Pair Of Veteran Private Investigators Stake Out Social Media To Find Fraud

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Social media sleuths have created a startup that is saving insurance carriers millions. All the information is public and they never make contact with the individuals.

With over 40 years of combined private investigation knowledge, Scott Catron and Michael Petrie created an investigation company called Social Detection.

“We would call it either a people search engine or a social media search engine, so if you look at what a Yahoo, Google, or Bing does, we’re essentially something like that. However, it’s more focused on the person and the person’s identifiers,” said David Graham, also a partner in the venture. “When you do a Google search you’re really just scratching the surface of the web that’s available to you, so a Google search is more based upon what’s called the surface web and that’s about 10-15% of the available web. We’re looking at the deep web.”

Social Detection is self-funded. Prices for individual searches range from $300 to $500 and subscriptions run $200 to $1,000 a month.

It was created to specifically service the insurance industry by preventing payouts to those not entitled to them.

“Our clients are the insurance company themselves, third party administrator who service insurance claims, law firms or private investigators,” Graham said.

Petrie says in the future, they hope to expand the business by using Social Detection’s tools to help college graduates entering the workforce.

“To examine themselves, to look at what their online reputation, ie “webutation” says about them, and maybe give them a chance to clean it up,” Petrie said.

Insurance claims nationwide total $80-billion to $120-billion a year  — but nearly 10 percent of claims are fraudulent.

Social Detection is in the process of relocating from King of Prussia to Old City.

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