How to Spot a Business Email Compromise (BEC) Fraud like a Pro

Business Email Compromise fraud (BEC fraud) is a group of fast-growing type of scam in Canada that targets businesses. If you own a business, it is best to get acquainted with the tactics that BEC fraudsters use so that you’ll be better equipped to protect yourself moreso that business transactions are moving towards online channels these days. The recent data by the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre says that the worldwide cost for BEC fraud is estimated at about $5 billion dollars.

Spot Business Email Compromise Fraud

Know that BEC fraud is not a single scheme type of scam. It is composed of several schemes such as supplier phishing, CEO scam, and information theft. Supplier phishing involves fake emails that look like they came from known suppliers. Any money sent to the accounts provided by scammers via supplier phishing won’t go to the actual suppliers. CEO scam involves emails that look like they came from senior executives of the business. The receiver is tricked to wire money to a third party thinking that the order came from higher ups but are really just from scammers. Information theft looks like emails from legitimate entities requesting for sensitive information. Any information shared via these channels can then be used by the fraudsters to commit CEO fraud and supplier phishing.

Protect Your Business from Email Fraud

Protection from email fraud means that the management and employees must work together to learn about having checks and balances or enhanced email safety protocol for the benefit of everyone. Understand that BEC fraud doesn’t discriminate between large and small businesses and the sooner everyone is educated about email fraud tactics, the sooner everyone will be equipped with the knowledge they need to prevent it from happening.

Best practices to prevent Business Email Compromise Fraud include:

Being cautious at all times. Employees must take precautions about the information they share on social media sites as well as other places on the internet. Details such as someone being on vacation can be used by fraudsters to manipulate the situation to their liking.

Educating employees and employers alike. A lot of people still do not know that email addresses can be spoofed these days. As a result, it is easy to fool people to send money over using wire transfer because they think the email truly came from a colleague or from a superior. A tell-tale sign of BEC fraud is an urgent money request via wire transfer.

Learning to verify. Plenty of scams could be easily thwarted by making it a habit to verify information. If your business got an email request for payment, be sure to call or talk to the other party via their known contact details to verify if the request truly came from them.

Protecting assets electronically. Having firewalls in place, ensuring software and anti-virus are updated, and preventing copying of sensitive data can go a long way in making sure that you will have lower risk for BEC fraud.

What to do if You Suspect BEC Fraud

If your business has fallen for or has been targeted for BEC fraud, be sure to contact relevant authorities as well as your financial institutions. In some cases, transferred money can be placed on hold and can be recovered. If you need more help preventing BEC fraud or any other business online scam, then contact us today so we can let you know  how our private investigation services and private investigators can help your business.

 

Canadian Job Seekers Defrauded in Elaborate Online Scam

It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic caused a huge increase in the cases of fraud, especially online-based fraud and scams. 25-year-old Ashley from Canada found out about this the hard way when she used career sites online to look for jobs in sales, marketing, and coordination after losing her position as a French program coordinator due to the COVID-19 pandemic. What looked like a remote job with Vancouver tech company Gux-IT turned out to be something she wasn’t prepared for.

Brewing Suspicions

Wary of online scams despite being thrilled with the prospect of a good work from home job, Ashley checked Gux-IT’s website to find out if the vacancy was legitimate, making sure to thoroughly read through the various pages of the website. She recalls that she spoke on the phone with someone who was using a B.C. area code and who emailed her from what looks like Gux-IT’s email addresses. Ashley thought that she did everything to make sure that the job is legitimate, however, everything about it was fake. The Gux-IT website that she checked was fake and was copied by fraudsters from a foreign incorporated company that is not connected to them in any way.

Watch Out for Job Scams

What happened to Ashley can happen to anyone. Job scams are increasingly becoming common according to Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre senior RCMP intelligence analyst Jeff Thomson. Proof of this is that we are only a little over half the year and the reported cases for 2020 is already more than 2,300; close to the total cases of about 2,400 reported for the whole year of 2019. Fraudsters are taking advantage knowing that many people lost their jobs due to the pandemic.

What is the Purpose for These Fake Jobs?

