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Genealogy – Find a Grave

Find A Grave ( is the world’s largest repository of grave site information. The site is free and easy to use. The site’s records are primarily from individuals uploading information. As a result, there may be different kinds of information available in different records. Furthermore, any search that you run in will also check […]

Genealogy Basics –

This post will identify free genealogy resources and how a beginner can use them. Over time, this post will grow to include additional resources with periodic updates. For now (November 11th, 2021) only one resource,, will be discussed. Future updates will include, but not be limited to: Find a Grave – ( Civil War […]

Use Emulator to Research Someone’s TikTok Friends

One issue with TikTok is that you can only view an account’s followers and friends if you are using the app, which is problematic if you need or want to be using a web browser because it means you can’t view an account’s connections. This post will address how you can use a phone emulator […]

Tips for Researching TikTok

There are a few tricks that can help a researcher looking at a TikTok account. We can look up archived versions of a TikTok account and we kind find what kind of phone and what kind of social media account was used when signing up for TikTok. There is also a tool that helps to […]

What You Can Learn From a Phone Number

This posts addresses some of the tools that have become available for obtaining information about a given phone number. The prevalence of app-based caller ID has made it possible to identify the owners of unlisted numbers and even identify how they are casually referred to by associates. WA Tools provide a resource that lets you […]

How to Search Pastebin Websites for Data Breaches

What are Pastes? According to, “Often when online services are compromised, the first signs of it appear on “paste” sites like Pastebin. Attackers frequently publish either samples or complete dumps of compromised data on these services. ” (click here for more information) What is Pastebin Specifically? According to a post on,: “Pastebin is a website that […]

Identify a Company’s Employees

This post explains how to find a company’s employees by using publicly available OSINT tools. A previous post explained how to find employees’ work email addresses for any company. That process simply required that you search for the company’s website domain in the tools,, and to look for email addresses that have […]

What To Look For When Researching a Twitter Account

Here are some key features to look for while: Views on primary topics – First, look at the main topics they discuss and then click on one of the bubbles to find all the tweets on the topic. Read through a few tweets to get the account user’s view on the matter. So for example […]

Python For OSINT: Instagram Account Lookup

This post will walkthrough running a Python scrip (Toutatis) in Gitpod that will find information on an Instagram account such as a partial email or phone number that is privately registered with the account. Once you have the partial email, you can make an educated guess about the full email and then search for it […]

Python For OSINT: Find Websites Where an Email Registered Accounts

We can identify a list of websites where a specific email address has registered accounts in a very straightforward process of 6 steps. This process does not require the reader to know, learn, or download Python, but does use a Python script. CREDIT WHERE IT IS DUE: This process does not require a knowledge of […]

Python for OSINT: Find if a Phone has an Instagram Account

This guide will walk through how to use Gitpod to run the Megadose/Ignorant script that checks if a phone number is registered to any Instagram account. Note that it will not identify the specific account. If you already have Gitpod and Github accounts, login to both and jump to step 3. Step 1 – (the […]

Find Information About Email Addresses in Data Breach Websites

When researching an email account, you can use Data Breach Websites to find a variety of information such as, but not limited to, websites where the email registered an account, alternate emails / phone numbers, coworkers, and social media accounts. This post explains what Data Breach Websites are and discusses several sites that are available […]

Find a Twitter Account’s Original Content and/or Most Common Words

This post addresses how to take a Twitter account and: a.) create a list of the tweets that were original content, not retweets b.) identify the topics most discussed in the last 4 thousand tweets c.) list the other Twitter accounts most often mentioned (and follow up to investigate them with Most investigators looking […]

Data Analysis for Beginners

This post explains how to conduct Data Analysis on large sets of data using Google Sheets and is intended for people with no background in the subject. The post will explain how to import data into Sheets and how to summarize, sort, filter, and modify the data by performing custom math on it. Finally, we […]

U.S. Politics and Nonprofit: a case study in corruption

First published on One of the most important but unnoticed changes in the field of investigative research in recent years is the growing role of nonprofits connected to politics and corporations. U.S. corporations are increasingly using charitable donations as a new form of political influence at a time of increasing scrutiny of the more […]

Python Scripts, Research Tools for Obtaining Data About Youtube Videos

If you are researching a youtube video there are also several research tools available online for obtaining more information about the video. This post will describe how to do more in-depth research of a video. The Research Tools This next part will address some of the tools that are available for researching videos online. What […]

What to Look for When Researching U.S. Corporations

This article provides an overview for conducting corporate research, identifying what information is available and how it is useful to a researcher. This post also weaves together previous articles and guides into a coherent whole. We will address where to find information on a company and what kinds of questions you can consider answering with […]

