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.

Your Husband is Cheating? I Can Help You

Your Husband is CHeatingYour husband is cheating. You’re not sure what to do. I can help you. Before worrying about that decision, let’s focus first on what you should not do. Most women react hastily when they find out their husbands are Cheating. They let anger, fear, hurt, or revenge drive them to do things they later regret, things, which make it difficult or impossible to implement any worthwhile infidelity solutions they may later receive.

Don’t ignore the situation and pretend it’s not happening.

If your husband is cheating, denying the cheating will only make matters worse. As troublesome as it is to find out that your husband has been cheating, you need to face the reality of the situation. Ignoring his infidelity gives him the go-ahead to continue his cheating. Pretending it’s not happening will make him think he’s getting away with his cheating, or give him the impression that he has your implied approval. Remember, that affairs thrive in secrecy.

Don’t confront him without a Plan, Proof, and a Purpose.

This where I can help you. Most experts agree that you should confront your husband about his cheating. But you need to have a plan.

DO NOT ask your husband if he’s cheating. Cheaters will always lie. Present the evidence you’ve gathered that proves he’s having an affair, names, dates, places, times, absences, phone calls, physical evidence, and the video evidence that we collect for you. We will work with you and help you with a strategy that will assist you in your decision on whether or not to terminate the marriage or ways to salvage it. Then ask him some pointed questions about his affair: why he did it, how it started, how long it’s been going on, how he feels about the other woman, what he intends to do now that you know. Listen carefully to his answers so you can accurately assess the situation. Then you’ll be able to make a wise decision about what course of action to take.

DO NOT CONFRONT YOUR HUSBAND WITHOUT PROOF OF HIS INFIDELITY. To do so will be a colossal waste of time. Unless you can prove he’s been cheating, the information-gathering phase will never get off the ground.

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?

 

Cheating is Alive and Well in Costa Rica

Recently, I have noted an increase in cases involving cheating spouses in Costa Rica. During the past year, the demand for surveillance of cheating spouses has risen dramatically.

The increase has been so dramatic that our agency has had to increase staff to keep pace with the demand. Why this is occurring is a puzzle. According to available research on the subject defining the reason, or, what force is behind the increase, is not readily apparent. Most of the research indicates that this increase during economic hard times is contrary to available data and recent polls suggesting, most people cannot afford exposure to a divorce.

Perhaps one reason is due to the increased pressure that economic hard times bring to the family environment. Alternatively, the increase could be related to the egregious spouse wanting to escape the pressures associated with making ends meet. Costa Rica is a beautiful country with many natural resources that bring visitors from all over the world. Costa Rica is world renown for its beautiful beaches and rainforest. It is also known as a fishing destination for the avid fishermen, especially from the United States. Many of the cases now being investigated begin with the story that the errant spouse is going to Costa Rica to fish.

This “cover story”, in a sense that is true. But the type of fishing being done is not in the ocean. It is in the numerous locations that have young, beautiful and exotic women who work in the sex trade. The bait being used is approximately six inches long, green and is called United States currency.

The most prevalent areas of the United States that experience the highest rate of cheating spouses coming to Costa Rica come from the larger metropolitan areas such as Atlanta, Houston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and Miami. Over the past six months, the majority of infidelity cases have come greater from Atlanta area. The cases range from a weekend spree to secreting money to the prostitutes and starting new families complete with children.

In those cases where the cheating spouse has bought real estate in Costa Rica, without the knowledge or consent of the stateside wife, she can attach all assets here in Costa Rica without first obtaining a divorce in the United States. Costa Rica has very unique laws concerning such real estate purchases.

Our office here in San Jose is fully staffed and I have a partner who is a licensed Costa Rican Attorney. This is absolutely necessary here in order to recover assets that have been acquired surreptitiously and provide the innocent spouse with equitable relief from the Costa Rican Courts. Although I have a law degree, I do not practice law in Costa Rica and advise that anyone needing a detailed explanation of the laws here contact someone like my partner, Roberto Romero Mora and have the law explained in detail.