Fraudsters are creating fraudulent websites pretending to be fake Canadian companies to attract job seekers that they can use to transfer money into cryptocurrency. In Ashley’s case, the fraudsters hired her and got her details. During her first day, they tasked her to help the IT department by advising them and buying a software on their behalf. She was told to buy domains and to use a cryptocurrency called Ethereum. They transferred money to her account and told her to withdraw their e-transfer and then deposit the amount to a cryptocurrency wallet. Luckily, she was able to save screenshots of her Telegram conversation with the fraudsters and contacted her Scotiabank branch to alert her if there is anything suspicious. After the transfer arrived, she withdrew it and deposited to the cryptocurrency wallet. Later that day, she found out that the company’s address is fake and that everything was just an elaborate cash-out scam designed to launder money and throw law enforcement off their tracks. If she didn’t have records that this was her first day on the fake job, the law could view her as an accomplice for fraud and she could be held responsible for the crimes perpetrated by the scammers.

Avoid Online Job Scams

The first rule of thumb is that if something is too good to good to be true, it is best to take extra precaution and make sure that your bases are covered. If a company you did not apply to seeks you out, perform due diligence and see if they are who they say they are both online and offline. Keep a record of everything as well. If you need help performing a background check or think that there is something suspicious about a job you’ve been newly hired for, we can help you at Haywood Hunt. Our private investigators can get you the answers you need for your piece of mind. Contact us today.

Haywood Hunt & Associates Featured on CBC’s The Fifth Estate & Radio-Canada Investigation

Dr. Jean Robert Ngola was singled out as the source of a COVID-19 outbreak in Campbellton, N.B., in the spring, but an investigation by CBC’s The Fifth Estate and Radio-Canada casts increasing doubt on whether he was ‘patient zero.’

Here is an excerpt from the CBC article:

On May 30, the provincial government and Vitalité asked the RCMP to investigate possible criminal wrongdoing by Ngola. After a six-week investigation, police decided against laying criminal charges, but Ngola could still face a hefty provincial fine for violating the Emergency Measures Act by not self-isolating for 14 days after travel. He is set to appear in provincial court in Campbellton on Oct. 26.

The former lead investigator into the Walkerton tainted water scandal says he is in Ngola’s corner. Craig Hannaford, a former RCMP officer who is now a private investigator with the firm Haywood Hunt and Associates in Toronto and was hired by Ngola’s lawyer, spent one month retracing the physician’s overnight trip to Montreal looking for evidence that could prove Ngola didn’t get COVID-19 in Quebec.

Hannaford said he identified several health workers who were crossing into Quebec from Campbellton and not isolating upon their return around the same time as Ngola. 

“The long arm of the state seems to be pointing fingers [at Ngola], saying: ‘You did it.’ Yet there seems to be all sorts of explanations as to how this happened,” said Hannaford.

He said his investigation took one month compared to the few hours it took New Brunswick Public Health to zero in on Ngola.

“That’s not a fair and balanced investigation,” he said. 

Read the full CBC article here:
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/doubt-ngola-family-doctor-source-outbreak-campbellton-new-brunswick-1.5706918

About Craig Hannaford

 is the former head of the RCMP Commercial Crime Section and of the RCMP’s Stock Market Fraud Section. Craig is a Licensed Private Investigator, is a CPA (Chartered Professional Accountant) and a CFE (Certified Fraud Examiner). Craig also has his Masters of Science in Economic Crime Management and a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science.

Craig has been a Senior Investigator at Haywood Hunt & Associates Inc. since March 2019 focusing on commercial fraud, civil litigation support, investigative accounting, asset searches and miscellaneous problem solving.

When Should You Hire a Private Investigator to Catch a Cheating Spouse?

Cheating or infidelity in marriage is one of the leading factors for a divorce. It is one of the most damaging acts that can destroy relationships and trust. If a partner suspects that the other is cheating, things can easily go downhill. The relationship can either end abruptly or end later after numerous fights. So, when is a private investigator needed for instances of cheating or infidelity?

Hiring a private investigator can prove that cheating did occur as well as gather evidence that can be used as evidence in court. More importantly, a private investigator can provide clear answers and give peace of mind to a partner suspecting the other of infidelity.

Do You Need to Hire a Private Eye?

Signs of infidelity are hard to dismiss. One can’t just shake off the feeling that his or her partner is cheating. It creates a big problem even when the other party is not cheating at all because suspicion eats away trust.

You can hire a private investigator for legal reasons when you need hard evidence that can prove cheating in court. A professional private eye knows how to gather data in a legally-admissible way. More so, there are instances when proving cheating can have a significant effect on the outcome of divorce such as when there is a prenuptial agreement with an infidelity clause or if you need to prove that a considerable value of your marital assets was spent on the affair.

Personal reasons are also valid motives to hire a professional private investigator. It can be that you simply want answers for peace of mind. It can also be that you feel that you’re being gaslighted and want out on an abusive and manipulative relationship. In some cases, hiring a private investigator is the logical way to go if both sides of the family are against a possible divorce and you have to defend yourself and prove that an affair is going on. In any case, hiring a private investigator can remove doubts and give you back your sanity.

How to Hire a Private Investigator to Investigate Cheating

The first step is to make the decision that you truly are willing to face what the private eye will uncover. There is no turning back once a professional is hired and the answer may not be what you want to hear nor expect.

Next is to contact a private investigator with a long history of client success and talk to them about what you want to get done. Some technicalities may need to be sorted out (such as legal restrictions) but the right private detective or private investigations firm will be clear with you and will be open to discussing your case before proceeding.

To sum it up, look for experience, ask for licensing information, and ask for a consultation. Choose a professional or a firm that is on the side of the truth and professionalism. Stay away from those who offer false promises and exaggerated claims. Remember that whatever information is uncovered can change your life for better or for worse.

Ready to hire a private investigator to catch a cheating partner? Talk to us and we’ll discuss what we can do for you. We can also investigate if your partner is hiding money and help you get child custody.

 

What Private Investigation Services Can Do for Business Owners and Businesses

There are a lot of private investigation services that business owners and businesses can make use of for protection and for the prevention of fraud and crime. Though the typical notion is that private investigators are only called in to investigate unsavoury activities, the fact is that this is an outdated concept of what private investigation services can do for businesses and business owners. Below are some of the other ways hiring a private investigator can help business owners promote a thriving business.

Help with Collections

It can be very difficult to locate people who do not want to pay debt or those who are hiding assets in order to get around having to pay debt. Private investigators can work with creditors to locate people in debt as well as identify possible hidden assets a person of interest may be covering up. Professional private investigators can get this done legally by using FCRA and GLBA compliant practices.

Perform Detailed Background Checks

Pre-employment detailed background checks is a necessity for some professions and positions, especially for those seeking work in a big company where a small mistake can equal huge losses. Although there are free websites that employers can use, they do not provide detailed and updated reports that professional private investigators can. This can also be done before a company merger or prior to a business deal to better safeguard company assets and reputation.

Employment Monitoring

It can be a problem if some employees work for two companies with conflicting interests. Employment monitoring can nip poaching in the bud as well as prevent company secrets from falling into the wrong hands.

Locate People

There are times when a person has to be located to serve as a witness, as a resource person, or to answer questions. A private investigator can locate missing persons using advanced searching techniques.

Perform Security Sweeps

It is very important for businesses to be able to identify security threats be they be in the form of digital threats or people with questionable motives. Private investigators can identify areas of weaknesses and devise plans to counter security problems before they arise.

Provide Surveillance Services

There are instances where some employees may try to work with rival companies, pretend to be sick or injured, or do things that can harm the business. Private investigators can provide surveillance services to uncover double dealings or scams before they happen or as they happen.

Assist with Termination

Terminating people can get ugly even when they did some wrongdoing. A private investigator can make this process easier as an unbiased third party particularly if the private eye can provide proof of an employee’s wrongdoing such as proof of stealing from the company or sharing information with competitors.

A Lot More!

There are so many ways that private investigation services can help business owners promote a thriving business. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us or browse our list of private investigation services to find out which one you might need.

 

What is OSINT and How You Can Use It to Safeguard Yourself

OSINT or Open-source intelligence is data collected from sources that are publicly available and used in an intelligence context. The term “open” is understood in the intelligence community as publicly available or overt sources and is not the same as public intelligence nor open-source software. Now that we’ve defined it, what can you gain from understanding what is OSINT and how to use it?

