Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Playgrounds for Scam Artists

--Many and Varied are the Playgrounds Upon Which Scam Artists Conduct Their Con Games--Are you Ever Tempted to Join in on the Fun?

Fraklin's Rule hits this theme right on the head: Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall not be disappointed. But, more likely it is that most people will follow this slightly altered version: If you started out with nothing, and still have most of it left, you might be tempted.

What are these scam artists' games? Here is the basic menu--26 playground areas for you, as the victim, to swallow--or reject:

> Home improvement frauds. Termites you don't have. Other phantom pests. Recommendations by phony city inspectors. Marriage is said to be made in heaven; so is thunder and lightening. These scams are some of the latter.

> Phony bank examiners. Soliciting your "cooperation" in tracking down dishonest employees, misplaced funds, etc. Trying to justify these is like watching a foreign film without subtitles.

> Phony legal threats for non-cooperation with F.B.I., refusal of jury service, etc. Your reactions can run the gamut. At one extreme, you can ignore or report to the police. At the other you can completely succumb in a panic, by going to your court house steps and protest by setting yourself on fire.

> Vending machines. Easy to unload. Great sales appeal. Just park the machines; they will work for you; all you have to do is empty the machines of their cash, bank the money and get rich. The con man worships such post-scam activities as a government bureaucrat worships operational mediocrity.

> Investments, franchises, land frauds. Most common. Most overdone. Most profitable for the con man. Suckers are baited with these lures over and over and over again. Remember, the squeaky wheel gets annoying. Better to walk away, back turned.

> Inventions. The person who has invented a revolutionary toothpick rotator device in his garage usually knows less than nothing about marketing. These scam artists, therefore, crawl out from under their rocks to "show him the way." For a small fee, of course.

> Work-at-home. Sit home, stuff envelopes on your kitchen table, and make a fortune. Popular appeal. Schizophrenia beats being alone.

> Phony degrees. Covered thoroughly in our article, How to Earn a College Degree Without Earning a College Degree. Appeal to vanity,and ease-of-achievement. Check the Archives.

> Postal frauds, chain letters. Old as the hills. Still work. Suckers jump. All we can say is: A thing not worth doing is not worth doing well.

> Unordered merchandise. Letting yourself get suckered in to accepting these would be like shooting yourself in the head to stop a headache.

> Charity rackets. Total of 90% of some charitable donations go to decorate the linings of the con man's pockets. Stick to the charities you know.

> Computer dating. Incubator for lots of sparks. First off, a computer makes as many mistakes in 2 seconds as 20 people working 20 years. Secondly, men can't be sexist; broads hate that. Third up, it confuses men about their manhood, and, it makes broads fret And hell hath no fury like a fretting broad.

> Debt consolidation. These are convoluted, complex formulas designed to delay and confuse. Remember, the longer you wait in line , the more likely it is to be the wrong line.

> Dance Lessons. After 60 years Arthur Murray's footprints still loom large. And, a natural urge ever persists to be Gene Kelly dancing in the rain. Go slow though. If you are a slow-footed klutz who can barely walk straight, you would be wasting your money.

> Freezer plans. Fifty years ago these were popular. Today they rank with the boldest of out-and-out frauds. Don't touch. To err is human; to eat a muskrat is not.

> Psychic fraud. Aimed at those who have to study to become a half-wit.

> Health clubs. Great appeal, both legitimate and illegitimate. But, always consider: If God wanted us to fly coach, he would have made us narrower.

> Employment. Dangerous. Too much personal information is required for resume filing.

> Lonely Hearts. For women, you might like him, but still not want to see him work with sub-atomic particles. For men, you might like her, but not want to see her win crocheting awards.

> Medical quackery. You cannot produce a baby in 1 month by impregnating 9 women Yet, much of the medical quackery out there is of similar lunacy.

> Missing heirs and inheritance scams. check the Archives for our article on inheritance scams It was popular, revealing.

