Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Background Checks & Investigators in Demand

The global recession and economic turmoil worldwide has fueled a rise in international scams and advance fee fraud cases. One nation that has seen a significant increase is the United Kingdom, where complaints and reports of scam and fraud cases have skyrocketed. According to one source, internet and dating scams reported to the MET (Metropolitan Police Service) in London have nearly doubled since the recession officially began in 2008. Consumers have become more educated in knowing the warning signs, but unfortunately the crimes keep evolving.

Although the online scams and fraud vary from case to case, by far the most common form is the classic advance fee fraud. In this type of scam or fraud, which can take on the form of endless combinations and scenarios, an advance fee is always required to recieve something in exchange, whether it be an insurance settlement, an inheritance, an arrival of a loved one (such as purchasing the plane ticket for an online dating partner) or the delivery of goods. Advance fee fraud effects individuals and organizations alike, and almost no one is immune.

Private investigators operating in the U.K. and elsewhere in Europe report sizeable increases in the demand for international background checks. Clients want to be sure they're not going to be a victim, and in other cases when it is too late to screen for fraud, clients are seeking justice or a recovery of financial losses.

Industry experts suggest the high level of criminal activity via the internet in West Africa is partly to blame. Another factor in the scam cases involving online relationships is the simple fact that more people are dating, communicating and starting relationships (business and personal) via the Internet. Dating background checks are strongly advised. Online dating sites are rapidly attracting new customers, and new sites are booming.

Professional investigators advise consumers to get a U.K. background check early in the relationship, rather than wait until it is too late. Play it safe, and consider a background check investigation as a form of insurance. Lastly, be skeptical for financial requests and situations that seem too good to be true. Don't reveal any personal data that could be used against you without having the subject verified by a professional investigator or reputable background check firm.

Best of luck,

A. Hathaway
© 2010 A. Hathaway
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This copyrighted article was written and published by the editor and site author, A. Hathaway, or other guest private investigator, expert or contributor as noted.