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Thread: Desperation=Scams.

  1. #1
    Theophilus's Avatar
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    Desperation=Scams.

    In the economy of today, people are getting desperate. The government lies about the unemployment numbers. I believe it is higher than what the government is saying for sure.

    Some people have been out of work for quite some time, jobs are tough to get. The cost of living has not really gone down, well maybe if you are buying a house yes, going to the store to buy food, no.

    Some people are desperate for money, and they turn to a scammer. Not willingly mind you. The slick adds will pull them in, they are not aware of how the scam works and how the law prohibits most of the activities they are about to get themselves involved in. Though due to lax enforcement by the people who should be stopping these scammers right away, the scam takes hold. The desperate person trusts the scammer, and soon that person has given money to the scammer.

    Now that the scammer has a lot of money, guess what he has now?
    Lawyers. These people will fight tooth and nail, and find every hole in the law to protect them, in the mean time the scam continues. Such is the battle with many MLM's and so on.

    Why are these scams so difficult to stop? Well lawyers for one, but the main reason is the foolishness of some people to get involved with them in the first place.

    I know some people who get caught up in these scams are not bad people at all, just desperate.

    The people who take advantage of people in a bad point in their lives are disgusting(scammers).

    Well thats my rant, I feel better now. Well sort of, but the scammers are out in full force. I don't feel good about that.

  2. #2
    A Life Aloft is offline fled troglodyte invasion
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    Re: Desperation=Scams.

    As the unemployment rate rises, so do the number of people seeking to take advantage of the jobless. When economic times are tough and people are desperate, that's when all of the scam artists come out like vultures to a fresh kill on the plains of the Serengeti. They prey on people's desperation. When we have such a large percentage of people unemployed, it is the perfect moment for people with questionable ethics, for people who don't have a moral center. And financial worries can really increase vulnerability to scams. The more unemployed people there are, the more opportunities there are to take advantage of people with promises of large profits. You've hit the nail on the head with your post/point above.

    I saw this in the Wall Street Journal a while back:

    By M.P. MCQUEEN

    "As unemployment reaches levels not seen in decades, job and business-opportunity scams are flourishing.

    Consumer-protection and law-enforcement groups and better-business bureaus are reporting a growing number of phony job-recruitment and work-at-home schemes targeting desperate Americans looking for a way to pay the bills.

    "In these times of despair, people who have been laid off, including executives, make desperate decisions, and the predators are out there," says Michael Galvin, vice president of communications at the Better Business Bureau of Southeast Florida and the Caribbean, in West Palm Beach, Fla.

    More Complaints
    The Federal Trade Commission, the consumer-protection agency, received nearly 6,000 complaints against employment agencies and job-counseling services in 2007. The numbers of complaints are almost certain to rise along with the unemployment figures.

    Some business-opportunity rip-offs require an upfront fee of $40 to $200 or more to receive information. Often, instead of receiving specific instructions, customers receive vague advice on how to place Internet ads to sell products.

    Some scams are variants of mail-based frauds originating overseas that have circulated for years, and part victims not only from their cash, but also from sensitive personal information that could be used for identity theft.

    Others are "phishing" scams that use email or fake Web sites from phony employers to gather confidential data from victims for identity theft or money laundering.

    Among complaints of identity theft, employment-related ID fraud increased to 14% in 2007 from 12% of complaints in 2005, according to the FTC.

    Limit Personal Data
    Job seekers should protect themselves by withholding some personal information on résumés posted on Internet job boards. They should never supply Social Security numbers or bank-account numbers upfront or over the phone. Also, be wary of job and business opportunities that promise hefty rewards with little effort, consumer-protection officials say.

    To be sure, employment and business scams are nothing new. But officials say the number of scams often rises and falls with the economic tides, and right now the tide is bringing in the sharks.

    In November, police in Tennessee arrested and charged a female suspect in connection with an employment scam that they believe spanned several states, including Texas, Missouri and New York.

    The woman, who had posed as a man, allegedly advertised jobs for security officers and house cleaners. Job hopefuls filled out applications that included their Social Security numbers and dates of birth and paid $69, supposedly for background checks and drug screenings.

    But no job referrals came, and the so-called recruiter allegedly absconded with the job seekers' applications and money. Arresting officers in Memphis said they confiscated 60 work applications and tax documents containing personal information from the suspect.

    Meanwhile, phony executive-search firms are demanding thousands of dollars in upfront fees from corporate job candidates, who wind up with nothing but headaches.

