WARNING - Unscrupulous Agencies (Rogue Traders)
Once again the offer of employment on the back of paid for PI Training is doing the rounds - the lack of transparency emerging from these contracts and offers speaks for itself.
With the benefits of the digital world and the Internet in particular, comes the power to deceive.
The Investigation sector is not immune to such threats.
When looking for a local investigator a quick key word search on Google or any other search engine will point you to a myriad of impressive looking web sites carefully crafted to give the perception that the agency behind that internet shop front, is able to provide coverage of the type of service you seek and in your area. Yet invariably the lack of transparency as to the ownership of the web site, such as their virtual office and non-geographic contact numbers, give away a less professional intent. We have also been contacted by many victims of PI website scams after being tricked into providing credit card details only to find much higher sums being plundered from their accounts.
If an agency's website attracts your attention and yet they are not verified to be affiliated to the ABI, then think carefully or ask:
Why are they not affiliated to the only PI regulatory regime, provided for consumers' protection, by the ABI?
The key ingredient to safeguard you against engaging a rogue PI business is ‘Accountability’, which comes with verifiable membership to The Association of British Investigators.
Such is the ABI kite mark of accreditation that many rogue agencies abuse the privilege by claiming membership or deceptive reference to the ABI to hoodwink potential clients to interact with them. This deception does not usually end well for the client!
The ABI office receives complaints from unfortunate members of the public and some professional clients, who have fallen victim to the unscrupulous practices of rogue agencies masquerading as professional investigators. Unfortunately, as such rogue agencies are not members of the ABI we are powerless to intervene when the victims end up suffering losses without recourse to any means of remedy.
Whilst many ABI members do not appear in the ABI directory or Register of Provisional members, their membership can be quickly verified by an email to Secretariat@theABI.org.uk or a telephone call to the ABI office +44 20 8191 7500. Even if your chosen PI service provider does not claim affiliation to the ABI please feel free to check with us first.
In most US states the activity of investigation is licensed and so the culprits find it more difficult to operate their scams and when they do they can be easily exposed. See example article click here.
Click below to listen to the May 2018 Radio 4 programme on PI scams: