Scams How to spot them in Your Industry!

Protecting the consumers from the robbers!

Top Tips to Protect Yourself Against Frauds and Scams, Identity Theft and Reduce Spam Email

This article was first published on: http://www.consumerfraudreporting.org/defend_yourself.php

What can you do to defend yourself from scams, frauds and identity theft? Whether you think you have been the victim of a fraud or scam or want to be proactive in protecting yourself, here is a list of specific and simple actions that you can take, some just once, to protect yourself and your family!  We have ranked them in order that you should take them:

  1. Don’t use or carry a checkbook. Pay by cash or credit card. Paying your bills through your bank or credit union’s online bill paying service (which is usually free) is much safer than mailing a check.
  2. Buy and use a paper shredder. Shred any documents that have your social security number or other financial information, such as your bank account numbers, credit card numbers etc.  identity thieves actually go through homeowner’s trash to obtain personal information. If you don’t have a shredder, burn these  documents completely in the fireplace.
  3. Freeze your credit! It prevents scammers from opening unauthorized accounts in your name. Even if your state is one of the few that doesn’t allow a freeze, thanks to pressure from consumer advocacy groups, you can still freeze your files at the three major credit bureaus.  See this page for more information about both freezes.
  4. Sign up on the Do-Not-Call List
  5. Sign up to block credit card offers from arriving in your mailbox.
  6. Don’t carry your Social Security card with you. When you renew your driver’s license, make sure the DMV does not use your Social Security number as your driver’s license number.
  7. Use a separate email address when you post messages to any public forum, such as newsgroups and mailing lists. Free email accounts from Yahoo and Hotmail are perfect for this. Never use your personal email address for this purpose: you will be flooded with spam. You can periodically check this email account to see what’s spam and what isn’t. A bonus is that Yahoo’s spam blocker is better than those from most ISP’s! And your main personal email address won’t be as clogged with spam. Some ISP’s, like AOL and BellSouth.net give you multiple email accounts free with your paid service.
  8. Don’t give out any financial information, such as checking account and credit card numbers; and especially your social Security number; on the phone or online, unless you initiate the call and know the person or organization you’re dealing with. Don’t give that information to any stranger. In general, it is only required for medical providers, banks, mortgages and credit card companies.
  9. Don’t fill out the “win a vacation” and other promotions you see in stores and shopping malls.  That will just get you on a junk mailing list and guarantee calls from persistent, high-pressure salesmen.
  10. Don’t pre-print your driver’s license, telephone or Social Security numbers on your checks. And in states that want to use your social security number as your driver’s license number, insist on another method – most allow it.
  11. Report lost or stolen checks immediately. The bank can block payment on the check numbers that are missing. Also, review new checks you receive, to make sure none has been stolen in transit.
  12. Store new and cancelled checks, credit card statements, medical bills, anything with confidential information, in a safe place and shred them when you are done with them.
  13. Guard your Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) for your ATM and credit cards, and don’t write on or keep your PINs with your cards. You should also guard your ATM and credit card receipts. Thieves can use them to access your accounts.
