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.
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.
Dhalla was jailed in 2012 for harassing Dr Hewitt and setting fire to her mother’s home.
Dr Hewitt, from Sussex, was awarded compensation earlier this month after the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman found Home Office mistakes had contributed to her ‘living nightmare’.
“This was, of course, an extreme case but it does illustrate the potential dangers involved in online dating. While most people are genuine there is a small minority who pose a risk.
“Although it’s natural to open your heart to someone who seems honest and pleasant, I’d advise women to be cautious when using online dating websites. Ask lots of questions, try to get a feel for the character you’re dealing with. It’s not easy but it is necessary to stay safe.”
Tony’s warning comes as the Crown Prosecution Service released new figures which showed a record number of stalking prosecutions in England and Wales last year. Figures show that stalking and harassment prosecutions increased by 20% to 10,535 between March 2013 and March 2014.
Notes to Editors
Tony Smith of Insight Investigations has worked as a private investigator on an international scale for the past 36 years. He is the Vice-Chairman of The World Association of Professional Investigators and is founder member of the British Association of Investigators & Process Servers.
Tony has contributed and spoken of his investigation experiences on Channel 4 Dispatches, BBC News and appeared on The Big Questions hosted by Nicky Campbell, discussing the subject of infidelity. Tony is also the real life Nice Guy Eddie (BBC1 series), the Liverpool Private Investigator played by Ricky Tomlinson. Tony contributed to the programme as script editor.
Tony is regularly invited to comment on:
• How to spot a cheating partner?
• Comment on social media security issues
• Identity Fraud
• Dating and Romance Scams
• Internet scams
For interview requests, please contact Insight Investigations on 0800 14 55 123.
This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Insight Investigations in the following categories: Men's Interest, Women's Interest & Beauty, Consumer Technology, for more information visit https://pressreleasewire.responsesource.com/about.