Hiring a Private Investigator to Run In-Depth Background Checks

If you’re thinking about conducting background checks, you might be wondering if hiring a private investigator will make a difference. That is a good question to have because private investigation services don’t usually come cheap. Is it truly worth it to hire a private investigator for running background checks?

What Background Checks Are For

Background checks are done as a preventive measure to minimize risks. Before welcoming someone as part of your organization, you’ll want to at least know that he or she is who he or she presents to be. The last thing you want is to hire someone who has a history of business fraud or is connected to a competitor. Know that once someone is part of your company, he or she will have access to a lot of information that can hurt you, your business, and your clients or customers. With this in mind, running background checks is a good investment that can save you from trouble and losses in the future.

Cost of Hiring a PI Agency for Background Checks

How much a private investigator may charge varies because of many factors. Some background checks may require more effort and resources and hence, will cost more. Some may take just a few days of work and some may need a few weeks to sort through things depending on the depth and purpose of the background check being done.

Why Use a PI Agency for Background Checks?

It is possible that you’re quite internet-savvy and can look up some data that are not readily available. However, a licensed private investigator often has access to more secure databases because they oftentimes possess a background in security, know the right people, and can legally do so. Because of this, professional private investigators can provide deeper checks and better analysis that in turn produce better results for their clients. Perhaps you or someone you know can also extract data; however, it takes years of experience and practice to know how to do proper and legal data extraction. More so, should there be data that is vague, a private investigator is capable of following up via the right avenue until clear answers are extracted.

Do it the Right Way

Perhaps one of the most commonly overlooked reasons why you need to hire a private investigator to conduct background checks is to make sure that everything remains legal. There is a fine line between stalking, invasion of privacy, and plain background check. Unless you truly know the ins and outs of everything, you might end up committing a chargeable offence by doing a DIY background check. By hiring a licensed private investigator, you can be sure of professional procedures that do not violate any law and can keep you out of trouble too.

Are you looking for reliable private investigation service providers in Toronto and Ontario? Contact us at Haywood Hunt & Associates. We’ll be happy to answer questions you may have and will be glad to assist you should you decide to hire a private investigator from our team.

The Big Cost of Small Business Fraud

Small business fraud happens across all countries and social status. Although the figures we shared in this write up is a couple of years old, the trend remains the same and it is clear that small business fraud is costing companies a huge amount of money each year.

Losing Money to Fraud

The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners releases the Report to the Nations on Occupational Fraud and Abuse every couple of years. It showed that in 2016, business fraud for 114 countries clocked in a median loss of $150,000 per company and that it took approximately 18 months before fraud was detected. Another shocking fact is that 76% of fraud was by people from each company’s customer service, purchasing, operations, sales, management, and accounting departments.

Effect of Fraud for Small Businesses

Given the median figure lost to fraud, it isn’t difficult to imagine how much fraud affects small businesses. Generally speaking, small businesses do not have enough buffer to cover a median loss of $150,000, unlike bigger businesses. A business worth $500,000 will no doubt be crippled by a loss of $150,000 versus a business worth a couple of millions which will have an easier time bouncing back. Note too that despite fraud getting uncovered, 58.1% of all victim companies do not ever recover any of their fraud-related losses.

Now, consider too that more than 23% of victimized companies lose more than $1,000,000. A loss this huge will force a small business to close doors or downsize to the point of only operating with a skeleton crew.

It is Time to Act Against Fraud

With the scary figures shared above, there is no better time to act against small business fraud than now. There is no need to wait until you uncover fraud in your organization when you can work against preventing it now. If you are a small business owner, you may want to take a closer look into how you run your company because it is small businesses that often do not have the correct measures to prevent occupational fraud from happening, to begin with.

Try to look from the top going to the bottom. Why? Because chances are that you’ll lose more to a manager committing fraud than an employee sneaking out a few office supplies home. Optimizing your internal control is one of the best ways you can prevent fraud in your business.

You can also implement counter checks to prevent fraud. You can start with making sure that there are multiple people with separate duties who are responsible for handling accounts payable and accounts receivable. This will minimize the possibility of an individual manipulating records to pocket some of the company’s funds. If this is not feasible for you, you can make use of digital tools that you can access anywhere you may be or perhaps outsource your bookkeeping so that a third party can easily detect any suspicious activity.

There are a lot more solutions to prevent small business fraud other than the ones outlined above. If you’re keen to know more, contact us at Haywood Hunt and find out how some of our private investigation services can be used to combat fraud in your organization.

 

8 Step to Hiring the Best Private Investigator

Hiring a private investigator in Toronto, Mississauga or anywhere in the GTA isn’t as easy as placing a phone call for a number you got online or through a referral. If you’re hiring a private investigator, chances are that it is for a very serious matter that is important to you. You’ll need to give personal details as well as coordinate closely with your private investigator. Because of this, you must make sure that the private investigator you’ll be hiring is competent and can be trusted. Below are must-follow steps when hiring a private investigator.

Make Sure that the Private Investigator Has a License

Anyone can claim to be a private investigator. For professional results, you’ll have to make sure that your private eye has a verified license because this is important for any evidence they uncover to be admissible in court. A licensed private investigator has undergone the right training and education to make sure that they only obtain data in an ethical and safe manner.

Learn What Information the Private Eye Will Need from You

Private investigator can’t work without a grasp of what they need to work on. Ask which documents or information they’ll need so you can be ready with those. This will also help you determine if you’re comfortable sharing some information with your private eye.

Take a Closer Look at Their Private Investigation Services

How do they work and what private investigation services do they offer? Do they have the proper tools and equipment? Can they tell you more about how they plan to help you and explain the steps they’ll take?

Meet the Private Eye in Person

To gauge whether you will have a good working relationship, you’ll need to meet your private investigator in person. This will also allow you to ask important questions that might be easy to evade via phone call or email.

Verify the Location of their Physical Office

A private eye will handle sensitive information about you and what you want to be done. If a private eye refuses to meet in his or her office, then that is a sign that there might be issues in the future.

Discuss Confidentiality

Confidentiality is part of a private investigator’s job but it won’t hurt to have a discussion about it just to be sure that you are both in the same page. This is to ensure your safety since the private eye will likely uncover information about you and your loved ones during the course of the investigation.

Verify Experience

This isn’t to say that new private eyes are not good hires but if you want the best outcome possible, you’ll have better chances if you hire a private investigator with enough experience. You can verify this via references from past clients, feedback online, or by asking the private eye for details on his or her technical skills and education as well as samples of similar work done in the past.

Ask About Fees and Scope of Contracts

A lot of private investigators do not charge for the initial consultation but succeeding interactions may be charged no matter how brief. Ask about the fees and obtain a written copy so you would know what to expect when your bill comes.

Are you looking for private investigation services provider in Toronto? Contact us at Haywood Hunt! If you’re thinking of hiring a private investigator with a solid reputation and years of experience, give us a call today!

 

Common Types of Occupational Fraud in Canada

Dealing with occupational fraud is an unavoidable part of having a business. It can come in the form of financial statement fraud, corruption, or misappropriation of assets. If you own or manage a company, you should do all that is necessary to protect yourself and your business from occupational fraud.

What is Occupational Fraud?

Occupational fraud is also called internal fraud, employee fraud, or workplace fraud. It is a broad term that pertains to any fraud that happens in the work setting.

Do you know that there are other common types of occupational fraud besides employees stealing money? Stealing money, supplies, or hours, as an employee, owner, or executive falls under the most common one called misappropriation of assets. Understanding the types of fraud is key to protecting one’s business and preventing more occurrences. This action should start from the top going down to employees. Everyone who is part of a company should understand the consequences of fraud in the workplace so that they can work together in minimizing fraud.

Below are the common types of occupational fraud.

Corruption

Corruption accounts for 40% of reported occupational fraud cases in Canada. In corruption, an executive, employee, or owner abuses his or her position for personal gain. It can go hand in hand with both financial statement fraud and misappropriation of assets.

