The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has affected the world in so many ways. It has affected the way we live, the way we work, our social lives, and even the way the tricksters take advantage of regular people.
These effects of the pandemic will be long-lasting, and we believe this is how the next year will play out in regard to the Private Investigation industry and our services.
1 – Scams will be on the rise
The pandemic shaped special circumstances where vulnerable people became even more vulnerable, and those who hoped to get better now became desperate in their pursuit of wellbeing. As many people have lost their jobs and have not been able to adjust to the new way of living, they have become more susceptible to the quick get-rich schemes. This gave fraudsters even more opportunity to take advantage of the eager and the inexperienced. We will most likely continue to see a rise in scams involving the elderly, credit card fraud, pyramid schemes, and so many others. One popular scam that we have seen a lot in past several months and which will most likely gain even more sophistication and traction, is the “Bitcoin” scam. This involves the investment of a sum of money in bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency. The future victim is under the impression that they are investing securely and will receive large dividends back, however, they never see their investment or hear from the persons involved ever again.
Since people have been forced to stay home and isolate, many started feeling more lonely than usual and turned to more online dating and online activities in general. This in turn led to the rise in online dating scams, which will most definitely continue in the new year. This usually starts with an attractive looking man or woman showing interest online to someone vulnerable, they earn their trust and eventually ask for money or help. Once the money is sent, they disappear, or like some daring ones, continue to exploit it further.
We strongly advise you to stay alert and be cautious as to who you give your information or money to. Background checks and due diligence must be conducted before it’s too late.
2 – More corporate fraud
Although some countries are trying to better address company registration procedures and regulate banking transparency and international investments, many countries, including Canada, still have very loose practises which makes Canada an attractive opportunity to foreign fraudsters who set up companies without ever stepping their foot on Canadian soil. They don’t pay taxes, and the shareholders are usually setups who get paid off or don’t even know about their involvement. Due to limited resources, jurisdictional deficiencies, and poor understanding of the fraud framework itself, police do not investigate cases like this.
We predict this will continue in 2022, and strongly recommend conducting due diligence investigations before dealing, partnering or merging with any corporation, and especially before sending anyone any money for any product, despite legitimately-looking invoices and well-designed websites!
3 – Insurance fraud is once again on the rise
Since the pandemic turned many people into overspending mode, going deeper into credit card debt, more borrowing from the banks, and on top of that working from home, they will be looking to recover it through any means available. We predict that insurance fraud will soar in 2022 and we’ll be conducting more surveillance than ever.
We will also see an increase in bankruptcies, company foreclosures, people skipping on rent, exploiting loopholes in employment structure, etc. which will lead to an increase in court cases, recover procedures, and asset searches.
4 – Pre-employment verification
Since people have been staying home more than usual, the hiring process has changed for many employers. Candidates can now claim hardly verifiable information on their resumes, with no one to check it properly as most interviews are now done virtually and many HR turn to electronic verifications (with very limited and sanitized results) instead of manual (more information from more sources).
Moreover, once people eventually return to the office, employers will face many other challenges. With the increase of general social anxiety and intensifying of the various individual psychological concerns (depression, psychopathy, narcissism, dissociative disorders, ADHD, etc.), it will be more difficult for people to interact with each other in an office setting once again.
These challenges will stress the importance of the pre-employment verifications, psychological profiling interviews, background checks, workplace harassment and workplace violence investigations, workplace termination proceedings and other various work-related risk assessments.
Most likely theft and fraud in the workplace will increase as well. Employers will more than ever seek to protect their interests (securing their premises with audio/video cameras, security guards, computer security and IT upgrades, etc.) and will have to know who they are hiring and dealing with, and then closely monitoring their behaviour during these unprecedented times.
5 – Inflation and increase in prices
During the pandemic, the cost of everything went up! Canada and the rest of the world saw a hike in prices, unlike anything seen since 2003. The cost of houses, construction materials, food, gas, heating, contract labour, flights, alcohol, prescription drugs, services, work wages etc. were all affected. This will be an ongoing trend in 2022 as inflation is predicted to go up 15% which will cause an economic chain reaction that will affect everyone in the world!
People will have to spend more on groceries, electricity, gas, travel, and the cost of living will go up. Unfortunately, it will affect the Private Investigation industry as well. Despite our best efforts, some of our services will increase in price in order to keep up with economic trends.
6 – Security will increase
Since many in-person services have moved even more online, such as education, medical consultations, business meetings, and even gyms, digitalisation is no longer the future, it’s here, it’s taking space right now! Technology-based platforms for internal business processes, client communication, sales, product deliverables and product support, as well as general customer service, will be at risk from cyberattacks, creating breaches of personal information and becoming hostages of ransomware. Such disruption will cause sever damage to company’s processes, reputation, brand, and client or B2B relationships. Therefore, solid in-house or third-party-provider corporate security cannot be an option, it must be treated as an absolute necessity where security budgets are pre-emptive rather than reactionary.
On the other hand, as there have been so many breaches in data and security during the pandemic already, the good response is that people seem to have become more aware of the importance of protecting they valuables, and therefore a general sense of security is increasing and will continue in 2022 even further. The tendency will be to use stronger passwords and 2FA; VPNs, malware protection, and anti-viruses will be installed on more electronic devices; personal information will be treated with more care; emails and servers will see more encryption, etc. We surely hope there will be better IT infrastructure and that many companies will look at their security from a different perspective.