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You don’t need to ever suffer the pain, guilt and misery that comes with Financial Victimization. I have interviewed and witnessed many victims in my career and they all have one thing in common, there is a terrible sense of remorse and guilt. They feel this due to the financial loss they incurred, many times the financial loss is totally devastating.

Did you know that law enforcement estimates only 17% of those who are financially victimized will ever report the crime. This is due to personal shame and that remorse and guilt issue. And those who do report recover on average $0.035 per dollar lost, that’s 3 1/2 cents on the dollar. Many of the victims expected returns of 20,30,40 and even 50%+ on their dollars.

If you think “it can never happen to me” please think again, nationally over $200B+ is lost to financial victimizations of all types. Everyone needs a watchdog, an advocate who is looking out for their best interest in all monetary and financial decisions. This is what the Advocacy Network provides, and our protection is proactive so we are not chasing money as the other services are. Our work stops the victimization before it happens.

Kindly take the time to watch this video and see how you can acquire a Lifetime Membership which provides our premium membership with Karl Schilling as your direct Financial Concierge

YOUR Best Interest IS OUR Only Concern!

The Senior$afe Initiative SUNDAY, MAY 29TH, 2016

By Gerald Rome, Colorado Securities Commissioner ~

On June 16, the Colorado Division of Securities will again be participating in World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. This initiative, hosted by the National Adult Protective Services Association, was formed in 2015 to help call attention to the ever-growing issue of elder abuse and financial exploitation, and to provide resources to organizations, caregivers, family members, and elders themselves to fight these crimes.

Recent surveys have determined that around 10,000 people are turning 65 every day in the United States. Our population is aging rapidly, and the 65 plus generation hold more financial wealth than any other group. But this also makes them a target of financial scams and frauds. These days many seniors rely on individual family caretakers, hired caregivers, or assisted living/nursing facilities as they age rather than family based communities. Because of this change, we’ve determined that caring for the elderly population requires a community-based approach where all are responsible to watch out for and care for our seniors.

In this spirit, my office has joined with other states to introduce a program called Senior$afe in Colorado. Senior$afe’s aim is to create a protective community network that will look out for the welfare of our seniors. The Division is currently working to expand our partnerships with organizations that provide services and benefits for seniors, in order to create a network of providers that can work together to assist seniors who may be facing abuse or exploitation.

Additionally, together with the Colorado Divisions of Banking and Financial Services, we are beginning a series of trainings that will teach financial professionals, from advisers to bank tellers, how to recognize red flags associated with elder abuse and exploitation, and to provide them with the resources to report or assist seniors in reporting these crimes. Finally, we want to provide seniors themselves with the tools they need to recognize the red flags of financial scams, and easy avenues to report potential issues.

Heading into this month, you can take a moment to measure your own vulnerability to financial exploitation by answering these simple questions:

  • Have you recently lost a spouse or partner, or do you feel socially isolated?
  • Are you financially responsible for an adult child, grandchild, or other family member?
  • Have you had a recent change in physical or mental health? Do you feel more depressed than usual?
  • Are you noticing frequent mistakes in how you handle finances, or are you feeling overwhelmed by managing your household budget or investments?
  • Are you anxious about your finances?
  • Do you attend “free lunch” seminars or speak to telemarketers when they call?
  • Are you feeling pressure from family members or caregivers to share money or change your will?

This article verifies this is the best you can expect from the state financial services commissions. Its hard to even believe they have good intentions in these matters. The self promotion is validated by the reliance on Banks to help protect you. Are they protecting you or are they simply protecting themselves? The fact is that the government agencies and regulators are fully self interested as their only concern is fines and fees. They have very little concern for the investing public an consumers, of course the excuse if public protection but the solutions prove that there is huge conflicts of interest and personal bias. Lastly, all of these efforts remain reactive which means they chase your money after you have lost it. You need proactive protection which ensures you get proper due diligence and full inoculation and insulation prior to making the financial decision that leads to loss! 

 

YOUR Best Interest Is OUR Only Concern!

Memorial Day Is a Time to Fight Scams That Affect Military Families and Veterans

Better Business Bureau Serving Metro New York is urging military families and veterans to be on the lookout for deals that seem too good to be true. For example, military personnel and new veterans are often at risk of coming across scams involving fake rental deals and may also encounter unscrupulous movers.

“Military families and recent veterans are often relocating, and that’s when they need to be wary of rental and moving deals that seem far too inexpensive.” said Claire Rosenzweig, BBB President. “As a first step always check the business track record at bbb.org – but also watch out for red flag signs, such as requests to wire money, or rental agents and movers who don’t want to appear in person to show properties or estimate a moving job.”