  14. Be creative in selecting Personal Identification Numbers for your ATM and credit cards, and passwords that enable you to access other accounts. Don’t use birth dates, part of your Social Security Number or driver’s license number, address, or children’s or spouse’s names. Remember: If someone has stolen your identity, he or she probably has some or all of this information.
  15. Use a good anti-virus software, anti-adware software and a hardware firewall on your computer, and keep them up to date. You need all three. Almost all modern Routers (Dlink, LinkSys, NetGear, Buffalo, Airlink, etc.) have a hardware firewall built in. See the left side of this page for the current recommendation for ant-virus / anti-malware programs.
  16. Don’t put outgoing mail in or on your mailbox. Drop it into a secure, official Postal Service collection box. Thieves may use your mail to steal your identity.
  17. If regular bills fail to reach you, call the company to find out why. Someone may have filed a false change-of-address notice to divert your information to his or her address.
  18. If your bills include suspicious charges, don’t ignore them. Instead, investigate immediately to head off any possible fraud before it occurs.
  19. Check your credit report regularly. Federal law allows you to obtain one from credit report from each of the 3 major credit reporting agencies per year. See this page for more information.
  20. There are services online, some free, such as SneakMail that provide you with disposable addresses that can be deleted if they begin to receive spam messages. The disposable email addresses forwards email to a real email address of yours, but the sender can not see this. If you create a unique address for each email newsletter or forum you subscribe to you can  discard the address is it gets too much spam and just start using another email address.
  21. NEVER buy anything from a company that sends you spam. Don’t even visit their sites or ask for more information. It is like feeding a stray cat.  Give it one morsel of food, and it will be there all the time (and that may be fine with cats, but NO one wants spammers at the doorstep!).  Remember, since they send out millions of spam emails, they only need a tiny fraction of responses to be profitable.
    And if that doesn’t convince you, consider this: the vast majority of spam “offers” are in fact scams!
  22. Set up filters in your email program. Outlook does this quite easily. When you open an email and realize that it is spam, just click on Actions then Create Rule, then select an appropriate action, such as “from” then click “Move e-mail to folder” and select the “Deleted Items” folder. That’s it!  You’ll never receive email from that particular address or subject again!  More anti-spam filtering tips and information.
  23. If you have a website, do not post your address in the HTML “mail-to” format, otherwise you will be spammed, since address-harvesting spiders (programs) extract your email address from the website and add it to the spammer’s lists.  Instead use feedback forms through PHP, ASP, or JSP that hide the email address, OR post the email address as a GIF (image file).
  24. Check out this list of tips on evaluating email, letters and phone calls you receive for potential scams.
  25. Finally, if it seems to good to be true… IT IS! No one is going to send you a pile of money from a dead Nigerian president, no lottery is going to make you a winner from a “randomly selected from a database of email addresses”.  Multi-level marketing IS A SCAM, ALL psychics are nothing more than conmen, and you can not  make big money from “passive residual income in a few hours of your spare time each day”. And there is no Easter Bunny.