Use Python to Recognize Text, Compare Data From Scanned Documents

Background From Previous Post This post follows on the instruction from a previous article, Research Scanned Documents with Optical Character Recognition, that explained how to use Python to recognize text in png files with the use of Optical Character Recognition. Optical Character Recognition (OCR) is basically the ability for a computer to recognize words in photos. […]

Research Scanned Documents with Optical Character Recognition

Optical Character Recognition (OCR) means that your computer can read words in photos and scanned documents. When you have a document or documents where you want to copy and paste the words into a search engine or you want to do a word search for a specific name in the document, OCR will make that […]

PACs, Foundations, Press Releases:

How to Research Corporate Efforts at Influence The Dirt Digger’s Guide identifies political contributions, nonprofit donations, and press releases as three key factors in a corporation’s ability to influence others. Corporations spend a lot of money on donations to political and charitable causes but instead of making direct payments they create PACs and foundations. PACs […]

How to Research U.S. Gov. Contracts : Part 3 – Contract and Tender Lookup

This article will show how to lookup a government contract in order to see what useful information about the contracting company is available. Brief recap of the path leading to this point: The Federal Contractor Misconduct Database identified in part 1 revealed that a company was cited for violations related to the death of a […]

How to Check If a Website Is Safe

There are several ways to check a website to see if it is dangerous. You can “scan” the website infrastructure for telltale signs of danger. Find if known malware refers back to the website or check the downloadable files on the site itself. Investigate website’s links or the SSL certificates for clues. There are also […]

How to Use APIs (explained from scratch)

This post explains APIs with Python but assumes no prior knowledge of either. Python Headers, Requests, Json, and APIs An API is a means for someone, or more specifically their Python script, to communicate directly with a website’s server to obtain information and/or manipulate data that might not otherwise be available. This avoids the difficulty […]

How to Research U.S. Gov. Contracts : Part 2 –

This article is a follow up to the post U.S. Government Contracts Case Study: Part 1 – Contractor Misconduct but it is NOT necessary to read it first. This part of the walkthrough involves researching a company in special databases for companies that contracted for the U.S. government. At this point we know the company […]

U.S. Government Contracts Case Study: Part 1 – Contractor Misconduct

When a company takes a contract with the U.S. government it requires making a lot of information public that is normally not the case with private sector contracts. This information is a great opportunity for any researcher interested in the company. This post will be the first in a series that provides a walkthrough for […]

Dark Net, Deep Net, and the Open Net

One can easily write at length to describe the differences between the deep net, dark net, and the open net, but they can also be summed up simply as follows. OPEN NET The open net is what you would call the “regular” internet. If there is a phrase on the open net , such as […]

How to Web Scrape Corporate Profiles with Python

Editor’s Note: this post presumes that the reader has at least a passing knowledge of the programming languages Python and HTML. If this does not apply to you, sorry, you may not enjoy reading this. Consider looking at the crash courses on Python and HTML at Python For Beginners and Beginners’ Guide to HTML. This […]

Corporate Research on Hidden Connections, Obscure News

Hidden, Obscure Connections There are several ways to find hidden or obscure information about a company. For starters, one can use, to search for information about the company. This database includes a variety of information sources, including registries leaked from tax havens and information from leaked documents from Offshore Leaks and similar sources. If […]

Researching a U.S. Company’s Website, Without Reading the Content

(this guide was previously posted on OSINT Editor, click here to see) The purpose of this post is to identify ways of getting more information about a company by researching its website. This post will address how to find the identities of people that own or manage a company website, get more information about them, […]

How to Research Corporations’ “Material” Disclosures and Violations

When you are investigating a company there are two good ways to look for incidents that are out of the ordinary. Specifically, you can look for documented incidents of violations or research the company’s 8-K forms. Violations There are a lot of databases listing incidents of companies’ violations, but it is much easier to use […]

Researching Shipping Companies

Part 1: Shipping Registrations Shipping companies can be one of the best kinds of companies to investigate on the Internet because they often include much more public information than regular companies. With any company, the best place to start is a quick google search of its name to find a website or press. If the […]

Researching on the Dark Net (the basics)

This post is a basic overview of different ways of researching items on the dark net. Specifically, this post addresses how to access the dark net and, once there, how to find what you are looking for. Because regular open net search engines like Google cannot search dark net websites, there are three categories of […]

Researching a U.S. Company’s Annual Statement

The most useful document for a researcher investigating a publicly traded company is the annual statement, also known as the 10-K. The annual statement includes a detailed overview of everything the company is doing, everywhere it operates or has significant property, and its risks such as conflicts with the S.E.C. and ongoing litigation. Background: a […]

Researching Influential Investors in U.S. Corporations: S.E.C. form 13 and def 14a

SOURCES OF INFLUENCE AND DISSENT WITHIN THE RANKS Stockholders are a source of considerable influence in a corporation and therefore it is useful for a researcher to identify the main investors. The corporation’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (S.E.C.) will identify the primary investors with the biggest holdings. Furthermore, S.E.C. filings also identify […]

Barcodes in Social Media Photos?

