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Its modern time 2010s to 2019. It's a normal world like ours. Takes place in a 1st world country like either USA or Korea. (Or if need be then a nameless civilized country)

Q. You find a person suspicious 'criminal' and you background check him. However you think his background and identity might be forged or stolen. Then how would you or your hired investigator uncover his true identity 'discreetly'? Or alternatively 'openly?

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Its actually even easier to uncover someones true identity now than it was previously. With all the social media activity a normal person undertakes, you won't even need to access government agencies to be able to find their identity.

Bugging a Device

This is a pretty standard move you see in movies and TV shows all the time. Simply plug in a usb like device onto their computer or laptop, or install an app on their phone which will provide you access to their social media accounts. From there you can link together their social activity, bank details (if saved to their phone), pictures and so on.

Purchase Information

Is it possible to purchase information on a person from Social media platforms. News corporations will do this with celebrities who might accidentally post a not so savory photo. Basically anything you put onto a social media platform might be purchasable and often, doesn't belong to you anymore (you hand them the copyright when posting it, although this might have changed recently). Your detective could simply try and purchase additional information on the suspect.

Stolen Credentials

Almost everyone here would have at some point had their credentials stolen. Unless you are a security freak with double authentication on every account, different passwords for every site and you rotate them every couple of months, chances are, at least one of your accounts has been compromised. Its possible for you to purchase these account details online and simply login on as the person you are following. For the less tech savy, they will likely be extremely vulnerable to this, and it should be fairly simple for you to find the corresponding password once you find their username (just have a look when they login).

Breaking in

A good old fashion break in. Most people are working during the day and during this time, you can break into their houses. As much as we would like to believe our neighbors care about our safety, most people would just ignore it. Even more so if you dress as a utility worker. Most locks are pretty easy to pick, and breaking the door or window is also plausible. Once you have access to their home, get your info and get out. Leaving your break in undetected is a bit harder, but not impossible.

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Start with the name this person uses and try to get publicly available information.

  • In places like Sweden, tax returns are part of the public record. Look back to the earliest ones and check how it started.
  • In places like Germany, the addesss of individuals and any moves may be queried from municipal records. ("I think John Doe owes me money and want to sue. 30 years ago he lived in Randomstreet 42, Randomtown. Where did he move?")
  • Less legally, try to check the credit record. That would require subscribing to ratings agencies and using false pretenses. ("I'm a mail order business. John Doe wants to buy from me. Has he got a credit history?")
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You ask your contacts in the government.

They look up your suspicious person in their large-scale facial recognition software and identify them in their database. They pull up all aliases and possible matches with dangerous individuals. Then they cross check with every person your mark has interacted with in the past year to see if they are friends with undesirables (e.g., activists, radicals, and criminals) or if they frequent any high risk locations. Then they return you either 1) they individual's identity or 2) some number out of 100 for how confident they are the person is not lying.

I will admit, this is more like 2020 technology than 2019, but I assert it's plausible.

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  • $\begingroup$ Is it? Australian government has added all driver licence photos to a facial recognition database this year. $\endgroup$ – Thorne Oct 9 '19 at 5:45
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DNA

Steal something you can get DNA off and submit to a genealogy site like Ancestry. If any of his immediate family are in the database, they will tell you of brothers/sisters/aunts/cousins and you can work out who they are fairly quickly.

These sites has uncovered affairs accidently several times where the father doesn't match the children but the test shows nearby "family"

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