Finra Warns Against Loss Recovery Scams By Alex Padalka September 22, 2016

Finra has issued a risk alert warning investors who’ve lost money in stocks against paying upfront fees to recover their losses, encouraging advisors to make their clients aware of the scams.

The regulator says that, along with the SEC, it has been receiving numerous calls about recovery offers that promise to recoup losses for an advance payment. But investors should be wary of any unsolicited offers, particularly because con artists go to great lengths to persuade people to put up a fee, Finra says in its alert.

The temptation may be too great, however. In addition to a sense of urgency created by high-pressure phone calls, scammers allegedly also pretend to be registered securities professionals at legitimate brokerages closely working with the U.S. government, according to Finra. And while the regulator recommends investors use its BrokerCheck database of real financial advisors and their disciplinary records, it adds that fraudsters will go as far as impersonating actual advisors registered with Finra.

What’s more, investors who fall for these scams sometimes end up on lists of victims that are recirculated or sold to other scammers.

Investors interested in recovering their losses should instead look to arbitration or mediation through Finra, the regulator says. Finra adds that its enforcement actions as well as those taken by the SEC often result in payouts to investors, in which case they would receive communications from the regulator first. But here, too, Finra warns that fraudsters could impersonate Finra, the SEC or other government entities.

Furthermore, Finra suggests that certain losses may be covered by protection from theSecurities Investor Protection Corporation — unfortunately, that organization is also impersonated by scammers, according to the regulator.

Finally, Finra says that investors can try to get their money back through class action lawsuits.

As with all the typical scams the cons will sell you on authority based presentation. They approach you with a strong sense of confidence and sell you on their authority. They will also make you feel confident with their connection to credibility. The story always sounds very credible and logical. Yet a few of the right questions will expose the holes in the story and successfully push the perpetrator away. Never make a decision based upon knee jerk reactions and agree to lay out money in attempt to recapture losses. The value of membership is the clear transparency we provide all members in the area of scams, fraud and predatory sales tactics. Scams are perpetrated upon victims because of a lack of two distinct factors, firstly its a clear lack of financial literacy and secondly its a lack of patience and diligence in doing he necessary research and awareness study. We provide both of those services for our members. Financial literacy and due diligence are the keys to being fully protected against all forms of financial victimization. 

YOUR Best Interest Is OUR Only Concern!  


Financial News


Wells Fargo and the Culture of Fraud

As more information becomes transparent it has become clear that Wells Fargo corporate leadership and management cultivated a culture of fraud. This was not some simple off the cuff creation maverick employees it was a strategically process which developed a sales pressure that lead to a culture of fraud. This trickles down as a pathway to financial victimization of unwitting customers of the bank.

The pubic relies on the good intentions and conduct of the banking industry. At the core of this relationship is the concept of fiduciary responsibility. That fiduciary responsibility states that the fiduciary will take the best interest o the client in all transactions. This is fully defied with the cross selling pressure exerted on employees. I am not condemning cross-selling as this many times is providing customers with important services, yet the pressure of quota’s and sales incentives muddies the waters of fiduciary responsibility. Making a customer aware of additional offers is good business, pressuring sales results is not.

Shah Gilani of Capital Wave Strategist wrote the following:

Wells Fargo has long prided itself in its ability to cross-sell its customers different banking and financial services. Customers with multiple accounts and services are considered “sticky” customers who aren’t inclined to leave the bank.

The company reports that its customers use an average of 6.15 services, the highest in the industry.

Cross-selling isn’t just a way to keep customers, it’s a way to make more money – a lot more – out of each customer. In fact, cross-selling really shines out in Wells’ financial and proxy statements.

It shines out so much that cross-selling bonuses and commissions account for between 3% and 15% of sales associates’ salaries. The practice is so important to Wells that many employees reported being fearful of losing their jobs should they miss sales goals.

A Los Angeles Times investigation, published in a Dec. 21, 2013, article by E. Scott Reckard, titled “Wells Fargo’s Pressure-Cooker Sales Culture Comes at a Cost,” lays bare aggressive tactics pushing banker sales teams to cross-sell products like checking and savings accounts, overdraft protection, credit cards, mortgages, and wealth-management products to existing customers.

