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How Do Private Investigators Use The Internet?

The Digital Bloodhound: How Private Investigators Leverage OSINT

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In today’s information age, the internet has become a treasure trove of data, a goldmine for private investigators (PIs) such as Impel Legal, who are able to wield the virtual shovel of Open Source Intelligence (OSINT).

OSINT techniques allow PIs such as Peter Yexley to gather valuable information from publicly available sources, saving time and resources while propelling investigations forward.

Here’s how Private Investigators can transform themselves into digital bloodhounds, sniffing out clues with the power of OSINT:

1. Subject Profiling and Background Checks:

Social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter offer a wealth of information about an individual’s professional background, interests, associates, and even travel habits.

Private Investigators can leverage this to build a comprehensive profile, verifying details provided by clients and uncovering potential discrepancies, they can laser-focus searches and unearth hidden details.

2. People and Asset Location:

Finding missing persons or locating hidden assets is a cornerstone of private investigation.

OSINT tools like public directory searches and property records databases can provide valuable leads.

Social media check-ins and geotagged photos can offer clues about a person’s whereabouts. 

3. Corroborating Information and Evidence Gathering:

Information gleaned from traditional investigation methods can be verified and corroborated through OSINT.

News articles, public court records, and online reviews can shed light on an individual’s past or the legitimacy of a business.

Additionally, OSINT can uncover digital footprints – online comments, forum posts, or data breaches – that might be missed otherwise, potentially serving as crucial evidence.

4. Competitive Intelligence and Due Diligence:

The business world thrives on information. For corporate investigations, OSINT helps Private Investigators gather intel on competitors, potential business partners, or investment targets.

Company websites, annual reports, and industry publications can reveal financial health, marketing strategies, and potential legal issues. Social media sentiment analysis can gauge customer perception, while online reviews can expose red flags.

5. Fraud Investigation and Deception Detection:

Fraudsters often leave digital trails.

OSINT can be used to identify inconsistencies in alibis, verify employment claims, or expose fake online personas.

Analyzing online financial transactions and scrutinizing inconsistencies in public records can expose patterns of deception.

The Power of Combining OSINT with Traditional Techniques

OSINT is a powerful tool, but it doesn’t replace traditional investigative methods like surveillance or witness interviews.

The true strength lies in combining these approaches. Information gleaned online can guide physical investigations, and real-world observations can be used to verify or disprove digital leads.

Ethical Considerations and Legal Boundaries:

While vast amounts of information are publicly available, ethical boundaries exist. Impel Legal adheres to data privacy laws and regulations. We always obtain proper authorization before accessing personal information that may require a password or login.


Using OSINT techniques, Impel Legal can become digital detectives, unearthing valuable information hidden in plain sight.

From background checks to asset recovery, OSINT empowers us to navigate the digital landscape, transforming investigations and delivering results in the information age.

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