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