In the article, Reckard writes, “The relentless pressure to sell has battered employee morale and led to ethical breaches, customer complaints, and labor lawsuits.”

Employees reported being forced to work after-hours and weekends to make up missed quotas. The Times reports one branch manager was constantly told she’d “end up working for McDonald’s” during hourly browbeatings masquerading as “conference calls.”

And now we know that 5,300 “team members,” bankers, and branch managers who allegedly set up bogus accounts for customers who never authorized them, to rip customers off and pad their own salaries and bonus payments (and perhaps save their jobs or have a weekend off once in a while), all over the past five years, and all in offices across the country.

Five years. Across the country.

This wasn’t someone’s fly-by-night quick get-over, get-rich scheme.

Now, three-and-half years after the Los Angeles Times investigation, we know 2 million unauthorized accounts were opened by employees who simply made up addresses – physical and email – so statements wouldn’t go to those customers. They made up telephone numbers, stole customer data, and forged signatures to open new product accounts.

In a statement last week, Oscar Suris, Wells’ head of corporate communications, said upon analyzing 93 million accounts it was discovered, though it was unclear, that roughly 2 million accounts may not have been properly authorized. Of those roughly 2 million accounts, 1.5 million were deposit accounts and 565,000 were credit card accounts.

Worse, 115,000 had fees associated with them. I guess management never thought to look a revenue stream in the mouth.

YOU must realize that financial victimization is the most pressing financial threat and risk any of us face on a daily basis. This is totally ignored until he headlines bring it into focus. Don’t let this warning go unnoticed. As a member of the Advocacy Network you will be taking proactive action to protect you and your loved ones against all forms of financial victimization. The risk is not going to be mitigated through any other strategy or action. The proof that you are nothing more then a number is validated in this incident with one of the largest and most successful banks in the nation. Wells Fargo has been fined $185M to date. That is spending change for the institution. They fired 5300 employees and allowed the Chief corporate officer to walk away with $125M in compensation. It is he culture of zero accountability that has promulgated the environment of financial victimization. Sadly corporate cultures are pressuring and then rewarding employees for producing financial victims. Its not going away and the only one who can be fully accountable for your protection against scams, fraud and predatory sales tactics is YOU. The Advocacy Network will fully protect you against all forms of financial victimization.

YOUR Best Interest Is OUR Only Concern!

Wells Fargo; Perfect Example!

So, we have been screaming in a sea of disinterest. That message has been loud and clear about the greatest financial risk facing all Americans today. The risk you, your loved ones and all your acquaintances are exposed to is financial victimization. Who exactly can you trust? The recent Wells Fargo debacle simply reinforces our message.

If you go to Wells Fargo website you will actually find information on scam protection, they discuss phishing emails and other internet based scams. Yet they had their own employees fraudulently opening phony accounts. Kindly consider that this is a major banking institution who obviously had no control over their employees. Not only did the bank fail to protect depositors it failed miserably in any form of security compliance. This is not the usual breach of information where you get an apology letter about your personal information being pierced. Those are funny letters by the way, when the institution actually offers to pay for your subscription to an identity theft protection service after the institution left your personal information unprotected for hackers. No, this is actually the bank taking your personal information and opening phony accounts under which the employees and the bank accessed fees from you. This is more then financial victimization it is s direct breach of trust from a full fiduciary relationship. Under the fiduciary relationship Wells Fargo has the 100% responsibility to protect YOUR best interest in every transaction they touch.

Now, let me ask you the obvious question: Who can YOU Trust? This is the wake up call the Advocacy Network has been sounding the alarm on for almost 5 years now. YOUR exposure to financial victimization exists in every financial decision you make. There is no safety net around you. YOUR bank takes no accountability for the integrity and safety of your personal information and identity. Bad enough they charge ridiculous fees simply as depository for your money, now they also are willing to run scams that take fees fraudulently.

The following is taken from a NY Post article:

One of the creepiest things that can happen to you is to have your bank or credit card company open an account in your name without you knowing it.

Well, guess what: That’s exactly what Wells Fargo did 2 million times to its customers.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, in all their pride and glory, announced a $185 million settlement with the bank.

For its part, Wells fired 5,300 workers — but not a single executive from the C-suite. As if these workers conspired among themselves, with no direction from above to work this fraud.