Resources lists and guides – lists of domain extensions for other countries, telephone country codes, area codes, etc.

The bottom line is, if you want to live like a Prince or Princess in a fairy tale, then use common sense, work hard and work smart to achieve your goals.

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March 17, 2010 Posted by | Business, Consume, Consumer Scams, Courses, fraud, government resources, Real Estate, Report a Scam, Research sites, Seminars, Share Trading, State Resources, Superannuation, Training | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

7 Tips For Spotting An Investment Scam

Author: P. Christopher Music

Do you know the tale-tell characteristics that indicate “investment scam?”

Over the course of the last two decades in the financial industry, I have had good fortune, and yes, bad fortune in learning about the realities of investments.   When I speak with investors, it’s not uncommon for some people to insist on certain delusions they have accumulated regarding the subject.  This article is an effort to give you some the characteristics of any investment proposal that deserves your careful scrutiny and distrust.

Most investment scams have certain characteristics in common:

  1. 1. Secrecy – Any investment program that is worth anything can stand up to the scrutiny of financial advisors, accountants, attorneys and anybody else with some investment acumen.  Many scams create this confidentiality to give the investor the feeling that they are “on the inside,” privy to investments only available to wealthy families or a select group of fortunate people.  The confidentiality requirement is designed to prevent you from communicating with others about your involvement so you will keep believing what the scammers are telling you.
  1. 2. High Returns—What rates of return should a person receive for investing money?  Well, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  While 20% returns may be possible for very speculative investments under certain circumstances, anything beyond that is simply not real over time.  If any return on investment is greater than what would normally be earned on that type of asset, it is a good indicator that something isn’t right.  Consult a knowledgeable financial advisor of your  investment plans if you have any doubt.
  1. 3. No Track Record — Any investment program should have returns that can be verified by a reputable third party, such as an accounting or law firm.  Further, the principals of the program should have fully verified backgrounds with a proven record of successful past investment programs.  Moreover, any start-up would have a logical product and a complete business plan replete with reasonable financials and marketing plan.  If there is no track record, forget it.
  1. 4. Lack of Full Documentation—Any legitimate investment has full documentation, including a prospectus (a document that explains the details of an investment) or offering memorandum (which is for private placement programs, investment programs that are made available to qualified investors and not to the general investor public).  Complete contracts would also be provided carefully covering all of the details of the proposed investment.  Insist on full disclosure.
  1. 5. Guarantees—To my knowledge, the only investments that provide guarantees are insurance policies.  If someone is offering you guaranteed returns or a personal guarantee, it’s not worth anything.  If you lose your money in the investment, the personal guarantee is only as good as the assets of the person issuing the guarantee (if they had the money for the guarantee, why would they need yours?)
  1. 6. No Registration with Regulating Authorities—In order to offer an investment to the public, in most cases, the principal creating such an investment will have to register it with the State.  Further, the person selling the investment will have to be registered with the State as a securities salesperson or investment advisor.  Lack of such registration is a red flag.
  1. 7. Offshore Tax Benefits — For American citizens, there are no offshore tax havens.  In other words, US citizens are taxed on worldwide income, regardless of the source.  Anyone stating that you can save or avoid income taxes by moving offshore is just dead wrong.  There is no surer way of creating a problem than attempting to evade taxes.  While there are asset protection reasons to use offshore entities, there are no legitimate income tax saving strategies offered offshore that cannot be done domestically.

I know I said 7 tips, but I thought of one more…

  1. 8. International Lure—Investing internationally has a certain allure to it.  It’s exotic and different.  The only problem is that you transfer your assets overseas and the chance of getting them back may be zilch.  The complexities of international financial regulations and laws make it a great justification for someone to not be able to deliver on intended investment results.  Just keep your money closer to home.

Greed and Desperation

People invest in these programs due to desperation for money or the desire of getting something for nothing.  The way to wealth is through investing wisely in your own ability and production and being intelligent enough to not spend everything you make.  Falling victim to any investment scam can be a significant setback to your quality of life.  Just don’t play that game.  Learn the natural laws of money and apply them and you will be where you want to be in due course.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/banking-articles/7-tips-for-spotting-an-investment-scam-1943536.html

About the Author

After 15-plus years of being a financial planner, Christopher Music decided there had to be a better way. Witnessing financial debacles of big industry and government-driven economies caused Christopher to take action, developing an instrument that measures the success of any financial plan. The Financial Security AnalysisTM (FSA) is the back bone of Music’s firm, Wealth Advisory Associates (WAA). WAA is a financial planning firm focused on helping private-practice physical therapists understand and implement the most effective strategies to achieving financial success and security. Visit http://www.wealthadvisoryassociates.com

About Roy McDonald

For the past 43 years, Roy McDonald has been searching out, creating, and pioneering some of the best strategies for creating wealth and success in people’s lives. He is the founder of OneLife International.

As an educator, author, business coach, and strategic planner, Roy McDonald is a hands-on wealth creator. The programs that he teaches at One Life International have enabled hundreds of satisfied clients to increase their belief in themselves and therefore their belief in their ability to create wealth.

Roy McDonald is a self-made millionaire and director of 49 different structures and interests in more than 24 companies that turn over in excess of $30 million a year (more than $700,000.00 a week!). This includes an Accounting Firm, a Financial Planning Company, a Real Estate Business, a Development and Construction Company, a Training Organization and other business including Investment companies, Trading Companies, a Travel Company, Farming and Cattle Breeding.

Roy McDonald has been educating people in wealth creation strategies for over 23 years and now with OneLife, Roy gives the participants of his programs a holistic and balanced approach to creating the life of their dreams.

