Scam Alert For Costa Rica

JD/CFE

New Scams in costa rica

This is a new scam alert for Costa Rica. The scammers are calling ex-pats posing as workers from the Embassy. This scam alert for Costa Rica has been documented by the U.S. Embassy. The scammers start the conversation with the assertion that the Embassy is updating its records on American citizens in Costa Rica. The scammers then ask for personal information to verify and update the records.

We are here to assist you in understanding the threat and to lend assistance to those who may have been victimized. As the leading private investigator in Costa Rica, we try and keep you abreast of recent scams.

According to the U.S. Embassy here, they do not call anyone to ask for this type of information. According to the Embassy, “ The United States Embassy reminds American citizens that Embassy staff will not initiate calls to U.S. citizens offering assistance with host government legislation and regulations.

ACTIONS TO TAKE:

Another case recently centered around the purchase of a car that was posted on Facebook. The buyer identified himself as an American living in Guanacaste and sent the seller a copy of his passport. Unbeknownst to the buyer, when the seller saw the name she recognized it from her friends list on her Facebook account. She sent him an instant message telling him she didn’t realize it was him who wanted to buy the car. He told her he had not inquired about a car and in fact was in southeast Asia.

Getting Things Done in Costa Rica

Many of my clients often ask, why is getting things done in Costa Rica so difficult? I could really be negative here with a response, however, understanding the problem is a better alternative. During this discussion keep in mind that Costa Rica is a third world country. That is difficult to understand when you see a Starbucks or a PF Chang’s. But it is true , Costa Rica is a third world country with its biggest employer being the government itself. That within itself is a big reason that getting things done is Costa Rica is so slow.

What makes getting things done in Costa Rica so difficult?

It only takes a few minutes to see Costa Rica’s problem by traveling on its roads. A trip from the airport to downtown can take up to hour or more. It is obvious that Costa Rica has lost control of its roadways and does not have the infrastructure to correct the traffic problem they have.

The reason I chose the road as a sedge way into this discussion is that it is a prime example of the problem this country faces in getting things done. This same inability to get control of the road permeates the entire government here. The simplest of task can take an extraordinary amount of time to complete.

Example of getting things done in Costa Rica

Let me give you an example, you want to find the owner of a piece of property. In the states, it a relatively easy task as one goes to the property a[[raiser or the county tax office and within 10 minutes you have all the information you need. Here, you have to go to the National Registry of Costa Rica and make a request. You do this by taking a number and wait for the clerk to call your number. Once they call your number, they will check and see if they have the record requested. If they do have the requested record, they will direct you to the Bank of Costa Rica, where you will take another number and wait to be called to pay the fee to get the record.

With the bank receipt in hand you return to the Registry at which point you take another number and wait to be called. Once called they will give you the requested record. This process can take anywhere from four to eight hours.If the record is archived, it can take up to two weeks to get the information requested.

Once the property has been identified, determining the owner is the next obstacle that has to be overcome. If the property is owned by anyone other than A Costa Rica National, it will be in the form of a S.A. (Sociedad Anonomia) which is liken to a Nevada Corporation in the States, where the individual owner is not listed. For years, the Cossta Rica Government has required this as a vehicle to purchase real property. Thereby promoting and fostering all manner of corrupt activities.

If you want something done and done as quickly as possible, you need to retain professionals who are here and know the system and how it works. Even with such help it can take time as nothing seems to move here with speed, everything is, manana . If you choose to do it your self, remember that getting things done in Costa Rica is time consuming and slow. It will try your patience and your wallet.

Avoiding Fraud in Costa Rica

Avoiding fraud in Costa Rica

Understand common types of fraud in Costa Rica

Fraudsters will try to steal your property, identity or tap into your bank or business to steal assets or money. Avoiding fraud in Costa Rica is really simple. To assist you in avoiding fraud in Costa Rica, we have put together a laundry list of various methods used by scammers here in Costa Rica to rip you off.  Criminals will approach you through letters, a phone call, or via email. Cyber-crime is a principal priority risk for US residents and businesses. Typical scams include investment offers or opportunities to acquire new customers who you supply but never receive payment from. The most used here in Costa Rica is the email that is generated from “Phishing” on the internet. Typically, these come in the form of an email that tell you that you have won some kind prize. In the past the “lottery scam” was the most popular.

Phishing‘, or rogue emails asking for your  personal or business banking details, are a common way to steal money. Read more about how to safeguard your assets and property against fraud.

Going After your life savings

Defense against fraud comes with being able to recognize the various different types of financial schemes that exist. According to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the following investment scams are commonly used to target Americans:

High-return or ‘risk-free’ investments

Costa Rica scammers, passing themselves off as brokers and investment advisers, recommend unsuitable products that don’t meet the investment objectives or financial situations of investors. Inappropriate recommendations might occur when a broker sells speculative, high- risk investments such as options, futures or penny stocks to individuals who are near retirement or are retired and have a low-risk tolerance.Pyramid schemes. In this classic scheme, fraudsters promise sky-high returns in a short period of time for doing nothing other than handing over money and getting others to do the same. Despite their claims to have legitimate products or services to sell, these deceivers spend much of the money on themselves and simply use money coming in from new recruits to pay off early stage investors. Although the products sold may be legitimate, eventually the pyramid will collapse. At some point the schemes get too big, the promoter cannot raise enough money from new investors to pay earlier investors and many people lose their money.

‘Ponzi’ schemes

These are a type of illegal pyramid scheme named for Charles Ponzi, who fooled thousands of New England residents into investing in a postage stamp speculation scheme back in the 1920s. Ponzi thought he could take advantage of differences between U.S. and foreign currencies used to buy and sell international mail coupons. Costa Rica had it’s own form of a Ponzi scheme which was carried out by the Villalobros Brothers, who scammed millions from unsuspecting investors. He told investors he could provide a 40 percent return in just 90 days compared with 5 percent for bank savings accounts. Ponzi was deluged with funds from investors, taking in $1 million during one three-hour period. Though a few early investors were paid off to make the scheme look legitimate, an investigation found that Ponzi had only purchased about $30 worth of the international mail coupons. Today, the Ponzi scheme continues to work on the “rob-Peter-to-pay-Paul” principle, as money from new investors is used to pay off earlier investors until the whole scheme collapses.

Promissory notes

A promissory note is a type of debt that is similar to a loan or IOU and is used by a company to raise money. Typically, an investor agrees to loan money to the company for a set period of time. In exchange, the company promises to pay the investor a fixed return on the investment, typically principal plus annual interest. While promissory notes can be legitimate investments, those that are marketed broadly to individual investors often turn out to be nothing more than worthless paper. Most established companies have borrowing relationships with financial institutions, therefore this type of transaction among individuals is rare. Individual investors should exercise extreme caution with this type of investment.

Internet investment fraud

Internet investment fraud is similar to other fraud perpetrated over the phone or through the mail. Fraudsters use a variety of Internet tools, including bulletin boards, online newsletters, spam or chat rooms to spread false information. They also may build a sophisticated Web page to make their scam appear legitimate. The Internet has made off-shore scams very easy to implement and difficult to police because the perpetrators often reside outside of the U.S.

Affinity fraud

This fraud refers to investment scams that prey upon members of certain groups, such as religious or ethnic communities, the elderly or professional groups. Deceivers who promote affinity scams frequently are—or pretend to be—members of the group. They enlist respected community or religious leaders from within the group to spread the word about the scheme, by convincing people that a fraudulent investment is legitimate and worthwhile. Often, the leaders themselves become unwitting victims of the fraudster’s scheme.

For more information on fraud in costa Rica see “Different types of Fraud in Costa Rica, or call 321-218-9209.

Hiring a Costa Rica Private Investigator

Before hiring a Costa Rica private investigator

Hiring a Costa Rica private investigator does not have to be a stressful or difficult process.  Before hiring a Costa Rica private investigator, use these simple steps as a guideline for locating the right Costa Rica private investigator for your case. Today, it is easy to be misled, especially since the proliferation of third-party lead generators. These lead generators are not present in Costa Rica and do not disclose the consequences of using people that cannot meet your needs. This is especially true in the event your case goes to trial.

Licensing

There is no national licensing system for private investigators in Costa Rica. No one in Costa Rica has a license to do investigations.  Unlike the United States where PI licensing is regulated on the state level. If the actual investigator does not possess a license issued by a state, then that tells you that this person is unqualified to do investigative work.

Currently, the only states that do not require private investigators to be licensed are: Colorado, Idaho, Mississippi, South Dakota, & Wyoming

Always contact the appropriate state licensing agency to confirm an investigator’s license is current and in good standing prior to hiring them.

PI Firms vs. Individuals

One key choice in hiring a Costa Rica Private Investigator is whether to hire an individual or an investigative firm. Firms typically employ greater resources and are ideal for cases requiring large amounts of surveillance and manpower. Individual PI’s can often provide a wealth of knowledge with issues including the location of persons, background investigations, asset investigations etc.

Be sure to choose an investigator or firm that employs the necessary resources and prior experience to properly address your needs.

Hiring a Private Investigator

It is important to feel comfortable with the PI you choose as matters that require private investigation cases are often of a sensitive nature. Look for individuals who are able to think “outside of the box” and adapt to changing situations easily. Inquire as to signing a contract or agreement listing the private investigator’s services, fees, and terms. Make sure this agreement comes from the person or firm who is physically present in Costa Rica and is actually doing the investigation. This protects both parties.

Be sure to ask a potential investigator as many questions as possible. If your not comfortable with their answers, demeanor, or experience you should find another private investigator with who you are.

Questions to Ask Your Investigator

How long have you been in business?

How many cases of this nature have you handled?

What is your success rate with cases of this nature?

What are your rates and fees?

Do you have experience testifying in court?

Do you take video of surveillance operations?

Can you perform covert surveillance as needed?

Can you provide a reference of an attorney you’ve worked for in the past?

Mistakes Expats Make in Costa Rica

Here’s a list of Mistakes Expats Make in Costa Rica

law-firm-page-for-webThe law is can be preventive medicine, but if not used correctly, it is a devastating curative medicine.  So, please let me try and help you avoid mistakes made by those who came to Costa Rica before you, and try and keep you out ‘hot water.’

1. Do not do anything you would not do in your own home town: A lot of foreigners seem to believe they can outsmart the system when they come to a less developed country. Or, it just may be the kind way most Costa Ricans behave with ‘gringos’, which turn them into wishful thinkers.

Always bear in mind that the legal system in Costa Rica is Napoleonic, not Common Law, so things are handled very differently than in the US or Canada. Because of that, the best place to begin your investment plan is in an attorney’s office.

It is best not to try the Do it yourself’ method! Some people, in trying to save some dollars in legal fees, avoid the work of finding a good attorney to guide them through their problems. Do not do that! Do your homework. Find an attorney, you feel comfortable with and stay with him for as long as he does a good work.

2. Do not rush into the decision of hiring an attorney. If you are thinking of investing in Costa Rica, like it or not, hiring a local attorney is a must for you. It does not matter if you are just buying a car, a home or planning to set up a million dollar business. You will need an attorney. You may not like the idea of paying legal fees, who does? But accept it and live with it. The idea is to have your lawyer working for you as ‘preventive medicine’, as a kind of insurance against what ‘might happen.’

Consider the legal fees as your insurance premium, because that’s really what it is. Today, you will pay a fraction of what it will probably cost to try and fix that problem later on if you do not have an honest attorney to guide you.

3. Do not think of buying Costa Rica real estate and only follow the real estate broker’s advice! In Costa Rica, real estate brokers are not licensed in the same way they are in the United States . Some of them are real professionals, but a lot of them are just ‘enthusiastic’ sales people.

Either buying or selling real estate, you will probably have a need for a broker’s services, but even if your Costa Rica real estate agent is first class, have your attorney on board and have him supervise the process.

Real Estate Fraud 24. Do not blindly trust your own countrymen! Just because they have been here more time than you have. I have seen that US citizens being conned by US people and, Canadians by Canadians and so forth. Be careful! There are a whole lot of strange people in this country, some of them fleeing from the FBI, Interpol, ex-wives and even from mental institutions.

5. Gentlemen! Please remember that you do not, I repeat, do NOT need to marry the first beautiful ‘Tica’ (Costa Rican woman) that you meet!

6. “Old Mac Donald had a farm“: And he lost it, because never took care of it. This is a common story in Costa Rica. Again, please remember that our legal system is different.

7. South of the Border…  Not everybody here wears a big Mexican ‘sombrero’ and has a big bushy moustache and not all the ladies are named “Juanita Bonita’. South of the Río Grande,  you will find: México, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panamá, Colombia, Perú, Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile and Brazil. All of them are different countries, with a different history, different people, and different laws.

8. “Easy comes easy goes.” I will not even waste your time on this matter. If it sounds too good to be true, then yes! It probably is too good to be true. Nobody on this earth can give you 45% per annum in a legitimate investment.

9. There is ‘risk’ even with legitimate well known and established private banks. Right now I am trying to help a client who deposited a large amount of money in CDs, in one local bank.

10. If you really want to live in Costa Rica then, please live IN Costa Rica! It was the year 335 B.C. Alexander the Great faced one of his greatest battles. When his army reached the Phoenician coasts, he realized their enemies outnumbered them by 3 to 1.

Do you know how he managed to win the battle? Quite simple! He ordered his ships to be burnt… While the ships where on fire and sinking on the ocean, he spoke to his army and told them the only way to go back home was on their enemy’s ships. It was that or else.

If you really want to become a resident in Costa Rica, you may have to burn your ships.

Costa Rica Scam Alert: Tips Avoiding Scams

Traveling to Costa Rica? Beware! Costa Rica Scam Alert:

Costa Rica Scam Alert:

Scam 3Tips Avoiding Scams In Costa Rica we here at Cody L Gear and Associates know you work hard for your money. That is why we want to provide you with a Costa Rica Scam Alert offering some tips that may help you avoid being scammed in Costa Rica or at home.
It has come to our attention that various Internet solicitations have appeared with increased frequency on such posting boards as Craigslist and other social networking sites encouraging consumers to deposit escrow funds to secure an interest in property located in Costa Rica via payment through Western Union payable to what appears to be a legitimate, reputable real estate company with name recognition. (Such as Remax, Century21, etc.…)

We have contacted the real estate companies and none of them are in any way associated with this type of solicitation. In fact, we have learned that this is another scam being perpetrated on unwary consumers and is currently being investigated by law enforcement.

Additionally, we have been made aware of an Advance Fee Scam involving the unauthorized use of a brand name such as the ones mentioned above, using a website and email address utilizing the name of the nationally known real estate company to hold Advanced fee scam the property. In an effort to instill confidence in this transaction, the scammer fraudulently claims to have listed the property with the multi listing service, using a local Real Estate office in Costa Rica and arranges for a fraudulent email notification posing as a real estate agent in Costa Rica (and uses the real estate company’s logos) to be sent to the victim. The scammer disappears once the deposit is received, leaving the prospective buyer defrauded. For your information there is no regulatory oversight of the Real Estate industry in Costa Rica and there are no licensing requirements. Because of these facts, there is no such thing as a multiple listing service in Costa Rica

Here are some tips to help you avoid such scams:

KNOW THE PERSON YOU ARE SENDING MONEY TO – if you receive an email from a real estate agent with payment instructions, call the requesting office using the phone number located on the solicitation. Then call us (321-218-9209 or visit http://www.codygear.com )  to verify if this is a legitimate real estate company operating here in Costa Rica

CRAIGSLIST IS NOT INVOLVED IN ANY TRANSACTION, and does not handle payments, guarantee transactions or provide escrow services.

USE CAUTION WHEN GIVING OUT FINANCIAL AND OTHER PERSONAL INFORMATION VIA EMAIL (bank account number, credit card number, social security number, etc.)

AVOID DEALS INVOLVING SHIPPING SERVICES and know that ONLY A SCAMMER WILL “GUARANTEE” YOUR TRANSACTION.

These types of scams often claim that an MTCN or confirmation code is needed before withdrawing your money – this is FALSE, once you’ve wired money, it is GONE.

PROPERTY LISTING MAY BE LOCAL, but landlord/owner is “travelling” or “relocating” and needs you to wire money to them abroad.

Most scams involve one or more of the following:

Inquiry from someone far away, often in another country;
Western Union, Money Gram, cashier’s check, money order, shipping, escrow service, or a “guarantee.”
Inability or refusal to meet face-to-face before consummating transaction.

Who should you notify about fraud or scam attempts?
Cody L Gear and Associates (321-218-9209 or visit http://www.codygear.com)
• FTC toll free hotline: 877-FTC-HELP (877-382-4357)
• FTC online complaint form (http://www.ftc.gov)
• Canadian Phone Busters hotline: 888-495-8501
• Internet Fraud Complaint Center (http://www.ic3.gov)
• Non-emergency number for your local police department.
• The government agency in your country responsible for dealing with fraud

Real Estate Fraud Plagues Costa Rica

Costa Rica Real Estate Fraud

Fraud Real EstateReal Estate fraud plagues Costa Rica with the announcement that police arrested four persons in connection with a $50 million dollar Real Estate fraud. According to numerous news sources the four arrested are lawyers and notaries. In Costa Rica all notaries have to be licensed attorneys. The paperwork that routinely passes through National Registry must be notarized. Since most land purchases are purchased in a Costa Rica Corporation. Generally, attorneys are given power of attorneys over the transactions. In contrast to the United States, a notary cannot notarize a negotiable instrument or conveyance to which he is a party. Here that is not the case. With that kind of power, it is easy and tempting to do something less than honest or correct. In this particular case according to the news source, the victim is an elderly German woman who appears to have lost ownership of her properties in southern Costa Rica due to inappropriate paperwork. Although the accused have yet to be identified the police are saying that have arrested a 61-year-old woman and a 65-year-old man in Alajuelita.

Also arrested were a 37-year-old woman in Cartago and a 60-year-old man in Coronado. According to police documents the crimes allegedly happened between 2010 and 2012.

Real Estate Fraud 2The two persons arrested in Alajuelita are also notaries but are not active now. The pair is charged with improperly administering the woman’s property in Punta Uva and Bahía Ballena, which is located in the southwestern area of the country. According to police documents, both had access to $5 million in cash.
The suspects that were arrested lived in Cartago and Coronado and are active notaries. Police said that they assisted in the creation of 19 corporations that play a role in the fraud. Police alleged that the suspects tricked the elderly woman into signing papers so that she lost the properties.
Agents also reported that when they searched the offices of the suspects they found two unregistered pistols.

Costa Rica Fraud Alert: Private Property Registry in Costa Rica

Costa Rica Fraud Alert:

Private Property Registry in Costa Rica (PPR)

Real Estate FraudWe here at Cody L. Gear and Associates, have learned of a service provided to owners of private property in Costa Rica. The name of this service is Private Property Registry (PPR) and currently protects over 15,000 properties in Costa Rica.