    Author and executive coach Linda Dominguez says fraudsters apparently are targeting increasingly desperate executives whose résumés have languished on job boards for months.

    Sometimes the victims don't report the crimes to the police or other authorities because they're worried about appearing foolish to prospective employers.

    In general, "executive recruiters are paid by the companies, so if they are asking for your money, a red flag should go up," Ms. Dominguez says.

    'Work at Home' Scams
    Don't pay fees for referrals to government jobs, including jobs with the U.S. Postal Service, either; there are no "secret" channels to government employment.

    Federal jobs are listed at www.usa.gov; state and local positions also are posted on government Web sites, and information on them is sometimes posted in state unemployment offices.

    Pitches for bogus work-at-home opportunities involving medical billing, rebate processing, "mystery shopper" positions that promise to pay you for buying products anonymously for companies, and money-order processing jobs also are on the rise, say Better Business Bureau and consumer-protection officials.

    One classic rip-off involves a "job" cashing checks or reshipping electronics supplied by parcel post. The recipient is supposed to keep a portion of the funds and return the rest to the sender.

    But the checks are often counterfeit, and the goods are stolen. A participant runs the risk of being prosecuted as well as cheated.

    Roberto delos Santos of Tucson, Ariz., posted his résumé on an Internet job board in late December. The 59-year-old nearly became a victim after answering an emailed job offer for an "administrative assistant."

    Without so much as an interview, Mr. delos Santos then received an email informing him he was "hired" and asking him to return a signed job agreement. That's when he learned the "job" consisted of receiving money orders, checks and other instruments and transferring funds through Western Union and MoneyGram.

    "I became suspicious," he says, after he noted the irregular spelling of the company's name and other details.

    Mr. delos Santos, a former home-care aide, decided not to return the agreement, and instead notified his local Better Business Bureau, which warned him that the pitch was a money-laundering scam.

    Meanwhile, own-your-own-business schemes also are spreading, including pyramid schemes disguised as network-marketing (otherwise known as multilevel-marketing) programs. The pitches usually promise outsize riches for little effort.

    But if you earn commissions primarily by recruiting others and not by selling goods or services, the enterprise likely is illegal, say officials at the FTC. The agency reported nearly 4,100 complaints about pyramid schemes, chain letters and multilevel marketing groups in 2008 alone.

    "If how you get money is getting other people to sign up, that is a sign there is something wrong," says LaShawn M. Johnson, a staff attorney at the FTC."
    Last edited by A Life Aloft; 08-27-2010 at 02:02 AM.

  3. #3
    A Life Aloft is offline fled troglodyte invasion
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    Re: Desperation=Scams.

    WILL JOTTING DOWN LICENSE PLATES PAY THE RENT?

    Tuesday, April 6 2010 by Bob Sullivan Red Tape Chronicles

    Can you make money just by writing down the license plate numbers of cars in your neighborhood? It might sound like a game your older brother made up to keep you busy -- but two aggressive start-up firms are telling consumers to do just that, and both are spreading the word quickly online. But how does it work?

    One of the two, Dallas-based Narc Technologies Inc., offers a simple explanation. They want you to rat on your neighbors. The firm's Web site, NarcThatCar.com, is designed to collect license plate numbers and locations so lenders can more easily repossess cars when the owners default.

    In other words, the firm wants consumers to become the repo man's informant.


    Its chief competitor, Data Network Affiliates, says it has no intention of getting into the business of repossession. It says it plans to use its database of license plate numbers to help find missing children through Amber Alerts. It also hopes to sell the data to other information-hungry marketing firms, and to turn its user base into a kind of buyer's club.

    In each case, members only earn a couple of dollars each month from basic license plate collection. But they stand to profit significantly if they convince friends and family to join -- a classic multi-level marketing ploy. And in each case, there are volumes of complaints about the companies online.

    Before we get into the specifics, let's review a few basics.

    Anyone who says you can make a lot of money by staying at home and doing very little work is almost certainly misleading you.

    Firms cannot design companies where the chief source of income is skimming a cut off of others who are talked into joining -- that's a pyramid scheme.

    MLM schemes, along with work-at-home scams, are a dime a dozen online, but they have really ramped up during the recession. Jobless workers with plenty of time on their hands sometimes try dozens of work-at-home ideas, trying to hit on something that will earn them a little cash.

    The attraction of Data Network Associates is simple: Unlike most work-at-home jobs, there's nothing to sell, said marketing director Warren Anthony. Members simply write down 20 plates per month for their $2.

    "It's so easy, this is something my 80-year-old dad can do. A college kid can do it," he said. He said they encouraged affiliates to gather plate numbers in parking lots at churches or malls in order to avoid spooking neighbors.

    He said the firm has so far signed up 92,000 affiliates in only about three months. Together they have entered 1.3 million plate numbers into their database. Already, the firm's Web site ranks in the top 8,000 on the entire Internet, he said.

    Joining the service is "100 percent free," but members are urged to pay $130 for software that makes it easier to enter the license plate numbers and for a package of travel discounts. One sales force member interviewed by msnbc .com who reported signing up 92 sales associates said paying for this "upgrade" was the fastest way to earn money.

    But Anthony rejected the term upgrade.

    "It is a package of products and services they are buying ... a business benefits package," he said.

    The company's business is "turning data into cash," he said, and the firm has multiple strategies for raising revenue. Users will soon see ads when they log in to enter plate numbers. They will also receive member-only offers for services like Dish Network and ADT security systems.

    "We tell people it's where Walmart meets Google," he said.

    The associate msnbc.com interviewed, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said he had yet to receive any money from the company but expected a payout of about $400 in early April.

    "This thing could get really crazy," he said. "We get paid down 10 levels deep. ... Think of it as just like Facebook."

    NarcThatCar also claims similar success. A Web site that discusses the company said it recently held a conference call attended by 34,000 people

    Measured by inquires to the Dallas office of the Better Business Bureau, the firm's popularity is exploding. With 20,000 inquiries since Jan. 1, Narc Technologies is easily the most asked-about company at the Dallas office, says spokeswoman Jeannette Kopko.

    "That's very high activity," she said. "They seem to be doing a lot of recruiting, especially in Texas."

    Many of those inquiries are "pre-purchase," she said, with prospective associates calling the BBB to check the company’s background. That's a good practice; the Dallas BBB currently gives NarcThatCar an "F," rating, the agency's lowest grade.

    "The reason is because we've seen a pattern of complaints," she said, noting that the agency has received nine complaints, with most of them resolved after BBB intervention. "Also we are concerned whether this is multi level marketing that would be in compliance with the law or ... a pyramid scheme. They say their product is information that's collected. But is there a market for that?"

    The Dallas BBB has asked NarcThatCar to prove that the database of license plate numbers it's collecting is indeed a valuable asset. On its Web site, the firm claims to have signed a "six-figure contract” with a lien holder company, but has yet to provide the requested details, Kopko said.

    Narc Technologies -- which also uses the name Crowd Sourcing International -- charges associates a $100 sign-up fee and a $25-a-month fee for hosting a Web site about the product. Members who "sponsor" other new sign-ups earn a percentage of the fee.

    A message left with Narc Technologies was not returned. An associate of the firm who requested anonymity said the BBB rating was “undeserved” and stated that the firm has paid its associates several times. He also said the firm has several clients who pay for access to their data.

    Kopko said a firm cannot pass the legal test for being an MLM – the requirement of substantial product sales -- simply by requiring new signups to buy a product.

    "The question is: Would people be making more money from recruiting others rather than actual sales?" Kopko said.

    That's the same question facing Data Network Affiliates.

    Anthony, of Data Network Affiliates, bristled at the notion that some consumers might laugh when the suggestion is made that they could earn money just by writing down license plate numbers.

    "You wouldn't put it like that," he said. The firm is the business of collecting and selling data, he argued, and plans numerous ways to monetize the information. "As far the plates, that's just a fun way to attract individuals. “

    RED TAPE WRESTLING TIPS

    It's often hard to tell the difference between a legit business and an illegal scheme -- particularly because firms are so good at skipping along the outside edge of the law. But here are some tips, courtesy of the Texas state attorney general's office.

    * Ask about average monthly product sales for reps. If sales are disproportionately low, you’re probably talking about a total scam.

    * Ask about product returns policies if you are required to pay upfront for merchandise. Laws vary, but in Texas, the firm must be willing to refund 90 percent of your inventory cost.

    * Be wary of any firm that requires you to pay money to work for them and make them money.

    * Be wary of high-pressure “business opportunities” in hotel seminars or meetings at a person's home. In Texas, and many other states, "regret laws" allow consumers to cancel contracts signed at such events for up to 72 hours.

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