Understanding Open Source Intelligence (OSINT)

Just as you can look up publicly available information about yourself, anyone else can do it too. How do you know that someone who’s holding a grudge against you is not looking up details about you right now? Do you know what sort of information someone can gather about you online? Are you aware that the same information can be used against you, your loved ones, your business, and your career?

OSINT has been around for hundreds of years and is not solely a product of modern times. It is concerning though that the rapid information transfer and instant communication that we have now makes it a lot easier to gather information from unclassified or public sources. Because it concerns data that is publicly available, anyone can conduct some assessment of himself or herself with the use of some OSINT just as strangers can access the same.

How Safe Are You for Real?

Ask yourself, what information is available about you online and offline that can pose a threat to yourself? Note that any data that can be found about you as a business person and as a private person can be used a myriad of ways. For example, simply posting a status update on social media that you’ll be going on a vacation for a few weeks will let people know that your home will likely be empty. If you’ve posted your address anywhere or had it posted somewhere by someone else (such as for a party in the past), then that can inform bad people that your home will be sitting empty without you for a few weeks.

It is not just strangers you have to be wary about. You simply can’t know whether someone you know is stalking you online or tracking where you’ll be. By posting you’ll be away and posting where you are going, you are informing these people that your home is basically open for the taking or leaving them free to follow where you’re headed, really a huge problem if you have a stalker or if you’re somewhat well-known.

Threats can come in other forms too. Posting a selfie of yourself with your computer in the background can inform bad people what system you use, what antivirus you have, and so on. Although a selfie photo seems harmless, note that a lot of personal information about you can be gathered just by looking at the background. If your selfie is really clear, people can even zoom in and see what papers you have on your desk or what email may be on your screen! This information can be used to attack you, maybe hack your computer, and so on.

Keeping Yourself Safe with OSINT

You don’t have to be someone famous for OSINT to be used against you. If you’d like to be more OSINT alert or if you need help finding out what private information about you is publicly available so that you can take better precautions, simply contact us and avail of our private investigation services. Our cybersecurity know-how and private eye expertise can provide invaluable assistance in keeping you and your family safe.

 

What is Skip Tracing and How Can It Help You?

Skip tracing is the term used to name the process of legally locating someone. It is often used by businesses for locating people who have debt, are missing, or need to be investigated. Law enforcement agencies as well as collection and investigative firms often use skip tracing services.

Because of the above, skip tracing is one of the most common jobs for private investigators, amounting to thousands of cases or approximately 20% to 30% of private investigator work in Canada.

Should You Use Skip Tracing?

Skip tracing is the process of finding a person who is hiding or moved away (referred to as person of interest) to avoid responsibilities and other issues. The most common reason for hiding usually revolves around debt.

A private investigator’s job in skip tracing is all about attempting to locate the person of interest’s whereabouts or contact details. In some instances, it may be possible to get a location in real-time and turn over that data to a third-party as long as there is legal basis to do so. Note that a professional private investigator won’t just turn over data to any client without a legal reason.

Who Can be Found via Skip Tracing?

Although the most common reason to use skip tracing services to find someone is for debt collection, it can also be used to locate the following individuals:

  • Clients or customers who did not pay for services rendered
  • Defendants who went missing or did not show up for court date
  • Debtors who defaulted
  • Witnesses for cases
  • Missing heirs or relatives meant to inherit a state
  • People who have ongoing legal proceedings and need to be served process papers

What Information Does a Private Investigator Find When Skip Tracing?

The private investigator will use skip tracing to find out the current location of the person of interest and other relevant data. In some instances, the private investigator can contact the said person to serve papers. Note that the private investigator cannot arrest someone unlike a bounty hunter.

The private investigator will also gather data that includes the person of interest’s personal identifiers, including full name, date of birth, place of work, current address, current contact number and more, to be part of a report at the conclusion of the case.

How is Skip Tracing Done?

Private investigators use a myriad of legal workarounds to find someone. This can include looking at public records and publicly available information, talking to colleagues and neighbours of the POI, looking around the possible locations where the POI might be hiding, browsing through property deeds and court proceedings, and combing through specialized investigator databases. With enough time, a professional private investigator can find a person of interest given the fact that most people have social media and have tons of paper records.

