Using Facebook in Financial Investigations

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I did a divorce investigation a few years ago that I like to call the Instagram Investigation. The husband was accused of marital waste (dissipation), as he was spending lots of money on his new girlfriend while his divorce was pending. The wife needed to quantify how much he was spending on the girlfriend, but it wasn’t clear who was spending money just by looking at the credit card statements. Until you looked at the girlfriend’s Instagram account and saw all the pictures from her shopping trips. It was a matter of comparing 150+ dated photos (also tagged with locations) to credit card charges to determine what was spent on the girlfriend.

Can we use Facebook to assist with financial investigations? Sometimes. I find that Facebook is most useful when researching relationships between people and tracking the activities of a party. It hasn’t proven to be particularly useful in terms of financial analysis, except when an occasional vacation or automobile purchase is documented on Facebook.

Even if the information I find may be limited, I still often check Facebook to see if there is anything I can use. I have found that Instagram accounts are very often public, so they don’t require permission from the user to see what he or she is posting. On the other hand, most people seem to have privacy safeguards in place on their Facebook accounts. That means you’re not going to see much of their activity unless you are FB friends with them. Continue reading

Facebook “Friends” Are Co-Conspirators In Overstock.com Land

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Conspiracy-TheoriesIn the world of Patrick Byrne, CEO of flailing Overstock.com (NYSE:OSTK), his paid stalkers, and his nutty followers, anything and everything is evidence of a massive conspiracy on Wall Street. Involved in this massive conspiracy are “captured” journalists who “take orders” from hedge funds and help manipulate the stockmarket.

Remember the days when Byrne was claiming that his company’s poor stock price was a direct result of naked short selling of the company stock? And when that allegation couldn’t be proven and consistent poor financial results (even poor after the accounting department did a little magic on them each quarter) seemed to be the real reason the company’s stock hasn’t done well…. then the real story became the massive conspiracy on Wall Street. Continue reading

How to make social media a total waste of time

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I admit it: I’m not a lover of all things social media. I am participating in the Facebook and Twitter discussions a bit begrudgingly. It’s not that I don’t think these tools work to grow businesses and create interesting discourse. They do.

It’s just that as a solo, I have only so much time available to me, and I’m interested in being involved with the things that offer the most bang for the buck. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not trying to “sell” to my followers and friends, or looking at them as a means to an end. But at the end of the day, I have to make a living and I’m trying to use my time as efficiently as possible. Continue reading

Blogging For Business

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Are you interested in blogging to help you grow your client base and promote the online presence of your business? So are lots of people! But the key to actually achieving these goals is doing it right. Blogging is part art and part science, and to make it effective, you’ve got to have both parts in play.

Some people think blogging is less important than it used to be. I disagree. I think it’s even more important and more highly regarded than ever, but those who haven’t started better get a move on before it’s too late. Starting a blog from scratch is difficult and it takes a lot of time and effort to build up a following. Those who’ve been blogging for a year or two have probably established a great foundation and readership that helps make their blogging efforts important. Continue reading