How Criminals Get Caught Because of Facebook

What was once thought of as merely an amusing, slightly vapid social networking tool is now being touted as an invaluable source of evidence in criminal investigations. Apparently it’s become all the rage to post photographic evidence of yourself breaking the law on the Internet. How else can an up-and-coming young thug hope to make it in the cold hard gangster big leagues?

There’s only one way to build your street cred and earn respect in the modern day gangster social media world, and that means taking selfies with your gun, bragging about who you just robbed (and taking a selfie with the money) and just generally not giving a [email protected]#$ who sees it.

facebook crime

However, blossoming into a down and dirty social media G has its pitfalls, and sometimes these young thugs forget that grown ups use Facebook too (and psst they can see what other people are posting)! What’s more, police departments all over the country have caught on to the rising phenomenon of self-incriminating status updates and they’re using it to their advantage.

If you see something suspicious pop up on your feed from one of your Facebook “friends,” you can always look them up on a site like to see if they have a history of criminal behavior.

How Criminals Get Caught

There are several ways that criminals get themselves caught because of what they posted online, but here are some of the most common ways that social media savvy law breakers land themselves behind bars.

Posting While On The Run

So, somehow you’ve convinced your mom to bail you out of jail, but you didn’t feel like showing up for your court date, so now you’re on the run. To make matters even more foolish, you’ve decided to taunt law enforcement by updating your Facebook page. Well folks, this isn’t Catch Me If You Can. Cops can trace your whereabouts through your online activity. In fact, some criminals will even taunt police by commenting on their own wanted pictures online! You know what they say: pride comes before the fall, and in this case, before going to jail, too.

Posting Selfies While Committing A Crime

There are all kinds of selfies that should never be posted online that wind up in our news feeds. Drunk selfies, naked selfies, and duck faced selfies are just a few common offenders. But, even criminals can’t resist the urge to snap a self-portrait while committing a crime. Guess what? Anything you post on a public forum like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram can be used against you in a trial or criminal investigation. People have actually posted selfies of themselves wearing ski masks, and posing with weapons.

It’s not just thieves and burglars who get themselves caught, either. Several white-collar fraudsters have found themselves in hot water after taking “sick leave” and collecting insurance money or disability, only to find themselves in big trouble after an auditor comes across a photo of them frolicking down the beach in Mexico—in perfect health.

Forgetting to Log Out

Believe it or not, some folks are just so addicted to social media that the first thing they do after breaking into a home is run and check their Facebook profile on their victim’s computer—and forget to log out. When the individual returns home, they know exactly who hit them. Busted!

Hopefully in 2014 these legally-challenged social media fiends will continue to incriminate themselves and make law enforcement’s job a whole lot easier. If someone on your friends list is getting a little too sketchy, unfriend them (and call the cops). Here’s to adopting a smarter approach to social media in 2014!

Author Bio: 

Ray Litchman is a social media and online security blogger from New York City. When he’s not busy researching the latest cyber security tips, Ray likes to people watch in his favorite cafe, and spend time with his newborn daughter.

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