But incorporated into the financial investigations is often background investigative work. To be clear: I don’t do deep-dive background investigations. For something like that you’d go someone like Marcy Phelps or Philip Segal. If the point is just getting a better understanding of the people and entities involved, however, I do some of the legwork to find that.
I’m often looking for names of family members, friends, roommates, business associates. I want to find addresses of homes lived in and other properties owned. I might be looking for addresses that were used by business entities. Sometimes I’m looking for pictures of people or places they lived.
Here’s how I would use obituaries and Facebook in my financial investigations:
Obituaries can tell you about….
- Maiden names
- Where they were born
- Where they last lived
- Other places they lived
- Causes they believed in
- Names of friends and relatives
- Hobbies and other interests
- Memberships in clubs or other organizations
All of this is helpful when you’re looking for property or maybe looking for where money could have disappeared to.
Facebook can give some of the same information. I know many people have their Facebook profiles locked down these days, and I do NOT recommend using an alias account to try to befriend someone and get access to the stuff they’ve made private. But if their pictures and activity are public, it’s fair game.
Even if the subject has a mostly private FB account, there are still ways to get information. Check out who liked or commented on their public profile picture. Go to their profiles and see if they have friends lists or posts that are public. You might find names of people connected to your subject that will be helpful. You may find pictures or other information on homes, vehicles, friends, children, other family members.
From there you might find links to other social media accounts you didn’t know about: Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, etc.
One really fun case I worked on a few years ago was dubbed the “Instagram Investigation.” Have a look at that post if you’re interested in how we confirmed what a divorcing husband was spending on his girlfriend. Here’s another post that might interest you if you want to know about other public-type records that might assist you in a financial investigation.