VanIntel (Vancouver Intelligence) has been 18 years in the making. In 1998 I quickly realized the power of the Internet and began a life long journey of learning everything I could about OSINT (Open Source Intelligence) and SOCMINT (Social Media Intelligence).
Throughout my 28 year career in law enforcement, and now as a private investigator, I have come to appreciate the power of open source information as a critical investigative tool. In 2004, as a detective with Canada’s third largest police department, I was assigned to investigate online fraud and cyber crime. In 2006, while investigating West African online crime, I met up with a private investigator out of Texas by the name of Terrill Caplan. With Terrill’s assistance and his vast knowledge of West African and 419 advance fee fraud, combined with my computer and Internet investigative skill set, we were able to prevent hundreds of millions of dollars worth of global fraud. You can read a few of our disclosable successes under the Media Section.
While working fraud files together we dealt with thousands of victims who had been scammed and, quite frankly, some of the cases were truly heartbreaking. We kept asking ourselves, “What can we do to help prevent online fraud?” Based on our combined 60 years of combating fraud and investigative experience we know that the issues we faced were, and still are:
- The banks reluctance to admit there was any fraud (they still are) even though credit and debit card fraud continues to be the number one fraud activity.
- The financial institutions continue to wire victims money overseas even though they know that the money wire is fraudulent.
- The police, in most countries, continue to believe that online fraud is the victim’s fault.
- The police, in most countries, are still powerless to prevent, and investigate, online fraud.
- The training for police officers in online fraud and online investigations is limited.
- There are no global laws that deal with country to country cyber crimes.
- Cyber laws, in most countries, are inadequate to deal with cyber crime.
- Prosecutor “real world” case loads are overwhelming and now we are asking them to include cyber crimes.
- Most web and social media sites refuse to co-operate with law enforcement investigations. They hide behind the noble idea of protecting your privacy from government yet they readily sell your personal information for profit – that’s why these sites are free.
In other words – you are on your own.
Terrill and I wanted to change this bleak outlook but these were established institutions that are slow to change – if at all.
We determined that the only way to safeguard online users is through realistic education and a common sense approach. Yes, you can go around the Internet and find “bits and pieces” of information to help you but our response is:
- Who is putting up the information?
- Are they credible?
- Is the information credible?
- What investigative experience do these people have?
- Have they used that experience in real world investigations?
- Have they had successful arrests and convictions?
- Have they been recognized at the local, national and international level for their investigations?
- Have they ever been declared a court expert witness in social media?
We have searched the Internet looking to see what information is out there in relation to personal fraud protection. There are many sites telling you what to look for, or what the latest scam is, but so what? Scams evolve all the time.
What doesn’t change are the methods the scammers use.
They only have one goal – to get your money.
Our courses are designed to teach you how to determine if you are about to be scammed and what investigative steps you can take to protect yourself.
If you prefer to have a professional investigator look at your file we would be more than happy to assist you.