These are regular, middle-class people, probably making about $35,000 to $75,000 per year with families and bills to take care of.

But Carrie Tolstedt, the head of Wells Fargo’s Community Banking division where those 5,300 people toiled, will be retiring with a $125 million compensation package.

And what do we hear from Wells Fargo’s largest shareholder? Crickets.

That shareholder is Warren Buffett, who owns some 470 million shares, a 9.5 percent stake.

Buffett — who often calls for transparency and accountability — has been deafeningly silent.

Wells Fargo and Buffett are cut from the same cloth. Both hide behind and benefit from a folksy but fake next-door neighbor image, while they are actually sharks in the kiddie pool.

That the CFPB allowed Wells to neither admit nor deny wrongdoing for a widespread fraud is bizarre. Also bizarre: That thousands of employees partook in digital signature fraud in order to open phony accounts that customers never even knew of.

The regulators should have demanded that the head of the bank’s regulatory oversight team be fired.

In addition, the CFPB should have given all the money it “fined” Wells Fargo to affected customers, who must be feeling pretty violated right now.

And if Buffett cares about his image, he should call for senior management resignations — without the $100 million severance packages.

Hopefully everyone now can clearly understand our message. The Advocacy Network has been spreading the message about the risks of financial victimization. We are a trusted source whose efforts have saved our members over $6M to date. Our simple solution through membership is fully accountable to proactively protecting our members from all forms of scams, fraud and predatory sales tactics. There is no more secret or misunderstanding, the white elephant in the room is financial victimization and if you can no longer trust simple banking then the exposure has now become a canyon of risk. There is a simple solution for this exposure, for about 65 cents a day the Advocacy Network will provide you the necessary protection 24/7. Don’t be financially victimized, become a member today!

YOUR Best Interest Is OUR Only Concern!


Psychology of Investing: Self-Sabotage

This is also known as self-handicapping. We all have the propensity to create self-limiting obstacles. This allows us to fail without feeling any great remorse or guilt. By setting a limitation that gives us an excuse we protect ourselves from full accountability.

It is always less painful to say I wasn’t at my best today, or I had this particular handicap which was directly causative for this perceived failure.

Think back, have you ever said you’re not feeling to well before an important presentation but you were going to suck it up and make the presentation anyway? Of course the self-fulfilling prophesy is that you didn’t make the sale. Or maybe you suddenly had some back pain prior to stepping out on the golf course for that minor tournament opportunity. These are examples of self-handicapping, basically it your sub-conscious effort to create a convenient excuse for lack of success. It is a protection behavior trait.

For the investor this behavior is the corollary to over-confidence. Most damaging however, this is a psychological trigger to move directly towards what we are attempting to avoid which is failure or a bad result. The creation of the comfortable excuse protects us from experiencing the pain of a poor result. It allows us to avoid accountability and clears us from the potential guilt that accompanies a poor result.

Unfortunately the protective mechanism simply reinforces and assures the poor result. We have created a self-fulfilling prophesy and have no chance for success.

By recognizing this psychological trigger or behavior trait we can make the necessary adjustment needed to control the decision making process. Once freed of the need to avoid pain we can comfortably do the due diligence and work through a proper decision making process. Only then can we clearly make good decisions about money. It also allows us to make proper adjustments when we get poor results.

YOUR Best Interest Is OUR Only Concern!



A Mission of Financial Education

When I considered what the Advocacy Network would be about and how it would pursue the promotion of a uniquely differentiated message, financial victimization was the core thought. At this point much research and development has been structured and this is a never ending process as change is the one constant that each of us has to master. Change is always frightening but it is the core essence of all individual maturation. We cannot continue to grow and create betterment in our lives without embracing change. There is nothing to be feared as change will always allow for the increase and expansion of opportunity.

Within the discussion of financial victimization it became clear to me that financial literacy was a major shortfall in our society today. Well too many of our citizens have never been exposed to any level of financial literacy education. This is an educational piece that has been missing for over the last 80 years in our nation. Coincidentally we have become a nation of spenders mired in debt, meaning we have been spending on advances that we could never honor. This is a premise that financial literacy education covers in the elementary stages. The elementary education considers the elements of good debt and bad debt, thus how to use debt for leverage and not simply for the acquisition of life style or life experiences. In other words debt needs to be used as a powerful economic grow lever. When used improperly it causes economic loss and grave financial inadequacies. This is a subject that is covered in depth in elementary financial literacy education workshops. Its truly never too late to become financially literate and thus begin to change the flow of your financial decisions.

Making smart decisions about money in a consistent and seamless manner is not only a meaningful personal objective it is a noble cause. The more our public becomes financially literate the more productive and proficient our society become. What’s good for the individual becomes good for the entire society. No longer do we have to rely upon governmental politicians to lecture us and display how to worship financial illiteracy in the pursuit of mediocrity. No, we can work together in creating a mission of promoting financial literacy and at the same time inoculating and insulating the public from all forms of financial victimization. With the Advocacy Network my major process is to put the focus on financial victimization yet victimization is rising in all forms in our overall society. Well too many people are being indoctrinated into a sense of hopelessness which is reinforced through a victim mentality. There is no reason to not have a projected sense of self-reliance and a commitment to excellence. This is the methodology that grows a society of excellence through a strong and efficient meritocracy, but that is a story for another time.

Our focus is to ensure that through membership we provide all the necessary tenets of sound financial literacy education and use that to create a basic safe haven for members to consistently make smart decisions about money. This is a mission that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy by the growth of a unique message being spread by both our members and our Financial Concierges. Imagine a society where the smart decision about money made by you positively impacts those to the right and left of you? This is our mission and the statement we are pursuing to spread.

Become a member today and start the change that will ensure your families financial security and future financial legacy. That’s the change you can effect today with membership.

YOUR Best Interest Is OUR Only Concern!

What are you waiting for?


FBI notes increase in fraud scams across the U.S. National News September 1, 2016 Randall

Kansas City, MO – These scams prey on individuals with the ultimate goal of financial gain. Many times these scams prey on the elderly victimizing many of their entire life savings. These scams are not new, but they continue to evolve and manipulate victims by the use of threat, fear, and pressure. From spoofing of federal law enforcement agencies phone numbers, impersonating federal agents on the phone, and sending bogus emails purportedly from the government agency, these types of tricks are being utilized to legitimize these scams.

Recently, law enforcement has seen an increase in impersonation scams of federal agents. The scam is initiated by telephonic contact with the victim. The scammer may have some information about an unwitting victim, ranging from the victim’s address to possibly even the last four digits of his or her social security number. The scammer oftentimes claims to be an IRS Agent and demands back payment for taxes due. The scammer will chastise the victim for ignoring correspondence from the government agency, hence the victim feels a sense of urgency to pay the back taxes.

Many financial institutions have safeguards in place pertaining to large and small sum wire transfers; however, law enforcement has recently learned that many of these thieves are “coaching” the victims on how to circumvent questions from bank employees and even family members should they be questioned regarding these financial transfers. The coaching of the victims is yet another mechanism utilized by these thieves to manipulate and extort an individual while continuing to evolve and adjust to counter any safeguards currently in place.

Scams have been seen across the nation where callers have claimed to be with the IRS, FBI, DEA, or other government agencies ranging from tax scams, lottery sweepstakes, and grandparent scams. Law enforcement cautions the public to beweary of unsolicited phone calls and phone and email scams that are purportedly from federal agencies. Be suspicious and verify the caller’s information directly with the appropriate agency.

Law enforcement will not demand payment over the phone and at no time will a taxpayer be asked to wire money to a foreign country to settle a debt owed to
the government. You will not be asked to verify personal or financial information over the phone, by email, or by text.

If you believe you are a victim of a phone or on-line scam, you can file a complaint online with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center If you believe you may owe taxes, call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040. If you do not owe taxes, fill out the “IRS Impersonation scam” form on the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA)

Inflation: the #1 Government Scam

Governments use inflation as a confiscation tool. The US government is no different. They have used this mechanism throughout our history. It is a practical tool to confiscate wealth from the populous. It damages us all and impacts every single family in the country. No one is immune from this basic confiscation and as such it is mandatory that you understand how to protect you and your family from this devaluation of wealth. There are several financial strategies to overcome this hidden confiscation. (The members of the Advocacy Network receive full education on all these strategies).

