Saturday, 2 January 2016


My worst fails in 11 years as a P.I.:

11. Accidentally dropping your evidence recorder into your Venti latte.

10. Not calling your surveillance in to local P.D. & having a nosey neighbour call in a "suspicious vehicle".

9. Realizing you shouldn't have had the 3 cups of tea & a bottle of water before your surveillance.

8. Staring at the subject location for hours, looking away for a second, & they're gone.

7. Being pinned down in your "perfect hiding spot" by people 3 feet away; unaware that you're there.

6. Feeling smug for having been smart enough to bring a dog treat for the aggressive dog - then realizing there are 2 of them.

5. Talking to your client about her baby on the way - and she's not having one.

4. Being a female, disguised as a man. And it works.

3. Speeding to catch back up to a subject you're tailing & then seeing the red & blue lights in the rear-view.

2. Working (& recording) undercover & accidentally hitting the "playback" button on your audio recorder.

1. Submitting photo "evidence" for Court; which unbeknownst to you, includes your teenaged daughter's selfies she secretly used your camera for.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

TYPES OF Frauds & Scams

According to the Canadian Anti Fraud Centre

There are many known scams, pitches and fraud types, including variations thereof, with new ones invented daily. The following are some of those listed on the Anti-Fraud website:

900 Numbers
The consumer is encouraged, either via a letter by mail or email, to call a 1-900 number in order to claim some type of prize.

Advance payment scams
When a fraudster requests an upfront payment for the promise of good, services, and / or financial gains and never deliver on their promise.

Card Scams
Organized criminals have the technology which allows them to "skim" the data contained on magnetic stripes, manufacture phony cards, and overcome such protective features as holograms

Counterfeit products and cheques
Fraudsters have become proficient in producing web sites, email, goods, and fraudulent cheques that have the same look and feel as the real item.

False charities
Bogus charities use names that are very close to the names of legitimate and respected charities. The end of the years is the peak season for charity appeals. It is also the peak for the bogus charity appeals.

Emergency scams
Though the "Emergency Scam" (or sometimes referred to as the "Grandparent Scam") has been around for years, The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre warns the public to be alert after noting a marked increase in the number of complaints in the last two months.

Extortion scams
Extortion is a criminal offence of obtaining money, property, or services from a person, entity, or institution, through coercion.. The extortionist threatens to reveal information that is potentially embarrassing, socially damaging, or incriminating unless their demand is met.
**** I will be posting my recent experience with EXTORTIONISTS shortly, including their demands & my response. Be sure to report criminal acts to Police.

Romance scams:
Any individual with false romantic intentions towards a victim gains their affection and trust (sometimes with the promise of marriage) and access to the victim's money, bank account, credit cards, or in some cases by getting the victim (usually unknowingly) to commit fraud on their behalf

Friday, 17 July 2015

Scam Alerts & Tips to Protect Yourself Summer 2015

Monthly Fraud & Scam AlertAugust 2015

 Three Recent Scams to watch for:

1. Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Scam
    Method: email & telephone calls
Email: We recently received one of these emails to our business email address. We knew that the CRA does not make initial contact via email or telephone call; however, to a lay person, these emails can appear very convincing. These scammers take advantage of a common fear of the taxman; even threatening to file a lawsuit backed by the full force of the Canadian Government if payment is not made immediately.

Tip: See what email address reply emails are sent to simply by hitting “Reply”. We did this and it was clearly obvious it was not a CRA or Canadian Government email address (in addition, the email address they typed at the top of the email did not match the reply one). Of course, do not actually send a reply & never click a link in an email you are not 100%certain of.
Phone: The BBB has seen a dramatic increase in calls from consumers who report being called by someone claiming to be a Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Agent. “The scam artists gives a fake ID badge number and threatens the consumer with arrest by the RCMP if back payment of owed taxes are not paid immediately. Consumers are then instructed to wire money to a fake CRA account.

Again, CRA would send you a formal letter and would never request money be wired to them. Never wire money to any stranger in response to an email or phone call without doing your due diligence. To be safe, just never do it at all’ there are far safer ways of sending funds (e.g. Interac).

Tip: ask the caller to recite your Social Insurance Number. Legitimate CRA agents would have this & other personal security information on hand. Alternatively, ask them to leave a number so you can call them back when you are not busy – then look it up. You should quickly be able to ascertain if it is a CRA or Government of Canada number. The majority of telephone scammers & aggressive phone solicitors now use VOIP (voice over IP) numbers so never be fooled because a number “looks real”.

2. Redirected Robocalls
Method: Telephone calls
We recently booked flights with both Air Canada & WestJet but it is unclear if this is how the scammers obtained our telephone number. Receiving these calls shortly after booking may lull some people into believing they are legit.

Victims are called and told they have won a prize from a recorded call claiming to be affiliated with a reputable company, such as WestJet, (we receive calls from “Westjet and Air Canada”). It turns out that all they end up winning is a sales pitch for a cheap vacation or worse. The telephone number looks local because they use VOIP; however, the calls originate from Malaysia & The Philippines. They can be extremely aggressive; calling daily, and will simply hang up in your face when you request to be removed from their call list – only to call again the next day.

3.  Security Breach of Information (Big Box Stores)
Method: Hacking, email, & telephone calls
Two – pronged scam

First, the hack. Your personal and financial information has been stolen by hackers to be used for Identity Theft.

Second, the scoop. Scammers call victims of these hacks; pretending to be the big-box store, credit agency, or credit-protection/ security company. The purpose of the call is to trick the victim into giving their personal information or to get them to pay for "Identity protection” (that doesn’t exist). They may obtain the victim's name from the original hack or they just cold call until they "hit" a victim. This scam literally causes the victim to be scammed twice, doubling their exposure to identity theft.

