4 October 2016 at 2:03 pm Written by

The importance of using social media during Online Customer Due Diligence

Hearing news of the Kim Kardashian incident in Paris I have to confess that my first thought was “I wonder if this has some connection to oversharing on social media”? Whilst debate and the investigation continues it is yet another example of just how much personal information people put out there. It is a gift for investigators like myself and if we think that criminals don’t use the same tools then we are kidding ourselves. None of the techniques are that secret and pretty much everything is available for free online if you know where to look.

However, I do not wish to undermine fellow professionals. It is important to say there really is no replacement for experience gained at the coal face. Making real sense of the sea of digital information is an investigative skill. This can take many years to acquire. Watching a game of digital hide and seek on the TV won’t help you that much either.

On the training courses that I deliver the subject of social media always leads to interesting and intense discussions. From privacy, security, equipment requirements and the legality of using social media channels.

Firstly, online privacy is a misnomer. If you want online privacy never ever use a computer or phone and go and live in a cave on your own. There is an overwhelming tendency to blindly trust electronic devices and blame everyone but ourselves when things go wrong. With social media comes social responsibility and education is key.

Given my location in the world it is no surprise that a significant number of my delegates work in the compliance industry. The rigours of Anti Money Laundering legislation puts enormous responsibilities upon them when assessing risk. No surprise then that they turn to the Internet to enhance their information gathering capabilities.

But a huge piece of the jigsaw is often absent. What strikes me as odd is the number of professionals working in compliance that tell me that they cannot access social media for their work related enquiries. Blanket bans, blocked sites and a lack of understanding of what they are required to do all contribute to making their life difficult. Of course network security is extremely important but there are practical and inexpensive solutions available to them. Using an off network device is but one of them.

It is not just a matter of setting up and logging in, far from it. Delegates leave the course with a long list of things to consider before accessing social media channels. Not least the development of a policy document which sets out their organisational tolerance of what they can use social networks for and importantly the justification for it. For AML it’s an easy one, the ‘Prevention and Detection of Crime’.

The flipside to that? An awful lot of crime could be prevented if people took greater care of their shares. Kim, are you listening?

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