> Referral Sales. Easy way to make millions, huh? Sure When you see this one, tell yourself: There is no time like the present to postpone or cancel a decision.

> Lonely hearts. Men emanating a piney scent, wishing to smell masculine, and ladies marinating in strong perfume, make up the bulk of this huge, huge,market.

> Talent scouts. Vanity appeal. Before jumping into this, ask yourself: If a fool and his money are soon parted, how did a fool and his money get together in the first place?

> Self-published books. If a book about failure doesn't sell, is it a success?

> Anti-aging devices and products. Time may be a great healer, but a lousy beautician.

Now, in confronting all of this you must face a typical bean-bag reality: If your shadow stops doing what you're doing, look out. It means, simply, your common sense has taken a vacation, and a shroud of illogic is taking over.

You can counter this by adhering to one solid principle:

When in doubt, procrastinate--until all of these "opportunities" pass you by.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Simple Quirk in the Law Enables Anyone to Become a Con Man

--How the Everyday Man-on-the-Street Consumer Can Become a Con Man

With only your credit card your cup runneth over. A new career as a con man awaits you.

Sure. Who? Anybody, including you.

How? Why? What enables such good fortune? It's credit card law, much to the benefit of the con man Now, you have only to take your credit card and find a new, simple use for it. (Everything works better if you plug it in.)

In many countries internet sales and mail order sales are governed by the same laws. This includes the U.S. So, what's the similarity in sales that invites this sameness of regulation? In both internet and mail order sales the customer is absent from the POP (point-of-purchase). thus,, no signature appears, assuring that delivery has occurred. (These last words are important. So, read them again: no signature appears, assuring that delivery has occurred. This is the can opener that opens this Can of Worms. More detail in the wrap-up phase of this article.)

As a result, customers are presented with several options, which, in effect, would clearly complete the transaction. Usually, within 30 days, they can claim:

1) The item was not delivered as promised.

2) The item did not meet expectations.

3) The transaction was the result of a lost or stolen credit card.

Of course, the merchant is offered an opportunity to contest the chargeback. But--and, here's the big but--without a signature to verify delivery,there is most often little--or nothing--the merchant can do. You have only to follow a basic con man remedy: When your victim is down, kick him..

So, what's the best option for the every-day- consumer-turned-con-man? Certainly, that's easy enough to figure. Number 1, naturally. If the product was not signed for when delivered (more than 95% of all cases), the burden is on the merchant to either deliver a second time, or refund the purchase price. Opportunity for illicit customer profit? Should be obvious. A truly con man-prone situation If you have set low personal standards for yourself, then consistently failed to meet them, you will be "up" to such an underhanded endeavor.

To make this kind of crime work you'd have to become a whining complainer.. And, it's said that the more you complain, the longer God makes you live. A negative?

Consequently, if pangs of conscience emerge, and you become a guilt-ridden whacko because of this new career, then what? It's introspection time.. Remember, the only cure for insomnia is to get more sleep.

If, In addition to moral reasons, you reconsider the whole thing and, rather, opt to stay on the "straight and narrow," as a means to claiming your just deserts in the Hereafter, ask yourself, which came first, karma or dogma? Remember, the hardness of the butter is always directly proportional to the softness of the bread.

Also remember Alley's Axiom: Justice always prevails--3 times out of 7. But, as shocking as it was to Dorothy and her dog, Toto, to get dumped out of the Land of Oz back into Kansas, look no further for guidance on the proper path to take. They adjusted, and to the bright side.

Stick with the old hokeyism, "honesty is the best policy," to insure your reservation--a front row seat in that Hereafter.

He who dies with the most toys still dies.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Legal Thriller?--How to Scam For Fun and Profit Through a Foundation

--How to become a Scam Artist? You've Read the Basics in Previous Articles; Now it's on to an Advanced Scam School Education that reads like a Legal Thriller

A conscience does not prevent sin; it only prevents you from enjoying it.

Want to find a scam that's as simple as stealing cookies from girl scouts?Conscience be damned? Try this:

Your studies of basic Scamology completed (ref: the Archives), you are now ready to move on--from Scamology 101 to the next, more advanced class, Scamology 102.

Here we employ a slightly altered approach, one that reads like a real legal thriller book. Use of the legal, tax-exempt "Foundation" as the tool for plundering, pillaging, defrauding, and robbing blind all those you can persuade to trust you with their money.

(As foreboding and expensive as "Foundation" sounds, it's cheaper than you think. Check out with any attorney the--usually--reasonable costs of setting up your own tax exempt association. You can even run it out of a home office. This may seem like wearing bib overalls to a funeral, but it's not. It's doable.)

Speaking from the standpoint of the scam artist (visualize yourself in that role), here is how you could achieve wondrous results,

> Remember, from past lessons, that your primary goal is to generate an issue, where you can promote 2 strongly opposing sides, manufacture a problem so you can step in and solve it. Precursor is to foster the "Lets you and him fight?" psychosis to its fullest. For this, the Foundation is ideal because it affords you a legitimate-sounding shield, behind which you can hide while you deviously strive to follow Jahe's Law: Anything hit with a big enough hammer will fall apart.

> Win the battle? Lose? Who cares? Only relevant factor is being seen by the public as the "Good Guys." You must therefore, above all else, create a positive public image. Always be sincere, even when you don't mean it.

> You must work hard to dehumanize all those opposing you, so you can justify manipulating your flock into hating them, and supporting you as a consequence. A conclusion is a place you get to when you're tired of thinking. Manipulate this common emotion to your advantage. Hammer home the necessity of jumping to a conclusion--so that your followers can come up with a flawed assumption.

> Now, dip back to the worthy motives learned from Scamology 101. Use these problems you've created through the setting up of your Foundation in the following ways: To manipulate, sell fear and divisiveness, divert attention, gain followers--to form your flock of sheep--and raise money to fatten your wallet at their expense. Much like borrowing funds from a pessimist, who doesn't expect to be repaid. (God must have loved stupid people; he made so many of them).

> A Foundation is a perfect "front" for your scamming activities because: 1) Buried among the many thousands of these which are legitimate, yours will be virtually invisible. 2) You can set up a stooge--a "front person," one with an appealing public image (manufactured war hero, an "I have overcome" disease recoverer, maybe a born-again Christian). 3) You are then free to become the behind-the-scenes string puller of your little puppet show--free to con, blackmail, bribe, lie, do whatever it takes to achieve your materialistic ends. Just be sure to keep your dupe (front person) ignorant of what is really going on. As the old proverb goes: Never try teaching a goat to dance; you waste your time and only annoy the goat.

> Now, when you write the rules,--with an exclusion clause for yourself--you can design them so you can follow the letter of the law while completely ignoring its intent.
The challenge is like crossing a lawyer with a librarian, your flock gets all the information it needs, and can't understand a word of it.

> You can set up sub-groups of suckers from within your flock to unwittingly do all the illegal, unethical, and immoral tasks, by way of a secret language through which you can give orders and not be held accountable. Always have your dumbest sucker designated as your scapegoat, someone to "take the fall" if anything goes wrong. You will want someone so stupid that she should be watered twice a week. There is no vaccine for stupidity.

> Good news must always be transmitted via your Simon Pure, Front Person; bad news by your Patsy. Use lots of statistics. Statistics are a highly logical and precise way for saying a half-truth inaccurately. (If you have to talk to yourself, don't use a bull horn.)

> There you have it. Always focus on the symptoms, never the problem.. Emphasize hope, dreams, fallacies, fiction, never facts, and especially, never the real problem itself.
Jump up and down about the symptoms. Make a lot of noise. (Attila the Hun died on his wedding night of a nose bleed; you don't want to go out as a wimp, like Attila.) Stay healthy. You can get plenty of exercise just dodging deadlines.

True, this whole thing sounds like a scientific exercise in Artificial Stupidity. Like advocating a return to slavery and abolition of a woman's right to vote. But, you'd be surprised at how every carbon-based life form on the planet craves recognition, honor, and respect, for themselves, and integrity in others. And, for the gifted con man, a cloak of integrity is easy to manufacture. You have merely to cash-in on these fundamental weaknesses--for your own fun and profit. Beauty is skin deep; ugly goes right to the bone.

Manage all these diverse elements--manipulate your followers properly, these people who would be out of their depth in a mud puddle--and your tax-free income will enrich you. No end.

And, for mop up operations? Simple. After the battle, like an auditor, you have only to show up and bayonet all the wounded.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Bold Con Man Scam: Scamsters Representing Themselves as FBI Agents and Officials

--Email Communications Include Photos of Director Mueller, Seal, Letterhead, and Banners

With all the sensitivity of a Medieval dentist, the con man, supposedly a member of the FBI, may contact you, with instructions.

Yes, with an invitation to participate in a totally bogus investigation.

Overreach? Probably. But, it's happening, and the FBI is very upset about it. Especially when the con man involved is so fearless that he will actually employ all the identifying insignia of the Agency--i.e Director Muller's photo, the Seal, Letterhead, even the Banners. Apparently some successes are being run up by this subterfuge. Speak softly and wear a loud shirt. This seems to be the underlying brashness. They believe that creativity is O.K., but plagiarism and infringement are faster and easier.

What kinds of schemes are promoted?

Inheritance notifications and lottery endorsements are the two most common. But, threat and extortion schemes also rank high. These often involve online auction scams. and, of course, all of the scams include the usual malicious computer program attachments (malware) designed to trap, isolate, and reveal your vital personal information for identity theft purposes. Too many freaks, not enough circuses? Talk about risk for the con man? This has to be about the highest ever. It's not hard to envision 100-year, throw-away-the-key sentences for this kind of crime.

A social Engineering technique?

Sure. You could call it that. The con man uses the FBI's name to intimidate and convince the recipient that the email is legitimate. That's a form of social engineering. Isn't it? One essential truism looming over all of this--the FBI does not send out emails soliciting information from citizens. The electric chair was invented by a dentist. Improbable? Hence, it could be that the con man thinks anything is possible. Is this the reason they play golf, maybe--so they can wear all the clothes they wouldn't otherwise be caught dead in?

Don't let the con man put anything over on you--not even an umbrella.

This whole presumption is so strange, so weird, so far out. You've got to wonder about the bewilderability level of it.

It's almost like making you feel that you must tape the wall mirror in your house so you don't accidentally walk through it and into another dimension.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Scams at their Most Elaborate: Insurance Fraud

--Newest "Hall of Shame" entries put a Truly Bizarre Touch to Con Games

A real down-home hunk of logic, Epstein's Law, tells it like it is: If you think the problem is bad now, just wait till you've solved it.

The investigative arms of insurance companies are perhaps the most effective scam fighting machines on the planet Earth. Their rating for the number of con artists convicted is about the highest for any group of crime fighters. Yet, for every con artist nailed, it seems a more sophisticated scam specialist springs up--to extend their challenge.

From the Archives of the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud, here are some examples (from their "Hall of Shame"):

> A self-proclaimed gypsy, a wedding dancer, swallows broken glass. Purpose? To shake down restaurants and other food providers, cash in on their insurance coverage. Says he was seeking a dowry for his sons. But, instead, is serving a 5-year stretch, and will have to cough up $340,000 in restitution.

> Florida gay man torches his home after painting "Idle Fag" across it's front steps--in order to collect the insurance money. and make it look like a hate crime. He gets 18 months in state prison to contemplate the wisdom of this approach.
Say some, if at first you don't succeed, you'll never succeed.

> A New York school teacher fakes cancer to collect the insurance money, then moves to New Hampshire to try a repeat performance. When her valiant struggle makes the local newspaper, she is exposed, and is now serving 1 to 3. A new way to celebrate mediocrity?