Tip: Use credit cards instead of store-cards & debit cards. Virtually all credit card companies have zero-liability policies; however, by using a debit card, you will likely not be able to recover a cent stolen from you. If you do open a store-card, only give them the information needed & no extra. They intentionally collect information on customers for advertising purposes. Ensure that all of your banking passwords for accounts & credit cards are different so that if they hack one account, they can't get into others. Check your credit report; doing so can alert you of hacking before the store or the news announces it.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Employee Theft & Fraud

Employee theft and fraud can affect any type or size of business such as; corporate or professional, small business, service provider, retail, restaurant, or grocer.

AREAS of employee theft and fraud:
  • Embezzlement
  • Property
  • Merchandise
  • Cash
  • Time
  • Illness & injury benefits
  • Identity or credit card information
  • Proprietary Information
SIGNS of employee theft and fraud:
  • Retail business with shrinkage rates higher than 1.04% (Canada)
  • Cash drawers being out or accounts that don’t reconcile
  • Your competition inexplicably seems to have insider knowledge of your business
  • Unexplained increased costs
  • Increase in medical claims & sick days
  • Customer complaints regarding unauthorized charges to credit cards
  • Any sign of surreptitious audio recording or unauthorized computer program installations, downloads, or log ins
SIGNS that may point to a specific employee
  • Disgruntled, resentful, or un-invested behaviour or comments
  • Evasive response or unlikely explanations when asked about inconsistencies
  • Indicators of substance abuse. Habits require money & often result in absence
  • Arriving late, leaving early, & long lunches
  • Refusal to take vacation days (their scheme may require them to make regular, manual entries to keep it from being discovered)
  • Living beyond one’s means
  • Repeated injuries and compensation claims
  • Suspicion that an injury may not have occurred at work, as claimed
  • Customer comments about inconsistent pricing or discounts for cash purchases offered by a certain employee
  • Comments by other employees
  • Employee being in an area where (or when) they have no legitimate reason to be
How to prevent employee theft and fraud:
Even though it cannot be prevented entirely, there are steps you can take to protect your business, profits, intellectual property, and even other employees. Hiring practices and proper training are key.
  • Conduct BACKGROUND CHECKS, including criminal convictions
  • Confirm references and resume claims. Some hiring policies may include drug screening or credit checks. Consult your lawyer(s) to ensure that you are acting within the law.
  • Businesses with a high percentage of minimum wage, non-permanent, employees may see higher rates of credit card skimming and identity theft yet, due to the nature of the employment, resumes are scrutinized and verified the least.
  • Create & implement clear, comprehensive, policies & training practices
  • Create a positive work environment where staff are paid fairly, feel appreciated, and are rewarded (praise, bonuses). Numerous studies have shown that employees who feel valued and appreciated are more loyal and less likely to steal or commit fraud.
  • Reduce opportunity. This may be as simple as locking an office door, installing cameras, or changing passwords or login procedure.
Increasing your company’s protection against theft and fraud may take an investment of time, effort, and expense; (particularly when implementing new policy & procedure) but the benefits of doing so far outweigh the costs

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Valentine's: Christmas for Scammers

Along with the increased online dating ads, obligatory chocolates, & overpriced roses, February brings an increase in romance & internet dating scams. Romance scams are now Canada's # 1 and fastest-growing crime.
The internet is now the most prevalent way in which strangers meet. Online dating can be a completely legitimate way to find romance & there are probably lots of great people online, (although I've yet to meet one). Unfortunately, (male & female), scammers are also out there. I'm not referring to people who lie about their age, photo shopping, or income; (although, that is annoying), but to those who actually earn a very lucrative living by manipulating unsuspecting victims.

Background checks are quick & inexpensive & can help to prevent financial & emotional ruin. Googling someone is simply no longer enough. Even a minimally skilled fraudster can create a convincing, (yet fake), online presence in no time. We typically get contacted after the fact; in an attempt to mitigate or recover damages (good luck). All too often we hear, "I wish I knew about you sooner...".
Background checks can be an integral step in protecting one's self but they are only part of the equation. Being proactive and able to identify a possible scam are also vital. A quiz, signs, tips, & case studies are on our Romance Scam page at

Just yesterday, someone tried to convince me that meeting people in person somehow provides inoculation from being scammed. Wrong. (see our case studies). When you first meet someone; regardless of how you meet, you are only going to know about that person what they want you to know.
The answer is not to sit home alone or background check everyone in your inbox. The best approach likely means striking a healthy balance between opening one's self up to new possibilities & due diligence. Arm yourself with knowledge and then, by all means, go try to find Mr. or Mrs. Right, (or just treat yourself to a new pair of shoes instead).
Happy Valentine's
Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre

Thursday, 5 February 2015

How a P.I. Can Save Personal Injury Lawyers - and Their Clients - Time & Money

  1. Re-interview & obtain statements from existing witnesses, (may provide new or different information) 
  2. Identify, locate, & interview new witnesses that have not yet provided statements.
  3. Accident scene investigation, (documentation, evidence collection and neighbourhood canvassing)
  4. Counter-surveillance & surveillance.
  5. Due diligence & investigations. Vetting (plaintiff) or records checks re: previous claims or fraud (defendant driver)
  6. “Independent” Medical Examination accompaniment & transportation.
  7. Our unique Plaintiff Services, (exclusive to Axiom Investigations; details upon request).
  8. Process serving; including complex, evasive, or hostile service, (regular process servers are not licensed for interviewing & questioning

Saturday, 24 January 2015