OSINT for Law Enforcement

Enhanced Open Source Intelligence with public & private records

Open Source Intelligence, or OSINT, involves gathering and analyzing publicly available information in order to better understand people. Law enforcement agencies, private investigators, financial services, and more can all use OSINT to get information about individuals for actionable intelligence and investigations. Whether you’re looking to manage your vendor risk assessment or you’re trying to get more information about a person of interest, OSINT can help. Here’s how a public and private records database can make it easier for you to access OSINT.

Streamline OSINT investigations with public records

Just because available data is technically OSINT, doesn’t mean it’s easy to find. For example, someone’s property records may give you information on their previous addresses, contact information, and other generalized knowledge, but it can be difficult to find up-to-date property records or gather information about an individual’s address history. A quality public records search engine with available sources like property records search and address history search will give you the ability to get the information you’re looking for more easily for your OSINT investigation.

  • Although information that is OSINT is technically public, it can be difficult to find — especially if you need information from the past or the records change frequently. 
  • Getting open-source information requires that you have the tools necessary to quickly uncover that information.
  • With a public records search engine, you’ll be able to get up-to-date information from public sources as well as records from the past. 


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OSINT techniques for social media

Because so many people put a significant amount of personal information on social media, social media is gold mine for gathering OSINT because it allows you to take a deeper dive into individuals and their behaviors. However, manually searching through someone’s social profiles and activity to gather relevant information for your investigation can be tedious and difficult. Tracers social media search helps you quickly find the social media information you need for your specific situation by pulling information from a variety of different social channels, including business websites, social media accounts, message boards someone’s posted on and web domains they own, into one easy-to-ready report. 

  • When you’re looking for more information about a person, their activities, and their behaviors, social media is a great resource.  
  • Getting OSINT from a social media platform typically requires extensive research on someone’s accounts and presence.
  • A social media search can quickly provide you with comprehensive information about a person’s social media platforms and other website presences.

Cost-effective OSINT tools

A key part of obtaining open source intelligence gathering for your organization is making sure you’re paying a fair price for it. If you’re not familiar with OSINT, you may end up overpaying for OSINT tools that you could get for cheaper elsewhere, or you might assume that certain types of OSINT are too expensive for your needs. Tracers public and private records search engine provides affordable pricing options so you can access high-quality, useful tools for OSINT without breaking the bank. 

  • Managing the costs of accessing OSINT is an important part of running a well-functioning business.
  • Understanding more about OSINT tools and OSINT techniques will help you determine  the right amount to pay for certain types of OSINT.
  • With access to a quality people search, you’ll get all information you need at a price that fits your budget. 

OSINT framework to craft a full profile on your subject

When choosing OSINT tools, the most important factor to consider is being able to access gathered information that is comprehensive and accurate. In order to perform a background investigation and get a complete picture of your subject, you need access to relevant and expansive information, and that may include contact details like email addresses, criminal records, asset records, address history, or something else. Whether you’re working with law enforcement to prevent crimes or you just want to make sure you’re performing your due diligence, you should use a public records search engine that provides you with the valuable information you need to build a full profile.

  • Crafting a strong OSINT framework involves accessing comprehensive information in order to make sure you’re getting the right information about the right people.
  • You want to get as much data as possible, and you want that data to be accurate and reliable. 
  • With the right public records search engine, you’ll be able to gather comprehensive records from public sources so you can fully understand your subject and get the information that’s most important to your case. 

How can Tracers help with OSINT?

When you’re looking to gather OSINT, you should use Tracers data. With Tracers, you can perform a social sedia search and collect information from social media networks and websites, as well as perform a people search, address search, criminal records search, asset search, and property records search to learn more about your subject and their history.

OSINT is incredibly helpful to many different businesses. Whether you’re a licensed investigator or law enforcement agent performing an investigation, or you’re a corporation doing risk assessment and customer due diligence, Tracers data gives you more ways to understand people and get your job done effectively. And with features like API and batch processing, you can collect OSINT in the best method for your organization.

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More information

What is Open Source Intelligence (OSINT)?

Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) is the technique of gathering and analyzing information from publicly available sources for a specific intelligence purpose. OSINT is commonly gathered from the internet, social networks, and records databases, but it can also be gathered from other media sources like television, business reports, academic sources, or GPS devices. Data that is used for OSINT doesn’t have to be free  — it just has to be available for anyone to gather without breaking the law or needing a specific license or permit to access. OSINT is particularly beneficial to a variety of industries because it’s available to everyone and does not necessarily require expensive tools or permits. Using OSINT is typically a much smaller investment than other kinds of intelligence, and because of this, it can provide a greater return on investment for the industries that choose to use it.

Who can benefit from Open Source Intelligence (OSINT)?

Many different industries can use OSINT for a variety of different purposes. OSINT can be used by OSNIT detectives as one of the best open source forensic tools for forensic investigations, or as a tool to gain more information for a cold case investigation. Similarly, OSINT is used as one of the investigative tools by law enforcement to help solve criminal investigations and identify potential criminals who may pose a threat to communities. And because data for OSINT is publicly available, it’s a great technique to use in law enforcement with other data sharing tools and to help with community policing solutions.
Legal professionals can also use OSINT to perform social media due diligence and gather evidence for a case. Businesses, like corporations, financial services, and open source debt collection companies, may use OSINT to identify threats for better security and safety, or to gain more general information about customers, debtors, or anyone else who may interact with their organization. Essentially anyone that needs information for a specific purpose can use OSINT with the right tools.

What does Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) reveal?

OSINT reveals huge amounts of information about people that can be used in a variety of different ways. Data for OSINT can reveal information that can help you perform a personal background investigation and identify people who may pose a risk to the community. This kind of information can include criminal records, asset records, and other court records. OSINT can also reveal information like address history, utility listings data, and contact information that can be used as an expert witness locator to skip trace witnesses or other individuals.

A common source of OSINT is social media, which can reveal a lot about a person and may give you more insight into who that person is than that which you can glean from public records. For example, OSINT from social media may reveal a person’s locations, activities, interests, friends and associates, and behavior. You may even be able to find business websites an individual associated with online as well as message boards they frequently post on. Gathering OSINT from social media can be incredibly useful for building connections in investigations, as well for legal professionals seeking to vet jurors and perform due diligence on both their client and opposition.
OSINT may also reveal information that can be useful for customer due diligence solutions and vendor risk assessment. This may include high-risk information, like criminal records and watchlist screening, or more general information, like addresses, debt records, and property records, that can be used for KYC protocol and customer verification solutions. OSINT can also reveal information about customers that can help businesses perform list generation and data augmentation and make more informed decisions about what prospects they want to target.

What do I need to access Open Source Intelligence (OSINT)?

While OSINT is gathered from publicly available information, it isn’t alway easy to use OSINT because of the sheer amount of information available. Without the right tools, you may experience information overload or run into information that is outdated or inaccurate. To sort through information and find relevant information that can be turned into actionable intelligence, use a public records database like Tracers.
Tracers provides over 42 billion public records pulled from thousands of sources. Rather than scouring through a variety of different sources to find the information you need, you can quickly access all this data from any device, anywhere you want. You can use a social media finder by number and view all of the social media data in one easy-to-read report, or use the best criminal records search, asset search online, address history search, and look up utility bills by address. If you’re looking to craft a strong OSINT framework in your organization, Tracers is the best tool to use.

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