Dating Scam – The Professional

Dating Scam – The Professional

From the desk of Kristen Justis, Director of Marketing and Client Relations


In previous postings in this series, I have discussed a widower and a divorcé who were victims of online dating scams. Many believe online dating scams only occur when victims do not meet the perpetrator in person and when the perpetrator lives out of the country. This is far from the truth. Lauth Investigations International, Inc. has handled several cases of scam and fraud in relation to online dating sites. Many of these relationships have been in person, long term, and heading towards marriage. The scammers are committed to their end goal and they stay the course of the scam for months, even years.

The following Lauth Investigations fraud case focuses on a professional woman in her mid-thirties. We hear of the cases often where the victims are older, retired, or just plain lonely. Lauth Investigations has found young, successful professionals are just as prone to falling victim to these scams.

The Professional Woman

dollars in the air

Julia works for a Fortune 500 company in downtown Indianapolis. She owns her home, drives a nice car and has a hefty 401k. Julia has a multitude of friends she spends her time with including traveling often. One of her friends announces she is now engaged. Julia is in her mid-thirties and eventually wants to be married with children someday. The engagement announces gets her thinking how she would like to meet someone. In that moment, she decides to join an online dating website. Managing an online profile would be an easier way to meet someone instead of leaving it to chance, especially with her busy lifestyle.

Julia begins receiving a lot of interest from various men. She meets a few of them for coffee; however, there was no chemistry. Finally, she begins receiving email communication from Scott, a professional man within downtown Indianapolis who travels often. They communicate for a few weeks and they really get to know each other. After feeling extremely connected, they decide to meet.

Scott and Julia meet for dinner. It was an immediate connection. Julia enjoyed everything about Scott and the relationship begins. Although Scott is out of town quite often for his job, they spend all their free time together. Julia finds herself waiting at home for Scott instead of spending her time with her friends. Months pass by and the relationship begins to get extremely serious. Julia is in love.

The love Julia feels for Scott grows to the point she is ready to be married. She only focuses on him and their time together, until the holidays roll around. Julia understands Scott’s job is a lot of traveling; however, he is out of town over Thanksgiving, then he must go out of town for Christmas and finally New Years Eve. Julia begins to question what kind of job makes you travel and miss Christmas with your loved ones.

questionsThe questions start to rush inside Julia. She realizes Scott never has her over to his house, he only stays at her house. He takes a lot of calls while he is with her and he always walks out of the room for these calls. He has canceled a lot of dates with her at the last minute for “work”. Julia thinks back over the year with Scott and she realizes, he has never invited her to work event, she hasn’t met his family, and he has slowly alienated her from her friends and her family.

Julia reached out to Lauth Investigations International, Inc. for a simple background check on Scott. She began to fear he may be married. Even in the initial phone call to Lauth Investigations, Julia was questioning her decision to hire a private investigator as she felt guilty for not trusting Scott. Finally, she realized it is better to be knowledgeable instead of continuing blindly further into deepening this relationship.

The beginning of the investigation, Lauth Investigation’s private investigators found Scott was not married; however, he did not work where he claimed. It was found Scott was unemployed. Further investigating into his background, investigators discovered a long list of criminal activity including Identity Theft, Fraud, Tax Evasion, and Forgery. Julia was advised of our findings and she requested to know more. Surveillance and interviews of his past relations begin.

scam picRather quickly, investigators discovered Scott was a professional scam artist. He dates and marries women eventually taking their money and/or identity. He had opened credit cards under these victim’s names, he married some of these victims and when he divorces them, he is entitled to a portion of their retirement and checking accounts. Scott was a career criminal.

Had Julia not decided to hire Lauth Investigations International, Inc. to investigate Scott’s background, she would have been just another victim in his long line of scams. Julia was lucky as the scam hadn’t reached the money exchange or theft phase. Julia confronted Scott and she has never heard from him again.

Hiring a private investigator when beginning to date someone new seems deceptive and costly; however, it is better to go in with your eyes wide open. Be proactive and spend some money up front before the scammers take your money and your pride on the back end. Julia has since hired Lauth Investigations to complete background checks on two potentially new boyfriends over the past couple of years. She saw how close she was to becoming a victim and refuses to be in that situation ever again.