> A life insurance agent kills 4 homeless people, and fakes their deaths so he can collect $1,000,000 in insurance proceeds. He's serving a life sentence--more than enough time to pray for forgiveness of his sins.

> New York woman, poses as a Princess, member of the Saudi Royal Family. (This sounds about as challenging as trying to tune a bagpipe.) Finally, pleads guilty to insurance fraud and attempted grand larceny. Must have had a sharp lawyer. She's able to trade down from a 15-year sentence to 1 year in a psychiatric facility.
Almost sounds like political influence. Power corrupts; absolute power is pretty neat though.

> A Manhattan Stock Market Day Trader has an effective scam going, makes a small fortune, in fact. Claims he lost his right eye on 3 different boat cruises. First time is allegedly the result of a sun filter falling off a ship's telescope while he's looking through it. Second claim is for an exploding champagne bottle on another cruise. Third time around, on still another cruise, he is supposedly hit in the eye by a flying toy disc. This guy's luck holds. He's still at large. Sounds like an unusually talented con man, a guy who could probably jump start a car without cables.

> A Texas couple digs up the grave of an elderly woman and dresses her in the husband's clothing, stuffs her body in his car, and pushes it over a cliff. Object? To collect the insurance money, hoping the blackened body would obscure identity. DNA gives them away, and they are now serving a long, all-expenses-paid stay in a Texas slammer. (Why is it everyone seems normal--until you get to know them?)

> Illegal meth lab blows up, yielding $40,000 in insurance proceeds for a man who says his severe burns occurred while he was working in his mother's bakery. Anyone can set low standards, then consistently fail to meet them.

> Doctor performs 750 worthless heart operations on homeless people to collect $2,000,000 in Medicaid payments. Good maxim is: Live your life so that, when you die, the preacher will not have to lie at your funeral. Obviously ignored by this physician.

> An insurance adjuster rams a huge chunk of tree through a hole in his roof in order to inflate an insurance claim.
He is nailed when it comes to light that a nosey neighbor had videotaped everything.

> Washington, D.C. man tries to blow up his father by wiring his SUV to explode upon entry, an insurance "reward" being his goal. But, his brother borrows the car and blows himself up instead. The man is now serving 32 years of hard time in a 6 x 9 cell, plenty of space to think about his mistake.

We can only assume that, if your handle on life breaks, you are capable of coming up with some very zany ideas on how to scam the system to make yourself rich. These examples, we submit, are clear evidence of this. But insurance fraud, like the return trip of a boomerang, always seems to come back to haunt the con artist perpetrator. Pickings in this area of scamery are slim indeed.

Just about everyone participates in mild insurance fraud, at one time or another. Slight exaggeration of insurance claims are common. But when it comes to the elaborate, big time stuff, it's best to have a positive attitude about the con man's destructive habits, and, in a wide arc, steer clear.

Where the blind leadeth the blind, it's best to merely get out of the way.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Con Man Apprenticeship: Fallacious Arguments--Part IV, Con Man / Politician Similarities

--Close to Election, It's Time to close out With this Noteworthy Identity Association

Change, reform, get it done now, cut costs, save money. At every election period the same chant. Over and over and over. Election after election after election. Ad nauseam. Apparently the multitudes of politicians and con men who utter these words are totally unaware of Cheop's Law: Nothing ever gets built on schedule or under budget.

Yet, here are some of the tactics--used every election cycle--that are used to make you believe they--the con artists and politicians--are the Messiahs, the ones who can perform such miracles.

> Argument by personal charm. Good example was the 2006 California Governor;s' race between Arnold Schwarzenegger and Phil Angeledies. Arnold's persona not only included pure charisma, but sex appeal Angelidies, in contrast, along with his dry rot demeanor, perfectly fit the old accountant joke: What does an accountant use for birth control? Answer: His personality.

