Missing Person Scams: Know the Signs

Missing Person Scams: Know the Signs

It can be difficult to imagine the sort of person who would take advantage of a family in their time of need. What sort of person would attempt to make a quick buck exploiting vulnerable people when they are in crisis? Unfortunately, It’s not unheard of when it comes to missing person cases. Desperate families fall victim to missing person scams perpetrated by criminals looking to make a quick buck. Families of missing persons must be vigilant of those who would help them search for their loved one for a price.  

Vickie Metcalf was like many mothers with missing children when her daughter Alissa went missing 2015—desperate for answers. Unfortunately, she would also fall victim to one of many missing person scams. Alissa Freeman went missing on her 18th birthday when she disappeared while taking out the trash. At the time, Alissa was listed as an endangered missing person as investigators believed her to be in immediate danger. It wasn’t long after Alissa disappeared that VIckie received a Facebook message from a woman who claimed to have seen a woman matching her daughter’s description working as a sexworker in Atlanta, Georgia. Her fears exacerbated with the possibility of her daughter being trafficked, Vickie was willing to entertain the woman’s plan of buying Alissa from the traffickers for the total price of $70,000. However, this claim turned out to be false when the FBI was able to determine that the IP address associated with the messages was traced back to a Russian extortion ring with scores of Facebook accounts created for scamming the victims.  

It’s also common for missing person scams to be carried out through the United States Postal Service. Through the U.S. mail, there was a scam perpetrated by an individual who claimed to run a “recovery bureau” who claimed to find missing persons and reunite them with their loved ones. A California man became the victim of the so-called recovery bureau when they contacted him claiming that they could locate his former wife and children. When the man traveled to Michigan to meet with a representative of the recovery bureau, his suspicions were aroused when he was prompted to hand over $20,000 before any information was given about his missing family. Postal Inspectors were able to conclude that the ex-wife and children had never been in Michigan, and the representative had no information on their whereabouts.  

No matter what the circumstances, missing person scams can be devastating to families in trying times. Unsolicited offers from third-parties to help find missing loved ones should always be met with a healthy level of scrutiny. When these parties make promises of finding loved ones for a price, families should report this behavior to the authorities to verify their information and legitimacy. Families of missing persons hoping to launch an independent investigation should only seek the assistance of a licensed missing person investigator.  

If you need help finding a missing person, contact Lauth Investigations International today for a free quote on how we can help you find answers in the case of your missing loved one. Call 317-951-1100 or visit us online at www.lauthmissinstg.wpengine.com.  

Missing Tiktoker with over 10,000 followers found safe

Missing Tiktoker with over 10,000 followers found safe

missing tiktoker

A TikToker with over 10,000 followers was the subject of a missing person investigation following a report made by her parents with the Coshocton County Sheriff’s office. Georjlyn Hayes, 20, had been missing since July 12, following a realization by her family that she was not in Columbus or Cincinnati, but had posted a TikTok of her being stranded in Kentucky instead.  

In an effort to assist her daughter, Brenda Hayes sent money to the missing Tiktoker through CashApp, but was alerted when the payment was received by someone in a different time zone. Hayes told NBC4 that a girl who was not her daughter had been answering Georjlyn’s phone, and the outgoing voicemail message had been changed to a person named Cory. Since she’s been missing, friends and family have been attempting to contact Georjlyn through various forms of social media, asking questions only she would know the answers to—and getting incorrect responses. Calling out the mystery user has only resulted in blocked profiles and radio silence.  

A particularly haunting aspect of the missing Tiktoker’s disappearance has been her previous experience involved in another missing person case. Back in 2018, Georjlyn was part of the search party for Sammy Walters, a 15-year-old boy who was discovered floating in a pond in Coshocton County. Georjlyn worked with the organization Golden Hearts, a Voice for the Voiceless. The same organization was called in to help search for Georjlyn. Its founder, Lena Wilson, told NBC4, “Our concern is that when someone is reported missing and dropped out of sight things may go from search to find the missing person to all-too-often a recovery effort, not a search any longer. We are hoping and praying this case ends with her being found and safe.”  

However, investigators were able to confirm last week that they did find Georjlyn Hayes in Columbus. She is back in touch with her family and has been declared safe.  

How Private Investigators Can Assist in Locating Missing Persons or in Personal Safety and Surveillance

How Private Investigators Can Assist in Locating Missing Persons or in Personal Safety and Surveillance

find people

The road to a person becoming missing is often a complicated one. Before being directly targeted, many individuals require support to ensure their personal safety, or assistive surveillance to stay ahead of potential threats. At every stage of this complicated issue—from minimizing risk to being able to find people who have vanished—the private investigator offers a unique and multi-faceted skillset. Here, we’ll explore why this role is so important, and how a PI goes about launching a people search, and what steps they take to keep people safe.

Why Private Investigators Help to Protect and Find People

Hundreds of thousands of people are reported missing across the United States every year, however these statistics sadly only reveal the tip of the iceberg. This is because the parameters that justify police involvement either when a person suspects that they are under threat or even when someone has vanished are narrow. 

Those who are vulnerable—or even their loved ones in the case of an abduction—often turn to private investigators because they know that acting early and acting fast is essential. Even once police do mobilize in these kinds of cases, their resources are limited, making a skilled and specialist professional able to mount a people search or make threat assessments a vital asset in the effort to ensure personal safety.

