Advisers back cold-calling ban to tackle pension scams

Number of scams on the rise

This is taken from Professional Adviser (and Yes it is from the UK)

Advisers believe cold-calling should be banned as part of ongoing efforts to stamp out pension scams and liberation in the wake of the government’s major retirement reforms.

Provider AJ Bell suggested a blanket ban on cold calls earlier this month. It said the government should legislate to ban cold-calling, one of the most common ways in which scammers approach their victims.

Rowley Turton Chartered financial planner Scott Gallacher backed the idea of a complete ban on cold-calls.

He said a ban on cold-calling should be one of the central areas of focus for regulators and the government in the fight to stop people falling victim to pension scams.

He also suggested introducing compulsory advice requirements when people want to transfer pension cash to act as a hurdle and block “gateways to scams”.

The number of pension scams and incidents of suspect transfers, including liberation cases, has increased in the wake of pension freedom.

In April 2015, the government introduced reforms which allowed over 55s full access to their pension pots, subject to

taxation, without the need to buy an annuity. It has been suggested by organisations such as Citizens Advice that the reforms gave scammers a renewed interest in pension pots.

Barretts Financial Solutions Chartered financial planner Kim Barrett agreed scams were a growing problem. He added it was the responsibility of the regulator to tackle the issue and help consumers.

Barrett said: “There is a need for the regulator to bang the drum harder. Consumers are unaware of the risks pension transfers can expose them to.”

Proactive

Renewed interest in banning cold-calling follows the decision by the Pensions Ombudsman to increase its participation in legal challenges due to a controversial High Court ruling on liberation.

Ombudsman Anthony Arter said the ruling in Hughes v Royal London – which saw the High Court overturn a blocked pension transfer to a suspect scheme – had made him reconsider the office’s position not to get involved in legal disputes.

Previously it only got involved if an appeal raised questions affecting the ombudsman’s legal jurisdiction or internal procedures. However, the contentious decision, which commentators said put consumers at “greater risk“, made him rethink his position.

The ombudsman said: “Our participation will be more pro-active and will be considered against the backdrop of seeking to assist the court.”

I presented this article to display how the US government seems to follow some other countries around the globe when it comes to stifling regulatory protection. Notice the commentary which says “Consumers are unaware of the risks pension transfers can expose them to.”

The solution to any problem like this should be more education and not more regulation. But government control would rather treat consumers like they are incapable of making financial decisions and somehow the government knows better. The solution is always best served by educating the consumer and keeping costs lower than they are with the hidden taxation of restrictive regulatory hurdles.

The best defense against scams, fraud and predatory sales tactics is education and awareness of behaviors of both the perpetrators and the potential victims. It all starts with gaining personal awareness. The Advocacy Network uses both inoculation and insulation processes to assure proactive protection against all forms of Financial Victimization. There is no better protection available and 65 cents a day to be fully protected against scams , fraud and predatory sales tactics seems to be the only sensible option. What are you waiting for?

YOU Best Interest Is OUR Only Concern!

 

Same old Scams, Just New Victims!

In reviewing the list of scams for 2016 the top 20 remain the same, of course some have changed places but the 20 most common scams are identical to those of 2015. The sad facts are the scams remain the same jus the victims change. With all the security and legal advancements in society one would think the scams and frauds would decrease or at least slow down. Yet they are growing as are the amount of victims. The fastest growing segment of victims are repeat victims. Members of the Advocacy Network have saved in excess of $6M to date and continually enjoy the peace of mind that comes with total inoculation and insulation against scams, frau and predatory sales tactics. Become a member and never worry about Financial Victimization ever again!

Without having an advocate in your corner the behavioral aspects of victimization continue to be the most pressing issues for all Americans.

Here are just a few of the more obvious but sadly effective scams in 2016:

Debt Relief Services 
(Non-Compliant with FTC rule). The Federal Trade Commission has established rules for debt relief services (for profit businesses that represent that they renegotiate, settle or alter the terms of payment for an unsecured debt). The FTC rule governs disclosures and representations that debt relief services can make and does not allow advance fees. There are legitimate debt relief companies that comply with the FTC rule and the Better Business Bureau is identifying only the non-compliant companies as scams.

Credit Repair Services with Advance Fees. 
Consumers with bad credit ratings are particularly vulnerable to this scam. Everything a credit-repair operation offers an individual can do personally at little or no cost. Credit repair operations cannot ask for money in advance and they cannot automatically remove legitimate negative reports from your credit history.

Advance Fee Brokers. 
Often these appear to be very professional operations with attractive websites and advertisements. However, it is illegal for a business to charge a fee prior to providing a loan. Typically, after wiring money to the scammer, the victim never receives the loan. These ‘lenders’ will use fake physical addresses or the addresses of real companies.

Property Investment Scams

Investors attend a free presentation, which aims to persuade them to hand over large amounts of money to enroll on a course promising to make them a successful property dealer, usually involving “no money down”. 
Schemes can involve the offer of buying yet-to-be built properties at a discount.  Other variations include a buy-to-lease scheme where companies offer to source, renovate and manage properties, claiming good returns from rental income. The properties are generally near-derelict and the tenants non-existent.

There are numerous other scams and frauds but the most common granddaddy of them all is the MLM. Now not all MLM’s are scams but unfortunately the bad outweigh the good by nearly 9-1 ratio:

Matric and Multilevel Marketing and  Pyramid Schemes

“MAKE MONEY NOW!” scream their websites!  And do it in your spare time!  Earn big bucks for almost no work.  If that isn’t enough to tell you it is a scam, let us explain why it is. These schemes are promoted through websites offering expensive electronic gadgets as free gifts in return for spending about $25 on an inexpensive product, such as a mobile phone signal booster.  
Consumers who buy the product then join a waiting list to receive their free gift. The person at the top of the list receives his/her gift only after a prescribed number of new members join up. 
The majority of those on the list will never receive the item. 
Pyramid schemes offer a return on a financial investment based on the number of new recruits to the scheme. 
Investors are misled about the likely returns. There are simply not enough people to support the scheme indefinitely.

The best rule to follow is the rule of reality. When introduced to fairy tales it is best to refuse to believe in fairy tales. Fast money, overnight success, making money with no sales or work, FREE money, GUARANTEED returns, NO RISK, RISK Free, all can be found in the scam dictionary. These phrases and lingo are all part of the scammers tool belt and when you hear this type of verbiage you need to put the antenna’s up. The best way to avoid financial victimization is to stay away from fairy tales.

As a member of the Advocacy Network we provide you with a full education and the necessary content to be current on scams, fraud and most importantly predatory sales tactics. The financial manipulation of your risk management and investment decisions is largely over looked and ignored. These manipulations account for as much as 50% of the losses due to financial victimization. For about 65 cents a day you will be totally inoculated and insulated against scams, fraud and predatory sales tactics. 65 cents per day! What are YOU waiting for?

YOUR Best Interest Is OUR Only Concern!

 

More Misbehavin!

In the FINRA quarterly enforcement update I found this little tidbit. There is no bottom to the depths of zero integrity and lack of conscience among financial professionals who are placed in position of fiscal responsibility for the oversight of your economic well-being. It is this very behavior that makes the Advocacy Network so important for your financial protection.

Writing Fictitious Non-Variable Life Insurance Policies 0 FINRA settled a matter involving a registered representative who wrote fictitious nonvariable life insurance policies. Between August 2013 and July 2015, the representative wrote 43 fictitious non-variable life insurance policies for clients who did not exist in order to meet production goals with the firm’s affiliated insurance company. The representative fabricated customer information on the policy applications and listed himself as the policy owner, payer and grandfather to the insured for each of the 43 policies. He paid the first premium for each of the 43 policies by personal check and received commission payments for each policy. After cancelling all 43 policies, which had not already lapsed, the insurance company refunded the premium payments to the representative less the commissions that he had been paid. The representative’s conduct violated FINRA Rule 2010 (ethical standards). For this misconduct, FINRA barred the representative from associating with any firm in any capacity.

Here is another sample of the lack of integrity and ethics among financial professionals.

Converting Customer Funds 0 FINRA settled a matter involving a registered representative who converted a customer’s funds. In July 2014, the representative convinced an elderly customer to pay him $100,000. The representative told the 85-year-old customer that he would use the funds to establish an independent investment advisory firm through which he would repay the $100,000 debt by providing the customer with free investment advice over the next four years. The representative never established an independent investment advisory firm. Indeed, when the representative and customer executed the loan agreement for the funds, the representative was planning on retiring from the securities industry. Shortly after obtaining the $100,000 from the customer, the representative sold his securities business to another registered representative and left the securities industry. As part of the sale, the representative entered into a non-compete agreement that prevented him from providing investment advice to his former customers, including the customer from whom he had obtained the $100,000. The representative used the customer’s $100,000 for his own personal use, including to pay off his daughter’s student loan debt and his own credit card bills. He also used some of the funds to engage in securities trading on his own behalf. The representative has not repaid any of the funds obtained from the customer. The representative’s conduct violated FINRA Rules 2150(a) (improper use of customers’ funds) and 2010 (ethical standards). For this misconduct, FINRA barred the representative from associating with any firm in any capacity.

To find more examples you can review the quarterly FINRA disciplinary report here

http://www.finra.org/sites/default/files/publication_file/quarterly-disciplinary-review-july-2016.pdf

YOUR Best Interest Is OUR Only Concern!

 

 

2 ex-brokers pocketed $5M in client funds, SEC charges

Here is an article from Financial Planning which is an industry publication for Planners, Advisors and Brokers:

Two former brokers with past disciplinary records took $5 million in client money, some of which they transferred to their wives’ bank accounts, the SEC says.

Image: Bloomberg

Image: Bloomberg

The commission won a court order to stop James Hugh Brennan III, 67, and Douglas Albert Dyer, 56, former Raymond James and First Allied Securities brokers, from what it describes as an ongoing fraud.

“We allege that Brennan and Dyer have been telling investors the same lies for several years without fulfilling any of the promises they’ve made,” Walter Jospin, director of the SEC’s Atlanta Regional Office, said in a statement. The temporary restraining order aims to freeze the pair’s assets and stop them from soliciting any more investors. Their spouses are named as relief defendants.

240 ALLEGED VICTIMS

The ex-brokers worked through their jointly owned company Broad Street Ventures, that operates out of their hometown of Chattanooga, Tenn., the court action says. Using Broad Street, they allegedly raised money to fund a series of other ventures known collectively as the Scenic City Companies. In all, they collected funds from 240 investors nationwide since 2008, some of which went into their personal accounts or those belonging to their wives, the SEC says.

Frank A. Lightmas, defense counsel for Brennan and Dyer, did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Investors taken in by the scheme could have learned of the men’s checkered disciplinary histories by viewing their FINRA BrokerCheck profiles online, the commission said.

In 1999, FINRA barred Brennan from the industry and fined him $10,000 after alleging he engaged in unauthorized and unsuitable trading in a customer’s account. The regulator never collected the fine, making its payment contingent upon Brennan’s decision to seek affiliation with a new firm, a step he never took. It also disciplined him in 1998 for failing to supervise stock trades by Dyer at another brokerage.

UNREGISTERED FOR YEARS

That same year, FINRA also fined Dyer $10,000 and suspended him from the industry for 60 days, after accusing him of transgressions, including unauthorized trading.

The SEC’s investment adviser database also shows that both have been unregistered for years. Brennan was with Raymond James from 1984 to 1991 and with First Allied for less than a year in 1996. Dryer was with Raymond James from 1987 to 1994 and with First Allied from 1996 to 1997.

Other public records reveal the pair has had long-time regulatory problems at the state level. In 2005, the California Department of Corporations issued a desist-and-refrain order against Brennan, Dyer and a company they operated for the unauthorized sale of securities issued by the company in that state.

