Paris Hilton MugshotParis Hilton might have seemed to be an unexpected topic of conversation at the International Association of Special Investigation Units’ (IASIU) annual conference that concluded this week, but the socialite’s recent legal troubles served as perfect fodder for the workshop, “All that Twitters: A Cyber Guide for Insurance Fraud Investigators and Their Attorneys.”

Ms. Hilton was recently arrested for possession of cocaine found in her purse, and she had the perfect Paris defense: ‘That’s not my purse, that’s my friend’s purse,’” said Attorney James Lewis, who taught Wednesday’s workshop alongside co-presenter Michael Beagle, CEO of DiscoveryPro. “However, three weeks ago, she sent out a tweet on Twitter telling the whole world that she had just purchased this exact purse, and included a picture for the whole world to see.”

It’s this kind of valuable public information that Lewis and Beagle say is readily available to insurance fraud investigators for no cost — although it comes with some limitations and caveats. To keep investigators on the straight and narrow, the two designed a three-step process for helping insurance fraud investigators conduct cyber investigations of web sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and eBay.

“The first step is cyber-screening, where the investigator tries to get baseline information early in the claim investigation regarding the insured’s use of the internet,” said Lewis, in a pre-conference interview. “Right now, all investigators ask for are phone numbers and e-mail addresses. We will provide attendees with a set of 15 questions to ask claimants, which will help guide them through a more thorough information-gathering process.”

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