Using Social Media to Discover Hidden Wealth

Stories of burglars using social media to figure out who's on vacation are old hat. Now financial investigators are using social media to find hidden wealth.

Posted on June 24, 2016 at 6:29 AM • 10 Comments

Comments

SoWhatDidYouExpectJune 24, 2016 10:22 AM

Social media has lots of stuff clustered together. Less than a dozen web sites can provide LOTS of information about lots of people.

Individual computer access means hitting hundreds of millions of computers with only a relatively small amount of information on each computer. That takes more time, effort, and expense.

The guys looking for this crap aren't too smart to start with and they are lazy (of course, they are being pushed by higher-ups to get lots of data in short periods of time).

Once identified, they can go after targeted individual computers, assumming that federal court decision stands (apparently that judge doesn't have a computer of his own...other judges will probably rule against that decision because it makes their computers vulnerable as well).

Clive RobinsonJune 24, 2016 11:56 AM

In the UK one use that social media is put to is tracking down benifit cheats that then get glamorised by press and politicians for political reasons.

As with such things you only hear about the "success stories" or as with all Phisermen "the ones that got away". What you don't hear avout are the many investigations that fail, or cost considerably more than any benifit that could result.

We've seen this sort of financial waste by authorities in the UK many times before, the Clasics you might well have heard of such as the thousands of pounds spent trying to prove that parents don't live in property close to desirable schools, finding out who is putting tea bags in the wrong communial waste bins and quite a few others.

All of this started because of the original Regulation of Investigatory Powers Acts (RIPA), where the idiot result was "we've been given these powers, lets buy the equipment, now how can we justify it"...

Just about every time a new power or technology comes along the the same idiots leap in feet first without thought. It's such people creating masive waste that are the real criminals, you only have to look at the original claims about CCTV. The cost immense, the reward minimal or none existant. Westminster in London where a lot of wealthy people live and the UK Gov have lots of important places were spending millions on a CCTV network. It turns out the only --very occasional-- users of the system were the Met Police, who did not pay a penny towards it. Westminster decided on financial reasoning that quite sensibly they were not going to keep hemorrhaging money towards it. That's when various self interested FUD merchants started spreading stories... The technology sellers are in many respects just like drug dealers or pimps, some are even as bad as real estate sellers and hedge fund operators in the way they steal money...

Slime Mold with MustardJune 24, 2016 12:32 PM

OFF TOPIC

TO: Our UK Correspondents

"There is nothing so difficult to take in hand, more perilous in its conduct, and less certain its outcome, than to undertake a change in the order of things". N.M.

Ninja TurtleJune 24, 2016 3:10 PM

Insurance investigators use social media too. It's not uncommon for them to try and catch out a claimant by using the time stamps, GPS co-ordinates, other data etc. hidden inside photographs and other documents.

I heard about one case where a woman made a claim for an expensive diamond encrusted ring. She was asked to produce photographic evidence of her wearing it before the 'theft'.

She duly emailed the insurer with a high-quality photograph, taken on a recently released handset (that wasn't available when the ring had been 'stolen') plus a 'created' time-stamp of the same day. When she was interviewed by police they also saw the very visible marks of a recently removed ring.

Users of social media should practice good personal security.

@Slime Mold with Mustard

The political situation in the UK is still reasonably stable although many believe that the proponents of a Brexit (British Exit) were using the referendum as a proxy to express their discontent at lying politicians, high immigration and low wages.

The turnout was very high and the final result very close: 17,410,742 votes to leave and 16,141,241 votes to remain which translates as 51.9% and 48.1% respectively.

Many suggested that 'remain' supporters (typically younger and better educated) failed to turnout. The referendum nevertheless still stands.

Southern Ireland (part of the EU and a country in its own right) will have a land border with Northern Ireland (to leave the EU) and historical tensions will make enforcing this border perilous.

Meanwhile Scotland may seek another referendum for independence which, if granted (and won), may lead to another land border with England and Wales. A 73 mile long border used to exist known as Hadrian's Wall.

The United Kingdom is comprised of Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland) and Northern Ireland.

These are very significant political changes and only time will tell the outcome.

MarkJune 24, 2016 11:19 PM

Nobody refers to Ireland as "Southern Ireland". It sounds as though you mean Cork.

“The gentleness of the English civilisation is perhaps its most marked characteristic. You notice it the instant you set foot on English soil,” wrote George Orwell in 1941.

How times have changed indeed.

Insider Threat ModelJune 27, 2016 6:33 AM

I occasionally train Fraud Investigators to use OSINT tools to correlate social media activity to Fraud events, so this use really doesn't surprise me. I've long held the belief that one can create Lifestyle Indexes from online footprints.

fajensenJune 27, 2016 9:37 AM

The great thing about social media is that people narc themselves out. It's all right there on the internet, no warrant needed.

Of course the burglars use the same tools, A friend go hit for a bunch of designer furniture, presumably because of some pictures posted on Facebook (His house is not visible unless one knows where it is and fairly ordinary in price and marterials).

Clive RobinsonJune 28, 2016 1:07 AM

@ Moo,

Are you sure Hadrian's Wall is on the boundary between England and Scotland?

It was once ;-)

The problem is politics is no respector of place, see Berwick upon Tweed, currently England's most northerly town and supposedly long standing enemy of Russia. As a major trading port it was very valuable and changed hands between England and Scotland a number of times, as well as having been independent of both as well (which was why like Northern Ireland it was considered an "add on" to the United Kingdom at one point.

That said the wall's purpose is a bit of a problem for historians because the usual held view it was to keep the likes of my ancestors out does not fit with the way it was built. Some consider it almost a vanity or makework project, whilst others look on it as a device to control trade and taxation.

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