Beware of Foreclosure Rescue Scams (via RE/MAX Premier Group’s Blog)

I’ve been seeing these scams on the web and occasionally hearing them on the radio. These scammers are like vultures circling over people already in financial difficulties to extract their last dollar.

Business ethics? There really isn’t much to say. The people who run these scams are merely low life scum without any intention of providing any legitimate service. If there is no legitimate service in the first place, we are talking fraud.

If you are in foreclosure or near foreclosure – Follow the advice in this article.

James Pilant

Beware of Foreclosure Rescue Scams The threat of losing your home can lead some homeowners to take desperate measures to find companies who claim to reduce your monthly mortgage payment or take other steps to save your home. Unfortunately, there are many scam artists stealing millions of dollars from distressed homeowners by promising immediate relief from foreclosure. Keep this in mind: If the advice or information sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t be taken advant … Read More

via RE/MAX Premier Group’s Blog

5 Most Costly Lies in Finance (via Kathy Kristof at CBS Money Watch)

Kathy Kristof
I am not always kind to Ms. Kristof. I find her writing fluffy with topics better associated with one of those women’s magazines like “Seven Better Ways to Make Your Man Appreciate You.”

Nevertheless I like this one and she has a done a service by hitting the golden oldies in business lies. I teach college and am often surprised how few of my students understand the most basic lies, cons and fallacious offers in the business world.

Here’s an excerpt. –

Unfortunately this confusing Wall Street-speak could put you in in a fog when approaching financial transactions. And that can make you vulnerable to people who would like to trick you out of your money. When salesmen and con artists see that your normal radar for bad advice, toxic investments and outright scams is getting nothing but fog (the potential result of all the hot air on Wall Street), they ramp up clever lies to separate you from your cash.

I recommend you go to CBS and read the five lies. You might say something nice about Ms. Kristof while you are there.

James Pilant

It’s Scholarship Scam Time!

From the Kansas City Star –

Generally, be wary of scholarship pitches that involve application fees, scholarship matching services that guarantee success and sales pitches that are disguised as financial aid seminars, said Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of FinAid (

Kantrowitz said he’s been seeing more loan scams that involve advance fee payments. The lure is an unusually low-interest educational loan, with the requirement that you pay a fee to receive the funding.

Of course, after you pay, the loan never materializes. Legitimate loans, on the other hand, deduct the fees from the disbursement checks.

Here are three variations of tuition scams to watch for, according to FinAid:

•Scholarships for profit: This type of fake program draws thousands of applications for scholarships and charges fees of $5 to $35 for processing. The promoters actually pay out a scholarship or two and take a hefty profit on the rest of the money. Your odds of winning the lottery are better.

•Eye on the prize: In this case, you’re notified that you’ve won a scholarship worth thousands of dollars, but you’re required to pay a disbursement fee or the taxes before the prize is released.

•The match game: Be wary of scholarship matching services that guarantee you’ll win money or they’ll return your funds.

I thought I would pass it along. Are the scammers increasing in number or is it just in reach? Are there not so many, but with computers and modern communications they can run many more scams simulaneously?

I don’t know. Maybe some of both.

Whenever you are in trouble and, right then, right there, on television or on the computer or on a roadside sign, the miraculous answer appears, it probably isn’t the answer. I am very sorry to have to tell you that.

It’s not as if the world wasn’t cruel enough.

James Pilant

Reader Comment – ANDREW!

Andrew comments on my web post, Earn Thousands At Home – Set Up Your Own Internet Company – Oh, Good Grief, You’d Think This One Would Get Old!

As usual he is perceptive and intelligent. Here is what he had to say –

Where there is desperation and the hope of reaping huge benefit with minimal effort, there will be scam artists there to pray on those feelings. Unfortunately, this is nothing new.

I grew up in a small town right outside of Augusta, GA. On the other side of Augusta was (still is) a community of gypsies who still rip off anyone they can get their claws on. Every year, all of the men and some of the women pack up and travel from town to town. In each town, they will go door to door advertising a particular service. A favorite of theirs is gutter cleaning and/or replacement. They will target the elderly and tell them that their gutters need to be replaced and they can do it “cheaper than the competition”. They will take several hundred dollars from these old people and instead of actually replacing the gutters, they will spend a few hours taking them down, cleaning them out a little and making them look new, and putting the same old gutters back up.

That is an example of one of their less sinister scams. They get much worse. If something seems too good to be true, then it probably is!

Earn Thousands At Home – Set Up Your Own Internet Company – Oh, Good Grief, You’d Think This One Would Get Old!

But it doesn’t and people still wind up losing thousands of dollars and sometimes, their life savings. I am including a video explaining one of the basic internet offers. It has two of the basic elements of these kinds of deals. First, it is a retiree. The elderly are a favorite target. They tend to have savings or equity in a home. They are often lonely. Their children have moved away. Their friends have gone to retirement homes or just can’t get around. The second element (one that as a business law teacher drives me crazy), he didn’t read the contract. Basic Rule. Read the contract, okay!!

It’s nice non-boring professional newscast video a little more than four minutes long. It has a lot of useful information and I know something about scams.

Madoff and Shapiro, Ponzi Schemes?

Madoff and Shapiro, Ponzi Schemes?

Ponzi Scheme (from Wikipedia)

A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investment operation that pays returns to separate investors, not from any actual profit earned by the organization, but from their own money or money paid by subsequent investors. The Ponzi scheme usually entices new investors by offering returns other investments cannot guarantee, in the form of short-term returns that are either abnormally high or unusually consistent. The perpetuation of the returns that a Ponzi scheme advertises and pays requires an ever-increasing flow of money from investors to keep the scheme going.

The system is destined to collapse because the earnings, if any, are less than the payments to investors. Usually, the scheme is interrupted by legal authorities before it collapses because a Ponzi scheme is suspected or because the promoter is selling unregistered securities. As more investors become involved, the likelihood of the scheme coming to the attention of authorities increases. While the system eventually will collapse under its own weight, the example of Bernard Madoff’s investment scandal demonstrates the ability of a Ponzi scheme to delude both individual and institutional investors as well as securities authorities for long periods: Madoff’s variant of the Ponzi scheme stands as the largest financial investor fraud committed by a single person in history. Prosecutors estimate losses at Madoff’s hand totaling roughly $21 billion, as estimated by the money invested by his victims. If the promised returns are added the losses amount to $64.8 billion, but a New York court dismissed this estimation method during the Madoff trial.

Nevin Shapiro is accused of stealing around 80 million dollars from investors. Like most Ponzi scams, everyone wanted to believe. Read the article.