Be Proactive Not Reactive






danger of online dating


As discussed in my previous posting, The Widower, Lauth Investigations International, Inc. has handled several cases of scam and fraud in relation to online dating sites. The elaborate lengths these scammers go to get what they want is overwhelming. Lauth Investigations has uncovered several different scams as they have related to our clients. The scariest part of these scams is the commitment and dedication these criminals put into their deception.

The following Lauth Investigations fraud case focuses on a fifty-five year old, successful divorced gentlemen. It is widely believed women are the main targets and victims of online scams; however, Lauth Investigations has found men are just as affected falling victim to these criminals.

Dating Infographic

The Fifty-Five Year Old Divorcé

A year after Bill and his wife of 30 years divorced, Bill was looking to get out into the dating world again. He is an accountant for a large firm so he works most of the time, he hasn’t been on a date in over 30 years, and he doesn’t know where to go to meet anyone. A friend suggests online dating. One night, Bill decides to set up his profile on a dating site just to see what happens. Bill’s nightmare begins.

Within a few weeks of being on the dating site, Bill connects with a beautiful younger woman from Russia, we’ll call her Ava. Ironically, even though they are from completely different cultures, Bill and Ava have a lot in common. Although Ava struggles with English, she communicates enough via phone, texting and emails to make a strong enough connection with Bill. He ends up falling in love with her without meeting her.

money hero

Once Ava knows Bill is hooked, she starts pulling at his heart strings. She tells him how hard it is to live in Russia because jobs do not pay more than a few hundred dollars a month. On top of her low salary, she must take care of her ill mother because her father was killed in a car accident. Now, Bill feels the pull to play the hero.  All a part of the ploy. He wants to swoop in and help Ava to show her how much he loves her.

Ava never had to ask for any money. She plays the role perfectly and Bill starts offering money. When Ava pretends to be embarrassed about taking Bill’s money, he insists she let him help her out. Ava “reluctantly” provides Bill her information so he may Western Union her money. The money starts flowing in the direction of Russia.

After months of Bill sending money to “help” Ava, she claims her mother died. Being the good boyfriend, Bill sends money for the funeral. He offers to bring Ava to the States to live with him and get married. Ava is excited to start a new life with him; however, a new snag occurs when she tries to her obtain her visa. The only way it will be resolved is money, which Bill sends, excited to finally meet Ava in person. He is ready to start their new life. The final payment is sent for Ava to purchase her plane ticket. Once sent, Bill never hears from Ava again.

investigator cartoonLauth Investigations International, Inc. is hired when Bill worries Ava was harmed trying to leave the country. He has not yet realized he is a victim of a scam. After much investigation, Lauth proved to Bill that Ava was not the woman’s real identity. The information she provided him led to no one. Research into finding the individual(s) who picked up the Western Union payments revealed nothing. These scammers utilize this payment method because the payments cannot trace who picked them up and they can be picked up anywhere in the world.
After Bill gave away $75,000 and his heart, he now is picking up the pieces and moving on to better things. He was a victim of an elite fraud. He lost a lot of money and his dignity. Bill is not the only one in this position. This fraud is consistently pulling men and women in making the scammers extremely wealthy. Do not let yourself or a loved one be fooled into this fraud. Always err on the side of caution and spend a little money up front to have a potential partner researched by a private investigator. Being too careful never hurt anyone!


Online Dating Investigations – Part One

Online Dating Investigations – Part One

From the Desk of Kristen Justis, Director of Marketing and Client Relations



Online Dating Danger

A sixty-year old widow, a fifty-five year old divorcee, a professional woman in her mid-thirties or a twenty-three year old Army soldier, these are just some of the individuals Lauth Investigation International, Inc., a private investigation firm, have helped while being scammed through online dating. Scammers do not discriminate, they throw out a line and see who bites. Hence the name Catfish Scams. Over the next few articles, I will discuss each of these Catfish scams.

catfish definition

The Sixty Year Old Widow

A wonderful forty-year marriage, three children, a mortgage paid off and ready for retirement, then the life altering death of Jane’s husband occurs. Jane deals with the loneliness and grief of losing her life partner. A year later, she decides to join an online dating site to find a companion to spend time and share her life. She is matched with several gentlemen; however, one pursues her in the charming, exciting way she was hoping for.

Jane and the new guy, Joe, begin talking via e-mail. He tells her all about his life and the exciting traveling he has done. They have so much in common, she can’t believe how much she enjoys communicating with him. The communication then moves to phone calls and text messaging. They laugh, he compliments her, they have late night talks. The excitement of this new relationship begins to mount.

Two weeks into the relationship, Joe tells Jane he received a contract for work and he will be leaving in a couple of days to Malaysia. He is unsure how long he will be there. Jane requests to meet him in person prior to him leaving. Joe states he has too much to do before he leaves so he is unable to meet her. This makes sense to Jane, so she doesn’t push the issue.

After months of talking every day, Joe tells Jane he owes money to a hospital for some medical expenses and he cannot get to his money because he must be present at his bank to withdrawal money. Of course, his bank is in the United States. He even showed her a screenshot of his bank account with $2.8 Million. The hospital is holding his passport so he is unable to come home to her. He suggests she sends him the money to cover the debt so he can come home. Jane sends him the money.

Next, Joe asks for more money because now he owes money to his attorney in Malaysia. The attorney is now holding his passport until the debt is paid. Jane has to refinance her paid off house to pull money out, but she does it so Joe can come home to her.

Once the attorney is paid off, Joe needs further money as he now owes money to his landlord, who again is holding his passport as collateral. Jane, once again, sends him the money. Now, Joe claims he cannot come home because his visa has since expired and he has to pay fines before he is allowed to leave Malaysia.

A year and $100,000 sent, Jane begins to question Joe about his history. He explains there is lot he can’t share over the phone or text messaging and he will tell her everything when he returns to the States. She questions his accent because he is supposed to be American. He explains this away stating his father was in the military and he lived overseas in different countries throughout his childhood; therefore, he has a mix of accents. Jane asked him on numerous occasions to send her pictures of him. He claims he does not have a phone that takes pictures.

Finger-print-investigation-4Once Jane looked past her emotions, she hired Lauth Investigations International, Inc. to investigate Joe. Private Investigators found no one exists under the name, birth date and addresses Joe provided to Jane. The bank account he provided was on a fake site. After much investigations, Lauth Investigations was able to link Joe to a scam stemming from Nigeria.

The catfishing scam out of Nigeria is a well-organized group of criminals, men and women, who troll online dating sites in the United States. They are trained to know the region around their victim to convince them they are from the area. The have training on how to connect with the victim and make them fall in love. Once they know the victim is hooked, they pull the line to get them to send money. The requests begin as a small amount and continues to grow over time with more requests for money.

The Nigerian criminal organization operates out of several different internet cafes, use a multitude of computers and phones, maintain various false identities and fake photos, and have fake websites. They utilize all the fraudulent documentation to scam individuals out of millions of dollars a year. Therefore, once the scam is discovered, the money is gone and unrecoverable.


Watch out for your loved ones and yourself for any suspicious relationships formed through an online dating service. Unless you meet the person face to face, do not fall prey to the eloquent words they are able to write or say over the phone. Never send money to someone you do not know personally. If you have any questions about someone you have met, spend your money hiring a private investigator. It’s better to be safe than sorry and broke.


Background Checks

Background Checks


background check magnifierLauth Investigations International is a private investigation firm. We are constantly questioned about what our background searches can provide that a personal background search cannot. All I can say, it’s all in the details. You pay for what you get. If you want all detailed, accurate information, you will pay for a Private Investigation Background Search. If you want high level information, you will conduct your own Personal Background Search.

 Personal Background Search

With the internet, so much information is at our fingertips, but are we getting the most up to date information? A personal background search will bring up the following information:

  1. Employment history. The search will bring up employment records; however, it may only bring up the last couple of positions held. It will not give details of all the employment information for the individuals.
  2. Academic and/or professional qualifications. The search will provide education information and any certifications. High level information will only be received.
  3. Criminal Records. The search will show all arrests and convictions.
  4. Financial Standing. The search will bring up any liens, judgments, bank accounts and property ownership.

The information obtained will be high level and up to the person’s own ability to read the results. In order to get deeper levels, the user has to continue to pay the further in depth they go.

background checks

 Private Investigations Background Search

Unlike a personal background search conducted by a novice user, a private investigations background search is not just putting a name in a database and seeing what comes up. Private Investigators have access to several databases which will show a variety of information.

  1. Employment history. The search will bring up employment records including all positions held, any discrepancies on a resume, the salaries affiliated with the positions and any other information a potential employer would need to know.
  2. Academic and/or professional qualifications. The search will show all academic history and certifications even if the individual did not complete the program.
  3. Criminal Records. The search will provide a detailed outline of all criminal activity from speeding warnings/tickets and arrests up to convictions and jail time served.
  4. Financial Standing. The search will show all liens, judgments, bank accounts, property ownership, previous ownership of properties, dates properties sold, NSF checks and bankruptcies.

Along with the typical information received through a personal background search, private investigation background searches also include:

  1. Worker’s Compensation Claims an individual has filed. Determining the character of an individual is just as important as their criminal history. For employment purposes, an individual who files numerous compensation claims reveals a dishonest, fraudulent individual.
  2. Ascertain causes of accidents or any criminal activity. DMV reports will show accident information; however, they do not show all causes of the accidents. The in depth reports by private investigators show the reasoning behind accidents and if there was criminal activity involved in the accident as well.
  3. In depth analysis of all findings in the research. Any individual can pull information; however, it’s how the information is analyzed and interpreted that makes it helpful.
  4. Information on employers, business partners, and personal partners.

The process of performing background checks is and should be more in depth than just putting in a name in a database. To ensure the most updated accurate information is received, a private investigation background check is the direction to take. The analysis and time put in from a private investigator along with their ability to understand the findings places the outcome far more beneficial. The personal background checks are general and only provide high level information. Without the knowledge needed to understand the reports, the information does not provide the detail generally needed.

Background checks can be used for all kinds of reasons. If you are looking into a potential business partner, potential employee, potential life partner, a detailed background check with concise analysis can provide you the information needed to make informed decisions. Do not rely on just an internet search without the knowledge to know what information is in front of you.





How Human Resources Can Better Screen Employees and Prevent Future Theft

Human Resources has a tough job when it comes to screening future employees. They’re betting on someone whom they’ve only met in person maybe three times. Not every candidate can be a winner, but that doesn’t mean you should accept the losers.

Every business takes on some level of risk when they bring on a new-hire, but how serious is employee theft? The 2015 US Retail Fraud Survey says, “Overall the biggest area of store loss remains employee theft with 38% of respondents citing it as the number one area of store loss and, across first, second and third highest causes of loss, scoring 59 points.” Here are some ways Human Resources can better vet employees and prevent future theft.

Ask tough questions throughout the interview process

Interviewing job candidates is the best chance you’ll get to learn who they are before hiring them. Take advantage of these opportunities to ask candidates tough questions about their past. This may seem like an obvious tip, but it’s one many people can find difficult to execute.

People can be surprisingly candid about things they’ve done in the past and may be more open than one would expect. In these moments of truth human resources is given the opportunity to evaluate the honesty of the candidate.

Follow-up with multiple references

There’s a reason every business asks for multiple references when considering candidates for a position. After you’ve interview a candidate face-to-face you’ll have a better idea of who they are and what questions you still have about them. Following up with a candidate’s references can be very illuminating.

Calling just one or two of the references should not be seen as enough. Every candidate should supply at least three references to be considered for employment. These should be professional references, not friends or family. Call at least three references when considering any candidate.

Use a Private Investigations firm to help

Human Resources departments only have so much manpower they can put towards vetting employees. With all of the duties HR handles it increases the chances that someone will slip through the cracks and get hired when they shouldn’t have.

You might not need them for every candidate, but Private Investigation firms can help any business be certain about the people they’re hiring. When businesses are expanding they may need to hire people rapidly. Instead of asking HR to do more with less, contact a private investigations firm and see how they can help shoulder the load.

For Private Investigation Inquiry contact Thomas Lauth, Lauth Investigations 317-951-1100

David Schroeder, Blog Writer, Lauth Investigations International