Skip tracing involves a lot of patience, legwork, research, and even surveillance. It isn’t for a novice and is definitely not for someone who is not aware of the legalities surrounding skip tracing.

Are you looking for someone and need a reliable way to locate them? We can help with our skip tracing services! Contact us for a short discussion about how we can help you with skip tracing.

How a Private Investigator Can Help in a Divorce Case

Divorce is in one of the most challenging emotional and personal issues that any adult can face. Imagine a situation wherein your former life partner is now a stranger who may be out to get what you have or take away what is rightfully yours. You certainly can use all the help that you can get to get the divorce over with so that you can move on with your life. Question is, can a private investigator help in a divorce case? Would it do you any good to hire a private investigator? The answer is yes! Below are some of the ways that a private investigator can help in a divorce case.

Uncover Information Regarding Support

Some may not want to pay the right amount of child or spousal support and may deliberately try to make his or her earnings look significantly lower than it really is. For those who own businesses, they may take on more debts or delay collecting money owed to their business. For those who are employed, temporarily cutting hours will make it look like he or she is earning a lot less than their regular income. A private investigator can uncover all these tricks and bring the right information to light.

Find Evidence of Adultery or Any Other Misconduct

Although some areas may have laws for no-fault divorce wherein there is no need to present any evidence of misconduct or adultery for a divorce to push through, there are certain proceedings wherein marital misconduct must be proven beyond doubt such as in the case of having an adultery clause under a prenuptial agreement. For such cases, proving marital misconduct or adultery can result in more favourable terms for a spouse. Proving marital misconduct or adultery may also have a huge impact on child custody, spousal support, and other important agreements.

Check on Child Custody Issues

If a spouse suspects that his or her ex is involved in some activities that may harm their child, a private investigator can look into the matter and see if there is any cause for concern. The other spouse may be placed under surveillance to determine if there is child abuse, questionable behaviour, or use of illegal substances. The private investigator may also talk to neighbours and teachers if needed to gather evidence related to possibly changing child custody.

Help Find Hidden Assets

It is not uncommon to hire a private investigator if you suspect that your spouse is hiding money. Some may hide money and other assets while the marriage is still in good terms and some may start doing so just before filing for a divorce. Whatever the situation is, a private investigator can find hidden assets no matter how well they were hidden. For instance, some may hide money by lending it to a friend, some may buy property in a relative’s name, and some may funnel money to an offshore bank account. All of these leave trails that a private investigator can sniff out and bring out to the open.

Do you need to hire a private investigator to trail your cheating spouse, find hidden money, or just get clear answers for your peace of mind? Contact us anytime and we’ll try our best to help you with our private investigation services.

 

 

 

5 Warning Signs of a Cheating Spouse You Should Not Ignore

No one wants to be cheated on and for most people, dealing with a cheating spouse is one of the most emotionally painful experiences they could go through. Imagine if you have to live with the uncertainty that your spouse could be cheating on you. It is best to be sure by looking for signs of a cheating spouse and then getting enough proof to give you peace of mind once and for all. Below are some warning signs of a cheating spouse that you should look out for.

Your Spouse Suddenly Wants More Privacy

It is healthy for married people to have interests that they don’t do with their spouse. However, wanting to hide an interest or not wanting the spouse to find out about it is something else. More so when the sudden need for more privacy extends to previously shared things, such as social media passwords and the like. If your partner used to let you use his or her gadgets and you can freely log in to their accounts but they suddenly want privacy now, then keep your eyes peeled for other signs of a cheating spouse. If your partner has always been private, then this could be a non-issue. Watch out too for signs of your spouse hiding money.

Your Spouse Admits to No Longer Being In-Love with You

When a spouse says that the passion is gone, then there is an increased chance that that partner has given up on the relationship and may turn to seek passion somewhere else. This is why a lot of passion-less relationships breed infidelity. When a spouse feels that the marriage is no longer meeting his or her emotional needs, it makes it easier to justify cheating too.

Your Spouse Has Friends That He or She Doesn’t Want to Introduce to You

When this happens, the friend could be someone your spouse is having an affair with, planning to have an affair with, or knows something that your spouse wants to hide from you. There are other possible reasons but hiding other relationships, even only as ‘friends’, is a huge warning sign.

