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

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

Seminar Scams; Jamie Mcintyre Scam or Not?

The 21st Century Wealth Academy and Jamie Mcintyre, Real Estate Investing / Trading, Wealth Creation, Share Trading and more, so how dose this guy do so much and is it a scam? Jamie Mcintyre runs seminars all over Australia and online he also offers free DVD’s on his seminar, on them he talks about Investment Strategies for Real Estate Investing / Trading and Share Trading general Wealth creation stuff and so on, you can find them almost everywhere online, Financially Free DVD.

So I went for a look around like I recommend on this blog to find the truth on this guy Jamie and I found some interesting articles on some of my recommended sites like http://www.fido.gov.au and got a great article titled Another wealth creation spruiker caught out and the another called Action stops further promotion of wealth creation seminars. Now these where posted back in 2005 and its now 2010 so what now?

His Background (as stated on the fido.gov.au website)
21st Century Academy promotes, advertises and conducts a business of holding wealth creation seminars. These seminars, and related materials, purport to teach people ‘how to excel in the 21st century and make money while you sleep’. Mr McIntyre is described as ‘the founder and head facilitator of the Academy, …a self-made millionaire and an inspiration to thousands’.

ASIC secured interlocutory undertakings from 21st Century Academy and Mr McIntyre on 5 April 2005 to restrain this conduct, pending the Court’s final decision.

Also you may notice that on this page as well http://www.fido.gov.au/fido/fido.nsf/byheadline/05-167+Another+wealth+creation+spruiker+caught+out you have the results of what has gone on, the results of Jamie Mcintyres companies like 21st century academy. You maybe surprised as I was when I had first come across all this negative information about Jamie, you’ll see that the decision was made and Jamie was to not give advice until or unless its given by a company or persons that held a AFSL, Australian Financial Services Licence. There is a little more and you should have a read though that is pretty much the idea.

Here is another interesting part if you go to http://www.21stcenturyacademy.com/jamie-mcintyre.php you’ll see a brief bio on Mr McIntyre and at the bottom it has what he requires to give advice,

Jamie McIntyre is an employee of 21st Century Investment Services Pty Ltd and an authorised representative of Romad Financial Services Pty Ltd (AFSL No 238 032). Jamie has been certified by Romad as being qualified in the areas of derivatives, securities and managed investment products. He is currently authorised to provide general advice and dealing services in Derivatives, Deposit Products, Managed Investments and Securities (ASIC No. 321 315).

Here is another quote from fido.gov.au;

The Executive Director of Enforcement at ASIC, Ms Jan Redfern said the Federal Court’s action should remind consumers that it is important to check the credentials of people providing financial advice.

That is the kind of advice we like to here on scams in any industry weather it is seminars, real estate, business or what ever you name it, the truth will be found on a proper website like the ASIC one or any of the government websites we recommend.

So to wrap this article up I want to let you know the process here: We did a google search and looked for government websites, they have .gov on the end of there URL then we did some reading and did so until we found a conclusion to the story on Jamie, he was a little easier then some less known people though that is a good start in spotting a scam in any case.

February 23, 2010 Posted by | Business, Business Seminars, Consume, Consumer Scams, Courses, fraud, government resources, Real Estate, Real Estate Seminars, Real Estate Wealth Creation, Research sites, Seminars, Share Trading, Share Trading Seminars, Training | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Spotting a corporate scam in the industry your investing in!

Roy McDoanld has given me one of the greatest gifts that I could ever receive, and that is the gift of learning, Roy said that in order to move forward you need to learn from the past. In one of Australia’s biggest corporate scandals there can be a lot of learning. The asbestos scandal with James Hardie Industries took a turn for the worse when in 1995 the chief operating company was quietly stripped of its assets. Trade names, patents, huge management fees  and dividends flowed to the parent company.

“GREG COMBET, SECRETARY, ACTU: This is one of the most morally and legally repugnant acts in Australian corporate history.” ABC’s 730 Report

If we are to learn from this we could be to look into to corporate scams and frauds, Matthew Johnston from the University of Melbourne has written a great article on how “study shows how best to bust corporate fraud” this with research form KPMG. They also have some grate articles on fraud risk management and Unmasking the face of corporate fraud. Will help you gain a quick grasp on what can really go on in the corporate world.

Roy McDonald mentions that corporate fraud and scams are driven by greed and this is a trait of the ego as you start looking and researching you will find far more information then you need or will ever need, though once you have a basic understanding of how to spot a scam in the industry then turn your research attention to the people in control of the company and the character traits of them. Once you have your research then you can paint a clearer picture of where the company might be heading and if you should go and invest your super or money into it.