Examples of corruption include:

  • Product substitution, using counterfeit or cheaper product with lower quality and pocketing the difference in cost
  • Creating false health insurance claims with the help of a health care provider
  • Conniving with a vendor to make create payments for services or goods that were never rendered
  • Kickbacks from business deals
  • Bribery by using company or business funds to benefit another person or company in the name of personal gain

Financial Statement Fraud

Financial statement fraud makes 14% of reported cases of occupational fraud in Canada. It is a type of workplace fraud wherein employee alters cash flow statements or balance sheets to manipulate people’s perception upon seeing them. Motivations for financial statement fraud may range from wanting to keep the business afloat, attain loans for the business, or personal gain and may occur together with corruption and misappropriation of assets.

Examples of financial statement fraud include:

  • Exaggerating the value of an asset
  • Making false sales records
  • Making present earnings seem higher by not reporting expenses until later

Misappropriation of Assets

Misappropriation of assets is the most common type of occupational fraud in Canada and the world. In misappropriation of assets, any member of a company uses his position to steal anything of value.

Examples of misappropriation of assets include:

  • False expense reports
  • Cheque tampering and forgery
  • Submitting false sales to collect a commission on said sales
  • Tampered time sheets
  • Using company vehicles or machine for personal use
  • Abusing company credit card by charging personal expenses on it
  • Theft of intellectual property, services, time, supplies, or cash
  • Paying false vendors as part of purchase order schemes

Protect Your Business from Fraud

The effects of small-time fraud can accumulate into huge loses for a business. Some businesses lose a significant chunk of money to fraud and end up closing down. It is important for everyone to understand that fraud can cost everyone their livelihood. If you need help protecting your business from fraud, do not hesitate to contact us at Haywood Hunt. We’ll be happy to discuss with you how our private investigation services can help you to uncover fraud as well as minimize its occurrence in your organization.

 

Why Your Business May Need a Private Investigator

Most people think that a business only needs a private investigator when something goes wrong. Some think that a private investigator is only hired for investigating personal matters such as infidelity or finding missing children. Private investigation services have evolved by quite a lot in the past decade. These days, more private investigators are working with businesses than investigating personal matters.

Nowadays, there is an increasing number of small businesses and entrepreneurs who hire private investigators for a variety of private investigation services such as tracking business partners, doing background checks, and more. Below are the ways that a business may benefit from hiring a private investigator.

Referrals to Attorneys

Private investigators work with lawyers from a lot of fields. They know who overcharges clients, who has a less than desirable track record, and who’s the best. If you want to know which lawyer you should hire for your business, you should consult your private investigator.

Due Diligence Report for People in Key Positions

It isn’t easy to pick someone who will take care of your business the way you would. You certainly can’t afford to hire the wrong CFO. An unprofessional Chief Financial Officer with a history of money problems can leave your business vulnerable to theft from within. A few hundred dollars spent on a private eye’s services can save you thousands or millions down the road.

Smoother Business Acquisitions

It would be a disaster to acquire a business that you know nothing about; hence, a background check is a necessary first step to make sure that you’re not wasting your investment. The information gathered from a background check can also be used as a trump card in negotiations.

A private investigator can provide you with the following data:

  • Property information
  • Corporate assets
  • Parent companies
  • Current and past employees
  • Risk assessments
  • Officers and directors

Look Up Investment Opportunities

Investing in other companies or businesses can be risky. A private investigator check a company and find out if a potential partnership with them will be truly beneficial for you. You can’t beat accurate information to support business decisions especially when dealing with possible issues, bad employees, existing issues in the company, and pending lawsuits, if any exists.

Background Checks

Not only is it smart to background check potential partners, investments, and acquisitions, it is even smarter to make sure that new hires for your business have undergone a background check. One rotten tomato in your staff can spoil the rest. A private investigator can look up risks, uncover patterns of illegal or irresponsible actions, verify educational backgrounds, and check job history to make sure that you have honest and qualified employees. In the event that you suspect a member of your team has been up to no good, a private investigator can put that person in surveillance to verify your suspicions. Imagine the peace of mind you’ll get when you can get clear answers whether an employee has been disloyal or not.

Are you thinking of availing of private investigation services for your business? Contact us at Haywood Hunt for your obligation-free initial assessment. Talk to us about how you want us to help your business grow stronger.

 

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 how much it truly 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.

 

 

 

What Private Investigators Do and When You Should Hire One

There are so many reasons why people hire private investigators in Toronto and the GTA. The most popular reasons include finding information that is not easily obtained, finding a missing person, performing background searches, wanting to place someone under surveillance to eliminate or prove suspicions, and checking a company or person’s credibility. But are these all the things that a private investigator can do? Will a private investigator be able to help with other things? And how does one know when it is time to hire a private investigator versus trying to sleuth on his or her own?

Who Hires a Private Investigator?

Believe it or not, there are some people who have private investigators on permanent call. Some won’t even dream of contacting a private investigator unless it is a matter of really dire circumstances such as having a missing child or a similar situation. The thing is, whether you may need to hire a private investigator or not depends on the life you have and the things that happen to you. It is normal to hire a private investigator. If you’re worrying about overstepping boundaries, know that a professional private eye will only take jobs that are legal and ethical.

When to Hire a Private Investigator?

The best time to hire a private investigator is when you need one. Situations when a private investigator may be needed include:

  • Finding out if someone has been deceiving you
  • Having someone followed to verify or nullify information
  • Needing help with obtaining child custody
  • Conducting background checks on a business, company, or person
  • Checking credibility, location, or identity
  • Pre-screening a business partner or an applicant
  • Checking a possible investment opportunity
  • Researching a threat, crime, or wrongdoing
  • Finding the cause of an accident or damage and the persons who should be held responsible
  • Locating and recovering lost property
  • Debugging one’s office or home
  • Verifying claims (such as for insurance services)
  • Safeguarding your business assets, people, information, and premises
  • Accessing databases and public records
  • Interrogating a witness or investigating a crime
  • Seeking personal help

Private Investigator Services

Private investigators in Ontario offer a variety of private investigation services these days. This is because they have a myriad of skills that are useful for both law enforcement and private individuals. For example, an individual may not know how to access public records or to get data in a legal way that preserves its integrity in court, a private investigator can do that without any hitches. Another is wanting to make sure that a business or personal home is safe. Private investigators can check for possible areas of weaknesses and devise ways on how to make sure a business or one’s personal details are protected from prying eyes and dishonest people. Private investigators can also look for people and track them down. If you’re looking for birth parents, a missing person, a previous employee, a former business partner, or a runaway child, private investigators can find them for you without stepping on anyone’s right to privacy.

Should You Hire a Private Investigator?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. What we can offer you are information on possible scenarios where hiring a private eye can be beneficial for you. The rest will be based on your specific circumstances. If you’re not sure whether you should hire a private investigator or not, contact us and we’ll be happy to answer questions you may have. We can also suggest which private investigation services may be best for your specific needs. Talk to us today!

 

How Private Investigators Can Find People for You

As private investigators, we often get asked the question “can a private investigator find someone?”. In fact, it is one of the most common questions we get on a daily basis! So, what is the deal? Can a private investigator find someone, indeed?

The short answer is a resounding YES. We can find almost anyone with our private investigation services although success rate as well as how soon a person can be found depend on various factors. There are many things to consider from a legal point of view as well as the available information on hand. Below are factors to consider before hiring a private investigator to find someone.

Reason for Finding the Person

Private investigators are bound by the federal and provincial laws to uphold certain standards. Ethics is also a reason why private investigators can’t just dole out powerful information for no reason at all. If you’ve been looking for someone, like a friend or family member that you’ve lost contact with, private investigators are more likely to take your case. If the person you are looking for is an old flame or an ex that you want to keep tabs on, then a private investigator might decline if your reasons don’t seem to be harmless.

In some cases, private investigators will also contact the persons you are looking for to inform them that you are looking for them and ask them if they are fine with sharing their information to you.

What Details You Can Share

It takes information to find someone else. If you can provide a name, estimated age, and location of the last contact, the private investigator is more likely to succeed in finding someone for you versus if you only want to find someone who was wearing a blue shirt at a bar a few years ago.

The less information you have, the longer the search will take because the private investigator may have to pursue multiple dead ends and wrong leads before finding the person you are looking for. It takes a lot of skills, legal workarounds, and tens if not hundreds of man-hours to find someone.