In August 2011, the Tennessee Securities Division concluded an investigation by sending warning letters to Brennan and Dyer recounting allegations that they had sold unregistered securities with multiple misrepresentations.

Neither Brennan nor Dyer could be reached for comment.

Our Members have the ability for full due diligence including facts about their advisors and who they are doing business with.

Any wonder why being a member of the Advocacy Network is basically priceless?

Investment Risk

Los Angeles, CA-MoneyTV with Donald Baillargeon, is the internationally syndicated television program all about money and what makes it happen, (http://www.moneytv.net), featuring informative interviews with company CEOs, providing insights into their operations and outlooks for their futures.

The risk of investing in small caps or micro-cap public issuers is typically one of the highest risk profiles you will ever experience. The reason for such an incredible risk level is the vast amount of mis-information spread across the web. First you should be aware that very few people earn any money day-trading. The two most prevalent types of scams in this arena is publishing pitches for newsletters that tout the best opportunities for your investment dollars. Secondly the information scam built around the so called guru’s who will sell you their magic silver bullet trading advice or program. As you know from our work the best way to lose your money is to believe in fairy tales. There are no such things as fairy tales in the financial markets.

So, how do you find reasonable investment opportunities? Well there are services and media that deserves your trust and support. MoneyTV is one of those services. I have personally worked together with Don Baillargeon on several projects and can fully endorse Don as a financial professional who runs an exceptional television program. Don’s show will introduce small cap and micro-cap companies for you to explore. If you are seeking to invest in this area you must learn 2 key rules:

  1. Even though this may be penny stocks you should still invest for the long term, not day trade or seek to make fast cash on the investment.
  2. Complete due diligence and always invest in management, not companies or concepts. Its all about the jockeys, many horses may have the talent to win races but its the jockey who is the real betting concern. Always remember great management can deliver bad ideas or concepts, but bad management can’t be overcome by great ideas and concepts.

So I have provided you with the link for Don’s show. It comes out weekly and is worth your time to get familiar with some different sectors and industries and learn about how to prepare for investing in smaller public companies. Of course our members have access to research and due diligence overview reports for investments they may consider.

YOUR Best Interest Is OUR Only Concern!

IRS Phone Scam Still Going Strong

The following article is about the IRS phone scam. What makes this even more concerning is that we are well out of tax season and yet the public at large is still falling victim to this ridiculous scam.

Reader Alert: This week, I, Toni King received a voice mail call on my personal cell phone from an 800 number Robo call claiming to be the IRS. I was told via this call that I owed money to the IRS and was going to be sued if I did not call the number left on my voice mail.

Recently, I have been informed from various clients that are visiting the Toni Says office for their Medicare and/or Social Security consultation that they have also received this call either on their cell or home phone.

So many are petrified that one wrong move and they can lose everything they have worked so hard for. Let’s discuss what you, your friends or an elderly family member should do if you receive this call.

The Washington Post reported on May 30 that “victims receive a telephone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS. They are told that they will be arrested if they do not make a payment immediately and asked to wire money, using Money Gram, Walmart and other wire services.” More than $26 million has been stolen from innocent, naïve Americans.

The IRS will send you a letter regarding your IRS account and will not send you an email, text message or reply to anything on social media about your personal tax information.

Below are five tell-tale warning signs to tip you off – is it or isn’t it the IRS calling you? You can view all information regarding IRS phone scam athttps://www.irs.gov/uac/five-easy-ways-to-spot-a-scam-phone-call:

1) Call you to demand immediate payment. We will not call about taxes you owe without first mailing you a bill.

2) Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the chance to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.

3) Require you to use a certain payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.

4) Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

5) Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement to have you arrested for not paying.

What should you do if you receive a call that you are not completely confident whether it was the IRS?

Immediately hang up and call the Senate Aging Committee Fraud Hotline at 1-855-303-9470 if you receive a call from IRS, Social Security or Medicare when you have not called them first to ask them a question or left a message to call you back.

Call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 and discuss your IRS account. Ask if they have called you.

