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Don’t Be A Victim: Avoid These Scams

As a Private Investigator, I see situations involving scams all the time. Hearing others' stories can help the next person learn how to avoid these popular scams. Over the past few months, I have received several calls from potential clients stating they have fallen for a scam. I often hear from women that have signed up on different dating sites to find love and/or companionship. Some of the victims are scammed on "Sugar Daddy" dating websites, which are created to help these women find a companion, while also making money.

Too Good to be True  

One victim I spoke to was on a sugar daddy site and met a guy who lived overseas. The couple texted for a while and then began to talk on the phone. The scammer told her he was coming to the States to meet in person. In fact, he did come to Georgia and meet her!

She was hoping he would pay off her credit cards: approximately $15,000. As soon as he arrived, he asked her to go to a local store and purchase $12,000 of laptop computers. He then had her ship them to an address in California, which turned out to be a mail drop.

Before she made the purchase, he gave her two overseas bank accounts to sign in and pay off her credit cards. Of course, by the time she was notified by her credit card companies that the bank accounts were either fraudulent or nonexistent, it was too late. She had already made a $12,000 purchase of laptops. Now, she has her original balance on the cards plus the charges for the computers.

When I met with her, she said that each time he would call her it would always be from a different number. When she tried to call him back at that number no one would answer. He finally called her and promised to pay off her debt, but unfortunately that never happened.

Don't Send Money to a Stranger

I spoke to another victim who met a man online and engaged in conversation with him for several months. They fell in love, and he proposed to her over the phone without ever meeting each other in person. A few weeks later, after she agreed to marry him, he told her he was in financial trouble and needed help.

He claimed he was working on an oil rig and could not access his money through his bank on land. The scammer asked her to wire him money to an account he had access to; she agreed and sent over $64,000 to an overseas account. She never heard from again.

My best advice is to use caution when meeting someone online. They have the patience to build relationships over several months before they ask for money. Please, don't fall for it. Do not send any money or provide credit card or bank information! When they ask for money, no matter how big or small the sum, it is definitely a scam.

Email Scams  

Recently, I have noticed an influx in email scams. These scammers will target anybody they can; they do not pick and choose based on sex, race, age, etc. In fact, I have received several of these emails myself and determined they were scams. 

For example. I would receive an email from a "reputable and well-known company" stating that I had recently purchased their software and my credit card was charged $499.00. The email provided a 800 number to call if the purchase was in error or was not authorized.

The first thing I did was check my credit card and there was no related charge on my card. Then I called the 800 number just to see what they would say. The man on the other end of the phone said that he would be happy to remove the charge. He asked for my email address to send a link to, which would allow him to access my computer and login information.

I inquired why he just couldn't just refund my credit card. He insisted this was the only way he could make the correction. I'm sure that eventually he would have asked for my credit card information, but if he was legitimate, he would have already had my card and purchase info. I hung up on him after he begged me to give him the login and password.

Since that time, I have received numerous emails form different "companies" stating I had made a purchase of an item or software, and if that it was incorrect, I needed to contact them. All of these emails are a scam. If you receive one of these emails, first thing you should do is check with your credit card company to see is an unknown charge on your card. If you don't see a charge, it's safe to say it's a scam. Let the credit card company know about the email and be on the lookout for any charges for that item.

As you can see, scams pop up in many ways. Even the smartest, most diligent of people can fall for one by simply not paying attention. If you're located in Georgia and have fallen victim to a scam, and would like our help, please contact Southern Professional Investigations! If you are suspicious of a person, email, or otherwise, always trust your instincts- they're your best defense.

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