What is going on in Costa Rica?

You owe it to yourself and your peace of mind to learn why your loved one is in Costa Rica and what is going on in Costa Rica, You also need to know what they are up to. Especially places like Jaco. Jaco has several “watering holes” which are packed nightly with young, beautiful and available women. These women do not match the stereotyped images of hookers in the U.S. They are well dressed, clean, polite and very entertaining.

Most of these women range in age from 18 to 35. They are aggressively friendly and will engage a man as soon as he sits at the bar.

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.

What is your Husband doing? I Can Help You

What is your husband is doing in Costa Rica?. 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 something is amiss with their loved one and suspect it is more than a “gut feeling”.  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 doing something that has the potential to damage you or your family, denying the conduct will only make matters worse. As troublesome as it is to find out that your husband has been doing things he shouldn’t, you need to face the reality of the situation. Ignoring this gives him the go-ahead to continue his indiscretions. Pretending it’s not happening will make him think he’s getting away with his activities, 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. Liars 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 LIES. To do so will be a colossal waste of time. Unless you can prove he’s been lying, 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 Jewelry

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.