OSINT For KYC (Know Your Customer) and Due Diligence

Open source intelligence (OSINT), can be a very valuable tool when performing a KYC- Know Your Customer- check on a potential business partner, investor, or anything in-between. Due diligence is a necessity when entering business deals that could open your business to new opportunities and new services. However, KYC isn’t something that has to be tossed to high retainer attorneys or specialized investigators. Using open source intelligence, you can make an educated move towards what could be potentially fruitful or what could end up as an absolute disaster.

Scope One: Personal Name

Generally, when deciding a business agreement, you are aware of the persons involved. If not- maybe you should consider why personal names were withheld. 

Look up the LLC/INC/DBA of the business. Of course, each state has different standards. In Florida, SunBiz allows citizens to research registered agents and signers of a specific business name. This includes their address, principal filer, and more.

PACER. The next step is to run a quick PACER party search of the name or entity involved. PACER is the US’s federal database of claimants and defendants. At 10 cents per page, a PACER lookup should be routine for anyone looking into a potential business partnership or customer agreement. 

Social Profiles.

  1. Look into each social profile that exists concerning the company name, variations of the name, and name(s) of the purported owners. Facebook ad transparency has recently allowed anyone to see the country origins of owners as well as paid advertisements currently running. 

If you’re familiar with KYC, then the above three tactics and strategies should be enough due diligence to decide if business should go further. 

KYC can take a lot of different measures, whether you’re looking through an AML, making a decision through risk vs. compliance, and so on. Those that have access of KYC enterprise software can ping such services as Lexis Nexis and the Dow Jones Risk department. However, generally, these tools are often reserved for top-tier ventures, let alone their costs. One does not have to depend on enterprise-level software when doing their own due diligence; KYC should be a pretty basic concept for any firm doing business with another.

Alexander Hatala
Alexander Hatalahttps://alexanderhatala.com/
Alexander Hatala co-founded Custom Design Partners, a digital strategy firm in Jacksonville, Florida. Combined with his 15 years of experience in digital tech and marketing, Alexander offers a unique perspective in the OSINT field. Currently, Alexander is the lead digital forensics consultant for a licensed investigative agency.

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