February 19, 2010 Posted by | Business, Business Buying, Business Selling, Business Seminars, Business Trading, Consumer Scams, fraud, Report a Scam, Research sites | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Spotting a Business or Franchise Scam

We are really blissed when it comes to information online about spotting scams in businesses or franchises. Here is an example of some government websites;

Federal Trade Commission has examples of business scams:

http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/franchise/tsweep02.shtm

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has the franchising code here:

http://www.accc.gov.au/content/index.phtml/tag/franchisingcode/

A great new one to me I just found is Fido, built by the Australian government, it gives you financial tips and safety checks:

http://www.fido.gov.au/fido/fido.nsf/byHeadline/Scams%20-%20types%20of%20scams

Also another site from a great business leader Brad Sugars:

http://www.actioncoach.com/bradsugars/how-to-spot-a-franchise-scam.php

The information is there so why are people continually scammed? Is it that they just don’t read this or is it that they are not really educated in how to spot scams or even how to spot a business opportunity? It’s a lot of both and can vary, Roy McDonald refers to a percentage of the population being 95% as having no or near nothing in the way of financial education. If Roy can say 95% with confidence we can say it’s that most people just don’t know and wouldn’t be able to spot the difference between a working profitable business, a working unprofitable business and a complete and utter scam.

Spotting a franchise or business scam is left to the government to police and they can be just as bad at spotting them as the general public. Have they ever had the experience of running businesses or doing the due diligences of investing in a new business opportunity on a on going basis? Not really and they shouldn’t need to! Everything should be fine people should not rip other people off and the world is perfect. Well in some peoples eyes that is the case because that is their point of view and that is where we can get unstuck as well. If you think any business or franchise will fit your personality then you will be in for a surprise when the business fails, because you don’t fit the role that supports the growth of the business. This has added another aspect to the equation and makes it even more complicated, you may be tearing your hair out right now though if your look at some of Roger Hamilton’s work  it makes the process of avoiding a scam simple. Roger Hamilton has a great system for budding business owners, its called the Wealth Dynamics Profile Test. This test will help you find out who you really are as a business owner and will show you where you are strong and where you are weak. As Roy McDonald puts it so gracefully; “If you understand yourself, then you can understand where best to excel in every endeavor”.

I’m going to be bold and say if you really don’t understand your personality and how you relate to others is business then you should not go into business, it is really that important to know yourself, if you don’t you maybe be left thinking that you have been scammed. So check out the Wealth Dynamics Profile Test and see how to best work in your flow.

February 10, 2010 Posted by | Business, Business Buying, Business Selling, Business Seminars, Business Trading, Consume, Consumer Scams, Courses, Seminars, Training | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Spotting a Business opportunity Scam

A Business Opportunity scam can come in many ways, from an email, a flyer in the post, direct mail in your letter box and so on, really what we are looking at here are businesses that require an up front amount that must be paid ASAP (as soon as possible). My mentor Roy McDonald said “You should always take you time with a business and evaluating that opportunity”. We want to be very present when we come across a marketing material with the wording “Business Opportunity”.

Check in with yourself, dose the product or service that the business will offer sound like something you would invest in?

Is there a actual address that you can go to and how long has that business been at that address?

How many references do they have and can you meet these people?

This is the real truth of it; You are going to be the one that will make the decision! You and only you!

Take control of your Life, your Time, your Money

– Roy McDonald

So if running a business is new to you then you will need to be sure that you follow a few of these tips:

1. If the business goes bad, will you have any working capital left to invest into another business or even keep living

Roy McDonald avoid Business Scam

Finding Solution to avoid a scam

your life style?

2. If the business needs amounts of money beyond what you have contributed, will you be able to make them?

3. If you are going to be the manager or if something happened to the managers of the business would you be comperdent and able to run this business in the same way or better?

4. How dose this really effect your life style; With the outlay of money. With your time involvement. With the possibility that all may go wrong, you lose all that you put in, the worst case possible.

A business is a vehicle that ideally will move you towards your goals. So dose this do that and what about the time frames for the good the bad and the ugly circumstances. Will you be working for the business or will the business be working for you?

Here are some great reference articles for you to check out on some government websites:

http://www.scamwatch.gov.au/content/index.phtml/tag/BusinessOpportunityScams

I love this site because of the video’s, you just can’t go wrong with a video;

http://consumer.gov/ncpw/business-opportunity-scam-artist/

In closing as my mentor Roy McDonald has always put, “If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything”! Start creating your goals today, create success habits that will teach you how to understand what a business really is and how they perform. How businesses are bought and sold is pretty simple its a lot like a house, if there are no contracts, no buildings, no employees then that is a hint, spend the time and the money to do your research and you won’t get caught up in the business scams out there. Regards, Mark

February 5, 2010 Posted by | Business, Business Buying, Business Selling, Business Seminars, Business Trading, Courses, Seminars, Training | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment