Investigators are spying on the pictures of boastful rich kids on Instagram to see if their parents are hiding costly assets such as planes or yachts in order to dodge tax or divorce payouts.
Security and consultancy firm K2 Intelligence told The Observer newspaper that social media was now its ‘first port of call’ in investigations.
The company recently secured success against a man who claimed to have no assets – only to be exposed when one of his children published a photo aboard his £17.5million yacht in the Bahamas.
Andrew Beckett of security firm Kroll said it used similar techniques in a divorce case where a man had to pay his wife £21million – after claiming he didn’t have anything.
Mr Beckett added: ‘We monitored social media, particularly for his children, who were in their 20s, and found a lot of posts from the same sites.
‘Cross-referencing that with land registry, we found half a dozen properties in his name. We were able to go to the court with a list of assets that we conservatively estimated at £42million, which the court then seized until he settled the amount that had been ordered.’
Rapper 50 Cent was recently asked in court why he had uploaded a selfie showing piles of cash when he had just declared himself bankrupt.
He claimed the bank notes were fake.
Experts have also warned that wealthy social media users risk being subjected to fraud, extortion and theft.