May is National Moving Month. Details about how military families can recognize moving or rental scams are available here; the same tips are valuable for any consumers considering a move.

Additional scams targeting military families and veterans can include:

Scammers posing as the Veterans Administration (VA): Scammers may contact veterans saying they need to update their credit card, bank or other financial records with the VA in attempt to steal identities. Never hand over sensitive personal or financial information to anyone unfamiliar, even if they claim to be from a government agency.

Fraudulent investment schemes: Watch out for solicitations that offer “special opportunities” that are “only available to veterans and service members.” Remember, there’s no such thing as a sure thing investment. Check to see if the investment advisor needs to be licensed or registered with the New York State Department of Financial Services. For tips on detecting investment scams, visit this BBB educational program website; resources for checking up on financial professionals and understanding investment issues are available here and also on FINRA’s educational website here.

Offering “instant approval” military loans: Veterans and service members may see online loan offers claiming “no credit check,” and “all ranks approved”). Not only can these loans be bogus, but even the legitimate ones may also have high interest rates and hidden fees. Always read and understand the terms and conditions of any loan before signing to accept, and check with the New York State Department of Financial Services to see if the company issuing the loan is registered to do business in New York.

Scammers posing as government contractors: Scam artists may pose as government contractors who are recruiting veterans for nonexistent government jobs. Often they’ll ask for a copy of the job applicants’ passport – which a goldmine of personal information – in an attempt to steal their identity.

Affinity groups are often targeted by scammers and fraudsters. The ease of referrals within affinity groups is the reason for the targeting. One of your priorities in inoculation from scams is to recognize the groups you belong to and identify with, and then beware of sales people or promoters who seem to be constantly using your group affiliations to gain your confidence. As usual not all approaches are scams, but the best way to inoculate against it is to be aware and alerted to the behaviors that are evident. The vast majority of the time the truth is that if it quacks like a duck, waddles like a duck and loves water it is a duck. 

“YOUR Best Interest Is OUR Only Concern!

Older investors more at risk of scams and fraud warns watchdog

Investment scam fraudsters frequently target older people with savings. Here’s all you need to know to keep yourself safe from scammers.

The Financial Conduct Authority warns people aged over 55 are more at risk of investment fraud.

More investors are being led into investment schemes they may not completely understand, seeking higher returns through low savings rates.

Over 65s with more than £10,000 in savings are three and a half times more likely to fall victim to investment fraud than anyone else. Scammers are heavily targeting these people, with 40% reporting they were received far more unsolicited investment calls.

Phone calls are a common tactic used by investment fraudsters who promise people huge returns but then just disappear with your cash.

“You don’t need to be gullible to lose money to a scam or fraud,” said Mark Steward, director of enforcement at the FCA.

“Fraudsters target financially sophisticated people too, who often don’t like to ask what might sound like silly or basic questions. If you are contacted out of the blue about an investment opportunity that sounds too good to be true then it probably is. We would urge you to be skeptical.”

Scams, fraud and predatory sales tactics also abound across the pond in Europe. The concept of defrauding people out of their life savings is a universal global issue. Wherever, you are the risk exists.

While being a skeptic will get you so far it will not proactively protect you and it can actually cause you financial harm in the cloaking of opportunity cost. Not every financial opportunity is a scam, fraud or a manipulation, there are real deals with good outcomes. You need to understand the risks and be able ascertain the real deal from the phony deal. Being a member of the Advocacy Network provides you with the tools necessary to make this differentiation with consistent success.

Don’t allow yourself to stay exposed to the financial risk of financial victimization and certainly don’t close yourself off from the opportunities that could make huge financial gains for your future wealth, let us proactive protect you and help you with the financial tools that will allow you to make smart decisions about money.

http://home.bt.com/lifestyle/money/investing-pensions/older-investors-more-at-risk-of-scams-and-fraud-warns-watchdog-11364064326895

 

5 ways seniors can avoid scammers

Florida leads nation in reported fraud per capita

By Christina Vazquez – Reporter
PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – Financial scams targeting seniors are prevalent and the Florida Office of Financial Regulation says with more than 4.9 million people ages 60 and older, Florida ranks first in the nation in the percentage of its citizens who are seniors.

“Unfortunately, wealth is one of the reasons scammers target unsuspecting senior citizens,” Florida Office of Financial Regulation officials said.