Often I am asked, when should a suspicious spouse seek my services. The mere fact he is coming to Costa Rica with buddies is sufficient to warrant a surveillance. If nothing happens then the spouse in the United States can have peace of mind and an increased level in confidence in her spouse.

Preparing Domestic Cases in Costa Rica

Preparing Domestic Cases In Costa Rica

How do you go about preparing domestic cases in Costa Rica? What are some considerations when planning a domestic or infidelity case in Costa Rica? Most of the cases we see are done on impulse. Usually, there is little if any planning that has been given to the case. This makes it more difficult for the investigator to do his job and will cost you more money. Understanding that the events leading up to the decision to hire a private investigator are troubling enough, it is easy to understand the lack of preparation. This article will give an insight into things that can be done to enhance and improve the chances of a successful infidelity investigation.

 

Advance Preparation

Most clients are aware of a planned trip well before the time it will start. If there are suspicions that your loved one is being unfaithful, now is the time to get your “ducks” in a row. Preparing domestic cases in Costa Rica, we have found the following to be useful. First, consider the resources available to fund the investigation. Many clients inquire about services and have given little or no thought on the cost of conducting a surveillance on their loved one. All targets of a surveillance never perform on cue. It is a matter of being in the right place at the right time to capture the indiscretion.

Part of the cost in Costa Rica is the location at which the surveillance will take place. Almost all of the resorts and hotels in Costa Rica have security and limited access by non guests. That means that the surveillance is limited to the times that the target is outside the hotel or resort. Experience has demonstrated that being in the hotel or resort as a guest increases the opportunities to watch and record the targets activities. Knowing ahead of time the location allows the Costa Rica Private Investigator time to make reservations and arrive at the same time the target. This can be costly as there are two seasons in Costa Rica, and the green season, which goes from November to April is usually priced twice as much as the rest of the year.

Surveillance is never like it is portrayed on television. Some television productions take a six week surveillance and condense it to one hour. Surveillance, simply does not work that way. The more ahead of time planning and preparation will assist in getting the results you want.

Intelligence

Itineraries, reservations, flights and travelling companions are all good intelligence that your Costa Rica Private Investigator can use. The more information you have about the trip and things that they will be doing will all prove to be invaluable.

Scam Alert Facebook

Scam Alert Facebook Pandora Jewellery

Recently, some of my clients have suffered a scam perpetrated via Facebook of a very well done site, http://www.pandorashopus.com/. If you come across this on your Facebook you will see that it has a countdown clock giving customers one day to order the very popular Pandora Jewelry.

Jewelry

As you enter the website you will see the jewelry priced very cheap. In most cases less than $10.00. Which goes back to previous posts I have made about deals that are too good to be true. The fact is, if something looks, smells or taste to be too good to be true, then count on it, IT IS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE.

Pandora Jewelry whose telephone number is  410-309-0200 confirmed with our office that the offer that appears on Facebook is not an authorized dealer for Pandora Jewelry. They advised that this was a scam and anyone who made a purchase via the internet should contact their financial institution immediately and stop payment.

In our case, shortly after the purchase was made by our client they received an email from from PayPal that said “You paid Reitmans,Shenzhen,CN, $27.99 USD.” This corresponded with the confirmation of the order placed to the www.pandorashopus.com website.

My recommendation for anyone who may have placed an order with this site is to contact your financial institution and give them all the information that you have received through your email.

During this time of year, especially with all of the event sales such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, you as a consumer need to be wary of any and all offerings on the internet. This is the time of year that scammers hit. Looking at this website, you will find it appearing very authenticate and something you would assume Pandora would publish. But when you see a silver bracelet that normally sells for 137.99, offered for 16.99, something is wrong.

Hope your holiday shopping will go smoothly and hopefully this will help you avoid this scam.

 

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

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.