#5: Surveillance Training and Tips Series #2

Surveillance Series #2

 Hey everyone,
Continuing on with the surveillance series, what else do we check before going on the actual surveillance?  Great question!  On my pervious blogs I wrote a little bit about checking social media like Facebook.com, Myspace.com, Twitter, etc…I also wrote about all the free searches that are quite powerful. So I am going to take that information from previous blogs, and briefly show you the series of searches that should be conducting after you run your comprehensive search that was described in the first series.

First you want to take the person’s name, phone number and address and search it through whitepages.com to see if any additional information comes back through those searches. A reverse search on a phone number might reveal that the person you are searching doesn’t come back to the listing.   A reverse search of the address through whitepages.com could reveal additional individuals living at the residence.  A search of the individuals name may show associations to different addresses in the area that the comprehensive data search didn’t find.  These searches won’t take very long when you know what you are looking for.
Once you complete your whitepages.com searches, you need to check social media.  Social media is a blessing for an investigator conducting surveillance.  Many times during a surveillance investigation we have no idea what our individual looks like. Social media helps us find out what our individual looks like more times than not.  And people love to tell you what they are doing every day.  How many of your friends say on their facebook.com page, “going to the gym”, or “it’s Friday, and I can’t wait to go out tonight”.  This is information is gold for someone conducting surveillance.  Many people identify their spouses and their employers on their facebook.com pages.  If you can’t find the person you are looking for on Facebook then find their spouse and see what their spouse has to say.
After your social media search you are going to want to conduct the same searches you did in whitepages.com in Google.  Search the name and city they live in on the same search (“Joe Evans, Tacoma, Washington”). Additionally you will want to search the address of the individual.  Many times great information will be revealed about a person.
Search your state’s court records to see if the individual has been involved in any litigation.  Search county property records as these records are public information.
Go to Google maps and type in the address you will be starting your surveillance at.  This will provide you with the layout of the area.  You will be able to see any potential issue with surveillance positions or routes the individual you are watching might take to get into town.  Use the street view to see the house and any possible vehicles that are in front of the residence in the photo.  Many times if an individual has lived at the residence for a long time, his or her vehicles will show up in the photo.  There have been a few times were I have even been able to see license plates (very far and few between however).
Many years ago I used to conduct phone calls to the residence prior to conducting surveillance to make sure the individual lived there (and sometimes I would get some great information too). But with phone numbers being less reliable these days and more people using a cell phone as their primary phone, calling the residence prior to surveillance may be a waste of a good pretext.  For those of you that aren’t familiar with the word pretext, it is defined as, “to disguise,” from prae, “in front,” and texere, “weave”—as something serving to conceal plans.  Essentially you are deceiving someone to gain information.  The information private investigator’s obtain is not for malicious purposes.  Typically it is just designed to confirm the person is home.  We will go in to different types of pretexting in a future blog as there are too many to discuss.
So we did all of our searches and found a good address to start our surveillance.  Now we get to bed early because we want to be at the house at 6:00 a.m.
Suggestion of the day. Conduct all of these searches on yourself and see how much information about you is available.  You may be surprised.
If you have any questions or suggestions  feel free to ask me on my page at Facebook.  Or just come by to say hi.