How can a private investigator track text messages?

Can a private investigator actually track text messages? 

Anyone who has a cellphone nowadays knows how to send text messages and also knows how to delete them. But are they really deleted, and can a private investigator track text messages? The answer may surprise you! 

Cellphones today are becoming more advanced by the minute. Hundreds of new phones are released, thousands of new apps are released, and many of these apps are messaging apps. People download and use these apps on a daily basis without giving any thought to who or what tracking features are built into these applications. The most common messaging apps used today are: 

  • WhatsApp
  • Facebook Messenger
  • Weixin/WeChat
  • QQ
  • Telegram
  • Snapchat

People use these apps on a daily basis and most people are comfortable knowing the apps themselves are tracking their communications. What they don’t always know is that these applications also store their communications. So when you delete your communication with someone it’s often stored within the app itself or on a server somewhere. 

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Can a private investigator actually track text messages?

Private investigators are skilled at gathering information, whether it be manually using surveillance or covert surveillance techniques, or whether its digitally extracting data from cellphones and computers. There are many ways a private investigator track text messages and here are some examples: 

  1. Can a private investigator track text messages I compose? – if you compose a text message and then the don’t send it ,it’s often saved as what’s known as a Draft. This means it’s actually stored on your phone and a private investigator can extract that message using advanced cellphone forensic techniques. If you decide you’re going to delete that draft then your phone will most likely simply mark it as “gone” but remnants of it still remain on your phone. armed with the latest forensic tools and techniques a private investigator will be able to extract these drafts. 
  2.  Can a private investigator track text messages I send?  – if you send a text message to someone there are now two ways a private investigator can track that text message. There will be a trace/track of it on your phone, and a trace/track of it on the recipient’s phone. If you decide to delete the text message on your phone, you have no way to know or be sure that the person you sent it to will delete it on their end. They may tell you they’ve deleted it, but can you really be sure? 
  3. Can a private investigator track text messages I received but the deleted? Again, the private investigator has many digital forensic tools at his disposal to extract messages you think you’ve deleted from your phone. And, if you think about it, your phone always has a record of the message. Your phone had to receive the message in order to display it to you. So, the phone will have a copy of that message retained and the private investigator can track/trace this text message. 
  4. Can a private investigator track text messages if I reset my phone?  – in many cases they can. Phones are like mini-computers that fit in your hand. Simply resetting the phone just scrambles the data on your phone to make it look like a new phone. The data is still on your phone but it will take more advanced digital forensics to retrieve that deleted text message. 
  5. How else can a private investigator track text messages? – well, a private investigator working with a competent attorney will be able to work with that attorney to get text messages from the phone company using a process known as “discovery”. While not all phone carriers release the content of text messages, almost all apps will gladly handover both sides of a conversation if they receive a subpoena. 

If you are looking for affordable licensed private investigators in Atlanta with 20 years of experience in tracking text messages and and assisting individuals, attorneys and corporations feel free to contact us here. You can also view a portion of our extensive client list here, and see here what actual clients say about Eagle Investigative Services a private investigator in Atlanta, Georgia. License number PDC002029.

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