Sunday, January 28, 2007

Online Dating Warning

Pity the newspapers that run "Personals." Online dating is really hot. Unlike ads in newspapers, you can communicate instantly with a person who piques your curiosity online. But beware!

Dating sites, like,, and, etc., post almost anything you'd want to know about someone. Of course, the members write their profiles themselves, and nothing is checked out. I know that there are a couple of sites that purport to do a background check on their members, but believe me, the background check is very sketchy and incomplete. No one can afford to do a background check for $30.

When responding to an "ad" online, prepare to be surprised. Women often lie about their age, especially if they're over 50. Some subtract as many as 10 years from their real age. And the photos they put up are often several years old, and some are even of other people. They also may cheat a bit, even quite a bit, in the weight category.

Men lie too. Men are more apt to lie about their marital status than anything. A close runner-up are lies about their weight and height. Some men join dating sites just looking for sex, and sometimes money.

Men, be aware that scammers from other countries are likely to contact you. (In many cases, they're men posing as women.) They'll try to get you to become infatuated with them, even sending phoney pictures. When they've got you hooked, they ask you to send them some money so that they can come over here. You send the money and they'll keep it and stay put.

If you meet someone online, they'll probably just give you their cellphone number. This is fine for starters. After a while, though, they should be willing to give out their home number, espeically if you've had a few dates. Be very, very suspicious of people who you've dated, but won't give you their home phone number or home address. What are they trying to hide? Believe me, it's something.

Keep track of all the information a person tells you. Good liars have to have superb memories just to keep track of all their lies. Most are bound to trip up sooner or later.

If you feel that someone is right for you, but you still remain suspicious, contact Sherlock Investigations. We can find out a person's true age, address, workplace, and marital situation, and more.

Having said all that, I endorse online dating as a great way to meet people. Just be very careful.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Wire Transfer Scams

Who wouldn't want $5000 for doing almost nothing? Say you get an email from someone in the United Kingdom. He says that he has three $5000 U.S. Postal Money Orders and can't cash them in the U.K., and he desperately needs the money.

He makes you an offer that's hard to refuse. He says that he'll mail you the money orders and asks you to deposit them in your bank. So far, so good. After you make the deposit, he asks you to wire $10,000 back to him. You get to keep $5,000 for this little gesture of good will.

Don't do it! Within a few days the bank will learn that these money orders are counterfeit. Meanwhile, the bank will have already sent the money to your contact in the U.K. Not only will your $5,000 earnings be no good, you'll owe the bank $10,000 for the money they transferred to the scammer.

Does this actually happen? Yes, every day.

This scam works in many different ways. Maybe you sold a $500 item on eBay and you receive a $3,000 check in the mail. The buyer asks you to send back $2,500. Don't do it! You'll soon discover that the $3,000 check is no good. And you've been scammed of $2,500.

If you receive a suspicious check or money order in the mail, contact your local Postal Inspectors. Check for more information.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Private Investigators

Because of TV and movies, a lot of people have misconceptions about what private eyes do. Most of us don't carry guns, and most of us don't even investigate criminal matters.

At Sherlock Investigations, our areas of expertise lie in several areas. While we do investigate crimes, especially Internet fraud, counterfeit merchandise sales, and the location of fugitives, we specialize in wiretap and bug detection, surveillance in the New York-metro area, background investigations, and the location of people for any number of reasons.

Much of our day is spent at the computer. Our access to non-public data bases enables us to find information that the suckers who buy NetDetective hope to find. Still, there is much information not found on data bases. Often, we are called upon to locate a person's place of employment. While social security searches sometimes come up with this information, it is usually out-dated. Then, we have to find it the old-fashioned way, sometimes even following somebody to work.

Several times a week we're asked to obtain a person's cell phone records. The only way to do this is to call a cell phone carrier and pretend that you're the person that you need the cell phone records for. Plain and simple, this is identity theft, and we don't do it.

There are a couple of other areas that we won't touch: obtaining medical records and how much people have in their bank accounts. Also, we do not place wiretaps, although we're often asked to. We locate them, but don't install them.

A lot of our requests from clients are unusual, but we welcome unusual requests, as long as they're legal.