March 16, 2010 Posted by | Consume, Consumer Scams, Courses, fraud, Research sites, Seminars, Share Trading, Share Trading Seminars, Share trading Wealth Creation, Superannuation | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How much superannuation do I get paid? Don’t be scammed

Don’t get scammed by your employer, know how much superannuation should you be getting paid?

Here is a guide:

our employer must pay a minimum of 9% of your earnings base into your super account

Generally, as an employee, your employer should be paying super for you if you are:

  • aged 18 years or over but under 70, and;
  • paid at least $450 (before tax) in a calendar month

If you are under 18, you are eligible for compulsory super guarantee if you work 30 hours or more a week.

This is the site I got the information from: http://www.ato.gov.au

and the article is: Superannuation Guarantee – Individuals

Don’t be scammed follow up on your super and plan for your future.

RoyMcDonald seven year plan ebook by Roy Mcdonald


March 12, 2010 Posted by | Consume, Consumer Scams, Courses, fraud, government resources, Report a Scam, Research sites, Seminars, State Resources, Superannuation | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Roy McDonald, what is a scam?

If we look at the history of a word or the origin of that word, weather it is the meaning of that word in another language or how it is a acronym of a word (slang) we can better understand how to proceed in our situation. If we search around on the word scam we can find some interesting results, on wikipedia we can see the true origin of the words history where it was first used and in what context. Here is a quote from the history of the word scam ;

History

The first known usage of the term “confidence man” in English was in 1849; it was used by American press during the United States trial of William Thompson. Thompson chatted with strangers until he asked if they had the confidence to lend him their watches, whereupon he would walk off with the watch; he was captured when a victim recognized him on the street.[1]

The true meaning as given on wikipedia is;

confidence trick or confidence game (also known as a bunkoconflim flamgafflegrifthustlescamschemeswindle or bamboozle) is an attempt to defraud a person or group by gaining their confidence.

If we take this a little further and look at the word confidence;

Confidence is generally described as a state of being certain either that a hypothesis or prediction is correct or that a chosen course of action is the best or most effective.

We can start to see that a “confidence trick” (scam) is something that is really up to market forces, as the term would surgest in real estate, “When the market is right, it is right and when the market is wrong, it is right!” This just means that no one really makes the definition singularly, it is a variety of sources that determines the result.

market is any one of a variety of different systemsinstitutionsproceduressocial relations and infrastructures where by personstrade, and goods and services are exchanged, forming part of the economy.

This means that we are always changing and there will always be a negative and a positive to the question, (is this or him or her a scam) what you will need to do is keep yourself up to date with the changes to the situation as tomorrow the market may change. Roy has a saying that goes; Planes fly into buildings! So you can never predict and you must always expect the change will come, it maybe the only prediction you can make.

How will this effect you in the evaluation of a scam? Well lets say a person was involved in being accused of scamming (confidence tick), and they then looked at what they where doing from the perspective of the person that had accused them of this, then change what they where doing. Would this person now be more aware of its consumers? Would their product or services be more in tune with the market now (remember the market is always changing) or would the person that had not had this experience become the one who is not with the times or timing of the market, now could be the one accused of scamming? It can be difficult for a consumer to find the true path they wish to take. That is why I believe a lot in the teachings of my mentor Roy McDonald. He has a primary focus of you purpose in life and where  you want to go and who you want to be. This will cut your decision time down in a big way. You will be well aware of what you want to do and where you want to be thus understanding that industry, product or service better then the average consumer, therefore being able to make a better, educated decision promptly. Have a look at Roy’s Seven Year Plan here this may help you create a future that is more focused and give you more clarity. You should also look for other mentors online that provide a lot of good free advice like Brad Sugars free ebooks.

