20 Non-standard locations to obtain electronically recorded information (ESI)

Beyond the typical email/bank records/phone records, the electronic engagement which most people are involved with is expanding exponentially. Here are a few non-standard locations to look at for additional intelligence on a subject. With the introduction of new technologies emerging, there may be dozens of new sources by the end of this year. Also use these ideas to creatively discover new sources.

1. Parking garage camera – You have the parking receipt/payment record, get the picture to see who was driving, who was in the car

2. Vehicle ECM – It is not like a black box data recorder, but it may disclose airbag deployment, fault codes, service intervals.

3. Grocery store shopper cards – Provides time and date of purchase to verify location, volume of items, alcohol, payment method (unknown account), cash back represented as expense, medications, disclose “late night” visits.

4. Itunes sync – cloud files, which computer was synced, and identify other devices.

5. Company voicemail – when it was checked, from what number, who called in, forwarded messages, and message copies of even deleted VM’s. Most modern systems store voicemail messages on server hard drives which are subject to the same backup routines as other data. Backup tapes may be available for a longer period of time than in company policy, ask the IT department. Also, login records of voicemail systems can sometimes include the caller ID from where the system was accessed, disclosing the location of the subject at the time.

6. Computer game messaging – time and duration of play, known competitors, what messages exchanged (romantic or threatening).

7. Email counter parties – Don’t just rely on the message history from the subjects account, you may be able to match up messages in the counter party accounts to discover those deleted by the subject when the opposite side of the conversation remains on the recipient machine.

8. Online discussion forums – Subject may have posted messages containing opinions or information of interest, or conflicting with their represented position. Discovery of forum identities of user names can also lead to other online personas used or email addresses

9. GPS – Portable or vehicle mounted GPS units frequently have a track history or “breadcrumbs” feature which traces prior movement. Addresses previously entered in for directions typically remain as well. This information can be discovered on iPhones and iPads.

10. Employment clock in – Time clock or virtual sign in sheets will document times when an employee was absent from the office or on leave.

11. Fedex & UPS accounts – Shipping history can reveal locations of colleagues or other addresses used. As always, analyze any payment to determine if the payment form or credit card used is previously known.

12. Box.net and other cloud storage – Forgotten files previously uploaded, and locate prior versions of documents.

13.  YouTube history – This history normally goes back farther than a browsing record. There may be videos posted by associates documenting actions or movement.

14. Casino loyalty card – If the subject gambles even casually, they are likely to max out their player card benefits. Casinos are most generous with comps based on player activity, and this history is kept for a long time.

15. CLUE report – A private database maintained by the insurance industry, it tracks any insurance claims on auto or homeowner policies. Casualty based insurance records typically will include many interesting details such as losses reported, other passengers in a vehicle, photos of a residence, and police reports. This would need ot be requested or subpoenaed from the insurance carrier.

16. Private surveillance cameras – If the subject takes a known route for work or recreation, a few sample photos from store cameras along the way can reveal other passengers in a vehicle, cell phone usage, or other historical activity without having to do manual surveillance. The skill in requesting these records from the business is key to successfully obtaining them.

17. Alternate sources of financial records – In most cases it would be beneficial to obtain tax returns, financial statements, or credit applications about a subject. Without having to resort to subpeona or illegal pretexting, an investigator can often get these documents from third parties who are in legal possession of them. A former spouse may have prior years tax returns. A former business partner will have financial statements. A prior landlord will have a credit application. Even the title company who processed a closing will have pay stub copies, mortgage application, check copies, and affidavits. Many of these parties will be more likely to provide them to an investigator if requested correctly, and there are fewer legal restrictions for their disclosure unlike the banking industry.

18. Appointment calendars – Use of online and electronic daily planning resources is very common. A subject may use Google Calendar or Outlook for tracking and managing appointments. These records will have dates, times, and phone numbers of other attendees. Even third party calendars can be investigated. If the subject is a member of a gym, sports club, or restaurant reservation system the scheduling history will be available.

19.  Photocopy machines – Most modern photocopy machines contain a hard drive which stores copies of all documents scanned or copied for a designated archive period

20. Skype – A subject attempting to conceal communications may use a VOIP system such as Skype. These devices can be hidden when not in use, or even exist only in software. Call history and chat logs remain for an extended period. Look for the programs on PC’s of payments for service on credit card statements.

Each of these sources may only provide a small portion of evidence. However, taken in their entirety the details can add up to a bigger picture or fill in the blanks from other areas of investigation.

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One response to “20 Non-standard locations to obtain electronically recorded information (ESI)

  1. Pingback: Gathering information from vehicle observation | AFX Search LLC

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