We got a call from an attorney who was representing a couple and their college-age daughter. The daughter was receiving harassing texts, calls and messages on her cell phone. They believed the former girlfriend of a new boyfriend was behind them.
Their attorney knew it was possible to peel back the layers to get to an IP address to determine the source, but he didn’t know exactly how. So he called us.
Part of the cell phone forensic process means obtaining records from the service provider. You have to use their language and have legal authority to request the records. Communicating and having the most precise and effective subpoena language for cell records is critical otherwise you lose precious time and digital records are lost – as in forever.
In fact, it’s not just a general request for cell records in most cases like this one. Very specific requests must be made in precise subpoena language for messages as well as the need to subpoena records for blocked callers and subpoena records for restricted caller.
Historical records stretching back before the beginning of the harassing calls can be important as well. Seeing time frames and patterns and anomalies can illuminate clues. Our investigators know what to request and how to request it effectively and quickly.
Back to this case, our cell phone investigation began with the records request and then our cellphone expert completed a mobile phone forensic analysis. We were able to create a cell phone forensic copy of everything that was on her phone in order to extract every text and message as well as the underlying information to lead us back to the IP addresses.
Through the records and forensics, we discovered that messages from identical IP addresses had come in to her phone prior to the beginning of the relationship. It was not the former girlfriend, but a group of three people from the daughter’s job who were behind the harassing messages. These people were aware that a former girlfriend was jealous about her new relationship and were using that as the reason for the messages, but their goal was to scare her enough to leave school and the promotion she had gotten at work.
With the evidence in hand, the attorney was able to resolve the situation before it escalated into a life-changing decision for the daughter driven by fear. Our purpose is to uncover the truth so informed decisions can be made and that’s what we did here.
-Brenda McGinley, CEO, All in Investigations, All in Investigations