While most people see nothing but vain self indulgence in the photos posted by the so-called Rich Kids of Instagram, law enforcement officials see something far more valuable — evidence.
According to a recent report from The Guardian, several cybersecurity firms claim to use social media posts as evidence in the vast majority of their litigation cases, meaning that kids showing off their wealth on Instagram could potentially get their scheming affluent parents in trouble with the law.
Daniel Hall, the director of global judgment enforcement at professional and finance services company Burford Capital, told The Guardian that his company tends to target older individuals whose children use social media but who do not really use it themselves. He told the publication that his firm recently seized a "newly acquired private jet," which was posted on Instagram by the son of a fraudster they were investigating.
“That’s the kind of jackpot scenario one hopes for,” Hall told the publication.
Kroll, a New York-based corporate investigations and risk consulting firm, recently discovered hidden assets worth tens of millions of dollars in a divorce case after tracking the kids' social media posts. The husband had a court order to give his wife $30 million, but he said he didn't have the money. Through the kids' social media posts, however, Kroll found that the man had assets well over $30 million.
“We monitored social media, particularly for his children, who were in their 20s, and found a lot of posts from the same geo-tagged sites,” Andrew Beckett, Kroll's managing director of cybersecurity and investigations, told The Guardian. “Cross-referencing that with land registry and other similar bodies overseas, we found half a dozen properties that were registered in the name of this person. We were able to go to the court with a list of assets that we conservatively estimated at $60m, which the court then seized until he settled the amount that had been ordered.”
This isn't the only kind of trouble that Rich Kids of Instagram can get into by publicizing their shiny new toys on social media.
In 2014, noted Rich Kid of Instagram, Aleem Iqbal faced hundreds of thousands of dollars in arson damages to some of his cars after posting about them on social media. According to The Telegraph, the £340,000 Lamborghini Aventador Roadster that he leased for a wedding was vandalized with petrol just hours after he got it. A week later, a few more of his expensive cars were ruined by vandals. Iqbal works for his father's luxury car hire firm in the U.K.
"I'm not really in a great state of mind at the moment, I've had half a million pounds worth of cars destroyed in the last few days," he wrote on Facebook following the car incidents, The Telegraph reported. "I'm not sure if it’s an attack on my family because they would have come directly after me or my family if that was the case. However, I do believe it could be a vile act of jealously towards my business or it could just be mindless vandals on an arson spree."
These events, however, did not deter him from posting about his nice stuff on Instagram forever:
Read the full piece by The Guardian on Rich Kids of Instagram here.