Is It Necessary to Physically Find the Person?

It is one thing to find someone online but a whole other level to find out where someone lives. If you need to find someone to serve papers or for some legal matter like for a court order, this will take time and cost more because you might also need surveillance services.

How Much Can You Spend on Finding Someone

As mentioned earlier, finding someone can take tens to hundreds of hours. That is going to cost you some serious cash more so if you can only provide very vague details. You can choose to DIY a bit by using consumer-based online databases but the main thing we want to emphasize here is to be reasonable with your expectations.

Remember, when you hire a private investigator, you are not only paying for his or her time but also for the years of experience that it took him or her to have the needed private investigator skills.

Are You Patient Enough?

The less information you can provide, the harder and longer the search will be. Imagine if you can only provide a common name like John Smith. There are thousands of John Smith in the world! Finding the right person will literally be like looking for a needle in a haystack, even for a seasoned private investigator!

Are you ready to find someone? Contact us at Haywood Hunt for a consultation on which of our private investigation services may be able to help you the most to find a missing person or locate a person of interest.

 

Brampton Woman to Spend 2 Years in Jail for Posing as a Nurse

A woman from Brampton, Ontario who posed as a nurse and gave people cosmetic procedures that she wasn’t qualified to perform was sentenced to about 2 years of jail time. Her victims were left with lasting physical injuries.

Mounting Charges

Shiva Ashkani, a resident of Brampton, Ontario was found guilty of 8 charges committed against her former patients. Her charges include one count of fraud under $5,000, one count of aggravated assault, and 3 counts of assault with a weapon. She claimed to be a medical cosmetician and a registered nurse with decades of experience administering collagen injections and botox.

3 of Ashkani’s patients reported permanent scarring, agonizing pain, significant financial losses, and fear of contracting blood-borne diseases after undergoing Ashkani’s procedures.

Ashkani has a history of mental illness. She was sentenced by Superior Court Justice Alfred O’Marra to 2 years minus a day in jail and another 3 years of probation.

Prosecutors requested a 3.5 years jail sentence but Justice O’Marra felt that her mental illness should also be considered before passing a sentence.

Harsh Sentencing or Not Harsh Enough?

Justice O’Marra wrote in his March 28 sentencing decision that although Ashkani knowingly injected applied harmful material and injected substances that brought so much physical and psychological pain plus financial harm to her victims, he has to take into account that she needs access to treatment and continuing control and supervision in view of her mental illness.

Ashkani’s fraudulent cosmetics treatments were committed in 2015, 3 years after she was accused of assault with a weapon and aggravated assault after attacking her husband and leaving him with a ruptured spleen.

History of Fraud?

According to O’Marra, Ashkani began posting ads about her non-existent medical credentials in February 2015 on classified sites online. She claimed that she’s a registered nurse with 13 years of experience working with surgeons as well as has 21 years of experience as a medical cosmetician working in Toronto, Vancouver, and Beverly Hills, California.

The court also heard of a Toronto tanning salon that needed a registered nurse and hired Ashkani in 2015 after coming across her ad in July 2015. The court shared that Ashkani performed botched collagen and botox treatments on 2 women in the tanning salon. It was found out that one of the women, the site manager, fell ill after the injection and ended up with damaged skin as well as scarring. The victim had to spend more than $4,000 to help correct the damage. Ashkani threatened the woman with physical violence after the victim filed a complaint against her. The other victim had skin discolouration after Ashkani’s procedure.

The Cost of Fraud

There are more victims aside from the women mentioned above. Each victim had a harrowing experience and had to spend time and money just to try to correct the damage caused by Ashkani’s procedures. The psychological trauma and pain alone are unbearable.

Ashkani has been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder as well as bipolar disorder. She has a history of suicidal gesture according to the court. She was hospitalized after conviction and needed a psychiatric assessment before sentencing.

Frauds are everywhere. Even with today’s technology, quite a lot of people can still claim to be someone they’re not. It is best to do a background check before hiring potential employees. If you’re interested to undergo procedures, verify the credentials of the person who’ll be performing the procedures on you. Contact us if you need help with OSINT, looking to hire a private investigator, or want assistance with fraud prevention.

 

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!