Maxed Out

I have to get a copy of this movie.  I first heard about it when I was in Florida at a Consumer Empowerment Expo.  Knowledge is power, and from what I hear this movie will open your eyes to the problems of America’s debit crisis.

http://astore.amazon.com/scamvictimsun-20/detail/1416532536

Scams and the economy

I got this email (this one is NOT a scam) from the Friends of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

As Congress undertakes one of history’s largest legislative agendas, Chief Economist, Marty Regalia, and Executive Director, Katie Hays, from the U.S. Chamber will discuss the state of the economy and health care reform.Join us Wednesday, September 16 at 1:00 p.m. EST for an update on President Obama’s Second One Hundred Days, its impact on the economy, and the latest details on the health care debate — including the Senate Finance Committee’s most recent proposal.Register now online and submit your question for the U.S. Chamber’s policy experts to discuss during the call.

I went and submitted my question . . . when is the government going to do more to address the issue of scams and fraud? It seems clear to me, that if millions of dollars are going out of the United States each year to scams and fraud, that one way to help the current economy is to do more to battle this issue.

I encourage all of you do share your thoughts also, by filling out the form here
http://www.friendsoftheuschamber.com/takeaction/index.cfm?ID=489&utm_source=email&utm_medium=email&utm_term=submit&utm_campaign=regaliacall

Shawn Mosch
Co-Founder of ScamVictimsUnited.com
There is strength in numbers!

Find us on Twitter, Facebook and more through
http://www.retaggr.com/page/ShawnMosch

Scam Victim Arrested

What started out as excitement about a new job quickly turned into a financial and emotional roller coaster for one Texas woman.  In July of 2009, Nicole Ball, a stay-at-home mother from Pasadena, Texas was offered a job by someone claiming to be with a company called Formations House processing paperwork for their clients.  Nicole was ecstatic, and in this economy who would not be when they found not only a source of income but a way to do so and continue to stay at home with her young child. 

She began to receive packages in the mail with instructions to process the checks in the package.  She was instructed to keep a portion of the checks, for her payment, and then to forward the rest of the money along with some paperwork on to a man using the name of Stanley Clarkes. 

On July 23rd she entered the bank to bring in another check that she had received, and when she brought them to the teller her whole world turn upside down . . . the bank employees brought her into an office, called the police and pressed charges against her for forgery.  She was devastated.  To add to this, her young daughter was with her at the time and she had to witness her mother being told that the check was a fraud, the job she thought she had was a scam, and that now she was going to be arrested and have to spend time in jail. 

It is cases like this that show how significant the need for Scam Education and Awareness is, not only for the average American, but for bank employees and law enforcement.  With the right questions, not only could the bank employees have seen the warning signs of a scam and warned Nicole, but they would have also realized that she was not the one that needed to be behind bars or prosecuted.  With the right questions or a search warrant, the police could have seen that Nicole was not the one manufacturing these counterfeit checks that were good enough to fool bank employees.  They could have reviewed the information on her computer and in her home to see that she is a victim of this scam and not the perpetrator.

Nicole’s story is far from over.  She will now have to endure court proceedings and pay for legal fees all to prove that she is innocent.  I hope that the law enforcement and government officials in Pasadena, Texas will step in on this matter in order to assist Nicole Ball and her young daughter.   Beyond that we ask for your support and partnership in a Scam Education and Awareness Program in Texas, and across the country so that stories like Nicole’s will not happen to others.

 

Shawn Mosch
Co-Founder of ScamVictimsUnited.com
There is strength in numbers!

Find us on Twitter, Facebook and more through
http://www.retaggr.com/page/ShawnMosch

Sammy Rabbit

 

Yesterday I spoke on the phone with a wonderful man by the name of Sam Renick.  His site, www.itsahabit.com helps to teach children about good habits when it comes to money and saving.  I spoke with him about a possible partnership where we could teach children about scams and fraud.  My thought is that you need to teach the next generation about these issues so that they can have the tools to better protect themselves when they are out on their own.  How does scam and fraud education tie into financial education?  Well, once you have your money in your wallet/pocket/bank account, you have to know about scams and fraud otherwise the scammers will try to take that money from you.  Now I just have to figure out how to take this idea down to a young child’s level.  I need a good saying, like the old fire safety “Stop, Drop and Roll” that kids can remember and relate to . . . and then Sammy Rabbit and Scam Victims United can bring this message to the kids.

 

Please check out Sam Renick’s site. 

Author, Founder, CEO, Social Entrepreneur
The It’s a Habit! Company, Inc.
Award Winning Financial Education Products & Programs Since 2001
www.itsahabit.com
www.sammyrabbitblog.com
http://twitter.com/sammysays

How to save elderly relatives who keep falling for scams

I saw this blog entry today and had to share it. 

How to save elderly relatives who keep falling for scams

Shared via AddThis

Working with Dolphin can feel like swimming with the sharks

With jobs being hard to find in this economy, many people turn to Staffing Agencies for assistance.  This can be a wonderful way to assist you in your search for that next job, but remember, not all staffing agencies are the same.  We have heard reports of one in particular which has caused a lot of stress and anxiety in the lives of people.
 