Report to the local law authorities that you have received a phone call which is a scam. Recently, Treasury agents caught five fraudsters in Florida who had defrauded over $2 million from more than 1500 distraught Americans.

Scams against seniors and retirees are growing with financial fraud exploding to over $3 billion being scammed yearly.

What is the best response if you receive a fraudulent phone call. Hang Up on them!

Remember, you told your kids not to talk to strangers, well when you grow older, you need to do exactly what you told your kids and grandkids – Do Not Talk To Strangers!!

The Danger of White Noise!

We live in a period of great change and advancement. Technology has consumed our communications portals and as such we now live in a time of instant communication. Media surrounds us and information is available in seconds.

You may have grown up in the era I did where the sources of research were in the public library and if you needed sources of research you had to get to the library or be fortunate and live in household that may have afforded the luxury of the Encyclopedia Britannica. Today a phone, a tablet, a laptop or even the dinosaur of the group “a desk top computer” can provide you with 100,000’s of sources for research or information.

The threat is that much of this information can be misleading or even worse totally false. Your biggest obstacle is vetting information for accuracy and truth. Due diligence now becomes a premium type issue. Due to this environment we are in a stage of constant white noise. You face grave competition for your attention. With so much competition you are bombarded with all types of information, advertising, approaches and just plain solicitation all of which creates an atmosphere of white noise. It all starts to run together and all you hear is static.

One of the major threats of white noise is you becoming desensitized to red flags or key words that could warn you of the dangers of financial victimization. You tend to trust everything you read as now it all seems to have the general authority which implies credibility. After all is its on the internet it has to be true, right? So now you not only are faced with the potential for manipulation but lies, misinformation and indirect incompetence are added to your financial risks. In fact the risk of basic incompetence is far more prevalent that at any other period in time. This incompetence is created by the identical issue of white noise. Now more then ever before people an establish the level of authority with the speed of light. And this allows for people to take incredible shortcuts and ultimately gain credibility without any true competence. You are the victim of others incompetence every day.

Financial victimization has both an offensive and defensive component. On the offensive side is the perpetrator of the scam, fraud or predatory sales tactic plus your own personal behaviors which are made up of your own personal biases, beliefs and values (thus you also are a perpetrator in your own victimization). On the defensive side should be your established startegy and tactics to avoid financial victimization. Sadly the vast majority of our society has no defense. Can you imagine having a football team with zero defensive abilities? In that scenario regardless of how good an offense you had the best you could do is play to a tie. In your financial world you can’t afford to play to a tie. You need to win all these potential confrontations geared to make you a victim.

Membership with the Advocacy Network will fully inoculate and insulate you against scams, fraud and predatory sales tactics. We directly penetrate the white noise and deliver you the offensive and defensive tools needed to fully inoculate and insulate yourself and your family. Get started today!

You Best Interest Is Our Only Concern!

 

Advocacy Alert: How to Avoid These Two Scams People Are Still Falling For

by Devin Pallone July 12, 2016

I like to think I’m pretty tech-savvy. As a web writer, it’s part of my job to stay on top of digital trends and have up-to-date information on the Internet of Things. As a Millennial, I grew up knowing about hackers, scammers, con artists, and every other type of villain known to the 21st century. I know not to give out my credit card information willy-nilly. I know not to make my password “Password.” And I know not to click on link-bait emails from addresses I don’t recognize.

You can imagine my surprise when my MacBook came down with a mega-virus—one that completely crashed by hard drive (irreparable even by the Geek Squad) and made me lose five years’ worth of stored data that was not in the cloud. Three-hundred dollars and a new hard drive later, the Geek Squad employee handed me my poor, infiltrated laptop and told me it was most likely a link I had clicked that caused the virus.

I frantically thought back to my activity leading up to the attack, wondering what had been the fatal click. I’m still not sure where I went wrong the video that popped up on my Facebook wall of a dog and an orangutan in an unlikely friendship or the “Which Disney Couple Are You?” quiz I couldn’t resist? Somewhere down the road, I fell prey to a dangerous link-bait scam—the very enemy I’d been trained to detect and avoid since I first touched a keyboard. It made me think perhaps I wasn’t as tech-savvy as I thought. Or perhaps I’m one of many people who still fall for a few common scams.

