While this isn’t necessarily financially related- except to the extent you don’t waste your money- I did find it fascinating and worth spreading. You’ve all seen those ads on web pages. The ones with the “before” and “after” pics of someone who lost weight and got buff. I’ve always assumed the pics were either taken months apart (which isn’t likely) or photoshopped. Well, someone finally exposed how its done. Enjoy:
Even more hilarious, is the youtube vid I noticed off to the side of this debunking video:
In the past, I’ve written about dubious awards like America’s Top Financial Planners and how they disguise the marketing as an official state document in order to lure advisors into opening the envelope. Recently, I noticed the latest scam directed at small business owners (from different perpetrators though).
You see, every state has a process for registering your business entity. Say you open a dry cleaner, consulting firm or ice cream shop and form an LLC or S-Corp. How does one create that LLC or S-Corp? Well, you file the business entity with your state according to each state’s rules, but it is usually with the Secretary of State. Here in Colorado, this is a very simple, fast, efficient and inexpensive process. Something like $50 for the initial filing (done instantly online). I’ve done this several times now and am always amazed and pleased how easy it is. Filing for a separate tax ID with the state and feds is another step, also not too cumbersome. Read more »
I just received another solicitation from SLD! Not only was it the same deceptive promotion, but I noticed another trick. In order to get advisers to open the mail, the return address reads “State License Documentation”. Now, any adviser will tell you that mail which appears from any regulatory body is opened immediately. Impersonating a regulator, sleazy indeed.
Woo-hoo! I’ve been listed as one of “America’s Top Financial Planners” by the Consumer’s Research Council of America. At least that what the mailing says. Oddly, the letter seems to only want me to purchase a commemorative “museum quality” plaque. There is no survey, no application and as far as I can tell, no nomination process. So how did I become one of America’s top financial planners anyway? I’m a small boutique shop that a research outfit would surely overlook. Read more »
You’re shocked to hear about yet another Ponzi scheme aren’t you? Yawn. Why is he blogging about yet another Ponzi scheme gone bad? I bring you this tale because it highlights just how creative some fraudsters can be.
Sandra Venetis of upscale Branchburg, NJ used her company, Systematic Financial Associates, to steal some $11 million from clients, many of whom were “retired or unsophisticated”, according to the SEC news release. How did she do it? The SEC complaint alleges that she sold promissory notes yielding 6-11%. Naturally, that yield was supposedly tax-free due to a loophole in the tax code. All the more enticing if you are retired on a fixed income, right? Read more »
Yep, another Ponzi has been exposed. Though not quite in Madoff’s league, it is still a big one at $1.2 billion. One Scott Rothstein created a large 70-lawyer law firm in Florida where he used the scheme to buy influence. According to news reports, he made generous donations to political campaigns, owned “hundreds” of cars, homes, jewelry, watches and businesses. He used the faux wealth to hobnob with politicians, sports celebrities and support an extravagant lifestyle. When discovered, he got on a private jet and fled to Morrocco with $500,000 in cash after wiring $16 million to Casablanca. Read more »
Over the holiday weekend, I caught a Dodge commercial on TV. It happened to be from one Melloy Dodge in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It was your typical car commercial with a loud announcer’s voiceover highlighting the unusual and amazing (always “amazing”!) deals on new cars. You better hurry or you’ll miss the special deal.
This particular commercial was advertising a full 80% off MSRP! To be honest, that 80% figure is the only reason the commercial caught my attention as I am thoroughly immune to stupid commercials. How could that be? Was Melloy going out of business? Even if they were, no new car is ever 80% off unless it’s a scam, like say a stolen or flooded vehicle.
It didn’t take long to hear it was indeed a scam. The particular foul? You may have already guessed- “MSRP” had a special definition just for this commercial. Instead of the standard “manufacturer’s suggested retail price” to which everyone is accustomed, they slipped in their fabricated definition of “manufacturer’s suggested retail profit“. I nearly spit out my coffee at the audacity. Yet one wonders, does such blatant nonsense work as a marketing gimmick? Is there anyone who actually thought this was a real deal?
Personally, I try hard not to do business with people or companies that operate this way.
Would someone please explain the security procedures that banks and other financial institutions implement? I happen to run into a “verification process” quite frequently. This normally entails answering a series of questions. You know, questions like “what city did you get married in?” or “what is the first name of your paternal grandfather?” There seems to be about 15 standard questions used by financial institutions, not all of which are used by each. My problem with these has to do with a lack of understanding exactly how they are supposed to protect me. Read more »
At one point I intended to do a post about extended warranties. You know when you walk into Best Buy, Future Shop, or Circuit City (in nómine patris et fílii et spíritus sancti) and finally settle on a DVD player or laptop and then the sales guy does everything but threaten a loved one with grievous injury unless you buy an extended warranty. Yeah. Those things. I’ve always been highly skeptical of their value. The desperation with which sales people push them and the occasional spiteful service you get when you refuse the warranty further adds to my skepticism. Read more »
I am fond of quoting Warren Buffett, so get used to it. He once said something you have probably read here in the past that goes “You only find out who is swimming naked when the tide goes out”. By this he is referring to business models that can’t swim when the water gets rough. It also applies to frauds. As we discussed at length, Madoff’s scheme unfolded when too many people wanted their money at the same time. Read more »
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