Saturday, March 14, 2009

Elevated Risk Levels Warrant Extra Caution

Since the 2008 free fall in prices of crude oil, and the near collapse of the global economy, Russia and the Ukraine have entered somewhat dire straights, economically. These are nations that are crippled with fraud and corruption in a strong economy. A recession, unfortunately, always seems to bring out the worst, or in this case, the best of frauds, scams and criminals.

Scammers and criminals operating from the Ukraine and Russia have taken full advantage of the current global conditions, baiting individuals and investors around the world via the Internet. Among the tactics used are fake investment or company websites, inheritance scams, romance scams via match-making websites, and endless others. Scams are becoming more sophisticated, and in some cases, actual government documentation is even used. Scammers target businesses and use business acumen and vocabulary to build confidence in victims. Both romance and business fraud is becoming more difficult to detect.

Investors, individuals and companies are urged to obtain a professional background check or due diligence investigation prior to investing capital, serious time, or emotions in Russia or the Ukraine. Avoiding this verification can be costly.

While the number of PI services in St. Petersburg, Moscow and Kiev is still somewhat limited, there are reputable investigation and background companies available. Consumers should consider a professional investigator based in the U.K. or U.S., but with field operations in Russia or the Ukraine for reliable service.

Lastly, business deals and relationships that require an advance fee or line of credit in Russia or the Ukraine are especially suspect, and should be verified. Be safe and smart.

Best of luck,

A. Hathaway
© 2006-2009 A. Hathaway
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