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  • Using Facebook to aid investigations

    Hey folks-
    I developed two phony individuals on facebook about a month ago. The couple of hours invested has already paid off in 2 individuals being charged with burglary and felony theft in a case.
    It is pretty simple, but the thugs may not accept a friend invite unless the "person" does not seem well established. In other words, even if you don't have a target now, go ahead and develop a FB person or two, or more, so that they show a decent number of "friends". Throwing one together in a hurry will look fake.
    Here is what I did- I set up a phony email account with gmail, then used that info to set up a FB account for each "person". I filled in the profile info for the "person", then found a random picture in google images for the profile picture. Once up and running, I made some friend requests. By checking "like" on things others posted, I soon had people request to be friends, and it grew. Then I started targeting known thugs and "friended" them. My phonies friend lists look like a whos who of our local criminal population.
    It is amazing what these idiots post and write about. I have no doubt these phonies I have developed will help to solve many cases.
    Be mindful of what you write, in case you ever need to use this for direct evidence.

    If anyone else is doing this, I would love to hear the success stories and any pro-tips you might have.
    ....and yes, it is a little creepy at first.....
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  • #2
    Facebook and Myspace will delete any fake accounts they discover, even law enforcement. Hence anyone running one of these "accounts" for law enforcement should be very careful about revealing anything about it. Just my opinion.

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    • #3
      I do the same. Several officers around here have them as well, and we sometimes post to each others facebooks just to keep it legit and show some activity.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by boomer555 View Post
        Facebook and Myspace will delete any fake accounts they discover, even law enforcement. Hence anyone running one of these "accounts" for law enforcement should be very careful about revealing anything about it..
        True, but I asked one of our DAs about it. She said their is nothing illegal about having a fake account and any information developed from it is good for court in her opinion.

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        • #5
          Edited by me in the interests of board unity.
          Last edited by Georgetime; 05-05-2011, 02:58 PM.
          Be dangerous, and unpredictable... and make a lot of noise. - John Bush, Anthrax

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          • #6
            I haven't thought of creating a profile to use for investigation purposes. However, I've used it without even logging in countless times. Its amazing to see what people will put out there without any privacy settings. Usually at the very least, it's great for finding associates and connecting suspects to each other.

            Its an incredible asset for us...now only if I could get our IT department to unblock it...
            Negative Ghostrider, the pattern is full.

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            • #7
              Doing that might be smart; discussing tactics on a public board...not so much.
              sigpic

              I don't agree with your opinion, but I respect its straightforwardness in terms of wrongness.

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              • #8
                Be sure to make the profile picture a very attractive female.

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                • #9
                  please stop posting this stuff in a public forum!!!!! By doing so you are exposing very useful techniques that will harm our intelligence gathering ability!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
                  "For he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer." Romans 13:4

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by bigcitypolice06 View Post
                    please stop posting this stuff in a public forum!!!!! By doing so you are exposing very useful techniques that will harm our intelligence gathering ability!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
                    It's not like we are discussing detailed info on how we gather sensitive intel... it's facebook!
                    You don't think the bad guys know we watch facebook?

                    //facepalm
                    SUPPORT COP RUN BUSINESSES!!
                    SUPPORT LEO BUSINESSES!



                    In 2017, the sales of my LEO related decals allowed me to donate over $350. to LE/ Military related charities... THANK YOU!!! Check them out HERE...

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                    • #11
                      The bad guys do know. I have seen bad guys caution other bad guys on their walls to take down some of the stuff they post, so I know first hand they know about it. However a thread on a police board with a bunch of people talking about using FB for intel purposes might make the bad guy who peruses Officer.com decide to scrub his friends list and take his personl OpSec more seriously than he otherwise would have, just in case. Loose lips sinking ships, and all that.
                      Be dangerous, and unpredictable... and make a lot of noise. - John Bush, Anthrax

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by swat_op506 View Post
                        It's not like we are discussing detailed info on how we gather sensitive intel... it's facebook!
                        You don't think the bad guys know we watch facebook?

                        //facepalm
                        Surprisingly most of the ones I deal with don't, and i would prefer them not figure it out. I spend a decent amount of my time trying to gather intel and monitor some extremely violent and very under the radar gang members. Using some of these methods tend to work incredibly well, but people posting the techniques and methods used by officers to gain intel is incredibly irresponsible. You may deal with slightly smarter retards in TN, but in the crap hole that is Los Angeles we have an incredibly inept educational system and they are probably a little slower. I have used info to solve homicides, and prevent them by targeting specific problem children.....
                        "For he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer." Romans 13:4

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by swat_op506 View Post
                          It's not like we are discussing detailed info on how we gather sensitive intel... it's facebook!
                          You don't think the bad guys know we watch facebook?

                          //facepalm
                          I agree with that.

                          Besides, if the jig is up (so to speak), it's because if you plug "police" and "facebook" into google there are tons of news articles about police looking at profiles to check on bad guys. Not because we talk about it on officer.com

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                          • #14
                            If your friends jump off a bridge, are you stupid enough to do it, too?
                            sigpic

                            I don't agree with your opinion, but I respect its straightforwardness in terms of wrongness.

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                            • #15
                              I have yet to get anything of real value just maybe "Stoned as uckf after last night" or something like that.

                              Never once read that we shot Tom or beat Glenn or anything like that. I look at the events they say they are going to and got a few minor warrants that way but nothing major.

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