March 8, 2010 Posted by | Business, Consume, Consumer Scams, Courses, fraud, government resources, Real Estate, Report a Scam, Research sites, Scam Games, Seminars, Share Trading, State Resources, Superannuation, Training | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fighting Fraud Online with New Offensive

Scam watch join the online offensive

Online fraud and scams has jumped up over the last year with a 16% increase overall in the complaints, 68.6% of that was via the internet. A new campaign from the government site http:scamwatch.gov.au has produced a banner that you can add to your site to help protect consumers.

Article reference:

Channel 7 Sunrise

Full List:

2010 Government partners

2010 Private partners

Top

2010 Community partners

Scams Target you

Add the scam watch banner to your site

March 2, 2010 Posted by | Business, Consume, Consumer Scams, fraud, government resources, Real Estate, Report a Scam, Research sites, Scam Games, Seminars, Share Trading, State Resources, Superannuation | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Don’t get scammed on your Retirement Money!

Here is a grate calculator that will help you work out what your retirement income will be, its a good idea to revisit the site often to work on the right numbers;

http://apps.finra.org/Investor_Information/Calculators/1/RetirementCalc.aspx

February 22, 2010 Posted by | Research sites, Superannuation, Training | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

List of the Australasian Consumer Fraud Taskforce: ACFT agencies

Here are a list of the Australian Government sites that are here for a resource;

A collection of great sites this is a perfect resource for you when you are doing you homework, researching a company, person or charity group. Bookmark this page so you have it as a quick reference.

Australian Bureau of Statistics produces research and statistics on personal fraud and scams in Australia.
www.abs.gov.au

Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy provides links to Australian Government initiatives to improve online security and fraud awareness.
www.dbcde.gov.au

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is responsible for enforcing the Trade Practices Act 1974 and the state/territory application legislation. It provides advice about scams and how to report them.
www.accc.gov.au

Attorney-General’s Department works to improve identity security, combat identity crime and protect the identities of Australians from being used for illegal purposes. Current initiatives include: The National Identity Security Strategy, The National Document Verification Service (DVS), and the ID Theft – Protecting Your Identity booklet.
www.ag.gov.au

Australian Communications and Media Authority is responsible for enforcing the Spam Act 2003 and has developed an online tool to report spam.
www.spam.acma.gov.au

Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) is Australia’s national crime and criminal justice research agency. Consumers can fill out a scams survey at www.aic.gov.au/research/fraud/acft/survey.html to gather information to help to improve the prevention, detection, investigation, and prosecution of scam offenders.
www.aic.gov.au

Australian Federal Police represented by the Australian High Tech Crime Centre (AHTCC) provides a nationally coordinated approach to technology-enabled crime. Its brief is to combat serious and complex high tech crimes, especially those beyond the capability of a single jurisdiction.
www.afp.gov.au
Media contact: National Media Team (02) 6275 7100

Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) investigates scams involving financial products and services including cold calling, phone investment scams and illegal investment schemes.
www.asic.gov.au

Great list from the Australian government here are some from the,

New Zealand Government;

Ministry of Consumer Affairs
www.consumeraffairs.govt.nz

Commerce Commission of New Zealand
www.comcom.govt.nz

Australian State and Territory consumer affairs and fair trading agencies

State and Territory consumer affairs and fair trading agencies protect and promote the interests of consumers by providing advice and assistance, enforcing state consumer laws, investigating complaints, and resolving disputes.

NSW
Office of Fair Trading (OFT)
www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au

VIC
Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV)
www.consumer.vic.gov.au

SA
Office of Consumer & Business Affairs (OCBA)
www.ocba.sa.gov.au

QLD
Office of Fair Trading (OFT)
www.fairtrading.qld.gov.au

Tas
Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading (CAFT)
www.consumer.tas.gov.au

NT
Consumer Affairs (Department of Justice)
www.consumeraffairs.nt.gov.au

WA
Department of Consumer and Employment Protection (DOCEP)
www.docep.wa.gov.au

ACT
Office of Regulatory Services
www.ors.act.gov.au

^ Top

Here is some other ACFT information

Taskforce partners

Taskforce members are joined in communicating with Australian consumers about scams by a range of community, non-government and private sector organisations. A list of Taskforce partners will be available on www.scamwatch.gov.au soon.

