Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) has been the center for investment and new freedoms in the Middle East, and it is among most measures, the most modern and Western society with the most freedom and highest quality of life anywhere in the Middle East. The U.A.E. is a success story, and no city flaunts that success more than glitzy Dubai. It is home of the tallest building in the world, an indoor snow skiing facility, and countless millionaires and major investors. Dubai may have ridden the success and excess too far, and the UAE and Dubai in particular is suffering from a complete collapse in its real estate market. And, the global recession is making matters worse. Dubai private investigators say that one trend rising faster than ever, and seemingly overlooked, is the rise in fraud and scam cases coming from the U.A.E.

With the rising incident of scam and business fraud cases impacting the UAE, investment in this region has just got more risky. International investment and business deals, more than ever, are being verified with a background check or professional due diligence service. Dubai is home to a staggering number of ex-patriots and foreigners, and it’s not always easy to know who you’re dealing with. If you’re making an investment from abroad, or discussing a possible business agreement with new contacts, it’s essential to have these contacts verified. In fact, private investigation activity here is booming. Criminals operating from Dubai (and even as far away as China) are publicizing false business opportunities and seeking out potential buyers, who are later victims of fraud. Criminal operations often work from Dubai or other countries trying to attract potential investors and businesses seeking to get in the Dubai market at a low price.

Scammers use convincing methods and propose a very believable business idea or real estate offer. These con men can even meet their victims in Dubai in hotels, and present authentic looking documents and convince their victims that the deal is real, and only the initial payment is needed to close the deal. Once the payment is made, which can often be in the thousands or even millions of dollars, the criminal disappears without a trace. Demand for verification is up, and some private investigators in Dubai say they have more background check and due diligence requests than they can handle. Dubai is home to some of the most sophisticated business fraud and internet scams, and caution is advised. Investigators and law enforcement say that international due diligence is key to avoid scams and fraud in Dubai and the U.A.E.

Surprisingly, law enforcement and government officials have quietly brushed this problem under the rug, and few media outlets or government agencies will acknowledge the problem. Private investigators in Dubai are not licensed by the government, nor are they viewed upon by the government as a positive or productive occupation. Rather, private investigators are discouraged from operating in the U.A.E., and the government will not issue a business license if its primary line of business is private investigation. Several professional investigators and firms have gotten around this obstacle, and do operate legally within the loopholes. Industry observers and international investigation experts say the fact that private investigators cannot operate openly causes further problems in UAE society, as fraud is not so easily investigated.

For all business deals, new contacts, potential purchases and other international business in Dubai, consider a professional private investigation or background check firm to verify, and screen the case for fraud. Working with a private investigation company based outside the UAE but with local field investigators in Dubai is often a wise alternative to local companies, as they can operate with fewer restrictions.

Best of luck,

A Hathaway
© 2011 A. Hathaway

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