A photo that shows an ID badge or retail product with a barcode visible can be used to obtain useful information. Barcodes can be read from photos posted online by using one of the numerous websites (such as Online Barcode Reader by InLite). These sites require that you choose what kind of barcode you want […]

Researching a U.S. Company’s Government Ties (the basics)

Previous Contracts with the Government If you need to find out whether a company has ever been contracted by the U.S. government, you can use and search on the company name to get a quick answer. This is a user-friendly database that will tell you specifically which part of the U.S. government was involved […]

Researching a Company

There are several publicly accessible “deep web” databases with records on U.S. companies. The records are especially interesting because, by nature of being deep web databases, one cannot find these records in these databases by simply googling for them. Furthermore, the records are usually verified, legitimate information, which is of course not always true of […]

Identify Someone’s Closest Associates on Twitter

This post originally debuted on If you are researching someone with a Twitter account, you can learn a lot about them–family, friends, jobs, location, personal politics and associations–if you quickly identify their closest friends or strongest relationships. The Tweet Topic Explorer, which is intended to find the main topics in the tweets of a […]

Hidden Email Addresses Linked to Domains

Almost every website has at least one hidden email address that is directly linked to the website owner. If a company owns the website, there will certainly be several hidden email addresses we can find. Whether you are investigating who is behind a shady website or you want to identify the people working for the […]

Researching Corporate Leadership Using DEF 14A

See this article originally debuted on This article addresses the useful information that can be discovered in a company’s “DEF 14A,” also known as a Definitive Proxy Statement. This form is basically issued in advance of an annual shareholders’ meeting in regard to matters that will be addressed at that meeting. These SEC filings […]

Researching a U.S. Nonprofit

Registration Records Nonprofit organizations register with the state government and this registration, similar to companies’ registrations, is most easily discovered by using Open Corporates. Alternatively one can find this information on the individual state government website. State databases for nonprofits are listed on Open Corporates’ list of registers. In a nonprofit’s registration record, one can […]

Scraping Deep Web Databases with Python

This article was originally posted on, click here to see. Editor’s Note: this post presumes that the reader has at least a passing knowledge of the programming languages Python and HTML. If this does not apply to you, sorry, you may not enjoy reading this. Consider looking at the crash courses on Python and […]

How to Find U.S. Court Records

Court records in the U.S. are often public available but they are divided up into a myriad of public databases. It is easiest to focus on whether the court hearing the case is federal, state, or county (even though courts are further divided beyond those levels). Terminology: A Case File refers to a file of […]

How to Research a U.S. Phone Number

This post (that is intended for educational purposes only) is about ways of investigating U.S. phone numbers by using different sources of information that are reliable but generally invisible to Google searches. Why Are U.S. Phone Numbers Special? U.S. phone numbers are unique, compared to other countries, because of the kinds of publicly available information […]

How to Investigate Someone’s Bitcoin

Cryptocurrencies like bitcoin offer a unique opportunity for financial investigation. An amateur can easily research a given person’s bitcoin usage. The most basic framework of financial investigation consists of identifying a target, searching for negative information about them or their past, identifying the target’s associates and then searching for negative information on them. Bitcoin lends […]

Use Python to Display Data on Political Donations

Python can be used to quickly process a csv file full of data and display in a chart that will likely make more sense to the viewer. This post will show how you can obtain data about a company’s political donations and use Python to create a chart showing if there is a pattern based […]

Researching U.S. Property Records

Property records can be found in deep web databases that are located in the local county government websites in the “County Tax Assessor” section under the heading “Property Search.” This is true for the vast majority of U.S. counties. A quick way to find the database is to google the name of the county and […]

A Python Script to Find Someone’s Best Friends (on twitter)

For anyone with experience in Python, it is possible to automate the process from the post “Researching (easily) a Person’s Top Friends on Twitter” that I wrote for Below is a Python script, named TopContacts, that essentially does the same work and accomplishes the same goal, finding a Twitter user’s top contacts. The script […]

Find Email Addresses Linked to U.S. Phone Numbers

One issue that can arise when you are researching an individual living in the U.S. is the Phone-Email Divide. If you have a phone number, at least in the U.S., you can use various people-searching websites to find additional information like the name and address. Similarly, an email address can be used to find affiliated […]

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