Unveiling the Hidden Gems: How Private Investigators Can Assist Attorneys in E-Discovery

Unveiling the Hidden Gems: How Private Investigators Can Assist Attorneys in E-Discovery

ediscovery investigations

eDiscovery, or electronic discovery, is a type of investigation in which information technology is married to private investigation by means of locating digital information both online and offline. The information scraped during these investigations can range from databases to social media profiles, and with more forms of digital data becoming ubiquitous, the need for eDiscovery investigations is only expected to grow. Attorneys are constantly tasked with managing vast volumes of electronically stored information (ESI) during litigation, which can be a daunting and time-consuming process. This is where private investigators can prove to be invaluable allies.

  1. Identifying Relevant Data Sources

One of the initial challenges attorneys face in eDiscovery investigations is identifying the pertinent sources of electronic data. Private investigators can help attorneys locate and categorize these sources effectively. By conducting comprehensive investigations and interviews, they can pinpoint potential custodians of relevant information, including witnesses, employees, or third-party entities. This ensures that no stone is left unturned in the search for electronic evidence.

  1. Preserving Evidence in eDiscovery Investigations

Preservation is a critical aspect of e-discovery. Private investigators can assist by working with IT professionals to ensure that all potentially relevant ESI is preserved and not altered or deleted. They can help draft legal hold notices, which instruct clients and relevant parties on the obligation to preserve data, thus mitigating the risk of spoliation.

  1. Forensically Collecting and Analyzing Data

Private investigators with expertise in digital forensics can be instrumental in collecting, preserving, and analyzing electronic evidence. They have the skills and tools necessary to extract data from various devices and platforms, ensuring its admissibility in court. This can include recovering deleted files, analyzing metadata, and tracing the digital footprints of individuals or entities involved in the case.

  1. Data Processing and Review

Managing and reviewing large volumes of electronic data can be overwhelming for attorneys. Private investigators can assist in the process by employing e-discovery software to filter, de-duplicate, and organize the data efficiently. They can also create timelines and data visualizations, making it easier for attorneys to understand and present the information in court.

  1. Social Media and Online Investigations

In today’s digital world, social media and online platforms often hold valuable evidence. Private investigators are adept at conducting discreet online investigations to uncover relevant information, such as social media posts, emails, or communications that may not be readily available through traditional discovery methods.

  1. Locating and Interviewing Witnesses

Private investigators can track down and interview potential witnesses who might possess crucial electronic evidence. They can gather statements, affidavits, or even assist in preparing witnesses for deposition or trial, ensuring that all relevant facts are brought to light.

  1. Investigating Digital Misconduct

When there are allegations of digital misconduct, such as data breaches, hacking, or cyberbullying, private investigators can delve into these matters. Their expertise can help attorneys build a stronger case by understanding the technical aspects of the misconduct and identifying responsible parties.

At the conclusion of all eDiscovery probes, clients receive thorough, detailed reports on their inquiry, along with any expert recommendations regarding the Subject or circumstances of the case. Should the need arise as the result of any subsequent litigation, our analysts and investigators are also available to offer expert testimony regarding what information they observed and catalogued for the client.

If you have need of a private investigator for eDiscovery purposes, please consider Lauth Investigations International. Call today at 317-951-1100 for a free quote and learn how we can help you find solutions.

Lauth’s Verified Resources:

• Open-Source Intelligence (OSINT)
• Licensed databases
• National registries
• Local & national media

eDiscovery Investigations Services:

• Asset Searches
• Background Checks
• Social Media Investigations

Too Good to Be True? Know the Signs of Romance Scams

Too Good to Be True? Know the Signs of Romance Scams

How many people do you know who met their significant other online? There’s probably a few, because tales of whirlwind romances that started virtually are more and more common these days—but sadly, so too are online romance scam stories. Unfortunately, while this particular form of underbelly criminality used to be relegated to niche chatrooms and online dating sites, they are becoming more frequent on social media. Scam artists are using their nefarious talents to sweep targets on Facebook and Instagram off their feet, meaning that just about anyone can become prey to today’s online dating scam artists. When it comes to avoiding romance scams, knowledge is the first step.

