hard to Find

While doing some research for a recent post on alternative search engines, I turned to one of my usual sources for inspiration, search expert Phil Bradley. I found a useful presentation on Slideshare, Alternative search engines; Library 2.014 presentation, and – when I got to slide #34 – I laughed out loud! This slide “says” […]

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Getting-the-most-from-Google

How I Use Google for Better Results

Us vs. Google. It’s a common theme among info pros, and – frankly – I wish it would go away. Google is one of my favorite tools of the trade, and I can’t imagine not consulting this and other general-purpose search engines before and after heading to more specialized sources. You’ll find lots of sites […]

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How to avoid TLDR

How to Avoid TLDR

We’ve all seen it, and – unfortunately – we’ve all contributed to it. TLDR, short for “Too long; didn’t read.” Think about it: Time is at a premium, our attention spans are shrinking, and we’re consuming information on some very small screens. People may not be spending a lot of time with your emails, client […]

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Online investigations

The Smith Test

When searching online databases for public records or news articles, it’s essential to know how many years the database covers. For example, are you searching from 1982 forward, or does the database only go back as far as 1999? You need this information when you’re trying to be as comprehensive as possible – or to […]

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