A few “posts” ago, I mentioned that the Ventura County Adult Abuse Prevention Council that I am a Board member of, had an open meeting with a guest speaker form the CA Department of Corporations, discussing fraud and scams.
Since then, I’ve had some requests asking what some of those are and would I list them here? There’s too many to go into any kind detail but I will shed some light on a few of them. Needless to say, with the economy MIA, there is more fraud going on at this time than there was previously and now it’s more important than ever to be aware and protect yourself from becoming a victim.
We all have to be cautious, don’t give out your Social Security number to ANYONE and only use websites for purchasing items that are secure. Look for the little “lock” sign, etc. For this post, let’s discuss one area of deceit, fraud and other ugly crimes. I will follow up a bit later with some more tantalizing examples of things to be aware of to protect yourself.
Common Investment Scams:
Affinity marketing & Affinity Fraud. This is where there is some sort of mutual trust involved, via religious beliefs, ethnic makeup, culture or profession. You can probably think of many examples of “affinity” relationships. Sales people are hired just to court these special targets. Typically what happens, as one person goes for the “bait” and feels good about their experience, they share this info with all of their friends, who of course will trust them, right?
My Aunt Audrie and her husband had this experience. They were referred to a “financial advisor” to set up some “retirement accounts” for them. They were introduced to this individual through mutual senior friends who had also used his services and were very happy with him.
When I asked some very subtle questions my Aunt was very cagey with me and didn’t want me to know what what going on. I was highly suspicious but unable to do anything about it. And guess how it all turned out?
He stole every one of those seniors’ money who had trusted him, put it into an account under his Mother’s name, spent it all. And then? When he was about to be investigated for fraud, he committed suicide. And all the money that had been supposedly had been invested by him for his clients, was gone.
There was no recourse as his estate was bankrupt and none of the money could be located. Apparently he spent it all drinking, dining and traveling. And of course, he used it to impress new potential victims by treating them to expensive dinners and entertainment.
Over the next few days, I will continue to write about this serious issue. Just writing about it now, raises my blood pressure. This type of crime is unimaginable and cruel. People work hard all of their lives, hoping to have enough funds for their retirement and then a predator comes along and takes it all away from them with a smile.