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.

Conducting Surveillance in Costa Rica

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

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

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

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

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

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

Setting Expectations for Costa Rica Infidelity Cases

This is part 2 of a blog Setting Expectations for Costa Rica Infidelity Cases

Cheater photoIn part two of setting expectations for Costa Rica infidelity cases, we will examine some of the mechanical issues of carrying out such investigations.  With the arrival of high season just around the corner we here in Costa will see an increase in inquiries about infidelity investigations. I feel that one important part of taking on a new client is setting expectations, including for cost, process, outcome, and findings. Many clients do not understand the process, including associated costs and the timeframe for gathering relevant information. I find that by setting expectations for Costa Rica infidelity cases. it is best to provide the client with sufficient information prior to commencement in order to avoid misunderstandings in the future. The investigative process utilized in these types of cases is an art not a science and as such has to be flexible as theses situations are fluid and change rapidly.

Further Recomendations and Adivce

  1. Timelines are given a realistic approach in each case as it begins to gather momentum. Initialy however the client is advised that until the target is acquired, it will take an approximate 3 – 6 hours of observation; which establishes how the target interacts in their setting. Following this a briefing is conducted with the client to establish a time line on when the investigtor will be communicating with them during the operation.
  2. Fees, costs are presented on a case by case consultation basis, after the initial intake and objectives of the clients wants andneeds. The fee is agreed upon and a non refundable contract is then entered into with the aforementioned listed as a description of services to expect.
  3. No pictures of them in bed together. Just as it is in the United States, there are privacy laws here. Usually we restrict our photographic work to videos of coduct that is vlearly egrgious or suspicious. Catching them in the sack with each otehr is not going to happen. It is not like you see on television.
  4. No Guarantee on Results, we cannot manufacture indiscretions and investigators who say they have never been made in a surveillance have not done that many surveillances or are just not being truthful. A retainer is required and additional time or cost will be approved by the client. We will maintain communication with the client via a safe phone. Do they really want to know? What will they do when they find out?
  5. We explain that there are cases where their loved is not be cheating. As previously mentioned, certain cases because of the controlling nature of the client, their loved one may just be lying to spend more time with their friends. Whether to watch a football game or just hangout, aby thing is possible is possible. Every investigation begins with the idea that the person could or could not be cheating. By explaining to our infidelity clients that once we begin to see signs (evidence) of cheating, we follow up on those leads to confirm or disprove that they are directly associated with infidelity.
  6. Each assignment brings a different cost, outcome, results and findings and are different due to the client, their loved one and the paramour involved in the matter. With the matter of children and the potential of or outcome of domestic violence, this to will reflect in this answer.
  7. Suggest counseling. A report will be given with photos and or video.
  8. The more information they provide the more cost effective and best chance of providing results.
  9. Worse case scenario at the inception of the inquiry. By the time they call us they know the answer. They just want proof.
  10. Findings and end results. It has been my experience that not all clients are ready to accept the findings abd want additional surveillance. Sometimes they are in denial and have a difficult time believing their loved one would cheat on them.
  11. Our clients are told the expectations are entirely up to the target we surveil. It all depends on the activities that taregt is engaged in during the hours of surveillance. Targets do not perform on cue! We tell our clients that domestic investigations generally cost between $2,500 & $5,000 depending on the circumstances. We have had domestic cases where we have billed more and have always had good results.

 

 

Costa Rica and “Mickey Finn”

Coming to Costa Rica and “Mickey Finn”

A social media working girl had a lot more on her mind than friendship, Costa Rica investigators say.

A Costa Rica woman woman prowled for victims on the social networks and then arranged for an intimate rendezvous according to Costa Rica Private Investigator, Cody Gear.

Colombian Woman 2

Our client as well as several others, I imagine took the bait. The woman was a “mickey finn” scammer who quickly spiked the drink of her new male victim and then clean out the apartment or house. The Judicial Investigating Organization (OIJ) suspects she obtained at least $15,000 in jewelry in one case. OIJ suspects the same woman of commiting the sane crime against another man where she took almost $10,000 in cash.

Costa Rica and “Mickey Finn”

Many who come here in search of establishing a relationship with a women are susceptable to this type of scam. The problem here is that these women are using some type of drug to incapacitate the victim in order to carry out their theft. Many of the men who visit here are older and many have health conditions that places them in peril if they are drugged with the wrong type of medication.  By taking up an ad on a person that is offering an intimate relationship, that no one knows, is like a crap shoot. You may or may not survive it.

News reports that OIJ Agents said they located some of the items when they searched the woman’s home in Desamparados Tuesday. When OIJ agents searched the woman’s home in Desamparados Tuesday, agents said they located some of the items. She faces charges of aggravated robbery and attempted murder.

This is another example in a long line of examples of scammers who prey upon the unsuspecting. More often than not the the victim is an expat. Most victims say they were overcomed by sudden drowsiness after taking one or more women to their apartment.

