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?

 

My Husband is in Costa Rica, Alone

My Husband is in Costa Rica, Alone?

Many women have called me with a suspicion. They ask me; “My Husband is in Costa Rica, Alone ” should I be concerned? Here is a compilation of some of the signs of a husband that may be cheating.  These observations only indicate conduct of a cheating husband. They are not absolutes!  If your husband exhibits one or two of these traits, and there is a legitimate reason and a mutual agreement (such as the two of you agree to try to lose weight, he gets a little obsessive about it), this by and of itself does NOT indicate infidelity.  As an experienced Private Investigator, I have seen many forms of deception.

Listen to your Intuition;

Why My Husband is in Costa Rica, Alone?

However, when you observe several, or many, of these traits, your marriage may be in jeopardy.  Most of this is based on many years of surveilling cheaters. I have established a pretty good idea of traits that indicate an affair. Especially in Costa Rica. For example, the pretext to the wife that there is a group going on a fishing trip in Jaco. Jaco is now the hotbed for sex tourism in Costa Rica. The chances of infidelity increase exponentially if your spouse goes to or near Jaco.

Obvious Clue: Why is he in Costa Rica without you?

Many of my clients call and ask about surveillance of their husband. I have heard all kinds of stories. The most pressing question, every woman should have is, why is he there without me. Or, alternatively, why does he go there regularly?


Clue # 1–Gut Instinct:


  • A sure sign of a cheating spouse; is having to ask that question in the first place.
  • Your husband or wife stops confiding in you and seeking advice from you.
  • Your intuition (gut feeling) tells you that something is not right.
  • You find intimate apparel or other small gift-type items that are gifts for someone else.

Clue # 2–Traits That Are Not Their Usual Personality:


  • When your partner shows up without their wedding ring. He suddenly stops wearing it and makes lame excuses as to why. This also goes for jewelry you might have purchased for him and you see them not wearing it when they go out when normally they wear it at all time.
  • When they change their normal routine at work and home for no apparent reason; unusual behavior.
  • When he becomes suddenly forgetful. You have to tell him/her everything several times; their thoughts are obviously elsewhere.
  • When they appear distant, show a lack of interest, or demonstrate unexplained aloofness.
  • When his behavior just doesn’t “add up”.
  • When your wife sleeps with her cell phone. Alternatively, when your husband sneaks out of the house.
  • When your husband suddenly becomes combative or argumentative. He completely ignores you and not listening to what you are saying.
  • When they tell you to get out more and promote out of town excursions.
  • When your husband intentionally looks at or flirts with the opposite sex.

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.

A Guide Avoiding Scams of Dating Services

Avoiding Dating Service Scams

To protect yourself against scammers and marriage fraud, read my below article and discover how you can avoid it. This is a guide avoiding scams of dating services, a preeminent counseling against scammers!

No one wants to fall victim of a scam, yet every day the number of people who have fallen into various and sundry scams is growing at an alarming rate. The Internet has become the most powerful medium that scammers utilize to swindle people. You can search the word scam or fraud in Google and you would be surprised of the long list of available women and the countries they come from.

As the most tenured private investigation agency in Central America number of frauds and scams grow by the number, more and more people are becoming susceptible to it. Amazingly, the methods employed by these scammers have tremendously improved over the past few years, which makes their scams even more appealing to people.

Why scammers and frauds have infested dating/marriage sites?

The increasing number of men who are seeking a compatible and loving relationship only serves to fuel the demand for dating services. Psychologically speaking, emotions are the strongest driving force that is capable of blinding people from being reasonable and logical. Remember how willing you were to do anything for someone you love? When you are in love with someone, you become determined to do whatever it takes to be with her/him.

Scammers, realizing what love can trigger in the psyche of someone, exploit this emotion to further their goal of making money. Later on in this article, you will discover how scammers effectively and efficiently pillage people by taking advantage of their emotions and impulses. That is why it is important for you to read a guide avoiding scams of dating services.

Who are these scammers or frauds?

In this article, a guide avoiding scams of dating services, there is a discussion on how to avoid flaiing victim to these scammers. Scammers come in all different sizes, shapes, and colors. In the case of Internet dating/marriage services, they could be the persons featured on the site or a different person in the guise of being someone else or they could be the webmasters (person/persons who operate the website) themselves. In other words, they can be anyone.

Below are the three most important things to remember in order to avoid being scammed while searching for a soul mate on the Internet. Once you follow these 3 rules, you are ensured of sufficient protection from frauds and scams.

3 Most Important Rules to Remember in Order to Avoid Scams and Frauds

1. Never get “Money” involved in any of your transactions.

Avoid dating websites that require advance fees, or donate money in order to obtain contact details of the person you are interested in. Never pay for registration to any dating websites as well. These payments are a waste of your money and time for there is no assurance whatsoever given in exchange for your payment.

The bottom line, whatever you do to search for a partner in life online, NEVER EVER PAY for any services. Not that there are no credible dating/marriage websites/agencies but this is the best way to avoid scams and frauds. Remember that the usual incentive or motive of these scammers is your MONEY! Without giving them incentives/motives, there is no reason for them to exist.

2. Never give information about yourself.

There have been several cases of people who were scammed simply because they have given full and accurate information about themselves, namely; full name, address, telephone number, bank account and details about families, friends, and relatives. This information is the most valuable tools that scammers use to effectively scam you. By not giving them the tools/information they need, you make them incapable of scamming people including yourself.

3. Remain skeptical.

Being skeptical, though may be perceived as offensive by other people, is another powerful armor against scams or frauds.What does it take to be skeptical? Be logical, be reasonable and use your common sense. The reason why our brains are located higher than our hearts is for us to put logic above our emotions.

For instance, you met a lady from a dating website for whom you found yourself madly in love with. Because of the distance between the two of you, she requested that you subsidize her travel expense so that you can finally see each other in person. What are you going to do? Are you going to jump immediately into giving her what she asked for? Be skeptical! 

Ads targeting Older men.

This may hurt the oldies but the truth is, most victims of dating/marriage scams on the Internet are older men.Most scammers target the old men because they are proven to be the most desperate group. These ads promote the idea that the women from a foreign country prefer older men because they are more faithful. Additionally, they promote mature men stating that these women prefer men who are established. All of which is a lie. They just want your money! You are therefore highly advised to avoid advertisement that specifies old men as what they’re looking for.

Agencies or Webmasters

Avoid agencies/matchmakers or websites that require any of the following;

a) Registration Fee

b) Membership Fee

c) Introduction Fee

d) Arrangement Fee

e) “Mandatory” Donation

Any form of payment required for any of their services should be studied and decided upon carefully.

I hope this article provided you with enough information to be able to detect and avoid scammers. You can also contact us directly if you think you have been a victim of fraud.

Surveillance Expectations versus Reality

When it comes to surveillance expectations versus reality it is usually in the eye of the beholder as to the degree of success a private investigator will enjoy.

Surveillance is not a science it is an art. By and large, the success of a surveillance depends on the observer. And perhaps even greater by the environment surrounding the surveillance. Many who call to have a surveillance conducted have never done so before. With that comes a variety of questions and assumptions about the surveillance process. Thus, surveillance expectations should be tempered with reasonable goals. Getting video of infidelity in a bedroom will not happen,

Expectations

It has been my experience that the decision to watch someone comes quickly. Usually when something happens in a relationship that triggers a suspicion or furthers a previous suspicion. Professionals know that last minute surveillances are a challenge as there is little or no time to plan and prepare.  Planning a surveillance well in advance of the actual operation is always best. This allows the investigator to take tactical advantage of the circumstances that the case presents. This is particularly true in Costa Rica as the distance the team must travel in order to arrive at the surveillance destination is sometimes between four to six hours.

Reality

For example, many of the resorts in Costa Rica, Colombia and Ecuador have a gated and guarded entrance. Accessing these as a non-guest is very difficult. If the target of a surveillance has given information about the location they will be staying sufficiently in advance of arrival, it allows the investigator and his team to make reservations at the same location and allows for surveillance that will be very successful. It also permits for the surveillance team to access the resort at will thus making the chances of success much greater.

A professional will have a  surveillance team. Organizing and placing agents in locations that give the best vantage is essential to a successful surveillance. So-called investigators that try and do this alone are doomed to failure. Today,   awareness of what is going on in the immediate area and seeing the same face too often will alert a target of being watched.

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.

Searching Web for a Private Investigator Costa Rica? Caution!

Caution When Searching Web for a Private Investigator in Costa Rica

Info LogoSearching the web for a private investigator Costa Rica? Caution! See sites that say they are the “premier” private investigation agency in Costa Rica? Others that say, “we are the only American-owned, full-time agency located in Costa Rica? (Actually, one such claim is completely false as the principal was deported and now resides in a neighboring country, and, is forbidden to re-enter Costa Rica.) Or declaring that “our private investigator possess decades of experience in Federal Law Enforcement, Military Special Forces, Investigations, and Personal Protection?” Perhaps other sites that say “Investigations & Intelligence services in Costa Rica 30+ YEARS OF PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR EXPERIENCE”. All claims without substance. One such company is a referral source out of Los Angeles that does not identify the private investigators. 

CAUTION!

Searching Private Investigator Costa Rica

About us iconFirst of all I am an American and my full time job is being a Private Investigator Costa Rica, dedicated to private investigations in Costa Rica. Secondly, I can verify my credentials. Others can’t or won’t. Searching for a reliable, trustworthy and affordable private investigator is a challenge. First, most clients looking for these types of services have very little information upon which to make a decision. Secondly, clients usually don’t have any idea of what to ask or look for when searching for a private investigator. Thirdly, most clients are unsure what it takes to have a successful investigation and feel guilty inquiring about such services.

A Private Investigator that is Reliable and Trustworthy is Challenging

Handshake iconJust because someone touts his phenomenal exploits and experience, there is no clearing house to prove or disprove such outlandish claims. For example; “decades of Federal experience”, “expert witness in Federal Court”, ‘ U.S. Trained forensic expert”, all such claims are ambiguous and without foundation. Most of the former law enforcement men and women that are private investigators know that being a Federal Agent does not in any way prepare you for the real world of private investigations. First, Federal Agents have at their disposal unlimited resources and budgets. It’s nothing for the government to assign 50 or 60 agents to one case. Each branch of the Federal Law enforcement has very specialized areas of investigations and the agents assigned to those areas are not permitted to work outside their assigned division.

Thus, if an agent is assigned to forensics such as computers, blood types or fingerprints, what training and knowledge does he have to conduct a surveillance with limited resources and budget? Secondly, being an expert witness is at the sole discretion of the Court. If someone is deemed an expert witness on ballistics, what does this mean if the case being investigated is child custody?

It has been my pleasure to work with numerous Federal agents. They are professional and absolutely the best at the specialty they investigate. However, it has been my experience that they make less than average private investigators. Most Federal agents that retire find work in the corporate sector, which like the government has an abundance of resources and financial allocations to carry out their missions. Most private investigations involve individuals with limited resource and budgets.

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.