As a private investigator, I search social media and online news for our clients on a daily basis, and I find it especially useful for asset investigations. Not everything will show up in public records, and news and social media research helps fill in the gaps.
Here are just a few examples of what we’ve been able to find that made a difference for our asset clients:
- Rural land with mineral rights – Our subject owned several tracts of land in rural Oklahoma, which – on paper – didn’t hold much value. But a short article in the business news reported that one piece of land had recently produced oil. A “gusher,” as they described it.
- Liquor license application – Through public records, we found a business related to our subject, but we had little besides a business name and address. Nothing described what this company did. A broad news search led us to information about its operations and confirmation of a liquor license.
- Conflict of interest – In one case, the attorney suspected a conflict of interest between the debtor and an appraiser. After finding no connections in the online public records, we discovered a previous business partnership through our search of older news articles.
Yes, news and social media research adds value to asset investigations, but there are challenges. Too much information, too little, and let’s not get started with the sales pitches and misinformation.
Here are my 5 top tips for overcoming these challenges and using news and social media research for asset investigations: