Surveillance in Costa Rica

How Does Surveillance in Costa Rica Work?

The most important stage of the surveillance in Costa Rica is getting to know the “subject” or as it is in many instances the suspected cheater. Information that would be necessary such as knowing what the cheating husband, cheating boyfriend, cheating wife, cheating girlfriend likes, dislikes, habits, type of food preferred, favorite restaurants frequented, employment information, hobbies, vehicles driven, possible person he/she might be cheating with, and a description of all parties. Provide information on everything if you suspect your spouse/partner of cheating as, the more you provide upfront, the better the chance for success. Leaving out a detail or two can have a dramatic effect on outcome of the surveillance.

Costa Rica Private InvestigatorOnce obtained and reviewed “a feel” for the subject and knowing his/her habits, the fieldwork, or surveillance, begins. While some private investigators hold themselves out to be surveillance experts, you know your spouse/partner better than they do and, the more information that you can provide them, the better chance for success in the field.

As the surveillance progresses, most clients want regular reports or communication regarding what we are finding in the field. Communication with clients on a continuing basis is an indispensable part of a professional surveillance strategy. While some prefer not to receive a report until the conclusion of the infidelity investigation and surveillance, it is generally recommended to have regular communications to discuss service and to implement changes when necessary. Most professional private investigators will determine the best method of communicating and frequency based on the circumstances of the surveillance.

Surveillance in Costa Rica

Ceating HusbandWith most private investigators it is common knowledge that the cheater is, generally, aware that someone may be watching or following him/her. Usually, this makes people become more aware of their surroundings while cheating. At times both the subject and the person who he/she is cheating with are both cheating, making it even more difficult to follow them without being seen. Circumstances like these can make it more practical to use a second investigator. While this will increase the cost, using two investigators on surveillance diminishes the chance of being burnt during the surveillance or losing the subject in traffic. Most successful surveillance operations involve a two or more person team. This especially true in Costa Rica.

There are times when infidelity, or cheating, is just not taking place even though you have seen signs to the contrary. There are also times when the cheating is far too infrequent with no established patterns, or so well hidden, that catching the cheater is not possible using normal investigative techniques.

Confidentiality and Discretion

All surveillance investigations should be completely confidential and private. Your identity, along with all information that we obtain on your behalf, should be maintained in the strictest of confidence. Information that obtained as a result of the surveillance should only be provided to you or your attorney.

Cheater photo 3If you have a surveillance that needs to be conducted in Costa Rica, be sure you vet the Investigator you contact. There are only a few here and caution should be exercised, particularly with people that want you to send money via Western Union. Caution should also be exercised with people who have only been here for the past year or so. Some boast of their background, but few can back it up. Be especially cautious of people who hold themselves out as consultants. The ones I know are retirees and have no real practical experience in private investigation. Just because they worked for the government doesn’t make them a good or reliable private investigator.

Hiring a Costa Rica Private Investigator

Hiring a Costa Rica private investigator

Costa Rica Private InvestigatorHiring a Costa Rica private investigator requires a thorough vetting before engaging for services. Recently, I have had several people who have written me about their bad experiences with investigations that were conducted by investigators not living in Costa Rica. I have written several blog posts as well as Facebook post advising potential clients to avoid investigators that do not live here. If retention of out of country investigator is your only option, beware, that’s what you get may cause you more heartache, grief and expense and more than likely you will not have the answers you seek.

Things to Check out before you do

information logo 1Here are a few questionable and unethical tactics employed by some investigators that have been reported to me. Scenario one; an inquiry is made into the requirements and costs of an investigation. After the initial communication, the investigator contacts you and says he has started the investigation and you owe money, although you never agreed to start the investigation. When you call this to the investigators’ attention he becomes combative and begins hurling insults and veiled threats.  Scenario two; after agreeing to have the investigator conduct an investigation, he contacts you and says that he has the information for you but you need to send more money. He says that the investigation took longer than expected and you must pay the money or he will not release the information to you. Scenario three; you learn that the investigator has contacted the target of your inquiry and has attempted to extort money from them.

The first scenario outlined is straight forward. A professional investigator will not start an investigation without receiving a retainer. He will also give you options on how to deposit the retainer via a bank or credit card company. He will not immediately demand that you send money via Western Union to a third party that you have never heard of before. If you have fallen victim to this scam, you don’t have to put up with it. If you have not sent any money, tell him to go pound sand. There is absolutely nothing he can do to you. If he threatens you simply hang up the phone. If he emails you keep, and archive the emails for future reference if the need arises. Consider yourself lucky that you escaped this unprofessional and unethical person and seek out a professional.

Money LaunderingThe second scenario is also straight forward. No professional investigator is going to conduct an investigation beyond the original agreement without first obtaining authorization from the client. Furthermore, all information developed to that point in time is your property not the investigators. Professional and ethical investigators know when an investigation is going to require more and will always contact the client before proceeding. After all, it is your money and your life could be irrevocably changed forever depending on the outcome. This type of situation is nothing more than an attempt to shake down the client for money. If he can’t demonstrate through convincing reason the need to proceed, then you should demand that he cease all further inquiries into the matter.

Perhaps the most disturbing and disgusting tactic is the playing both ends against each other.  In this case the investigator knows the target of the investigation and the circumstances surrounding the inquiry. Once they get the money from you they approach the target and tell them they have information that is vital. Information that could change the rest of their life and that for a fee they will give them the information. Imagine trusting a stranger with delicate and sensitive information and having that trust betrayed by such an unprofessional and unethical investigator.

In all of these scenarios the one common denominator is, they were all done by the same sleazy, slimy person that takes advantage of people’s desperation in getting answers to questions that will affect their lives forever. What’s more, it repeats itself from the same source with the same outcomes. These are just three instances I know factually, as I was retained after the fact to clean up the mess that was created by such unprofessional and unethical tactics.

 

Murder in Costa Rica

Family of Five murdered in Costa Rica

Ceating HusbandThis a follow up on a murder in Costa Rica. It is a story, that frankly, has all too often been repeated here. Not necessarily ending with murder, but the consequences of making poor choices can lead to disastrous results. Although, we receive cases involving infidelity between Americans and Costa Ricans, there is a pattern of conduct that merits discussions. Understanding that everyone deserves someone special in their lives does equate to risking everything on a poor decision.

Destination and Temptation

Costa Rica is a world renowned destination for its climate, natural beauty and its women. The women here are generally attractive, polite and friendly. For the most part American men who come here are in search of a meaningful and lasting relationship. Most have passed the place in life where they are competitive in the dating market in the United States. Most have endured a broken heart either from a divorce or a death. Many are in their fifties or sixties and their choices in the States are limited to similarly situated women, who also have suffered the loneliness associated with such losses. Both bring “baggage” from their previous situation, ranging from abuse to financial trouble.

Murder in Costa Rica: Its a Job, not Love

Money LaunderingBecause of the opportunity to go somewhere and engage in a relationship with a woman that is in her twenties or thirties, who for all outward appearances is a victim of circumstance, is a temptation hard to resist. Most ignore the red flags. It should be obvious that a young attractive woman who is in the sex business is not looking for love. She is looking for financial security. In other words, it is her job. Your wellbeing, physically, emotionally and financially are at risk when you enter a relationship with such a woman.

In the case mentioned at the beginning, the news account of the Tico Times, details the background that ultimately led to this tragedy. Like many of the cases we handled, many of them begin with the American meeting a woman in one of the local watering holes that promote and allow this type of business to thrive. It is not uncommon for women to start visiting these places at as young as eighteen. By the time they are twenty four, they have had an unimaginable amount of sexual contact with countless men of whom they know or care little about.

 

Why you shouldn’t throw out your boarding pass

Never discard your boarding pass

CG logoWhenever we fly, it’s a necessity to have a boarding pass to board the airplane.

We protect them with our lives to make sure we have it readily available, but what do we usually do with them once the flight’s over?? Some leave it on the airplane; others tuck it in their pockets and put it down: others leave in the back of the seat in front of them when the exit the airplane, forgetting their whereabouts once we are done with them. I never realized that being so careless with the whereabouts of my boarding pass could potentially get me into so much trouble!

The reason? According to ‘Krebs on Security”, there’s a ton of personal information encrypted on the boarding pass. Once someone gets a screen shot of the bar code on the boarding pass you’ll be shocked at how much an unscrupulous person can discover about you: personal email addresses, home addresses, and phone numbers. From there, they can gain access to financial and banking information. Watch the video below and learn about the risks and damage you face by being careless with your boarding pass.

https://youtu.be/jM4_iz3RqE8

Take precautions to protect your boarding pass

In this day and age of perpetual technological advances and the unlimited use of smart phones your personal information is under constant bombardment from the bad guys.

Even digitally copied on your own cell phone or tablet puts you at risk of it being scanned and all of your personal information is available to the person making the search.

The best advice is that you keep it in your possession until after the flight and then when you return to your home or office make sure it is destroyed. Don’t put it in the trash and never post it to your social media.

 

 

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.

Breaking news on Barbara Sturncova

Breaking news on Barbara Sturncova

Missing Person BarbaraBarbara Sturrncova who went missing five years ago is in the news again. Apparently her male companion, William Ulner, was arrested today while attempting to board an airplane with his new bride by the FBI. He was arrested for using a fraudulent passport.  In the past, there has been much speculation about Ulner and the role he played in Sturncova’s disappearance. No one has seen or hear from Sturncova since her disappearance and none of her bank cards have been used.

We wrote a cold case article about her and others that have mysteriously  vanished into thin air never to be seen or heard from again. Fox 31 in Denver is reporting the story. There have been several people who have tried unsuccessfully to find Sturncova but have run into dead ends.

The information we have received is that Ulner recently married and was at the airport leaving for his honeymoon when the FBI nabbed him. Information on his new wife and other information concerning his arrest has not been disclosed.

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.

Conducting Surveillance in Costa Rica

Costa Rica Private InvestigatorConducting surveillance in Costa Rica presents challenges not faced by private investigators in the United States. When a client calls and wants a surveillance here in Costa Rica I try to give them reasonable expectations on the results of such a surveillance. Unlike the United States where private investigators can have sufficient time to capture indiscretions, here we usually have less than a week. In some instances even less time.

Surveillance is being in the right place at the right time and to discreetly capture the indiscretion on video. That means that the target cannot know they are being watch or their activities are being recorded. Many of the venues in Costa Rica have ramped up security in the form of CCTV and guards. They are sensitive to videoing and will not hesitate to ask what you are doing. Thus not only does the PI need to be discreet with respect to the target, they must also be discreet and vigilant as to their surroundings.

For this reason we use teams of investigators usually comprised of two or three to carry out a surveillance. There are some PI’s that are on the web that use just one person that they subcontract the surveillance. I know of one PI that was deported from Costa Rica and is advertising services here and he can’t even enter the country. Thus it pays to vet the PI and make sure he has the experience and resources to carry out the surveillance.

Recently we had a surveillance in a resort that has extremely tight security. Many of the places that people rent are in private residences within the resort and are only accessible though a guarded gate. If you are not a guest you are denied entry. The resort is patrolled by security guards who check visitors and routinely ask them their purpose for being there. Fortunately the resort rents carts which don’t draw the attention of a roaming car. Use of the cart helps but if you remain stationary for any length of time a guard will approach you. This means that you have to be on the constant move.

Targets that are involved in an affair are sensitive to seeing the same person or car more than once. This requires that you change personnel frequently. Through diligence and perseverance usually enjoy success. Many of our clients think that capturing public displays of affection are common place. Here again targets do not perform on cue. You have to be in the right place at the right time to capture PDA’s. Investigators cannot manufacture or script such activities.

All in all if you have reasonable expectations you will not be disappointed in the results. If your expectations are those that are shown on TV programs such as “Cheaters” you will be disappointed in the results. Make sure you discuss expectations and results with you private investigator in order to make your surveillance successful.

Facebook Apps Are Spying on You

Did you know that Facebooks apps are spying on you?

Facebook image

With almost everyone having a Facebook page it is not a surpeise that the creation of Facebook apps are spying on you. Recently, I came across this information from one of my coleagues and thought I would share it on my blog. With all of the issues surrounding personal privacy this blog will tell you how to delete these apps.

Deleting Facebook Apps

Log into your Facebook account and go to settings. In the left hand margin a number of actions will be displayed. Select the one that says “Apps”. When you do the “apps” page will populate listing all of the apps that are currently active on your facebook account. Many people are surprised at the number of apps listed and had no knowledge that they were linked to thier accounts. Such apps can take your information and distribute to whomever they wish.

Many of these apps are linked to your account whe you play games or participate in contest that are published on Facebook. Once you see the apps that are likely to distribute your information such as instagram or yahoo, you can delete them by checking the “X” in the upper right hand corner of the app, thus removing it from your Facebook account.

With all of the information out there about protecting your personal information, it is always a good idea to monitor and eliminate any potential for lapses in security. As technology advances the hackers and scammers are going to use every imaginable methid they can to steal from you.

From time to time we will post information concerning methods and idea on how to protect yourseld from fruadsters and scammers. By taking a few minutes to review your facebook could save you an enormous amount of grief in the future.