If you don’t think that a money scammer could get the better of you—or even if you’re someone who is embarrassed to have been the victim of a scammer before—you might be surprised to know that dating scams are all too common. Staggeringly, last year romance scams hit record highs, with victims unwittingly sending some $547 million to perpetrators. 

Within the realm of online scams, the human quest for love serves as a tempting target pool. So, don’t underestimate the importance of knowing the warning signs—and, of course, if you have been a victim, know that you are not alone. We’ll get into what to do if you’ve been scammed momentarily, but lets begin first with red flags, and some go-to protective measures.

  1. What Is the Usual Romance Scam Format?

You’re probably wondering how to tell if someone is scamming you online. When you meet someone who seems like the one, how can you know if its true love, or true crime? Well, the good news is that once you’re informed, there are some common red flags that you can keep an eye out for:

  • The person may say that they are located far away, perhaps out of the country, making it impossible for them to meet you.
  • They may push the relationship forward fast, sharing a lot of intimate information about themselves and being quick to say they love you, or even to propose marriage.
  • If on an online dating site, they might try to move communication off the site quickly.
  • They might repeatedly promise to meet, but always cancel at the last moment.
  • Eventually they will begin asking for money, whether it is because of a crisis—like a medical or legal emergency—or for a plane ticket to come see you.
  • They may ask for your bank account information under the guise that they will send you money, when they actually intend to use your data to commit fraud.
  1. What About Precautions and Questions to Ask a Romance Scammer?

If you are using online dating sites, or even more broadly chatting to new connections online, you can adopt these tactics along the way to better protect yourself:

  • Do a reverse image search of the person’s profile picture to see if they are who they say they are, if their picture is being used anywhere else online, and if it appears in any directories of online dating scammer photos.
  • Google their name to find out more about them and check it isn’t on an online dating scammer list.
  • If using a new online dating site, do a little research, check independent reviews, and ensure that its not on a list of scamming websites.
  • Take your time, asking the person lots of questions and keeping track to ensure that everything adds up.
  • Beware if the person requests private pictures of you, or for any kind of sensitive data, such as home address, social security number, or financial information. Never share anything that you wouldn’t want in the public domain.
  • Don’t allow someone you met online to isolate you from friends and family.
  • Never send money, credit, or vouchers to someone you haven’t met in person.
  • If in doubt, talk to a friend for a second opinion.
  1. What To Do if You’ve Been Scammed

Many people who have fallen prey to a romance scammer feel embarrassed or ashamed, but it is important to remember that you are the victim of a crime, and that the scam artist is the one at fault. If you suspect that you have been scammed, it is important to report it to the FTC right away—both for your own sake, and to protect potential future victims. There is often an emotional fallout following romance scams, in which case seeking out a romance scam support group may be helpful.

If seeking justice or hoping to reclaim money lost to a romance scammer, your greatest ally is certainly a romance scam investigator. This is because a private investigation firm like Lauth Investigations International is in prime position to focus greater resources on seeking out the culprit and, all importantly, providing the necessary evidence to shut them down. For victims who feel that traditional law enforcement have let them down in this area, launching a private romance scam investigation can be a fantastic way to reclaim power and achieve peace of mind.
Whether you’ve been impacted by dating site scams or romance scammers on social media, the Lauth Investigations team has your back. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you turn the tables, leaving dating scams in your rear-view once and for all.

How to Protect Personal Information Online in 2022

How to Protect Personal Information Online in 2022

Both experts and laypersons alike have argued that in utilizing the internet for purposes of automation and convenience, we have sacrificed our security as our personal information floats in the ether. In an age where a great deal of the fraud that occurs in the United States happens in cyberspace, consumers are being cautioned more than ever to steel themselves against the ever-evolving mousetrap of cyber fraud. From our private investigators, here are the best ways consumers and corporations can protect personal information online in 2022.

Strong login credentials

When everything is online—banking, shopping, email, asset protfolios—it can be difficult to remember every username and password, and therefore users may be inclined to use the same username and password for every account. However, experts insist that in order to best protect personal information, users must have a unique username and password for every account and platform where their personal information could be vulnerable to cyber fraud.

