The internet is a vast and complex ecosystem that goes beyond the surface most users see. If your goal is to conduct a thorough search of the Internet as part of an insurance claim investigation, often executing just a Google search won’t be enough.

An internet search can go 3 levels deep

Level 1 - Surface Internet

This is the level of the internet most people navigate daily. This includes shopping online, checking news websites, posting on social media, and searching for information using Google. However, Google is merely the tip of the internet iceberg when it comes to conducting an open-source intelligence (OSINT) investigation, which involves the collecting and analyzing of data from open sources.


Because it is estimated that less than 5% of the internet is indexed by Google . Plus, Google filters your search results based on your previous search history, location, email and text messages--even some of your computer settings.

The filtering of results and the incomplete indexing of the web means that an effective OSINT investigation demands more than a simple Google search.

Level 2 - Deep Web

This layer of the internet is home to a vast reservoir of information not indexed by Google or other search engines. These information sources include academic databases, scientific reports, government reports, subscription only information, and legal documents.

Level 3 - Dark Web

The dark web is used by people who want to remain unknown. By using an anonymizing browser, their identity remains private. Because of this, the dark web is often used for illegal activities such as selling weapons and drugs or stolen products.

Accessing the dark web requires advanced tools and techniques.

Why you should hire a licensed investigator

A licensed investigator trained in OSINT will have the tools and skills necessary to search both the surface web and deep web. Most investigators receive specialized training such as Toddington certification.

But that’s not the only reason why hiring a licensed professional is a wise choice when investigating an insurance claim.

Low risk of discovery

When conducting their investigation, a licensed investigator will maintain their anonymity by employing advanced online tools and research methods, such as VPNs, virtual OS, task-specific browsers, and scripts, all of which ensure the integrity of the investigation.

Proper evidence gathering

A licensed investigator will capture evidence while adhering to the rules of evidence/civil procedure. This will ensure the information gathered can withstand court scrutiny.

Follow recognized protocols

The person responsible for gathering evidence may be called to testify in court. If so, the equipment used for research can be discoverable and examined for legal purposes. A licensed investigator will provide proper articulation of the evidence gathering methodology and software used, eliminating the possibility of the online evidence being discounted by the court.

Get more insight. Get a professional to lead your investigation.

If your company’s goal is to conduct a comprehensive investigation into an insurance claim, in many cases you will have to go deeper than a Google search. To do so requires special skills and tools. A licensed investigator trained in OSINT possesses both.

A licensed investigator will be able to traverse all levels of the internet, ensuring low risk of discovery, proper evidence gathering, and adherence to recognized protocols. In other words, utilizing an investigator is not just a convenience. It’s a wise strategic decision that will ensure a successful and ethically sound investigation.

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