We have all seen the signs on the side of the road or received an annoying email telling you you can “be your own boss” or “earn six figures from home”. We would all love to make a lot of money fast and easily but it is just not reality. Many of these SCAMS are pyramid schemes where a percent of what you make goes to the person who signed you up and you get a percentage of any one you signed up. Although you can make money with these you have to be willing to be a little pushy and possibly buy products from a specific company at no real discount. Other programs offer to help you get started as a medical transcription or a bill collector(usually called by a different name), but you have to give them an up front fee. Especially watch out for any scheme that could get you in trouble with you state licensing agencies, you can get sued or fined heavily. Here are some examples to watch out for:
Signs or emails claiming to give you a way to get rich quick and easy.
Programs that ask for a fee up front.
Any schooling that can be done in a few weeks or even months from schools you have never heard of.
People posing as a common business or Internet company you have heard of(Google, Amazon, ebay), it is easy to make an email look like an official business email.
Know that people wont go out of their way to show you the secrets of their success without there being something in it for them. These businesses need you much more than you might need them.
Finally do your research, the Internet is a great way to find out about possible scam business opportunities. Do a Google search of the companies name and a search on that particular business(i.e. medical transcription, medical coding). Also feel free to send us an email and we can do some research for you. If you are interested in finding some legitimate ways to work from home check out a list from about.com and some tips to starting a home based business from entrepreneur.com.
Find a certain time of the month to check all your statements. You may be surprised to find things that were purposely charged to your accounts and some that may have accidentally been charged to your accounts. Remember that your medical bills are subject to fraud and accidental over charges. Many people do not question these accounts and not only do they affect your pocket but can increase insurance premiums for everyone. Unfortunately some of our medical professions are subject to making mistakes just like the rest of us. If you monitor your accounts every month you will find mistakes from time to time, and if gone uncorrected can become reoccurring fees out of your pockets. Another good reason to check your accounts is to see where you are spending money and can be a big help in budgeting.
Ponzi Scheme is false returns on an investment in order to get the confidence of an investor. A scam artist may pay money out of their own pockets in order to convince an investor to give them more access to their portfolio. This particular scam relies on your natural desire to make easy money. This particular scam is named after Charles Ponzi who all though was not the first, was possibly the worst. At the beginning of the century he swindled around $500,000 from investors, and was eventually caught and spent three and a half years in prison. The scam has many variations and may look very different, here is some things to look for:
Any promise of a return higher than 0.1% return per day.
A request for a much higher investment after an initial successful campaign.
You have never heard of the investment company
The bottom line with investing and letting anyone have access to your portfolio is do your research. Scam artists are very clever and charming and can fool even savvy investors.
I. Emails from people trying to infect your system and steal your friends’ email addresses for spam
I.1 Pictures of Osama Bin Laden hanging or Arnold Schwarzenegger’s suicide note I.2. Email from your system administrator or other familiar sender that says your email could not be delivered, or some similar statement.
I.3. Email with subject “Against!” or “Revenge”
I.4. Email with subject Re_ and body with animals or foto or other subjects
II. Emails from people trying to steal your identity (and your money)
II.1. Update Your Billing Information (from eBay)
II.2. Your account at eBay has been suspended
II.3. Your account at Wells Fargo has been suspended
II.4. Notification of US Bank Internet Banking
II.5. Attn: Citibank Update
III. Emails from people trying to fool you into hurting yourself or your friends and coworkers
III.1 Subject: “jdbg” Virus: how to detect and remove.
The North American Securities Administrators Association has the most thorough resource center on the web. In particular is their Investigation Form, if we could get this form out to everyone interested in investing, it could save consumers from a devastating financial blow. The form is laid out to ensure that all precaution’s are taken. Any reputable Investment firm will be happy to provide their potential customers with this information, as it is also in their best interest that investors ask for credentials. Here is a sample form,they also provide a printer friendly copy at their website NASAA.org
1. What products are you offering? (check all that apply)
2. Who regulates or licenses this product or service?
3. How does this product meet my investment objectives?
4. What are the risks?
5. What written information will I receive about this investment before making a decision?
Most Recent Annual Report
Most Recent Quarterly or Interim Report
Recent News Releases
6. What license(s) do you hold that authorizes you to sell this product or service?
This one starts with a simple phone call. Here is a sample phone call.
Scammer: Hi grandma!
Innocent senior: Hello
Scammer: Do you know who this is?
The senior will generally say one of their grandchildrens name, once they do the scammer says yes and will then tell the senior that they need money for an emergency (got in trouble, have to pay rent, car broke down). Stressing not to tell Mom because she will be mad at the grandchild.
Innocent Senior: Chris?
Scammer:yes, I have gotten into some financial trouble and need to borrow $800 dollars for my rent.
The scammer will then instruct them to send the money via money gram or western union.
Our main suggestion would be never to volunteer any information. This is hard when they feel it is a loving member of their family. This scam can only be stopped if we can get the word out. Share this story with a friend and ask them to do the same.