 

 

How PPR Works

According to information we obtained from Fijatevos.com each night the PPR robot connects to the National Registry’s data feed and downloads the day’s transactions. Once the data is generated, the company’s software takes over, and the data is analyzed and compared to the previous day’s snapshot. By 1:30 am a report is generated detailing any change whatsoever to any property related to one the company’s clients. At 5:30 am this report is reviewed by the company’s legal department. Each change is analyzed to determine whether it is innocuous or whether it represents a possible threat to the client. On average, about 90 changes are detected and 1 is deemed a threat to be taken seriously.

At this point, the PPR legal team notifies the client by email, telephone or fax. The client can specify the preferred method of contact, or also additional contacts – such as the client’s personal lawyer. At this point the client will confirm that it is a legitimate change, for example they have taken out a loan or sold the property. If the change is not authorized, the client or PPR can take action immediately.

Registry Procedures Explained

How You and PPR Can Use Them to Protect Your Property from Changes

The National Registry is required by law to follow certain procedures when updating their records. The first step is that a lawyer, or their assistant, will present documents requesting the change to the registry. Upon this presentation a notation is made on the property records regarding the proposed change.

The following step in the process is for a registry bureaucrat to review the documents presented to determine if they are valid and if there are any errors in the descriptions or clauses. If they are deemed valid and correct, then the change is approved and entered into the registry. A key factor here is that by law a change may not be submitted and approved the same day. While normally there is a 7 to 10 day delay in this process, when schemers and shysters have obtained cooperation from an unscrupulous registry employee, then the changes are pushed through rapidly.

The PPR system takes advantage of this mandated time delay. The automated software reports annotations overnight. This means that if a change is recorded or noted, the property owner or PPR may submit a document opposing the change the same business day, which will effectively freeze the process and obligate the registry to determine the validity of the documents that were submitted requesting the change.

PPR Services and Pricing

The PPR offers 2 types of service. The first level is called Monitor and Notify, which costs $143 per year. You, and anyone you specify, will be notified in the event of any change to your property. The notification is sent by email, fax and telephone as soon as the PPR legal department determines that there is a problem. If you have more than one property in Costa Rica, you can get a package that will monitor up to 8 properties for $384 per year.

The higher level service is called Maximum Security, and includes the first level plus an automatic procedure for stopping the transaction in the registry. It costs $250 annually. When you activate this service, you sign a power of attorney that allows the PPR legal department to file a prepared statement in the registry on your behalf. The statement opposes any change to your property information in the registry, which effectively stops the transaction. Once this document is filed, the registry is required to investigate both claims and provide additional documentation for proceeding with the change. In the case of fraudulent claim, this alone will stop the perpetrators cold.

For more information concerning and other services available to protect your investments in Costa Rica,call Cody L Gear and Associates at 321-218-9209

Finding a Person, Place or Thing in Costa Rica

Persons, Places and Things in Costa Rica

information logo 1Finding a Person, Place or Thing in Costa Rica? Hunting for a missing person, or simply trying to locate someone? Need to find an address or asset in Costa Rica? Whatever the reasons are for looking, you have come to the right place for fast, reliable, trustworthy and affordable professional help in locating someone. Searching for a location in Costa Rica? A bigger challenge than most realize. Trying to recover an asset? Costa Rica is rife with fraud and the laws here actually help the scammers hide assets.  There are many reasons why you may need to locate someone, find a place or locate a thing. We will help you do so.

We are not a “People Finder Instant Search” database company that provides you with old, outdated public record information. We are a professional private investigation agency physically located in Costa Rica (Not Nicaragua) that specializes in finding people, quickly and cost effectively. We have access to data, resources and other information that allow us to get you the result you want, not excuses. Why pay someone who is not here to find information you already have? When you work with the private investigators in our firm, you will find that the more information you have about the target, the less it will cost you. Our basic locate investigations take as little as two hours of investigative time and fewer than 50% take more than that amount to complete. Of course verification of the location and identifying the target as being there has added costs.