The National Council on Aging (NCOA) states that “Financial scams targeting seniors have become so prevalent that they’re now considered ‘the crime of the 21st century.’ Why? Because seniors are thought to have a significant amount of money sitting in their accounts.”

NCOA also stated that it is not just wealthy seniors who are targeted.

“Low-income older adults are also at risk of financial abuse,” NCOA officials said. “And it’s not always strangers who perpetrate these crimes. Over 90 percent of all reported elder abuse is committed by an older person’s own family members, most often their adult children, followed by grandchildren, nieces and nephews, and others.”

According to the Federal Trade Commission, Florida is the state with the highest per capita rate of reported fraud in the country.
Here are five tips on how to protect yourself:

1.Guard your personal information. Never give someone who calls you out of the blue your credit card, banking, social or Medicare number.

2.Be Skeptical. This is especially true when dealing with unsolicited offers. “If you receive an unsolicited offer, there’s a good chance that you’ve been targeted by a scam artist,” the AARP explains on its website. “Most scams of this nature rely on your response to their initial promise of lottery winnings, fast-case from an easy work-at-home job, guaranteed returns from a hot new investment or an inheritance you didn’t know about, so that they can gain access to your personal information and solicit money from you.

3.Monitor Accounts: Routinely check your credit report and bank statements to spot suspicious activity.

4.Do not be courteous. Con artists can exploit your good manners. According to the FBI, “People who grew up in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s were generally raised to be polite and trusting. Con artists exploit these traits, knowing that it is difficult or impossible for these individuals to say ‘no’ or just hang up the telephone.” So, don’t believe that telemarketer on the phone is your friend, don’t trust the stranger at the door and do tell someone pitching you a product or service to submit their offer in writing and then consult with a family member or friend before giving anyone your money. According to South Carolina’s Attorney General’s Office, “Senior citizens are of the generation that was taught to be courteous at all times to phone callers, as well as to people who visit them at home. Swindlers know how to take control of the conversation, either by pretending to be very friendly or by using bullying tactics. Remember that a stranger who calls and asks for your money is to be regarded with the utmost caution. You are under absolutely no obligation to stay on the telephone with a stranger who wants your money. In these circumstances, it is not impolite to explain that you are not interested and hang up the phone. Save your good manners for friends and family members, not swindlers.”

5.Be Social – Be part of the Call Christina community: The best thing you can do with consumer protection information is share it with other seniors in your life. Experts say being social is a great way to avoid falling victim to a scam in part because you are sharing what you have learned and because you have a group of people to bounce ideas off of. Spread the word of fraud prevention.

Experts say you also want to be wary of high-pressure sales tactics to include “limited time only” offers. If the product or service is legitimate it will still be there tomorrow.

While all of us at the Advocacy Network commend Christina and the work she is doing it is not nearly enough to proactively protect you from financial victimization. A good dose of skepticism will only get you so far and if that really worked we wouldn’t see a growing amount of financial losses due to scams, fraud and predatory sales tactics each year. The Advocacy Network is 100% committed to fully inoculating and insulating you and your family from scams, fraud and predatory sales tactics. Our strategic alliances and partners include law enforcement, private detective services along with fully experienced and knowledgeable professionals in the world of financial literacy as well as the dark side of the world of scammers,fradusters plus industry wide knowledge of the predatory sales tactics that are prevalent in the financial services industry and the banking and other industries that you make decisions about money with. Join today and you can have the peace of mind that you can and will never be financially victimized, its our GUARANTEE to you!