  • Use both upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters like the “@” symbol to strengthen the credentials.
  • Do not use personal information as passwords
  • Do not store passwords on internet sites where they can be vulnerable to cyber criminals.

Avoid phishing scams

Phishing scams involve using deceptive correspondence, typically an email, in which the sender requests personal information of the target, often masquerading as an official agency such as the IRS. To protect personal information from these phishing scams, users must be vigilant and educated of the signs of phishing scams.

  • Be wary of images such as logos or color schemes that appear similar to a branded company or agency, but contain differences that the consumer eye may not immediately notice.
  • Be wary of any unsolicited communication from a corporation or a federal office.
  • Refrain from clicking on any images or hyperlinks in the emails as they could contain malignant viruses that can infect your devices.
  • When in doubt, just delete.

Social media scams

Social media connects billions of people in seconds—a feat unlike anything we’ve seen in the history of mankind—but this is also how scammers can connect to their targets on a personal level in the interest of stealing their information.

  • Scammers can use hidden URLs by virtue of tools that shorten hyperlinks, thereby obscuring the destination. This can lead to malware being surreptitiously downloaded onto your device.
  • Other forms of these scams include a bait-and-switch operation in which answering questions to a personality quiz can be used against you to steal your information.

Remember to always keep your anti-malware and anti-spyware protections up to date so that your devices have a first line of defense in preventing cyber fraud. If you have been the victim of cyber fraud, contact Lauth today for a  free consultation on how we can help you find the criminals responsible at 317-951-1100, or visit us online at www.lauthinveststg.wpengine.com.

5 Cyber Security Measures Every Business Needs

5 Cyber Security Measures Every Business Needs

Cyber criminals are evolving at an alarming rate. Cyber-security product developers are on an infinite loop with felons, each trying to out fox the other with regards to data breaches. Security is absolutely necessary for brick and mortar establishments due to a myriad of reasons, but in 2019, the name of the game is cyber-security. Not only are data breaches an efficient way to steal trade secrets and financial information from businesses, but they can also be done remotely. A proficient hacker or scammer can access a company’s vital company information from halfway across the world, and from that same location, can devastate the company. Within minutes, they can access financial information, trade secrets, distribution and delivery schedules, and private customer information. To prevent this from happening to your business, here are 5 cyber security measures every business should have:

Iron-clad Passwords

This is Internet 101. Since the birth of the World Wide Web, we’ve been educating adults and children alike on the importance of having a strong password to access online accounts. Whether it’s a company’s financial information, or a Grubhub app on an executive’s phone, thieves can crack weak passwords to gain access. As such, it’s important passwords never contain personal information about an individual, especially if that information is visible on social media. Parents often include the name of their kids in their passwords, using their dates of birth for any numerical value requirement. Teens and young adults use the name of their favorite animal, sport, or music artist. Another common tactic is using common words that are easy to remember, and then spelling them backwards for a false sense of security. Experts at the National Cyber Security Alliance also do not recommend using sequences of characters that are near each other on the keyboard, such as “QWERTY,” the first six characters of the keyboard. The current recommended length for strong passwords is between 8-12 characters. If you’re unsure whether or not you password is secure, use an online password checker to verify the passwords level of  cyber security.

Fortified Firewalls

Firewalls have been around almost as long as passwords. Firewalls are shields that protect your business from harmful or insidious traffic. When you connect to the internet, the system is constantly communicating with the wireless network, both sending and receiving units of information known as packets. Firewalls monitor these packets and perform a risk assessment, blocking unsafe packets. These firewalls protect your company’s data from unauthorized remote access by criminals.

Antivirus Protection

Roland Cloutier, the Chief Security Officer for ADP, calls antivirus software “the last line of defense” when protecting your company’s data from hackers and other cyber-criminals. Not only can remote criminals access and view a company’s vital information, but they can also install vicious malware that will copy the target’s hard drive, and subsequently render the machine inoperable. Installing anti-virus and anti-malware programs aren’t enough, though. These programs need to be updated regularly as part of the infinite loop mentioned earlier. Every time a criminal finds a way to bypass an anti-malware product, the product requires changes to combat those breaches.