Determining the Credibility of and Assessing Threats

Where police investigators may make only a superficial assessment of potential threats to persons, a private investigator’s role is to dive as deeply as the client feels is warranted. They can analyze threats made to you, your home, or your business, whether they were made verbally, physically, or digitally. With the threat identified, they will then assess whether the individual or individuals in question aim only to scare or intend to take direct action. If the latter is the case, the investigation will potentially transition into a violence threat assessment. In turn, the private investigator’s findings may assist in ensuring that the authorities take the situation seriously.

Assisting in Threat Management

Private investigator firms like Lauth Investigations International specialize not only in reacting to a crime, but also in active prevention. This will include making comprehensive security analyses, advising on best safeguarding practices, and liaising with the police, security companies, legal teams, and more. We can also provide thorough background checks on staff and security personnel to ensure that the enemy has not already made it through your perimeter.

Launching a People Search When Someone Goes Missing

If you, a colleague, or a loved one vanishes, make no mistake—when there is a need to find people, time is of the essence. With a 90% success rate, our dedicated Missing Persons Division has been bringing disappeared adults and children home safely for more than 30 years, and we will leave no stone unturned or trail unfollowed in the name of retrieving those you hold dear. 
We combine physical searches—internationally, whenever required—with digital forensics, high-tech surveillance, canvassing and interviews, and in-depth background checks to piece together the essential details that will lead to those of whereabouts unknown. To learn more about how we can assist in personal safety and surveillance or locating missing persons quickly, simply contact our respective Threat Assessment and Missing Persons teams, because your safety and security is our top priority.

San Antonio mother & paralegal still considered missing and endangered by SAPD

San Antonio mother & paralegal still considered missing and endangered by SAPD

Chrissy Powell

The search continues for a San Antonio mother who vanished before her work day began last week. Chrissy Powell called into the law office where she works as a paralegal last Tuesday to let them know she was running late, but she never arrived to begin her duties. Now her family and law enforcement have reason to believe that Chrissy may be in danger.  

The family was able to obtain a vital clue for law enforcement early on in the investigation by virtue of Chrissy’s front door camera. The video shows Chrissy leaving the house in a rush that Tuesday morning, confirming that she did make it out of the house before vanishing. However, Powell also left her cell phone behind in the home, which the family believes was due to her rushing out around 10:30 that morning. The San Antonio Police Department has put out a BOLO (‘Be on the lookout’) for her black Nissan Rogue that she would have driven to her job.  

The uncharacteristic radio silence and failure to appear has family and friends extremely concerned about Chrissy Powell’s whereabouts and well-being. Powell’s close friend, Lauren Leal, told KENS5 that their unanswered questions were terrifying, “The unknown is the scariest part. The fear in my mind right now. It is hard to wrap our minds around where she might be, what could have happened. My fear is not ever knowing anything.”  

The San Antonio Police Department has distributed flyers with the name and face of Chrissy Powell to make the public aware of the search. Law enforcement are also gravely concerned, as Powell has a medical condition that requires care by a doctor, and have labeled her a ‘missing endangered adult’ as a result.  

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Chrissy Powell is encouraged to call SAPD’s Missing Person’s Unit at 210-207-7660 

Search continues for Indianapolis father and his three young children

Search continues for Indianapolis father and his three young children

kyle moorman

Investigators and volunteers alike have been scouring the White River area of downtown Indianapolis in search of a father who disappeared with his three children last Wednesday. The IMPD missing persons unit is asking the public’s help in locating Kyle Moorman, 27, and his three young children, Kyle, Kyannah, and Kyran, all of whom are under the age of six.  

The last time the family heard from Kyle Moorman and his children was when they pulled away from the 1000 block of South Sherman Drive in Indianapolis, driving a 2009 black Saab with green headlights. According to the family, Kyle told them he was taking the kids fishing with him around 11:00 PM on Wednesday night—not exactly an unheard-of tact in the world of fishing sports. Still, Kyle‘s family reported that he did not pack diapers, clothes, or crucial medications that were prescribed to his children. They fear at least of the children may be in medical distress and in need of assistance.  

While the IMPD missing person unit continues their search for the father and his children, the family continues to press forward in their own search. A search of Kyle’s known fishing spots was conducted along the White River, while other parties began to fan out into the area in search of anything that could help bring investigators that much closer to the location of Kyle and the children.  

Kyle Moorman is 5 feet, 10 inches tall and weighs 125 pounds. He has brown hair and hazel eyes.   

His son, Kyle Moorman II, is 3 feet, 7 inches tall and weighs 40 pounds. He has blonde hair and blue eyes.   

Kyannah is 2 feet tall and weighs about 15 pounds. Investigators say she has blonde hair and blue eyes. Kyannah was last seen wearing a striped pink and blue romper.  

Kyran is 2 feet, 6 inches tall and weighs 25 pounds. Kyran has blonde hair and blue eyes. Kyran was last seen wearing a diaper and a striped shirt. 

IMPD is asking anyone with information to call 911 immediately. You can also call the IMPD Missing Persons Unit at 317-327-6160 or call Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana at 317-262-8477 or (TIPS).