Saturday, September 27, 2014
SOURCE WIRE NEWS: The private investigator who helped bring a dangerous stalker to justice has once again warned women to be vigilant when using online dating websites. Tony Smith of Insight Investigations, one of the UK’s leading private detectives and Vice Chairman of the World Association of Private Investigators, said: “Although it may seem awkward, women must not be afraid to ask more questions before they pass on any personal information to men they meet online. If there is any reason to be suspicious, listen to your instincts and walk away. Don’t take the risk, it’s just not worth it.”
Tony worked with the family of Dr Alison Hewitt who was recently awarded £130,000 compensation by the Home Office for taking insufficient action against her stalker. Dr Hewitt’s mother, Pam, commissioned Insight Investigations when she became suspicious about Canadian Al Amin Dhalla, whom her daughter had met through an elite online dating agency. Dr Hewitt lived in a safe house during Dhalla’s stalking campaign before he was finally arrested at the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath, where Dr Hewitt worked. Police found in his hired car a loaded crossbow, a large knife, a claw hammer, pliers and bolt cutters, as well as a doctor’s outfit. He also had a van specially adapted with a cage in the back.
“When we pushed for more stringent background checks on online dating sites, one company told us the idea of asking for disclosure was creepy,” said Bill Noble, the director of the Safer Online Dating Alliance. “But what is actually creepy is having these creeps on your site.” The numbers are worrisome – and horror stories abound. In February 2009, MySpace was forced to cancel 90,000 accounts on its site that authorities revealed were linked to registered sex offenders. It was a fraction of the 130 million users of the site, but a significant percentage of the more than one million registered sex offenders in the United States.
“Craigslist” popular website’s erotic services section was hit with a scandal when it emerged that a North Carolina man used the site to hire a man to rape his wife while the husband watched. Bill Warner, a Sarasota Florida private investigator who offers on his website to “sort out the winners from the losers” for a flat fee of $65.00, says running background checks on potential internet dates now constitutes more than 50 per cent of his business.
“Usually the problem is that the man is married or he turns out to be one of these crazy stalker people that follows a woman for months,” PI Bill Warner said in a telephone interview. In many cases, Bill Warner said he would discover that men had joined a site using a false name, a prepaid, throwaway cell phone and a phoney e-mail address from free services such as Yahoo, Gmail, or Hotmail. “There are a lot of people out there who get jazzed up by disguising themselves,” Bill Warner said, adding that nearly 100 per cent of his cases involved women being victimised by men. “It’s shameful because it lulls women into a false sense of security,” said Mr Warner. “You get young naive women or the over-50 year olds who are recently divorced, they are often excited about meeting a new man and they make easy prey.” In some instances, the first date ends in violence.
Police in Minnesota charged a 39-year-old man with raping a woman he met through the internet, after he slipped drugs into her drink that caused her to pass out. In other cases, the motive is financial. Police in Tampa, Florida arrested a Tennessee man who was wanted for swindling a woman he met online out of tens of thousands of dollars and leasing a Mercedes in her name that he wrecked, leaving her with more than $60,000 in liabilities. There are stories that are even more sinister. The Safer Online Dating Alliance warns women on its website never to post photos of their children, nor to describe them in detail, saying that single mothers who openly say they seek partners who like children have inadvertently attracted paedophiles. “A lot of couples have found each other on the internet and not everyone is a predator”. But it is also possible to develop a false sense of familiarity with someone you have only met on chat sites and through picture exchanges. But at the end of the day you have not met the person. Whereas meeting in a bar, you might immediately feel the hair on the back of your neck stand up, with internet dating you have let your guard down by the time you interact face to face.”
Bill Warner Private Investigator Sarasota Fl at www.wbipi.com