Directories Offering PI Services in Costa Rica

Beware of Directories Offering PI Services in Costa Rica

CG logoThere are several directories offering PI services in Costa Rica. These are nothing more than clearing houses for a web entrepreneur to get a percentage by referring you case to one of their members. More than often the members of such directories have to do nothing to obtain the referral except joining the directory and paying a small subscription fee. The directories in turn do no or little due diligence and refer your case to someone they know nothing about. Recently I was curious and call one that is prominently displayed in the Google organic search and learned that it was a call center located in the western United States. When I inquired as to who was the PI in Costa Rica the CSR couldn’t tell me.

Directories offering PI Services in Costa Rica look professional and glitzy

Remember all that glitters is not gold. I have seen several of these sites and they all use the same format. They advertise professional investigators in all parts of the world. Think about that. The major PI firms in the world are Pinkertons, Wakenhut, and Wells Fargo. None of these prestigous firms pass their clients to anyone that is not thouroughlyvetted.

When you have a problem that needs the attention of a tried and trued professional private investigator, you are rolling the dice when you use a directory in the selection process. Most of the directories want to be the intermediator between you and the PI. The reason? They want their cut of the fees. They know that if you deal directly with the PI they will receive nothing. What do the directories bring to the table? Nothing but names and referrals of who they know nothing about.

When your problems are such that you need a reliable and professional PI, do you due diligence and vet the PI your self. What kind of experience, education and training doe the PI have to accomplish your objecties? Are those qualifications verifiable? Last year there was a PI in Costa Rica who advertised that he was a former federal agent, a former Navy Seal along with a myriad of other unverifiable puffery. He was apprehended by the Immigration Service of Costa Rica and was deported for being in Costa Rica illegally. He is now in Nicaragua offering PI services in Costa Rica, a country he is forbidden to enter. HE IS ALSO A MEMBER OF SEVERAL OF THESE DIRECTORIES!

If you need or want aprofessional and reliable private investigator contact us. We have verifiable qualifications and references. We are available 24/7 to serve you.

 

Dealing with a Cheating Spouse in Costa Rica

Dealing with a Cheating Spouse in Costa Rica

Cheater photoI have many clients that ask me what do I do when dealing with a cheating spouse in Costa Rica? Have you just recently learned or recently become suspicious  that your spouse is or has been cheating on you? If you have concrete proof, you may want to confront him or her right away. Of course, it is your decision to do so, but there are a few important points that you will want to take into consideration first. After all, calling out a cheating spouse is a major step, but is it one that you are ready to take? Has he all of a sudden take a real interest in travelling to Costa Rica alone? Is he being untruthful with you as to his destinations, hotel and transportation?  All of these are signs of infidelity which you need answers.

When looking to confront a cheating spouse, it is important to know that you can do so at just about any point in time. If you are ready to confront your spouse now, go ahead and do so. If you would prefer to wait, like until you are ready to start divorce proceedings, be sure to wait. Although it may be difficult to stand the sight of your significant other, it is important to proceed with caution. It is always best to have proof in the form of a photo or video to show them in the event of denial. Remember a picture is worth a thousand words.

One of the best times to confront your spouse is when you have concrete proof. Did you seem them cheating? Were they having \*\*\* or just out to dinner? What about documentation? Do you have pictures or video of your spouse having inappropriate actions with another? Do you have credit card receipts or cell phone bills that point towards an affair? If you do, you may be ready to confront your spouse. Unfortunately, too many men and women make the mistake of jumping the gun.

Although there is a good chance that you may choose to forgive your cheating spouse, you may also wish to terminate the relationship. Until you are ready to start divorce proceedings, it is a wise idea to not say anything. Many men and women feel comfort and peace of mind when they are first able to get their life in order before they spring a divorce on their husband or wife.

Another sign that you may be ready to confront your cheating spouse is if you are ready to leave the home if you have to. With that being said, it is important to not leave in certain circumstances. Is the home in your name? Do you help to pay the bills or do you pay most of them? Do you have children? If so, you may want to refrain from uprooting your whole life. Instead, make your cheating spouse leave. Just know that they may refuse to do so right away.

As previously stated, it is a wise idea to get your affairs in order before confronting a cheating spouse and asking them for a divorce. You will want to place a good focus on your finances. Are you in good financial standing? Does most of your money belong to your spouse or is it in their control? If so, you may want to wait. Unless you have a good and secure network of friends and family members, it is important to make sure that you can financially survive on your own, especially if you have children.

The best time to confront a cheating spouse is when you know it is safe to do so. Does your husband or wife have violent tendencies? If so, be sure to keep the kids away. Next, consider confronting them in public or have a trusted friend, relative, or the police on hand. For your safety, never confront a cheating spouse who has been drinking or who has used drugs. This is likely to increase the chance of violence. Confronting your spouse and ending your relationship should be important to you, but please don’t put yourself at risk.

Since there are no guarantees that cheating could be going on, even with the above mentioned signs present, additional steps should be taken. These steps can and should include monitoring cell phone calls, viewing the cell phone bill, or hiring a private investigator. Never confront your husband or wife without the proper proof. Be sure to get solid evidence of cheating, otherwise you could be creating a whole new problem in your relationship.

When Hiring a Private Investigator in Costa Rica, Buyer Beware

When hiring a private investigator in Costa Rica, buyer beware.

Costa Rica Private InvestigatorCaveat Emptor:  Latin for “let the buyer beware.” The basic premise that the buyer buys at his/her own risk and therefore should examine and test a product himself/herself for obvious defects and imperfections.  No less scrutiny should be given when obtaining services, especially if you are relying on the internet to provide you potential service providers.

Hiring a private investigator anywhere should be done with the same caution as hiring a lawyer. Many of the services provided by private investigators are sensitive in nature and demand that whoever you hire adheres to the highest ethical standards and is in fact who they hold themselves out to be. The last thing you need is to place your trust in some inept, unreliable, inexperienced and dishonest private investigator who is not what they represent themselves to be.

How should you go about deciding which private investigator to hire? First and foremost, the private investigator should physically be in the jurisdiction they say they are in providing investigative services. Google does not screen internet advertisers and does not rate or otherwise tell you if they are reputable and trustworthy. The search engines publishes whatever the submitter of information writes with absolutely no verification. They do not verify that the person is actually in the location they purport to be. Thus you should have proof that they are there and not “farming out” services to less than ethical or professional private investigators.

Secondly, visit the Facebook, Google+ and other social media networks and read the content contain therein.  A quick review will speak volumes about the private investigator and his professionalism. During your review if you read comments that are personal in nature and seething of contempt for clients and or other professional private investigators, you should consider checking out other private investigators.

Thirdly, check the local news outlets and see if there are any news articles about the investigator or the private investigative agency. In Costa Rica you have several English news outlets such as;  AM Costa RicaInside Costa Rica and The Tico Times.  In searching these news outlets you find information that causes alarm you should avoid that private investigator.

Fourthly, never send money to any private investigator in via Western Union or MoneyGram. Costa Rica is infamous for scams involving sending money by this method.  If they don’t have a Costa Rica Bank account or other reliable method to send money buyer beware. If they don’t have an office or business telephone in Costa Rica, buyer beware.

Finally, check out their credentials. Don’t blindly accept what they say. For example I am a Certified Fraud Examiner in good standing with the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. A check with them will reveal that claim is real. Ask for references and delay your decision until you verify the private investigator with the references they provide. Ask who will be conducting the investigation. If they are in another country and cannot travel to Costa Rica you can rest assured that your case will be handled poorly.

Accidental and Violent Deaths in Costa Rica

Beach scene 3According to numbers released by the Costa Rica Red Cross, this December has seen the highest number of accidental and violent deaths in Costa Rica for over six years.  This December has witnessed 105 violent or accidental deaths, in addition to 350 persons seriously injured by violence or accidents.

The Red Cross broke down the death an injuries to a total of 37 people killed this month as the result of traffic accidents, while another 155 suffered serious injuries. Between December 1st and December 30th, 24 people were killed with firearms, knives, or sharp weapons, while another 69 remain in serious or critical condition.

A total of 10 people have been killed in water-related accidents at beaches, rivers, or lakes – three of them minors.

It is always advisable to exercise caution when travelling in Costa Rica as the roadway system is inadequate for the heavy traffic that presents itself on a daily basis. The Pacific Ocean is know for its deadly run-outs and claim lives every year. The other violent deaths are primarily associated with the local population. However you should avoid areas that by hteir very appearance suggest danger.

Costa Rica Scams Continue

Costa Rica Scams Continue to Flourish: It must be that time of the year as several news agencies are reporting that Costa Rica Scams Continue. The two most prominent types of scams involved a text message or an email purporting that the recipient has wan a large money prize. We are familiar with this scam […]

Costa Rica-Panama Crossing has more headaches

CG logoThe Costa Rica-Panama Crossing has more headaches than ever. Recently, a group of Costa Rica football players were travelling to Panama to play a game in David. At the border the Panamanian immigration required each person to demonstrate that they had $500 on their person or prove they had that much in an account they could access from Panama. The team had a few Americans and in addition to the foregoing they were required to produce proof of a return trip ticket to the United States from Panama. The Americans were detained at the border until they provided proof of purchase of a return trip to the United States.

It is unclear whether this initiative was solely the Panamanian Government or a collaboration between Costa Rica and Panama to stem the abuse of the “permanent tourist”  which Costa Rica wants to stop. It has long been the custom in Costa Rica that Americans were given a visa stamp for 90 days. Many Americans who stay here longer would travel to either Panama or Nicaragua to obtain another 90 day stamp. Now the entry into Costa Rica is for 30 days and Americans must show proof of a return to the United States.

It is apparent that the governments in this part of the world are increasing their efforts to impeded Americans from freely moving between countries or otherwise not complying with local immigration regulations. Residency requirements in Costa Rica are in a perpetual state of flux with changes taking place with little or no thought as to the consequences.

It is advisable that if you go to the border by land for any reason that you should be prepared to face obstacles, particularly if you are an American. If you need assistance prior to travelling I suggest that you contact us to learn the latest in border crossing snafus.