The Golden Rule and Business

In 1919 Napoleon Hill started a magazine called Hill’s Golden Rule. As per most of Hill’s work he provided an unusual perspective on life and how success was a fully integrated aspect of one’s entire life.
Hill made an interesting correlation between the golden rule and how one could run their entire business life through the lens of the golden rule and how that would make a huge difference in our society as a whole. In one specific article Hill challenged the clergy across America to mix with every sermon preached “a liberal sprinkling of the Golden Rule philosophy and show their followers exactly what is the economic value of practicing this philosophy in business? (Hill’s words are italicized).
For those who wonder the Golden Rule philosophy Hill speaks about is simply “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” His premise was this philosophy should encompass our entire life. On a daily basis do you think this thought would make a difference in your present business success?
What I find of most interest is that when reading Hill’s work much of which is almost now 100 years old I find his precepts and concepts are not only still timely they are basically timeless. Of course this can be perceived as Pollyannaish by much of today’s accepted standards. I however choose to see the world in terms of abundance and therefore recognize the intrinsic value of the universal laws such as cause and effect and sowing and reaping. These laws are undeniable and they are inflexible. The laws of the natural human condition defy any and all advances in technology, industry, medicine, and science. While the world changes as do those of us who seek to be the most successful, the laws that rule the human condition are etched in stone and will always follow the same path. Too often society seems to be come conditioned to think of itself as too advanced to call upon the law of cause and effect and the law of sowing and reaping, or the law of compensation.
In general the last 100+ years has maintained the same identical statistical results of those who obtain unusual success. It is still a 5/95 deal with 5% of the population enjoying the benefits of unusual success. The reason behind this is due to the acceptance of the laws with which one cannot negotiate. Hill’s perception of the Golden Rule philosophy was simply embedded in the understanding of cause and effect. The issue has and always will be that we reflect our own inner attitudes and therefore the way we treat others is the identical result we receive in the way others treat us. There is simply no denying this basic rule of human existence.
In the coming days and weeks I want to revisit and reflect upon much of Napoleon Hill’s work and how it may make a huge difference in your life. My goal at the Advocacy Network is to stop financial victimization and as such it requires that people I work with and represent (our members) take a true look at their behaviors, values and beliefs because this is what determines their financial success.
I would like to close with the words of Napoleon Hill written almost 100 years ago:
Let us remember that there is a cause for every effect. If the effect of our efforts in life is not pleasing, we should remember that it is a good plan to analyze and inquire into the cause. If we are not succeeding, it is about a hundred-to-one bet that we may find the cause by stepping to a looking glass.
May it not be possible that we can control enough causes to considerably change our attitude towards others and the attitude of others towards us?
When you write out the “chief aim” that you intend to put into use on January first, let me suggest that one of the planks in your platform read something after this fashion:
“During the ensuing year I will make a special effort to develop a fair sense of proportion by making it a habit to analyze, inquire into, and examine the cause of all effects that in any way affect the object of my lifework, my peace of mind and my material success.”
YOUR Best Interest is OUR Only Concern!
www.theadvocacynet.com

The Demographics of Aging in America

Today, the elderly account for an increasing percentage of the U.S. population as a result of nationwide improvements in health care, nutrition, education, and general living standards. In 1997, one in eight Americans were elderly (age 65 and over). By 2030, one in five could be elderly. As the Baby Boom generation reaches age 65 (between 2010 and 2030), this trend towards an elderly population explosion poses a variety of challenges to U.S. policy makers.
In 1997, there were 34.1 million people in the U.S. aged 65 and over, comprising 13 percent of the total population. By comparison, there were 12.3 million elderly Americans in 1950 (8.1 percent of the population) and 3 million in 1900 (4.1 percent).
America is evolving from a “young” society to a “middle-aged” one. The median age of Americans was 35 years in 1996, up from 30 in 1980 and 23 in 1900. The median age is expected to increase to 37 in 2010 and 39 in 2030.
The “oldest old,” those aged 85 and over, make up the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population. In 1996, an estimated 3.8 million persons were aged 85 or older and approximately 1.4 million were aged 90 or older. Between 1960 and 1994, the oldest old population increased 280 percent compared with a 100 percent increase for those 65 and older. Projections suggest that the population aged 85 and over will increase by 54 percent, from 3.7 million in 1996 to 5.7 million in 2010, and may reach 18.2 million in 2050.
Future Expansion
The rate of growth of the U.S. elderly population surpassed that of the total U.S. population during the 20th century. From 1900 to 1997, the number of persons aged 65 and older has increased eleven-fold, from 3.1 million to 34.1 mil
lion, while the total population has tripled. By 2050, projections show that the elderly population will more than double to about 79 million.
Although there will be steady growth of the elderly from 1990 to 2010, the population aged 65 and over will jump nearly 80 percent when the Baby Boom generation retires (from 2010 to 2030). By 2030, the elderly will account for one-fifth of the total U.S. population.
After the last of the Baby Boom generation reaches 65 in 2030, the rate of growth of the elderly population will decline and the proportion of elderly in the total U.S. population will remain unchanged until at least 2050.
Characteristics of the Elderly
Average life expectancy in the U.S. is almost 76 years: 79 years for women and 72 for men. However, persons who reach the age of 65 have a life expectancy of 82.4 years, 17.4 more years to live. White men can expect to live 15.7 more years and black men can expect to live 13.6 more years, while life expectancy for white women is 19.4 additional years and 17.6 for black women. The difference between male and female life expectancy at birth is decreasing slightly, and the ratio of men to women among the elderly is expected to grow in the future as male longevity increases.
In 1995, elderly women outnumbered elderly men ten to seven, and among the oldest old, women outnumbered men five to two.
In 1995, whites accounted for 89.6 percent of the elderly population, but only 83 percent of the U.S.
. Blacks accounted for 8.1 percent and Asian and Pacific Islanders 2.3 percent of the elderly population in 1995, while Hispanics, who may be of any race, comprised 4.5 percent of the elderly. By 2030, the proportion of elderly whites should drop to 84.7 percent, while the share of blacks will increase to 9.9 percent and Asian and Pacific Islanders to 5.3 percent. Hispanics will make up 11.2 percent of the elderly. The expected increases are due to higher rates of past fertility among minority populations, and to higher immigration rates for Asian and Pacific Islanders and Hispanics.
In 1997, 66 percent of elderly in the U.S. had completed high school; this will increase to over 75 percent in 2010 and to nearly 88 percent in 2020. Projections also show that, from 1990 to 2030, the proportion of elderly with a bachelor’s degree or more will increase from 11 to 24 percent.
The median income of the elderly has more than doubled since 1957 (in constant dollars). However, there are gender disparities in income. In 1996, elderly men had a median income of $17,768, compared with $10,062 for elderly women. This income difference can be attributed to characteristics that include older average age, widowhood, lower educational attainment, and differing workforce status.
Today’s older Americans enjoy a higher standard of living than any preceding generation of elderly. However, of the 35.6 million Americans living below the poverty level in 1997, 9.4 percent were aged 65 or older. The percentage of elderly living in poverty in 1997 was 10.5 percent, a higher rate than the Americans aged 35-59. Poverty rates within the older population increase dramatically with age.
Rates of poverty for minority elderly are two to three times higher than for the white population. As of 1997, 9 percent of white elderly lived in poverty, compared with 26 percent of black elderly and 23.8 percent of Hispanic elderly
Seventy-eight percent of men and 52 percent of women aged 65 to 69 were married in 1994. Among those 85 and over, 57 percent of men and 13 percent of women were married. Marriage in old age carries with it many positive effects: incomes are higher among couples; spouses provide care during illness; and elderly couples derive benefits from companionship.
Because they generally live longer, more elderly women than men live alone. In 1997, 7.6 million women 65 and older lived alone, compared with 2.3 million men. Nearly half of the oldest old live alone. Poverty rates are higher among the elderly who live alone: in 1997, 20 percent of the elderly who lived alone were below the poverty level, almost double the rate of all elderly..
Geographic Distribution
Over half of America’s elderly population live in just nine states: California, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Ohio, Illinois, Michigan and New Jersey. Florida has the largest proportion of elderly in the U.S. with 18.5 percent of residents aged 65 or older. Alaska (5.3 percent) and Utah (8.7 percent) have the least percentage of elderly.
The greatest rates of growth in the elderly population are occurring predominantly in the West. Between 1990 and 1997, the elderly population increased by 49 percent in Nevada, 43 percent in Alaska, 25 percent in Arizona and 25 percent in Hawaii. The regions with the slowest growth are New England and the Midwest.
Yet, most elderly people do not move. Only 6 percent of the elderly population changed their residence between 1992 and 1993. Of those elderly who moved, almost half remained within the same metropolitan area and 78 percent moved to another home in the same state.
Prospects
The elderly population is extremely diverse in its social, economic, and health status. Most people age 65 to 74 are healthy, active and independent. The oldest-old, however, are more likely to face the problems of failing health, widowhood and loss of independence.
While there has been a declining trend in median age at retirement since the 1950’s for both men and women, the trend has begun to level off. In 1995, approximately two-thirds of men and one-half of women aged 55 to 64 were working, but few were still working at age 75 and older. These ratios are not expected to change dramatically over the next decade.
The U.S. nursing home population increased by 29 percent from 1980 to 1990. In 1990, 1.6 million elderly lived in nursing homes and the number of elderly requiring nursing home care between 1990 and 2030 is expected to triple. Yet, the elderly population will only double in the same period. The implications are that the future elderly population is more likely to live alone and less likely to have family caregivers.
A Global Perspective
In 1995, there were 366 million people, or 6.4 percent of the total world population, aged 65 and over. This number is expected to increase to 418 million (6.8 percent) by the year 2000, and increase throughout the twenty-first century.
Of all persons aged 65 and over, 57 percent currently live in developing countries; by 2020, this figure is expected to reach 67 percent. The elderly population will grow much faster in developing countries than in developed countries in future decades. The current average annual growth rate of the elderly population is 2.3 percent in developing countries compared with 1.6 percent in the developed world.
In European countries, the elderly will constitute 20 to 25 percent of the population by 2020. Japan, the most rapidly aging society in the world, has an elderly population that is expected to continue to grow dramatically in the future from 14 percent in 1994 to 26 percent in 2020.
This summary was prepared in February 1997 by Rachel Shapiro of the Population Resource Center and reviewed by Kevin Kinsella, Chief, Aging Studies Branch, U.S. Bureau of the Census. It was funded by a grant from the Retirement Research Foundation. Sources include: 65+ in the United States, U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1996; J. Treas, “Older Americans in the the 1990s and Beyond,” Population Bulletin, PRB (May 1995); J. Siegel, “Aging into the 21st Century,” Administration on Aging (AOA), 1996; D. Fowles and A. Duncker, “A Profile of Older Americans: 1996,” AOA, 1996; and K. Kinsella and Y. Gist, Older Workers, Retirement, and Pensions, U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1995. For more information, please contact the Center at 1725 K Street, N.W., Suite 1102, Washington, D.C. 20006 (202-467-5030) or 15 Roszel Road, Princeton, NJ 08540 (609-452-2822)

Fighting Against the $187 Million Financial Aid Fraud Problem

By Don Kassner Mar 25, 2016
________________________________________
From having credit card information stolen to catfishing on online dating sites, online fraud is definitely not a new concept. The anonymity of being behind a computer screen has created new opportunities for new scams, and no industry is immune—including education.
As online education has become an increasingly popular choice for students seeking to take classes anytime, anywhere, it has also engendered new illicit activity in the form of financial aid fraud rings. While most have heard of online fraud, financial aid fraud doesn’t often make the news. Few know the mechanics of it. How does it happen? Who is the victim? How can we prevent it?
How Financial Aid Fraud Rings Work
According to the Department of Education, online identity fraud has led to a loss of over $187 million in federal student aid from 2009-2012. Roughly $150 billion is distributed in federal grants and loans each year. Despite efforts from law enforcement, it continues to be a big issue within higher education. In this type of scam, the two main players are a ringleader and a straw student. The ringleader, often accompanied by accomplices, secures identifying information from a member of the ring or by stealing it. Using the straw student’s information, the ring can then apply for admission into online education programs and secure financial aid.
At universities, part of the problem is that the initial actions of the fraud ring won’t raise any red flags. The targeted school’s systems only register a new student with valid information. The ring continues to maintain the charade, doing the bare minimum needed for the chosen course to show participation and qualify for financial aid disbursement. Then, once the university is paid and the straw student receives their federal aid refund (the remaining funds after the institution has collected tuition, which are meant to be used for related educational expenses like textbooks, transportation, living costs, etc.), the fake student abandons their courses, leaving the members of the ring free to split up the refund money. Because the ring is exploiting a vulnerability in the financial aid system, neither the institution nor the federal government may be aware that a crime has even taken place – a crime that costs the federal government, and taxpayers, millions of dollars that will never be repaid.
In the Headlines
Financial aid fraud might not be something a lot of people are aware of, but in taking a closer look, it’s easy to unearth coverage of a number of cases over the years. There was the 2011 case of an inmate in South Carolina who was able to secure more than $460,000 in funds after using the information of 23 unwitting fellow inmates. In 2012, federal officials cracked down on a major student aid fraud ring in California and charged 21 individuals who collected $770,000 in federal student aid by targeting 15 different institutions. One of the biggest cases involved three ringleaders and 10 straw students in Montgomery, Alabama, who defrauded the Department of Education of more than $3 million from 2008 to 2012.
Impact of Financial Aid Fraud
Despite lessons from these and other cases as well as FBI involvement, fraud rings continue to take advantage of the financial aid system, and taxpayers aren’t the only victims. Every year, Congress approves a federal budget that indicates how much will be allotted for financial aid. With fraud rings successfully syphoning off financial aid funds, these dollars lost to criminals are no longer available to legitimate students who may rely on financial aid to afford a college education. In cases like the one in South Carolina, the straw students’ personal information may be used without their knowledge. They become victims of identity theft. Fraud can direly affect credit reports and scores. The fight to have debt expunged takes significant time and effort. On a larger scale, cases of financial aid fraud can inflate the loan default rate at the colleges and universities involved because these straw students default on any federal loans taken out.
Fighting Fraud with Technology
Institutions may be hesitant to air dirty laundry about financial aid fraud happening on their campuses, but some are taking a proactive approach to detecting and deterring cases of fraud. More and more institutions are focusing on the verification of the identity of their online students, which protects not only institutions but also individuals whose identity may have been stolen.
Technology, too, is catching up with physical modes of identification. Just as a student would show their student ID card to verify their identity when visiting an on-campus financial aid office, now they present their face to a webcam. It’s becoming more common to see institutions implement keystroke biometrics and face-recognition software to verify the identity of students.
Just as technology makes online education possible, it brings with it a number of new risks. Identity protection technologies are just the beginning. Work is underway to develop and provide solutions to help colleges and universities battle financial aid fraud. The ultimate goal is to ensure financial aid funds remain available to students who truly need assistance to pursue and attain their degree.
Read More