Requesting More Time Alone

While it is normal for someone to have hobbies and interests outside the family sphere, spending an unhealthy amount of time in a new interest could be a sign of a cheating spouse. This is especially true if your partner says the alone time is for sorting out his or her feelings.

Change in Habits and Schedule

Some types of work may become more demanding during certain periods but if the other signs of a cheating spouse are present and your spouse suddenly begins to spend more time at work or have excuses to stay away from home, then you might have a reason to be worried. Another sign is spending too much time on the phone or computer when this wasn’t previously the norm.

When you notice the above warning signs of a cheating spouse and you have your own suspicions fueled by your partner’s behaviour that just doesn’t add up, it is best to get a straight answer and enough evidence for your peace of mind. Contact us at Haywood Hunt and ask about our private investigation services for investigating cheating spouses and infidelity. We may not be able to help you save your marriage but we sure can help save your sanity!

 

Haywood Hunt and Associates Inc. is pleased to announce the addition of Jeff Filliter to our Corporate Investigations Team.

Haywood Hunt and Associates Inc. is pleased to announce the addition of Mr. Jeff Filliter to our Corporate Investigations Team. Jeff is a seasoned investigator, with over 45 years of experience with the R.C.M.P., Scotiabank, and in private practice. Jeff holds an honors degree in Administrative Studies (BA), with distinction, has been a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) since 1995, and holds a Private Investigator license for the Province of Ontario. He spent 23 years with the R.C.M.P., primarily in Commercial Crime units in Ontario, as well, Jeff was in charge of the International Investigative Desk at one of Canada’s Major Financial Institutions.

Mr. Filliter has an extensive investigative and law enforcement background, specializing in domestic and international fraud, risk assessment and mitigation, due diligence, and asset tracing and recovery.  He is accomplished in areas of mortgage, lending and credit fraud, bankruptcy and insolvency, corporate and commercial fraud, relationship management and dealing with high-ranking legal and government officials and law enforcement executives on a global scale.

Jeff is an expert in asset tracing and recovery, financial and white-collar crime, fraud, money laundering, terrorist financing, proceeds of crime, forensic investigations, risk management, and security.  He has provided expert testimony in both civil and criminal proceedings globally, and has been declared a professional witness in the U.K. in relation to wire transfer fraud.

Haywood Hunt & Associates Corporate Investigation Divisions services include fraud investigations, workplace investigations, mergers and acquisitions, H.R. services, consulting services, OSINT (Open Source Intelligence), skip tracing / locates, global risk management, employee theft, background checks and more.

The Corporate Investigations Division (CID) has experienced professionals in fraud detection, investigation, and sustainable prevention. Our multi-disciplinary team includes the former head of the RCMP Commercial Crime Section, the former Head of the RCMP Stock Market Fraud Section as well as the former Senior Investigator in charge of the International Investigative Desk at one of Canada’s Major Financial Institutions. Being Certified Fraud Examiners (CFE) and Chartered Professional Accountants (CPA) with several decades of experience conducting investigations in the public and private sectors across the globe allows us to help organizations Locally, Nationally and Globally without compromise.

Haywood | Hunt & Associates Inc. is a proudly Canadian globally recognized full service Private Investigation Agency with offices in Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, Richmond Hill, Oakville, Vaughan and Barrie. We provide professional and expert investigation services to the Insurance, Corporate, Legal, and Government Communities. As well, we provide Private Citizens with the necessary investigative support needed when faced with integrity breaches that may exist within their day-to-day lives.

We are members of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), The International Association of Financial Crimes Investigators (IAFCI), The International Association of Property and Evidence (IAPE), Council of Professional Investigators of Ontario (CPIO), The International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI) and The Canadian Association of Independent Business (CFIB). We are also active members of the Toronto Board of Trade, the Mississauga Board of Trade, the Brampton Board of Trade, the Barrie Chamber of Commerce and the Vaughan Chamber of Commerce.

For more information on Haywood Hunt’s Corporate Investigations Division, please call 1-877-646-7878 or visit our website at https://www.haywoodhunt.ca/.