> Create trust Everybody and their cousin wants to be part of the "Winning Team," even if they don't know what this winning team is, or what it stands for. An outpouring of personal charm does it. And a desire to please this highly admired candidate / con man is a big part of this, no matter the policy position or platform. As Yogi Berra said, 90% of the game is half mental.

> Appeal to pity. "You can't send me to prison for murdering my mother with an ax. I've already suffered enough through being an orphan." The old theory of, if it doesn't make any sense to begin with, make even less sense of it, and see what happens.

> Accuse your opponent of personal attacks. In politics, particularly, this always works. Accusation: Your pothole filling project is a waste of taxpayer money. Defense: Just because I hit a pothole and broke my neck, you can't stop these personal attacks against me. Accusation: If grades one through five rank 19th in the world, we need help from private schools. Defense: Just because my 8 year old flunked the 1st grade 3 times you use this for a personal attack. Accusation: We don't need a missile defense. Defense: Just because my son mans one, you use this as a personal attack against the character of my family.

> Reasoning in a circle, or, the Catch 22 question "The stock market fell because of a technical adjustment." Or, did the technical adjustment cause the stock market to fall? If you don't like the answer, you shouldn't have asked the question. Under "Reasoning in a Circle," your answer is unlikely to be a straight one.

> "Expert" status. This status is usually achieved by the most proficient BS artist in the room. Implication is that the "expert" knowledge presented is priceless, and the speaker's willingness to share his expertise is admirable. While slavish admiration devours you, while playing the sycophant in slurping up with zeal everything that is said, always remember the sacrosanct Rule of the Great: When someone you greatly admire and respect appears to be thinking deep thoughts, he is probably thinking about lunch.

For many of you who think the TV Show, Desperate Housewives, represents the typical American family, politics, as practiced, might seem quite normal to you.
But most realize that it only takes a little experience to upset a theory.. Thankfully.

For some reason, strangely, the best politician can sometimes, too, be like the famous TV star: Peter Falk's Detective Colombo, without the charm. After all, being discerning is the most important talent of them all. They all have one thing in common: Doing all the wrong things, for the wrong reasons.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Con Men Apprenticeship: Fallacious Arguments, Con Man / Politician Similarities--Part III

--Mastery of these are Essential to Good Con Artistry

You could ask, if Fed Ex and UPS merged, would we call it Fed UP? That's kind of the same sort of question we must ask ourselves about the apparent merger of con men's and politician's thinking, arguments, lingo, and general practice.

What are these fallacious arguments? Here's a listing which you must master in order to earn your spurs as a skilled Con Man / Politician.

> Ad hominem attacks: "My opponent, Senator Foghorn, could know nothing about space travel as he brags in his book, because his great, great grandfather traveled west in a covered wagon." When in doubt leapfrog the issue.

> Argument by needling: Another form of ad hominem attack is to make your opponent angry. Simple insults will usually do it, but can easily be reinforced by interrupting, clowning around to show disrespect, being noisy, failing to pass the microphone if in a debate. Generally, making a horse's ass of yourself is one of the easiest argument forms to employ. To justify such obnoxious behavior, merely ask yourself, If you wear your heart on your sleeve, where do you display your other bodily parts?

> Attack a caricatured version of your opponent's position. "Senator Foghorn says we should not fund the Lower Slobovian Army:; can you understand why he wants to leave us all defenseless like this?" When in doubt, create a huge chasm of stupefying disbelief.

> Argument by conflict: Scientific debate on global warming is so split that it must mean that everybody is wrong, and perhaps we should worry about global cooling instead. When in doubt, totally distort.

> Appeal to fear, with mass-application. A sexual utterance in the work place must be stopped because, if not, all men will become foul-mouthed in the work place. When in doubt, muddle and magnify the issue to cover hordes of people and imply a mass dash into a new sin.

> Bifurcation: Assumption of only 2 alternatives when, in fact, there are more. "It's war or peace in Lower Slobovia." How about a truce, a UN Peacekeeping Force, an armistice (like the DMZ in Korea for the past 55 years)?

