Search Smarter Not Harder!

1 Nov

The feeling of “information overload”is a real threat to investigators that rely on Internet searching for their information needs. When faced with literally millions of results from a single search engine, it is tempting to review only the first few hits and move on with or without the information you need. Chances are the mistake was made when the original search terms were too broad. This habit leaves the investigator with high quantity but
low quality information to choose from. In this article we will reveal instant ways to search smarter by utilizing Google’s Advanced Search techniques.

Shrink webpage results from millions to tens with the right terms!
The first step is to bookmark a link to the advanced search menu instead of the standard Google homepage. Now, take advantage of Google’s built-in logic and use the search bars to complete the command to the left OR execute the shortcut to the right. In the screenshot, typing words into the second box will tell Google to retrieve results for only the words “rat terrier”, in that exact order. This means all other results for rats or different breeds of terriers are not included. What does this mean for fraud investigators? Use this feature to search for specific people or business names while removing irrelevant results. Just think about how many businesses contain the word “health” alone – now you can be specific and search for the business “Sun and Moon Health Spa” without also getting “Sun and Moon Health Trail Mix”![1]


Search by excluding certain words
Perhaps you are researching an Iowan physician with a common name and a prominent person in California is clogging up your results. If you set up your search terms like the screenshot example, all of the results related to Mark Smith of California will be erased from the results and allow you to focus on Dr. Mark Smith of Iowa. What does this mean for fraud investigators? Start here to find exactly who you are looking for without always relying on subscription search tools. This can be especially helpful in locating news articles about or by the subject.

Search trustworthy website domains
Use site domains (.edu, .gov, .org, etc) to help narrow search results further and provide you with trustworthy information. If you’re looking for an academic resource, try narrowing results by”.edu”. If you’re looking for a press release from a government agency try narrowing results by “.gov”. What does this mean for fraud investigators? If you need to conduct research to determine if a procedure is considered experimental, try searching for it across one of the domains mentioned to locate evidence to help build your case. (Google Scholar is a bonus resource to help search for scholarly articles on a subject!) Additionally, you can also search for regulatory guidelines by focusing only on governmental results.

Refine your searches with shortcut
Google has created a reference for searching using shortcuts. Some highlights for investigators include:

Related searches: Find websites that link to a website address you already know. This could be helpful in finding additional outlets of the same practice with slightly different names or addresses that would otherwise not be obvious. You would type into the standard Google search bar an example such as,

Using the cache- Searching the cache or copy of a webpage stored by Google is useful if you’ve noticed a sudden change in a website like the removal of a doctor’s name or removal of advertisement for free services. The cached view might enable you to capture a screenshot of the website before it was backed up by Google in order to help build your case. You would type into the standard Google search bar an example such as,

Scour the socials: A quick way to reveal all the places a username hides would be to search using the “@” symbol before the known username. This is helpful in revealing a practice’s YouTube channel, Facebook, or Instagram. These networks lead you to troves of comments from potential patients and associates. You would type into the standard Google search bar an example such as, @hcfraudshield

Initially, it might not feel natural to search using these advanced techniques, but with practice you will become a more productive searcher. If you have a favorite site or technique not covered here, feel free to share. If you need advice with Internet searching techniques you may contact us at

[1] All names are fictionalized for the purpose of this article; any similarities to names are coincidental

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