Link-Bait Scams

In the cyber-sea of phishing scams, we’re all fish waiting to snatch up the next worm dangled in front of us on a lure. The fishermen are the scammers, hackers, and fraudsters who know society’s weakness when it comes to link-bait. We’re all familiar with link-bait: emails telling us we’ve won a Caribbean cruise for two or luring us to click on social media ads listing the top 10 celebrity fashion mistakes at the Oscars. Link-bait isn’t always scam related, but scammers certainly take advantage of our propensity of clicking on fascinating tidbits to attach harmful viruses.

The IRS released a Security Awareness Tip last November warning people about link-bait and the dangers of releasing your personal information online and over the phone. The organization states that phishing is still a problem because it works—and I have to agree. As long as people like me still fall for scams, phishermen will still come up with new ways to trick people into giving out their information or clicking on a virus-infested link.

While most of us know not to give out sensitive information over unsecure methods, it has become increasingly difficult to tell the unsecure from the secure. Sophisticated scammers are using technological advancements to their benefit, coming up with clever ways to pose as your credit card company, bank, or other financial institution.

You can’t always avoid giving out your information altogether. Many legitimate websites request your social security number, phone number, or credit card information to continue with a purchase or service. The best way to protect your information is to avoid clicking on emails or opening

attachments from companies you don’t recognize or from people posing as the IRS or other websites. Check the web address carefully; phishing scams can use addresses such as “IRS.gov.com” to trick users into thinking they are “IRS.gov.”

Small Business Debt Collection Scams

At a glance, debt recovery and collections appear to be a win-win-win: your small business balances its accounts and gets paid a lump sum right away, the debt recovery company makes a profit, and customers settle up on their missed payments. Unfortunately, a popular way for con artists to steal sensitive financial information from small businesses is to pose as debt collectors over the phone.

Many small business owners are unable to tell the difference between a legitimate debt collector and a fake since scammers’ techniques have gotten more advanced with new technology. Scammers don’t go into a debt collection scam without doing their homework. They conduct research on the business they want to cheat ahead of time, accessing credit score information and other facts to sound realistic over the phone. The scammer can then talk with you about actual debts your business owes and pose as a collector for a company you’re indebted to.

Debt collection scammers often use scare tactics to harass small business owners into giving out sensitive business information, such as client data. A scam artist may use harsh or abusive language, make outright threats, harass you, or say he or she has contacted the police with a warrant for your arrest. While real debt collector companies have been known to be abusive, they won’t go as far as to threaten customers or use abnormally abusive methods. If a “debt collector” is threatening you, it’s a red flag of a scam.

Another sign of a debt collector scam is if the collector demands you make payments immediately over the phone. The caller’s insistence that he or she gathers your payment that day is a sign that he or she isn’t the real deal, as legitimate companies won’t make threats if you can’t pay the same day. Fake debt collectors will only take payments over the phone, while real collectors accept mail, telephone, online, or debit card payments. This is so the scammer can record your card information for use later.

These two major scams are still tricking thousands of users annually, leading to stolen identities, financial hardship, and complex battles to regain what’s rightfully yours. Stay informed about the dangers of Internet and phone scams in 2016 to protect yourself and your company from problematic scams. Take it from me—it can happen to anybody.

 

 

 

Even the smart have fallen prey to scams offering easy money

This is an article from international sources. I often make the effort to show just how pervasive scams and fraud are. It knows no boundaries either nationally or internationally. It is a global epidemic.

PETALING JAYA: Even smart, educated professionals fall prey to get-rich-quick schemes.

Getting scammed has little to do with education or rational thinking as criminals capitalise on human emotion, Malaysian Mental Health Association deputy president and consultant psychiatrist Datuk Dr Andrew Mohanraj Chandrasekaran said.

Everyone, he said, was subjected to the same emotions of greed, love, pity and compassion – and scammers know exactly what their target’s weakness is.

