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With Rising Fraud Cases, Private Investigations are Growing

With Rising Fraud Cases, Private Investigations are Growing

The Philippines is a country famous for its beautiful beaches that look like paradise on Earth, for its attractive women and then for something not so nice: scams. Unfortunately, the Philippines has an escalating fraud and scam issue and this is no secret to anyone.  It seems some are comfortable with the fact that many people in the Philippines legitimize fraud as a source of employment and development in the country, whether it is in the public sector or in a privately held network of criminals. In the past two years, Philippines has been ranked as a corrupt nation by the Corruption Perception Index, with a score of 34 points out of 100 (with 100 being very clean and 0 being highly corrupt).

This problem is not only a perception matter. It is a real thing. As the scamming grows, private investigators in Manila and Cebu are seeing a greater demand for services like surveillance and dating background checks, but they are also investigating a lot of new schemes and an increasing amount of highly trained online criminals who are using new methods to cheat people.

Foreigners have always been the main target, but the problem has spread and it is reaching more people than it did in the past. Scamming victims used to be those visiting the Philippines as tourists and those who had met a Filipina or Filipino online and fell victim to a romance scam. The new victims include companies, investors and even senior citizens around the globe that didn´t even suspect that they were dealing with a Philippines boiler room scam or a phony company. Each day, more and more people in the U.K., U.S., Canada and Australia rely on Philippines investigators to verify potential business partners or investments.  Many investors don´t do the homework and by the time they hire the investigator, they have already lost considerable amounts of money. Prevention is key.

Professional investigators in the Philippines have also seen an important rise in the demand of services like due diligence because criminals have diversified their portfolios: from charity scams and fake aid organizations to multimillionaire carbon credit scams with bogus green investment project.  Individual making cold calls to an old lady to an enormous network of real estate scams managed by Filipinos.  It is getting more complex and harder to know how Philippines scammers operate.

New stories and variations for conducting scams are constantly appearing. Visitors, investors, or singles with an online relationship with a person from the Philippines should be alert to being targeted by even the friendliest of people. As far as the year goes, it looks like investigators will keep very busy.

International background checks are advised and due diligence is the best prevention when investing or starting a new relationship in the Philippines.  Professional investigators in Manila who have corporate clients in around the world say more clients are seeing verification services as a form of insurance in a high risk nation.  Given the rising incidence of fraud, it’s best to be covered.

While doing your initial screening and homework, never provide private data or payment to someone you’ve met via the internet.  Take time to verify as much as you can on your own, and ask for references from other customers and business contacts.  If in a personal relationship, never send money to anyone you’ve never met, and consider a dating background check.  Gather as much information as possible on the company or individual, so you can discuss your options with an investigator.

C. Wright
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