Laptops and Mobile Phones

It’s important to secure laptop computers and mobile smartphones associated with your business. For this, experts recommend encryption software so any remote felon attempting to access or copy the hard drive cannot do so without the proper password. They also stress the importance of never leaving these devices in ones vehicle, where they are easily accessible to thieves. “Lock-out” options are also standard for these devices in 2019. This setting allows you to establish a time period during which the phone lies idle. After that period expires, the phone locks itself, preventing anyone from accessing it without the password. Smartphones and laptops with remote-wipe features must be enabled. This way, if your device falls into the wrong hands, you can remotely wipe the device and prevent the leak of sensitive company information.

Employee Education

Last, but never least, it’s important your workforce is educated on the security measures in place and regularly enforces them on a day-to-day basis. Companies often neglect employee education under the false impression their IT team will be able to resolve all issues whenever they arise. The fact is, even IT professionals cannot anticipate every cyber threat, and may not be up-to-date on the very latest in cyber-criminal tactics. An ounce of this education is worth a pound of cure—Despite the level of technology literacy in the United States in 2019, an employer or business owner cannot assume an employee’s level of security knowledge. The prevention starts with employees, providing them with an intimate knowledge of company operations and how cyber security measures protect them. 

Regardless of your company’s industry or size, all businesses must update and maintain their cyber security. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure when criminals can bypass cyber security, and devastate a company in minutes.

Phishers Want Your Direct-Deposit

Phishers Want Your Direct-Deposit

money lockedThe invention of direct-deposit payments in electronic banking have likely saved companies millions of dollars over the years in labor hours, materials, and fees that previously caused problems for companies. However, in an age where your paycheck is sent automatically to your checking account, phishers are seeking to exploit this automation for personal gain.

The Internal Revenue Service has reported an upswing in various types of fraud that directly target a company’s payroll. While the ruses come in many forms, one of the most popular is phishing emails disguised as legitimate correspondence from an employee or upper management. It’s always an instruction to alter payroll information so that funds would be rerouted to the scammer’s bank account. Once the deed is done, the money is withdrawn and the company is responsible to replace the missing funds. While the FTC and the IRS are constantly reevaluating their strategies for containing these types of fraud, this particular scheme is hard to detect and often goes unreported. The email can outsmart security measures set down by the company or within a company’s email server, and scammers take amounts that can just be written off as unfortunate missteps on behalf of personnel.

Frauds such as these have gone through an evolution as security technology becomes more sophisticated and what we know about internet culture continues to grow. Internet frauds used to be about volume and inattention to detail—thus the birth of phishers, who sent emails rife with spelling and grammar mistakes out to mile-long email lists, casting a wide net throughout the web. Education about fraud has forced scammers to be more cautious. Today, companies who have seen this scam in its newest form remark that these phishing emails look so authentic that there may not be a question in their mind before obliging their request. Security measures that have risen from the nucleus of electronic banking combat wire fraud every day in the United States. Large sums in wire transfers now throw up giant red flags. Phishers and scammers are getting more bang for their buck by taking smaller amounts with more frequency, lurking below the radar. This does not require sophisticated hacking skills. Just the ability to open a Gmail account. Phishers make the account look cosmetically convincing, then throw out the lure. One of the most targeted entities is non-profit organizations, because of the benevolent nature of their business. The idea of someone ripping off a charity or relief organization is horrifying, but the simplicity of scams like this make the opportunity too lucrative to pass up.

It’s frightening how simple the fraud is to pull off, but there is recourse for businesses who are vulnerable to such a scam. One of the non-profits who fell prey to this scam was KVC Health Systems, an agency for child welfare in Kansas City. Their IT director, Erik Nyberg, says it starts with comprehensive education on company procedures, “The CEO is never going to email you out of the blue and ask you for any deposit changes. And if you have any sliver of a doubt, call the person who is making the request.” He goes on to discourage executives and upper management employees from using their personal email accounts to send staff correspondence, and to set email filters that will catch suspicious incoming messages. Social media managers are also cautioned against posting any company information to their pages that could serve to bolster a phisher’s credibility.

If your business has been the target of this wire fraud scam, you are encouraged to report them to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s IC3 tip line.