A poor man might buy a lottery ticket and hope to strike it rich, but a well-educated and financially literate person can similarly long to get rich quick, he added.

“In fact, by virtue of being more educated, one is more likely to fall for a complicated scam thinking that financial literacy will offer protection from dishonest schemes.

“The decision to fall for the scam is driven by greed rather than rational thinking,” Dr Andrew, who is also a member of the Health Ministry’s mental health promotion council, said.

“Such schemes boost the ego of the educated. It makes them feel like they’re ‘smart enough’ to invest in a scheme that not many are privy to.

“Once their guard is down, they make an impulsive decision that’s not based on rational thinking.”

He said scammers prey on individuals who are ready to believe the scam.

Asked if it’s possible that the potential members of these schemes are brainwashed, he said mind control was only possible on susceptible people.

Financial author and coach Yap Ming Hui warned that even if lucrative returns were guaranteed, potential investors must be very clear how their money would grow.

Ask due diligent questions and make sure everything’s in black and white, he added.

Malaysians, he said, shy away from asking tough questions especially if it’s a proposal by an ex-schoolmate, friend, relative or colleague.

“Understand how profits are generated. Do your research,” he said.

He advised the public to check with Bank Negara, the Securities Commission Malaysia and independent financial advisers before parting with their cash.

He said scammers were more interested in the subsequent investments and new recruits the victim brings in .

“If they promise you a 20% return on your initial investment, they’ll pay to give you a ‘taste’ of the money,” Yap said.

“Then, when you start pumping in more by mortgaging your house or getting a bank loan, they run.”

Are you at Risk from Predatory Sales Tactics?

Seems that the most obvious concerns of financial victimization come from scams and fraud. However beneath the surface lies a looming threat. That threat is predatory sales tactics. This is overlooked because people have become numb to what is perceived as sales tactics.

The easiest example of predatory sales tactics is the continued existence of “boiler rooms” these are call rooms where highly aggressive sales people use the telephone to separate you from your money. There are many products and services that are sold via this medium. Investments are the most common lure in boiler rooms. But many soft offerings are from boiler rooms, such as 1-800 call in products and services. The most common predatory tactic is the up-sale. I’m sure you have at some point called a 1-800 offer from a television ad. The hook was for BOGO (buy one get one free) and free shipping. Most common is publishing and information.

A few years back I purchased a book that was offered on a brief infomercial. When I called in I got an operator (and boy was she) who immediately explained how I qualified for a special offer of the author’s (I won’t use his name, but he has been once again convicted for false advertising and is serving another term in jail) personal newsletter, then she offered me the ongoing training classes, the personalized one on one coaching and numerous other offers. I politely declined each and every offer but did some mental calculations to determine how much the total of all offers added up to. Now, you need to know that each of these offers was a credit card offer which was free for a certain period and then would automatically upgrade if you didn’t cancel after the free-trial period (the consumer credit laws have made this type of selling illegal in most states and now you no longer have to cancel the company has to follow up and subscribe you at the end of trial period). In the end I ordered a FREE book which had a $9 shipping and handling charge, but the real sales motivation as to get me on all those free upgrades which would end up with me having a substantial monthly charge on my credit card. The total you ask; well the operator (she was a stone cold boiler room pro) attempted to get me committed to $595 of monthly credit card charges.

Now, I’m a well trained individual when it comes to understanding how sales manipulations are initiated and yet on occasion I’m an easy mark because I spent so many years in sales (the easiest people to sell are sales people). I mention this to help make you aware that is I could be manipulated then anyone can. Don’t allow yourself to fall victim to the “it can’t happen to me” syndrome. The best way to avoid all forms of financial victimization is simply becoming a member of the Advocacy Network. We will fully inoculate and insulate you against scams, fraud and most importantly predatory sales tactics. If its happening we are aware of it, and we are fully aware of how it is being done and what the tricks, terminology and triggers are. We provide this information for your protection and awareness.

YOUR Best Interest IS OUR Only Concern!