Different tactics to say ‘Gimme your money’

Blame it on anything you want. The economy, greed, ego or even desperation. The reason doesn’t matter; the result is what counts. Every country in the world that keeps track of crime trends reports financial frauds are on the rise. Only Iran, a nation that quickly convicts and executes thieves (thus no repeat offenders) might be improving.

In today’s alerts:

Purchase rare metals, especially scandium and yttrium. Used in phone and computer manufacturing. Sales people advise they are in short supply and prices are increasing. While it sounds reasonable, it’s not.

They aren’t. Why? Because manufacturers buy in bulk quantities from bulk suppliers. They do not establish business relationships with baby start ups without a long and stable history, so the only thing “running out” would be the balance in your bank account.

Carbon credit trading: Although carbon credits are indeed real — permits or certificates that allow industries to release one ton of carbon dioxide — these aren’t onesies/twosies purchases. Also, the buying/selling is not done by cold-calling telemarketers.

“We can get you your pension/annuity/401K early” deals. Never, never, never release any information to an unknown party because the results will be costly, contain hidden charges; nasty tax ramifications, or be possibly illegal. (Note: exceptions might involve terminal illness, however such a situation does not translate to “It’s safe to trust a stranger who ringadingdinging you, by phone or doorbell, and is selling a “sure thing,” Those guys are best dealt with by your pet Pit Bull, not your signature.)

Mobility Aids: We call these Durable Medical Equipment Scams, and most of them revolve around wheelchairs, scooters and the like. When the promise involves the word “free” and entails handing over your identity and insurance information, STOP. If you need such equipment, your doctor can recommend a reputable supplier.

Warranties: If you want a home/vehicle/whatever there are registered, licensed, staffed, monitored companies available. Many solicitations come from foreign countries that specialize in taking premiums and disappearing. Never let a valid-looking website fool you. It may be a “mirror” or one put up last week.

Work at Home: We’ve talked about this one before, but it’s on the list. The bottom line is that it will cost you money to “work” for them. Lists, sales kits, or processing counterfeit transactions through your bank account. One word here: DON’T.

An unsolicited YOU WON! from a stranger. Two words here: YOU DIDN’T.

Wine Scams: A somewhat recent twist where the targeted buyer is told that s/he can “invest” in wine that is still in the barrel and make oodles of money. Nobody except the scammer is making oodles of anything.

Online Romances: Despicable, dangerous and sometimes deadly. Do not fall in love with a voice, a letter or a picture. The stack of files on my desk is evidence that this is not the safest way to meet Ms. or Mr. Right.

Online purchasing from unknown sellers or those with no history. I have a stack of those files, too.

Remember what I’ve been pounding into your heads for months: If it sounds too good to be true, it’s not true.

Drop by the Pahrump Valley Times offices, 2160 E. Calvada Blvd., for a copy of Leslie Kim’s latest book “123 Main Street … the Scamming of America.” Only $19.95 while supplies last.

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