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 resources for Financial Industry searches and one for searching out fraudsters. These platforms can be valuable for investigative activity—uncovering all kinds of valuable intel. Come on, it’s time to dig in.
BrokerCheck, provided by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), is a free tool that provides useful background information of a financial broker or firm. Any broker or firm currently registered with FINRA or a national securities exchange within the last ten years can be located. BrokerCheck will show a broker’s employment history, licensing information, regulatory actions, and more. This information comes from the Central Registration Depository (CRD)—FINRA’s online registration and licensing database—and is limited to the United States.
Need to verify a financial services provider? The National Mortgage Lending Service’s Consumer Access is a free service that verifies if a company or professional is authorized to conduct business in a state. Licensing and registration information is available for any financial service provider registered with NMLS, which include money service companies, mortgage companies, mortgage loan originators, federally regulated institutions, or individuals licensed by state regulatory agencies that participate in NMLS. Disciplinary actions such as criminal, regulatory, or civil actions are also disclosed. Not all states are required to participate or list all license types. A list of participating states and types of organizations that participate in NMLS is included on their site. They state their database is updated nightly during business days, ensuring your results are current.
Searching for a white-collar offender in the state of Utah? Use the White-Collar Crime Offender Registry (WCCR) not only to view the registry but also to report a fraudster. A search of the registry shows results which include the registrant’s name, birth date, aliases, height, weight, eye and hair color, current photo, and a list of convicted crimes. Regarding who needs to register, the Website says: “Any person who has been convicted (including as a result of a plea bargain) in any Utah State Court since December 31, 2005 of a second-Degree Felon…” and provides a list of offenses and their Utah Code statutes. The offenses include securities fraud, theft by deception, unlawful dealing of property by fiduciary, fraudulent insurance, mortgage fraud, communications, fraud, and money laundering creating “a pattern of unlawful activity.” The offender must be on the registry for ten years for a first offense, an additional ten years for a second offense, and life for a third offense. To report an offender who has already been convicted, use the Website’s online form. Note: The Registry does not apply to those individuals convicted in Utah Federal Court.
Have an OSINT tip for us? Contact us, and we will consider reviewing it in future posts!
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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.