> Burden of Proof Argument. Claim that what has not been proven true must be false, and vice versa. How about absence of evidence? Is this evidence of absence? The Burden of Proof Argument carries delightful possibilities to create every sort of confusion imaginable.

> Argument by question. The questioner has a big advantage in a debate. It usually takes less time to ask a question than to answer it. And, questions can be phrased to make the answerer look like a fool with his response. "Senator Foghorn, why are you against increasing the minimum wage for starving teenagers?" How can Senator Foghorn win, no matter what answer he comes up with?

> Argument from age. Products labeled New! Improved! These appeal to the belief that innovation is of value for such products, whatever the circumstances. How about a doubling of the capital gains tax? Is this really New? Improved?

> Argument by slogan. Of special value when you can get your audience to chant your slogan. (The kickoff can be from pre-planted shills in your audience who can also stimulate laughter, applause--the live equivalent of a TV laugh track--as well as begin the chant of a slogan). "Change, change, change." "Fight for Lower Slobovia." "Clean up Washington." "Throw the rascals out." "No more blow-outs for Senator Foghorn." On and on. On and on. On and on. Ad nauseous.

Now, with you back to being the recipient of these "Sunday punches," remember:
These people are so gifted that they can throw your belief system into a state of prolonged levitation--just long enough to con you out of your money, or get themselves elected.

This--the political Silly Season--is therefore the Season to be extra aware of your presence of mind, have an extra-firm grip on your wallet, and a deaf ear to all strictly emotional appeals.

You will be nothing but healthier, wealthier, and wiser for it.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Con Men Buzzwords Serve as Tip-Offs, Warnings: Watch for similarities to Politicians' Antics

--In every Area of Business, Con Men-type Warning Signs are Flashing--Buzzwords and Catch Phrases--for You to Pick Up On, and Benefit From, in Protecting Yourself from Financial Losses, and from Politicians' Con Games

It's a fact: 100% of all people who eat carrots die.

It's this kind of unarguable certainty with which sales persons (con men?) in all areas of commerce try to hit you up. They constantly lob buzzwords at you--to compel you to buy. Never offend people with substance when you can offend them with style. This seems to be the credo by which many of these sales persons (con men?) live. (Politicians too?)

Here are some examples:

> It's free? What's free? Is it a "Free Lunch?" Must you pay shipping and handling? A redemption fee? Gift, or other tax? Buy 2, get a 3rd free? There are all kinds of "Free" offers that do not match up with that word as we know it. Keep in mind the Second Rule of Band Practice: Noise is not music.

> It's 50% off. Off what? Manufacturer's suggested price? Regular retail? Bulk price? Sticker price? This is usually nothing more than an attempt to make everyday business propaganda sound like folksy truisms... A con men specialty. Even when things go wrong, having to eat their words never seems to give them indigestion.

> It's a Going out of business sale. Particularly stores in Manhattan, N.Y.C. have been going out of business for years They are prime examples. Be careful. When true, where are you going to take that laptop for repair, if and when needed,? Is your warranty really worth the paper it's printed on? Read your warranty carefully. The bold print giveth, the fine print taketh away. Complex problems have simple, easy to understand wrong answers.

> We will not be undersold; we will match the lowest price in town?
Are you really going to run around town, to 6 different stores, to check out whether you can save $2.95 on that $29.95 toothpick sharpener you wish to buy? They (con men?) know that the easiest way for you to find a lost item is to buy a replacement, and are playing on this fear. In reality they know that 95% of their customers are not going to bother.

Sounds good, though, doesn't it? Gives you more faith in the uprightness, honor, integrity, and honesty of the merchant. Good PR for them. (And, especially great for politicians.) This warranty is about as valuable to you as insurance that covers everything except what happens.

