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Dumpster Diving


Dumpster Diving, not the first thing people think about when it comes to OSINT or investigations. Dumpster Diving is simply going through someone’s rubbish bins to find evidence or leads. 

A company can have the best security system and protocols in place. However, people are generally the weakest link when it comes to infosec. Sure companies have shredders and secure document bins, but people tend to get lazy or don’t see the value in what they are throwing away. 

When it comes to investigating individuals, dumpster diving can be a gold mine. Old drivers licenses, ID cards, credit cards and bank cards can be useful to investigators. All these cards have a person’s full legal name, and if you find an old ID card or drivers license, it can give an investigator a previous address.

Previous addresses are very useful when conducting background checks on people and trying to find out who they associate with. A previous address could lead you to an ex partner, old room mates etc. 

Receipts are also very useful. Receipts can give an investigator more insight into the person of interests (POI) spending habits. Where they buy petrol, what coffee shops they go to and where they do their grocery shopping. 

From a workers compensation investigation point of view, knowing where and when a POI does their grocery shopping can allow the investigator to get into position before the POI arrives. As soon as they see the POI leaving the shops carrying the shopping bags, they can start taking video. A simple act of carrying shopping bags could be the nail in the coffin for the claimant. If they have claimed shoulder injury or wrist injury and can be seen carrying heavy shopping bags with that arm, they will have a few questions to answer. 

Knowing where and when a POI fills up on petrol can also give you a lot of clues. For example, if the POI fills up once a week, this could give you an indication on the day the POI gets paid. It can also tell you where the POI works. Same as coffee receipts, if they are buying coffee at 8:30am, this is most likely close to their work. 

As you can see, there is a lot of information that can be obtained from a trash can. We have only touched the surface on what is valuable. Depending on the investigation you are conducting, there are all sorts of treats waiting for you in the trash.