Obviously, some people are more difficult to locate than others.  Costa Rica is known as the land of the wanted and the unwanted. Those wanted by law enforcement, hiding from creditors, drug users and others require more work to locate than the average person. We encourage you to tell us as much as possible about the person we are trying to locate ahead of time so we can give you an accurate perspective about the time and cost required. As the most trusted private investigator in Costa Rica we have reunited adoptees with birth parents, locate people that are in need of medical assistance and tragically locate missing persons, either the victim of a drowning or of a crime.

We have investigated the disappearance of people due to suspicious circumstances and the recovery of the remains when they have fell victim to a crime or a drowning. It is reported that there are more deaths here from drowning than from automobile accidents. The Government here is not user friendly and getting assistance to look for someone is difficult at best.

What makes our missing person and people locate services stand out from the crowd?

  • Our firm is a Private Investigator Agency, not a database search company
  • We provide 50 years of professional experience and judgment
  • We tell you where all of information we provide came from
  • There will be an actual investigator to speak with about your locate investigation
  • Our locate investigations are conducted by investigators, not databases.
  • You will be given a detailed report of our findings
  • Our relationship with you is strictly CONFIDENTIAL

If you find that you need more than just a simple locate or person search, our background check services will give you all the information you will need about someone’s background. Our firm is a full service private detective agency able to bring the full assets of our agency, with international and domestic resources, to the table.

Missing Persons in Costa Rica

What to do in Locating Missing Persons in Costa Rica

Missing personLocating missing persons in Costa Rica is much different from methods and techniques used in the United States. There are numerous people that have gone missing in Costa Rica and have to date have not been found. It is important that if you find yourself in this situation, you understand that the authorities here neither have the resources or the motivation to find the missing person. The one thing that is absolutely necessary is get someone involved to start looking for the missing person. The longer the time the greater the chance that the person will not be located. Here are some tips.

 

1st Thing to do in Locating Missing Persons in Costa Rica

The first thing you should do in locating missing persons in Costa Rica is to report the incident to your local law enforcement agency. When you do so give them as much information as humanly possible. Although the local law enforcement agency will have little to lend to the search and recovery of the missing person, it is one of the first things that the American Embassy in Costa Rica will ask you. Do not delay in making the missing person report to the police. All of the cases that we have handled have had considerable time lapse between the disappearance and reporting the person missing. Each moment that passes with nothing being initiated to locate the persons further reduces the chances of the person being found.

2nd Thing to do in Locating Missing Persons in Costa Rica

Call the American Embassy in Costa Rica. If you are calling from the States dial 011-506-2519-2000 and ask for extension 2453. Alternatively if it is after business hours or the weekend, send an email to acssanjose@state.gov and provide all of the information about the missing person including but not limited to; photographs, flight itinerary, hotel reservation, date of arrival, anticipated date of departure, photographs, and the reason you suspect the person is missing.

3rd Thing to do

It is necessary that the missing person be reported as missing to the Judicial Police in Costa Rica. They are commonly referred to as OIJ. If you call them be prepared to have someone who speaks Spanish as there are no resources for English. The Costa Rica Law requires that an immediate member of the missing persons family report the incident. They will not accept the missing person report from a third party. This must be done in person by the immediate family member. Thus be prepared to make arrangements for the immediate family member to travel to Costa Rica to make the report.

Alternatively, an immediate family member can go to the nearest Costa Rica Consulate and report the person missing. They will need the same information as previously outlined for the American Embassy. This will further delay the missing person investigation as the bureaucracy of the Costa Rica government moves slowly.

The Last thing to do

Probably the most important of all is do not procrastinate in reporting the missing persons in Costa Rica. Also, equally important retain the services of a professional and reliable private investigator to begin searching immediately.  The longer the time in retaining the services of such a professional only means that the trail will colder by the minute. Years of experience has taught me that it is imperative to get on this search as soon as possible.