Timely Tips for the OSINT Pro

Our weekly hack for those in the field doing the work & digging up critical intel.

The ability to uncover information on the internet is the primary skill of an online investigator. There are hundreds of thousands of surface, deep, and dark websites, but which are most pertinent to your unique case? Do you know how to utilize Google to its full potential?  With new social media platforms coming online at a rapid pace, capturing leads and evidence in social media networks is more complex than ever. Do you know the latest tools of the trade?

Hg’s OSINT Tips of the week provides you with the latest intel how to be most effective in our tradecraft. We are always looking for new tools, so don’t hesitate to let us know if you  have one you’d like reviewed in a future post!


This week, our Timely Tips overview two nonprofit investigative resources. These platforms can be valuable for Due Diligence activity—uncovering vast amounts of revealing tax information. Come on, it’s time to dig in.


Due Diligence: www.citizenaudit.org

CitizenAudit.org is a full-text, searchable database of all available nonprofit Form 990s. It provides 15 years of disclosures, such as tax documents, for every public charity in America. Citizenaudit.org’s three main functions are keyword searches in any available tax documents, alerts for the latest filed documents, and customized lists of nonprofits, profiles, and documents. A .pdf version of each Form 990 is also available for download. With this, the user can browse information such as the principal officer’s name/address/phone numbers, fiscal sums, and potential signatures. The information on CitizenAudit.org is available to the public free of charge.


Due Diligence: projects.propublica.org/nonprofits

ProPublica is a nonprofit news source produced by investigative journalists. Hidden within ProPublica’s Website is their Nonprofit Explorer interactive database. This database consists of three million tax returns from tax exempt organizations dating back to 2001. The Nonprofit Explorer has two great features in comparison to similar databases such as Guidestar.org or Melissadata.com. Using ProPublica’s database, you can view Form 990s free of cost and search by people in addition to the organization.


Have an OSINT tip for us? Contact us, and we will consider reviewing it in future posts! 


Like what you’re reading? Check out Hg’s monthly webinars!

Throughout the year, Hetherington Group offers monthly live webinars on current investigative tactics involving social networks, search engines, due diligence, the dark web, and other related topics. Participants should have some basic experience of the topic, as all programs are offered at an intermediate level, unless otherwise noted.

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