What Is a Digital Private Investigator?

What Is a Digital Private Investigator?

September 13, 2022 Vaccaro Online 0

Private Investigator

What Is a Digital Private Investigator?

While many private investigators complete work in the field by conducting surveillance on a subject and photographing them in certain acts, digital private investigators focus more on gathering digital evidence. This information may be used in family law cases, employment disputes, personal injury cases or myriad other cases.


With more and more technology available on a mainstream platform, individuals have started to specialize in breaking through it in order to assist another individual or entity. Private investigators may analyze texts, phone calls, tweets, photos, social network channels, websites, computer documents and more in order to discover when a spouse is cheating, a parent is not properly caring for his or her children or a business associate is stealing from the company. Different states have different laws regarding permissible procedures that private investigators or others may use, so be sure that you check with your personal injury attorney before commencing the activity. Below are a few ways that digital private investigators may uncover important evidence in their cases.

Review of Cell Phone Data

Even if someone deletes text messages, memos, calendar updates and call records, a private investigator may be able to recover this information. This level of detail can inform someone of who the person has had contact with, at what time and date the contact occurred and the content of the contact.

Analysis of Phone Records

If phone records are available, such as if a spouse owns the phone or a company has received a subpoena for the records, private investigators may analyze call data. For example, a phone conversation that takes a long time or repeated calls during certain times like nights and weekends may indicate cheating.

Review of Websites

Digital private investigators may view certain websites to track whether a person has a presence there. For example, in suspected adultery cases, the private investigator may look through dating sites, escort service sties and personal ad sites for a particular individual’s profile or email addresses.

Social Media Sites

Digital private investigators may also look into the online presence of individuals on social media pages. They may look for posts that are made on public pages, friend pages and other pages. They can print out this information that may be used during court proceedings or just to gather information to confront the other party about.


Digital private investigators can also conduct a basic search for online photos. They may reverse search pictures or specifically look for photos that are contained on social media pages.


Digital private investigators and forensic computer examiners may trove through a person’s documents, photos, videos and other data to uncover important information. Spouses may have this search conducted on a shared computer or an employer may have the search conducted on the computer that the employee uses but that is owned by the company. The investigator may search through the browsing history on the device to begin the process. In some instances, the investigator may be able to uncover information that has been intentionally deleted or hidden.

This process often involves tracing Windows artifacts, residual data left by the operating system and other locations in order to find traces of the information that was on the computer before. Private investigators may run string-searches for emails even when the email client is not obvious. Additionally, they can analyze internet usage to determine how the person was using the system and common sites where he or she visited.

Furthermore, they can analyze electronically-stored information to show when the information was stored, hot it was stored and why it was stored. The private investigator may also employ data recovery strategies to unearth information initially thought gone. This process often involves recovering files that have been deleted, searching slack space, searching allocated space on the hard drive and searching other locations that are not visible to the user. External hard drives, zip drives and back-up storage media may be searched.

Additionally, private investigators can search digital media including smartphones, CDs, cloud infrastructures and digital storage devices to search data, files and emails. They may also be able to unearth deleted emails, pictures and browsing history information.


As part of their job, digital private investigators may provide testimony on behalf of their clients at court hearings, depositions and other proceedings. They may describe the strategies that they employ and how they comply with the laws and rules in the jurisdiction.

Provided by HG.org

Contact Vaccaro Investigations today to learn more.