| Colin Tansley
I am a career investigator with over 40 years of experience gained from working in the police service, the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) and latterly my own investigative services company ‘Intelect’ in the Isle of Man. Much of my work nowadays is in relation to the digital world in which we live and conduct business. However, I have utilised my experience in a range of more conventional (and confidential) investigations here on the Island and elsewhere on numerous occasions. My particular specialism is finding intelligence about people and companies. I also train people to do that. My work has taken me all over the world. In fact, it was my work that brought me to the Isle of Man where I have lived for over six years. Intelect Group has at its disposal specialists of the highest caliber who support and broaden our investigative effort.
This fact sheet covers forensic online investigations, the value of the information you can find and how important it is to ensure it is collected properly and is evidentially sound.
So, what is a forensic online investigation?
The term forensic means something that is suitable for use in a court of law. Forensic ‘investigations’ are the name typically given to the work undertaken by scientists. More often than not in the support of the police during a criminal investigation, where DNA samples and the like are examined ‘under the microscope’. The term forensic however, can be more sharply defined as, scientific tests or techniques used in connection with the detection of crime.
A significant amount of the work I currently do is connected to Customer Due Diligence (“CDD”), but I have located missing persons, been involved in probate investigations, conducted online abuse and fraud cases. I work to the highest evidential standards as there is always the potential for cases that I work on to end up in a civil or criminal court.
Most people are familiar with Google and the immense amount of information at our fingertips. Hence that is the first place they turn to when they want to find things. As is more often the case than not, it is all too easy to become overwhelmed, get lost in a sea of data or get completely misled. The Web is bigger than Google and there are many, many sources, tools and techniques that your average user are completely unaware of.
It is important to understand the mechanics of search, how to identify credible information, maintain records and at all times staying safe and secure. That is where my expertise comes in. I forensically review what I see. I can spend hours on social media profiles reviewing imagery, video, messages and the individual’s network of contacts as examples. My background and experience in intelligence operations and the associated techniques gives me the advantage of operating [discretely and] almost silently.
I have known Crossleys for some time providing them with specialist investigative services and where appropriate I will be used to:
Investigate fraud, theft or financial irregularities
As an investigator I may be called upon to give evidence and this is something I am both familiar and experienced with.
Aside from the ability to search efficiently and effectively there is a requirement to maintain records of investigations. Many less experienced users may rely on their browsing history, a spreadsheet or handwritten notes. Electronic information is dynamic, it can be concealed, lost, altered, damaged or deleted. This is why we use a robust and tested system. It ensures that when we are asked if we searched for something, we can prove it and show what we found on a specific date and time.
All of the larger accounting firms, as well as many medium-sized and boutique firms and various police and government agencies, have specialist investigators at their disposal. Increasingly the bulk of these type of investigations will have an online element to them. It makes perfect sense for online investigators to provide the necessary specialist support for companies such as Crossleys and we are delighted to have partnered with them for that purpose.