Guard your wallet, protect your dignity, and maintain your sanity this holiday season! Scams are evolving with the times and infiltrate all aspects of our lives. Modern day society has access to an overwhelming amount of information, so we hope we can provide some guidance on a few common schemes we have looked into recently.
On Social Media
Be cautious on social media, especially when buying or selling from Facebook Marketplace. One of our analysts listed a big-ticket item for sale on Facebook Marketplace and was inundated with requests for an email address in order for the potential buyers to send a Zelle payment.
Zelle scams are prevalent today, and scam artists who pretend to be interested in a product will send spoof emails purporting to be Zelle. The emails will state that “Zelle” requires the recipient of the funds to pay a business fee in order for the transaction to go through. The scam artist will then pocket the business fee and disappear. Be sure to check the sender’s address when receiving emails or transactions from Zelle and know that a reasonable person would want to see an item for sale prior to the actual transaction.
Shopping during the holidays can be downright chaotic. From messy stores to packed parking lots, the odds of someone getting hurt are high. There are those who are legitimately injured, and then there are those who will go out of their way to exaggerate or fake an injury. We have seen all of the above, and our surveillance service has been an effective way for our clients to confirm limitations and stated claims by an injured party. We have documented subjects working when they claimed they had no way to support their families, we have seen subjects barely use a cane when they alleged they had to use a walker at all times, and we have observed subjects playing sports or working on jobsites for hours.
Another useful way to confirm an individual’s level of activity is through a social media investigation. Our social media reports are curated dossiers and can be insightful if the subject has a significant online presence. We can also tailor our searches to a specific timeframe to highlight posts around the time of an injury and afterwards.
On Dating Sites
The fall and winter seasons are what many consider to be “cuffing season”— the season in which single people seek out a partner to keep them cozy throughout the colder months. Con artists scour dating sites and even professional social media such as LinkedIn and hook in their victims by preying on their emotions and empathy. After establishing a connection with their victim, the scam artist will almost always ask for money in some form, whether it be a wire transfer or a crypto transfer, to help them with a life crisis, such as a sudden hospitalization.
Our research team is well-versed in dating scams and know which red flags to look out for. We are frequently learning new techniques to assist us in researching these specific cases. We recommend starting out with a national deep background report to determine if the subject is who they say they are.
If your find yourself in a potentially sketchy situation, contact us so we can see how we can help you get to the bottom of it!