Top 10 List of Scams of 2016

There are many ways to measure the largest scams, but most measure them by the number of people affected and the total dollars scammed.

Our list focuses on the scams that you could avoid, those reported to the CFR, FTC, Fraud.org and BBB (Better Business Bureau). For detailed explanations of each scam, how to report a scammer and how to protect yourself, click on the blue titles below for more information! To see federal and select state top 10 scam lists, click here.

And to see a list of other type of top 10 scams, such as by category, or targeting specific groups, see this page.

1. Internet merchandise scams
You purchase something online, but it is either never delivered or it is not what they claimed it was, or is defective.
2. Phishing/Spoofing Emails
Emails that pretend to be from a company, organization or government agency but ask you to enter or confirm your personal information
3. Fake Prizes, Sweepstakes, Free Gifts, Lottery Scams
You receive an email claiming you won a prize, lottery or gift, and you only have to pay a “small fee” to claim it or cover “handling costs”. These include scams which can go under the name of genuine lotteries like the UK National Lottery and the El Gordo Spanish lottery. Unsolicited email or telephone calls tell people they are being entered or have already been entered into a prize draw. Later, they receive a call congratulating them on winning a substantial prize in a national lottery. But before they can claim their prize, they are told they must send money to pay for administration fees and taxes. The prize, of course, does not exist. No genuine lottery asks for money to pay fees or notifies it’s winners via email.
4. Fake check payments
You sell something online or through Craig’s List Consumers and you’re paid with phony checks, and instructed to
wire money back to buyer. The check looks real… but after you try to cash it, you find out it is a fake; and you’re arrested for passing a counterfeit check! Read more about scam checks on this page and here about the EBay check scam.
5. Recovery/Refund Companies
A scammer contacts and claims you owe money on a debt or the scammer offers to recover money lost in a previous scam
6. Loans Scams / Credit Fixers
False promises of business or personal loans, even if credit is bad, for a fee upfront. Or a scam that promises to repair your credit for a fee.
7. Computer Performance Scams: Equipment and Software
Scammers claim to offer technical support for computer problems and charge a fee to fix nonexistent problems
8. Scholarship, Student Loan and Financial Aid scams
for a fee, a research company offers to conduct a customized search for scholarships or grants for students to apply for. Scammers take the money and run or provide a worthless list
9. Online Dating Scams
Fake profiles of scammers posing as attractive men and women, then claiming they need money to help in an emergency, typically when they claim to be out of the country on a business trip.
10. Facebook Fake Friend Scam – Did you ever get a Friend Request on Facebook from someone you already thought was your Friend? If you hit Accept, you may have just friended a scammer. Con artist nurtures an online relationship, builds trust, and convinces victim to send money.
And here are the next dozen most common scams:
11. Click Bait Scam – This one takes many forms, but many people may recall seeing those using Robin Williams death or the Malaysian Airline plane that went missing (click here for video). Other click bait schemes use celebrity images, fake news, and other sensational stories to get you to unknowingly download malware.
12. Fake bills and invoices – “Pro forma” invoicing: You get a bill that looks real, but either you never ordered the product or service, or they’re not really the company you bought it from.
13. Tech Support Scam: You get a call or a pop-up on your computer claiming to be from Microsoft (or Norton, or Apple) about a problem on your computer. They say if you give tech support access to your hard drive, they can fix it. Instead, they install malware on your computer and start stealing your personal information.
14. Medical Alert Scam – This is a telemarketing scam that promises a ‘free’ medical alert system, that scam targeted seniors and caretakers. The robocalls claimed to be offering the medical alert devices and system free of charge because a family member or friend had already paid for it. In many cases, seniors were asked to provide their bank account or credit information to ‘verify’ their identity and, as a result, were charged the monthly $35 service fee. The system, of course, never arrived and the seniors were left with a charge they had trouble getting refunded. Easy rule of thumb – be wary of ‘free’ offers that require your personal information upfront and always verify with the supposed friend or family member that the caller says paid for the service.
15. EBay / Auction Reseller Scam – Scammers posing as buyers persuade sellers into shipping goods prior to receiving payment. Usually the fake buyer claims it’s an ’emergency’ like a child’s birthday and asks the seller to ship the same day. The seller receives an email that appears as though it came from PayPal for the payment, but emails like that are easy for scammers to fake.
16. Arrest Warrant Scam – Scammers create a fake Caller ID, which allows them to call you and appear to be calling from a local police, sheriff or other law enforcement agency. They say there is a warrant out for your arrest, but that you can pay a fine in order to avoid criminal charges. Of course, these scammers don’t take credit cards; only a Western Union MoneyGram, other wire transfer or pre-paid debit card will do.
17. Invisible Home Improvements – In addition to email, mail and phone, scammers now just show up at your door. Scammers posing as home improvement contractors come door-to-door sale and target seniors, those who live alone, and victims of weather-related disasters are common targets
18. Casting Call Scam – Scammers pose as agents or talent scouts looking for actors, singers, models, reality show contestants, etc., and use phony audition notices to fool aspiring performers into paying to try out for parts that don’t exist.
19. Foreign Currency Scam – Investments in foreign currency can sound like a great idea, and scammers frequently use real current events and news stories to make their pitches even more appealing. They advertise an easy investment with high return and low risk when you purchase Iraqi Dinar, Vietnamese Dong or, most recently, the Egyptian Pound. The plan is that, when those governments revalue their currencies, increasing their worth against the dollar, you just sell and cash in. Unlike previous hoaxes, you may even take possession of real currency. The problem is that they will be very difficult to sell, and it’s extremely unlikely they will ever significantly increase in value.
20. Scam Text Messages – It looks like a text alert from your bank, asking you to confirm information or ‘reactivate your debit card’ by following a link on your smart phone. But it is just a way to steal personal information
21. Do Not Call Scams – The National Do Not Call Registry (U.S.) or the National Do Not Call List (Canada) offer consumers a free way to reduce telemarketing calls. Scammers call anyway, of course, and they’ve even found a way to scam consumers by pretending to be a government official calling to sign you up or confirming your previous participation on the Dot Not call list!
22. Affordable Care Act Scams (Obamacare) – Scammers love the Affordable Care Act (‘Obamacare’), using it as a way to fool Americans into sharing their personal information.

Support for the Advocacy Network

I wanted to share a brief history of the Advocacy Network. For those of you who don’t know me I have spent over 35 years in the sales profession. During that experience I have worked in the Financial Services industry, Luxury Resort RE industry and the Sales Training industry. Throughout my experience I have learned how predatory sales tactics are used and also how scams and frauds are designed and perpetrated. For the most part many of the same techniques and psychological manipulations are used. Because of this I felt a fervent commit to expose these techniques and provide protection for consumers, investors and businesses who were unwittingly at risk to the cons, scams and frauds that were in the marketplace.
In order to that I needed to create a platform that would educate, update and make the public aware of what was happening. For almost 4 years I provided FREE memberships which accumulated approx. 12,000 members. We were able to save those members in excess of $5M, and to date we continue to provide these protections to those who appreciate the value of our work.
Now, I have created the service to go full blown as a paid membership service so that we can dominate the market place and service the middle class and mass affluent markets. Please understand that almost 1/2T dollars is lost every year to scams ,fraud and predatory sales tactics. If this market was an industry it would be in the top 10 of industry sales. That’s how much money is lost every year to financial victimization and everyone who reads this has been victimized at least once in their lifetime, sadly we know the stats show that average victims are 3x repeat offenders. This is all due to being unaware of the psychological triggers that continue to expose you to the risk of financial victimization everyday.

I am offering a way for you to get a LIFETIME premium membership to the Advocacy Network. This is a $1080 annual value and you will be protected for all forms of financial victimization. Simply support us and help us to stop Financial Victimization for ever! Get a LIFETIME founders Membership

I look forward to working with you and your family to ensure your financial future. Let us help you make smart decisions about money.

YOUR Best Interest is OUR Only Concern!