Dolphin Staffing
17 Washington Ave. N., Suite 500
Minneapolis, MN 55401
 
612-338-7581
 
We would summarize the majority of the issues reported to us about Dolphin Staffing as poor customer service type issues.  They would include
 
Not returning phone calls or emails
Not providing paperwork/documentation in a timely manner
Calling employees repeatedly, to the point of harassment, when they take a sick day
Telling employees that it is okay for them to take a sick day, unless they are using it to look for employment
Errors in paychecks
 
If you have additional information on this staffing agency, please feel free to post it here.

Consumer Federation of America

This Press Release was from May 27, 2009

http://www.consumerfed.org/pdfs/Fake_Check_PR_5-27-09.pdf

 

CFA Task Force Aims to “Tear Up” Fake Check Scams

 

Survey Shows Over a Million Consumers are Being Swindled

 

Washington DC – Today, the Consumer Federation of America is launching a national campaign to combat fake check scams.  Millions of consumers are lured into accepting genuine-looking checks and money orders and wiring money to crooks in return.  According to the results of a CFA survey, nearly one third of adults have been approached with fake check scams and at least 1.3 million have become actual victims. With an average loss of $3,000 to $4,000 per consumer, billions of dollars have been pocketed by fake check scammers. “In today’s economy, as consumers struggle to make ends meet, vulnerability is at an all-time high. Phony claims of sudden riches or ways to make money have never been more attractive,” said Susan Grant, CFA’s Director of Consumer Protection. CFA created a Fake Check Task Force to help raise awareness about these scams and protect consumers.

 

The telephone survey of 2,000 adults conducted for CFA by Opinion Research Corporation December 4-8, 2008 revealed that the most common fake check scams are those involving sweepstakes/lotteries (66 percent), grants (36 percent) and work-at-home opportunities (35 percent). In the sweepstakes and grant scenarios, the consumer receives a check or money order with instructions to wire a portion of the money to pay taxes or administrative fees. In the phony job offers, consumers are asked to process payments for a foreign business or make purchases as a mystery shopper and wire the remaining money to their employer minus their “pay.” Another popular variation of the scam is the “overpayment,” where the scammer offers to buy something the consumer has advertised for sale, sends a check or money order for more than the asking price, and tells the consumer to wire the extra to someone who will arrange for shipping.  

 

         “The check or money order is phony, and so is the person’s story,” explained Grant. “Unfortunately, the consumer usually doesn’t learn that until after sending the money.”  Federal law requires financial institutions to give consumers access to the money from checks or money orders they deposit quickly, usually within 1-5 business days, but just because funds are available doesn’t mean the check or money order is good. It may take weeks for the counterfeit to be discovered. When it is, the consumer is on the hook to repay the bank, credit union, or check cashing service.

 

Compounding the problem is consumer misunderstanding. Fifty-nine percent of the respondents in CFA’s survey incorrectly believe that when you deposit a check or money order, your bank confirms that it is good before allowing you to withdraw the money. The number goes up to 70 percent among young adults age 18-24, and 71 percent of people with incomes under $25,000 and who did not complete high school. More than 40 percent of those surveyed do not know that they are liable if the checks or money orders they deposit or cash are counterfeit. Fifty-two percent age 18-24 and half of Hispanics incorrectly said the person who gave you the check must pay the bank back.

 

Another factor is the fact that the scammers are hard to pursue. They often operate from Canada and other foreign countries, making it more difficult for U.S. law enforcement agencies to bring legal action against them, and they cover their tracks by picking up the money in cash and using phony identification.

 

Created in May 2008, CFA’s Fake Check Task Force brings nonprofit consumer organizations, law enforcement and consumer protection agencies, financial service companies, and other businesses and trade associations together to fight these scams through greater education and awareness. The campaign has several elements, including new information in English and Spanish about grant and mystery shopping scams on the National Consumers League’s www.fakechecks.org Web site and an ecard on the site that consumers can send to warn others about fake check scams. At www.consumerfed.org/fakecheckscams there are several new CFA resources for consumer education including a fact sheet and ready-to-use news articles in English and Spanish, and links to other materials.

 

The CFA Fake Check Task Force has also developed training materials about fake check scams for financial service companies and law enforcement and consumer protection agencies.  They explain how these scams work, suggest strategies for preventing victimization, offer advice about how to help victims, and provide resources for investigations and public education. These materials are not intended for the general public.

Consumer Tips to “Tear Up” Fake Check Scams

 

·  Never agree to pay to claim a prize. No legitimate sweepstakes or lottery would ever send you a check or money order and ask you to send payment in return. If you really won, you would pay taxes directly to the government.

 

·  Never agree to pay for grants from the government or foundations. They don’t offer money to people unexpectedly or charge to get it. Most grants go to organizations, not individuals, and require a lengthy and extensive application process. See new tips on grant scams at http://www.fakechecks.org/prevention-faqs04.html

 

·  Never agree to cash checks and send the money somewhere as part of a job working from home. That is not how legitimate employers operate. See new tips on mystery shopping scams at http://www.fakechecks.org/prevention-faqs05.html

 

·  Never agree to wire money to anyone you have not met in person and known for a long time.

 

·  If it seems suspicious, get advice. Consult your state or local consumer protection agency, the Federal Trade Commission, the Postal Inspection Service, or another trusted source.

 

·  Remember that there is no legitimate reason why anyone who wants to give you a check or money order for something would ever ask you to send money anywhere in return. Go to www.fakechecks.org to learn more about how to protect yourself from fake check scams.