Private Investigators Turn to Social Media to Uncover Fraud

Scott Catron’s days of hiding in a hatchback for days or being chased by dogs or wild animals to catch a criminal in action are over thanks to social media. Catron is the co-founder of Social Detection, a private investigation service that investigates fraud via social media.

Catron and fellow private investigator Michael Petrie created Social Detection with the knowledge that people are addicted to social media, and even those committing crimes can’t help posting on these platforms. Now the private investigators use a keyboard instead of binoculars to uncover fraud via social media.

“If there is fraud, it will be found, provided there’s a web presence,” said Petrie.

Social Detection’s main objective is to stop fraudulent insurance payouts. It seems to be hitting its objective because it has saved employers and insurance carriers more than $7 million in payouts in less than six months. Insurance fraud is one of the single greatest costs to insurance companies, with estimates running into the billions.

Catron explained that Social Detection delves deeper into the layers of the internet to find public information that detects fraudulent claims. “There are a lot of sites that don’t let Google index their database. So you need to know what sites to go to,” he added.

The company formed in 2015 and has grown to employ 14 people. Their clients include insurance companies, law firms and other private investigators. Jamie Kuebler, an attorney from New York said that Social Detection’s services are so valuable he uses them on every bodily injury case. Kuebler had an insurance claim for more than $8 million and had tried social media searches on his own but came up emptyhanded. Social Detection found the claimant’s aliases and turned up hundreds of photos of the man enjoying an active, uninjured lifestyle. “The case settled for peanuts,” he said.

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