How Instagram Posts Can Doom the Super-Rich
Investigators use social media against them
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 4, 2016 6:30 PM CDT
Updated Apr 9, 2016 12:35 PM CDT
50 Cent posted this photo of himself on Instagram.   (YouTube)

(Newser) – Need to track down a millionaire's hidden assets? Try hiring an investigator to scour social media accounts in the person's family—because photos of yachts, Facebook "likes," and geo-tags are becoming valuable evidence in up to 75% of such cases, the Guardian reports. "You can start building up a profile of that individual: where they are; what their interests are; who are they regularly in touch with?" says Daniel Hall, who works at a company focused on litigation claims. In one fraud case, Hall says, his firm seized a recently acquired jet because the accused's son posted an Instagram photo of himself and dad with the plane. "That’s the kind of jackpot scenario one hopes for," Hall says. (As Death and Taxes puts it, "Kids, man.")

In another case, a wealthy Russian was forced to have his case tried in Britain because social-media posts by his family showed he really lived there. In a divorce probe, investigators found hidden land assets by geo-tagging posts of the husband's children. More famously, rapper 50 Cent posted an Instagram photo of $100 bill-stacks spelling the word "Broke" after he filed for bankruptcy, but he later claimed the money was phony, the Guardian reports. Such posts also leave the super-rich prone to fraud; in one instance, hackers used a woman's dog's name (posted all over her accounts) as an email password and successfully invoiced her for $900,000. "It was only when dad got cross about the size of the bills she was racking up that somebody thought to contact her and query it," says an investigator. "It is that easy."