Identify Fraud With Techniques From OSINT-Certified Instructors

OSINT is used without hacking or unauthorized access and can play a vital role in providing context and evidence. In this blog we'll explore its uses in claim management, fraud discovery, and general investigations.

By Carla Rodriguez | May. 30, 2024 | 5 min. read

OSINT, AI, and technology in general are revolutionizing our jobs and lives. Insurance is an industry that began adopting these a bit late but is now recognizing these advancements as powerful tools. OSINT, or Open-Source Intelligence, is the practice of collecting and analyzing information from publicly accessible sources. This includes everything from social media profiles and public records to news articles and online forums. It is not the same as digital intelligence, which encompasses both open and restricted data, OSINT is strictly about gathering information that anyone can access without special permissions or hacking.

Social Media Intelligence (SOCMINT)

Due to their vast user base, social media platforms are valuable sources for OSINT searches. Investigators can gather information beyond just posts, such as comments, check-ins, and tagged photos, to uncover crucial details that may verify or disprove a claim.

Let’s dive into a real-life example:

Imagine a policyholder files a claim for a stolen vehicle. Using OSINT, you can verify the claimant’s story by:

  • Checking social media posts for any contradictory information, such as photos of the vehicle posted after the alleged theft date.
  • Searching online classifieds and auction sites to see if the vehicle is being sold and not actually stolen.
  • Reviewing news articles or police reports that might mention similar thefts in the area.

It ultimately comes down to making better decisions by being better informed. It’s a shame when public, openly available information is overlooked because you don’t know how to find it.

Now we will review expert techniques straight from the specialist at Ethos, to you.

What are the uses?

  • Claim Verification: Cross-check the claimant’s statements with their social media activity.
  • Fraud Detection: Identifying inconsistencies or suspicious behavior that may indicate fraudulent claims.
  • Background Checks: Gathering information about claimants’ lifestyle and behavior.

What are the benefits?

  • Improved Accuracy: Enhanced ability to verify the validity of claims.
  • Cost Savings: Reducing fraudulent payouts and associated investigation costs.
  • Efficiency: Streamlining the claims investigation process.
  • Data-Rich Insights: Gaining comprehensive views of claimants.

What are the techniques?

  • Metadata Analysis: Metadata provides hidden information about files, such as creation dates and locations. Analyzing metadata, especially in images, can reveal inconsistencies in evidence, aiding in more accurate investigations.
  • Web Scraping: Web scraping tools automatically extract data from websites, making it easier to gather and cross-reference large amounts of information quickly, making it invaluable for claim verification.
  • Geolocation and Analysis: Geolocation tools map out the physical aspects of claims, verifying locations and activities that you might not know about. This precision helps confirm or dispute reported incidents, adding accuracy to the investigation process.
  • Application Across Industries: OSINT techniques are versatile and applicable across various industries, including commercial, property casualty, and health insurance. While each application may differ, the core principles of gathering and analyzing public information remain consistent.


This YouTube video shows a geo guesser locating the street of a music record cover by Jack Harlow. He goes through the phases of the intelligence cycle and uses Open source webpages to track down the location of the neighborhood this image was taken in. Critical thinking and analyzing combined with the right tools and he’s able to locate the very street in under 5 minutes. This is a prime example of geo-location techniques put to the test.

By leveraging SOCMINT in these ways, you can enhance your claims management processes, improve accuracy, reduce fraud, and achieve significant true savings.


How Can You Use Metadata to Your Advantage?

Metadata is data that describes other data, providing information like authorship, creation/modification dates, and locations. It accompanies images, videos, and files, offering details about the content without showing the actual content.

For example, it can tell you when a text message was sent but not the actual text message, or where a picture was taken without showing the image. Photographic metadata, known as EXIF (Exchangeable Image File Format), includes details like camera model, exposure, and aperture. This data can be used to verify if a photo was taken on a specific device or if it’s a screenshot or reused image.

Do you use an iPhone or Android? If you are on an iPhone go to the picture you’re looking for metadata on and swipe up. There will be a tab full of detailed information about the image. If you are on an Android press on the properties of the image then select details and view the location, date, and specs of the image. You can find everything from what lens was used to take the image and whether or not flash was used.


Reverse image search tools like Google can also help find instances of an image online. A hugely advantageous secret weapon when talking about claims verification. Upload the claimants’ image to Google, if it pops up, likely, that wasn’t their original photo and they are attempting a fraudulent claim.


Are You Ready?

OSINT is not just about finding information; it’s about finding the right information through effective research and practice. Knowing where and how to look for data is crucial in verifying claims and conducting thorough investigations. If you still don’t feel ready enough to try these OSINT techniques on your own, give our digital investigations team a call. They are the experts behind this information.