Reporting a scam

Consumers who think they’ve spotted a scam can report a scam or find out more information about scams on the SCAMwatch website at www.scamwatch.gov.au or call 1300 795 995.

Scams survey

Consumers can also fill out a scams survey on the Australian Institute of Criminology website atwww.aic.gov.au/research/fraud/acft/survey.html Gathering this information will help to improve the prevention, detection, investigation, and prosecution of scam offenders. Aggregated results will be available later in the year from www.scamwatch.gov.au

More information on scams

More information about scams can be found in The Little Black Book of Scams published by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, call 1300 302 502 or visit their website www.accc.gov.au

^ Top

Other useful websites or kits (see individual agencies also)

SCAMwatch

A site to help you recognise, report and protect yourself from scams. Explore SCAMwatch to find out more about the scams that target you or your small business. SCAMwatch is the campaign portal for the Australasian Consumer Fraud Taskforce.
www.scamwatch.gov.au

NetAlert

NetAlert is the Australian Government’s cyber-safety website. The site includes advice and resources on Internet scams, identity theft, spam and other online cyber-safety related issues.
www.netalert.gov.au

Protect your financial identity

This website provides information for the public about how to protect your financial identity in everyday life and minimise the damage if a problem occurs. This website has been developed by the Australian Bankers Association, the Australian High Tech Crime Centre and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.
www.protectfinancialid.org.au

FIDO

The Australian Securities and Investment Commission website for consumers and investors includes warnings about financial scams, lists of illegal investments and unlicensed overseas callers promoting investment opportunities, tips on managing money, and information on how to complain. It also features case studies about people who were made financial offers that were too good to be true.
www.fido.gov.au

Stay smart online

The Australian Government’s e-security website for home users and small businesses. The site has a range of information and resources, including quizzes, guides, tools, tips and advice on how to use the Internet safely and confidently.
www.staysmartonline.gov.au

ID Theft Booklet – Protecting Your Identity

A booklet produced by the Attorney-General’s Department to help Australians prevent, and deal with, identity theft. The Booklet is about how to prevent, and respond to, identity theft. It provides practical strategies on how individuals can protect themselves from becoming victims of identity theft, and what to do if they become a victim of this crime.
www.ag.gov.au/identitysecurity

February 12, 2010 Posted by | Business, Consume, Consumer Scams, government resources, Real Estate, Research sites, Seminars, Share Trading, State Resources, Superannuation, Training | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Roy McDonald on Spotting Superannuation Scams

“How do you spot a superannuation scams”? I ask Roy McDonald? Roy said these are some of the super warning signs

Corporate superannuation scams

Australian Corporate superannuation

and how to protect yourself from them.

Are they a financial Adviser, do they have the licence numbers and have you checked this number out, to see if its real?

Be cautious, if they are saying things like this is quick access to money or unlocking a bulk amount real quick, then you should not be making a decision there and then. As always with investments that involve your super fund they are long term so a few more days will always be fine and will give you the time to investigate the back grown of this group.

Roy McDonald is always reminding me of my big picture, my 7 year plan and your superannuation is a big part of it. Have a look at the benefits that super funds offer, long term returns, early exit fees(especially if you have made some money the tax amount Roy said was really large). Why is that? Well because it is a produce designed to support you in the later years of your life. This is the long term part of your portfolio and you should always keep that in mind when you use your super to invest. Roy McDonald asked me to go and revisit my 7 year plan get into state and then write your strategy before you decide how you are going to use superannuation to invest profitable.

Kochie’s from channel seven has some great Superannuation Tips.

February 11, 2010 Posted by | Consume, Consumer Scams, Superannuation | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment