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How Facebook could identify a fraud suspect

Have you logged into Facebook today? What about Twitter? Maybe you've logged into Pinterest. Chances are that you have engaged with social media in some form recently. That reality doesn't go unnoticed by authorities, according to Forbes.

Investigators of white collar crime have recently shared a new tactic that's becoming commonly used to track supposed fraud. While the average person might log into a social media site for some casual status-surfing and craft-posting, investigators are tracking suspects' social media use to try to support any theory of fraudulent activity among those users.

The following are ways that investigators might rely on social media to support charges of white collar crimes:

  • Look at pictures and posts to get a feel for spending habits. Is a suspect's spending out of whack with what he supposedly earns through his job?
  • Look at social connections. Is a suspect friends with a business competitor or another entity that would generally be perceived as a conflict of interest from a business ethics standpoint?

These are just a couple among various methods that sources report as being common in fraud investigations. There is no doubt that social media offers many benefits to society, but something as seemingly innocent as Facebook can also be a detriment to criminal suspects in certain cases. Though it seems like what one does online is private and done anonymously, that simply isn't the case. When evidence begins to mount against someone in a fraud investigation, he can't rely on the experience of a criminal defense lawyer quickly enough.


Source: Forbes, "Criminals Beware, Fraud Investigators Take To Social Media," Walter Pavlo, June 25, 2013

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