The following is some marketing copy from a Financial services provider:

Inflation: The Silent Wealth Killer
Hardly a day goes by without inflation being a topic of conversation in the news media, on economic forums, and in political blogs. Every month, the Federal Reserve — whose goal is to maintain the stability of the world’s largest economy — creates monetary policies that affect every day Americans, foreign countries, and everything in between.

One of the Fed’s top priorities is keeping inflation under control. But what exactly is inflation? 

What is Inflation
[in-fley-shuh n] noun 1. Economics. A persistent, substantial rise in the general level of prices related to an increase in the volume of money and resulting in the loss of value of currency.

In layman’s terms, inflation occurs when you have too many dollars chasing too few goods, which results in higher prices for the same products. It doesn’t matter if it’s cars, apples, toilet paper, cell phones, or the cost of higher education. When inflation grows, your money doesn’t buy as much and your purchasing power is reduced. This is especially burdensome to individuals on fixed incomes, like senior citizens who collect social security or retirees with fixed pensions.

Purchasing power is the hidden secret most people are unaware of. We live in the richest nation in the world and yet at the same time we have the highest rate of financial illiteracy. Sadly I have to believe the lack of financial literacy is not by accident but by design. Have you ever wondered why elementary financial literacy isn’t a basic mandate in the education system, and then secondary financial literacy through H.S.? The reality is if the entire population was taught the principles of money and money management then the government wouldn’t be able to use weapons like inflation and fractionalized banking to keep the wealth in house. Once you gain the awareness and knowledge of financial literacy you will be able to educate your family and gain the security and independence which comes with understanding how to maximize all your decisions with money.

The Advocacy Network provides 3 levels of Financial Literacy education. Basic, intermediary and advanced. All basic workshops are complimentary for the public, Intermediary and Advanced are always FREE for members, and fee based for all non-members. No one becomes fully financially literate overnight, it is an ongoing process. The most important aspect though is the proper information along with the continuous relationship with an advocate who is fully familiar with your particular financial situation. That advocate is well positioned as one of our Financial Concierges whose only concern is YOUR Best Interest.

We will provide the education needed for you to become fully financially literate and at the same time protect you and your loved ones from all forms of financial victimization. These two processes go hand in hand to provide the most effective proactive protection in the market place today.

YOUR Best Interest Is OUR Only Concern!

Investing Behaviors

Investing Behaviors

The theory of Behavioral Finance has grown during the last 20 years or so. A study of this field will yield much functional information on the psychology of investing. As an investor you will be effectively prepared for success if you can identify the poor behaviors that lead to loss. As you are aware my work has been focused on helping investors and consumers avoid being victimized by scams, frauds and predatory sales tactics. The majority of this work is focused on the individual and the behavior traits that lead to victimization.

Most services or professional advisors seek to identify the scams and frauds in order to protect the potential victims; this unfortunately is much like prescribing aspirin for cancer. The reality is that victims subject themselves to the scam, fraud or predatory sales tactic. Even identifying the scams and frauds wouldn’t be a fulfilling solution to insulating victims. The only pure cure is helping the potential victim understand the psychological triggers that initiate the launch codes for the perpetrators of the scams and frauds.

Once you understand the behavioral traits that commonly create victimization you will be able to fully inoculate and insulate yourself from scams, frauds and predatory sales tactics. With this information and education you will be successfully identify all scams, frauds and predatory sales tactics with minimal effort.

Today let’s review a common psychological trait that hampers investors from consistent success. Overconfidence is the commonality for human beings to think we are smarter and more sophisticated then we actually are. Studies have proven that when people say they are 90% sure of something they are right only 70% of the time. You can remember a time when you were absolutely certain about something and then totally amazed that you were incorrect, remember? This overconfidence for investors’ shows up in the behavior of rapid trading due to the thought that we are smarter than the person on the other side of the trade. Rapid trading leads to unrecognized losses in the form of commissions, fees and taxes. In the end the annual returns are negative as the losses add up. The need for control is the behavior trait behind the overconfidence. If we are more active in our investments then we have stronger control and feel a sense of comfort that comes with full control. Unfortunately our inability to recognize the overconfident behavior leads us to losses.

Tomorrow we will look at the psychological trait of selective memory and how that impacts our investing behaviors.

YOUR Best Interest Is OUR Only Concern!