> You've just won. Won what? Did you even enter?--to give yourself a chance to "win?" Most common are those low cost vacation trips. How about charges for all the extras? Often substantial. It's the vacation rip-offs that have served as a template for all the other "You've just won" con games. A rudimentary premise underscores this "pitch." Taken from Carson's Law: It's better to be rich and healthy than poor and sick. (Particularly a great ploy to line up legions of suckers to back a political candidate.)

> Work at home; make a fortune. Yeah!
Sure! How many self-made millionaires do you know who amassed their fortunes by stuffing envelopes at their kitchen tables?
As Forest Gump's mother said: Stupid is as Stupid does (For politicians the wrinkle is:
Sit at home by your telephone, call all your friends and relatives, get them to promise to vote even if you have to line up transportation to get them to the polls. The most successful of these are moved on up into the party political apparatus so that they might participate in future graft, like signing up felons,, dead people, and fictitious names--in return for bigger monetary rewards out of the "walking around" money.)

> We have an IRS-endorsed retirement plan. The only thing the IRS heartily endorses is the collection of every last drop of blood from you at tax time. Failing this, about the only further thing they would endorse is confiscation of all your worldly goods and a stiff prison sentence for you. Don't believe any of this "IRS-endorsed" hogwash All foam, no beer. If the assumptions are wrong, the conclusions are not likely to be very good.

In sum: Never buy anything while talking to a salesman.

If you stay fully aware that hypocrisy is the Vaseline of social intercourse, you will always be in a better position to protect yourself from rip-offs of every kind--by delaying a decision until you've had ample time to review, reflect.

Sadly, many of these day-to-day offerings are as valid as a supermarket tabloid news story about a space alien having sex with a vacuum cleaner.

It's a fact: 100% of people who carefully question, ponder, investigate, and evaluate, make better decisions.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Con Man's and Politician's 10 Commandments

--Rules the Con Man--and / or Politician-- Must Follow in order to Bend a Group of Suckers to the Desired Will

If there are 12 clowns in a circus ring, you can jump into the middle and start reciting Shakespeare, and, to the audience, you'll only be the 13th clown. This is an advantage of basic psychology which both the con man and politician must jealously guard.

This is the conundrum the con man must engage whenever he is putting a group of people together to foist off a large scale scam. There will always be the odd-ball or 3 who simply do not fit in. And, if he permits them a forum, these few could conceivably destroy his con game. By all means he must keep his flock restricted to clowns.

Now, drop yourself into the role of the con man. Where do you go from here?

You must identify these malcontents quickly so you can properly steer your wrath--paint them as the enemy, so you can profit from their rebellion. Exposing them can put you in good stead with your flock. You must put these select victims in a position where they are waiting for a wake up call, make them feel like: If they died, they would want to come back as a plant, so somebody would talk to them.

Your overall training program will isolate and ferret out these people. This is where the Con Man's 10 Commandments come in. These are as follows:

1) Thou Must not Permiteth Self-Esteem. Start out by trampling all semblances of self-esteem. Like a cult, this must be replaced by total dependence upon you.
Make your intelligence burn like a fever, at a high level of incandescence in the eyes of your flock,. Tell them you're easy to get along with, once they learn to worship you.

2) Teacheth Separation and Conflict. Always remember the tried and true rule, "Divide and Conquer." Promote elitism, duality, divisiveness, competition, segregation--by gender, race, religion, etc.--and yes / no thinking. (I'm right, therefore, everyone else is wrong. There it is. Clear and simple.) Get your flock so confused about the normal concepts of right and wrong that they can only ask: Is it time for your medication or mine? A little ambiguity never hurt anyone. Politicians are as gifted as con men at this.

3) Programeth your Flock. Promote "sheep-think." They must not think for themselves. They must rely on you, solely, to tell them what to think.. This works well with people who believe all of life's answers are on TV.

4) Promoteth Controversy. Controversy sells. It's conflict and divisiveness that induce high emotion--the desired state you need to reprogram your group. Make your victims demand that which you wish to impose on them. With Evangelistic fervor, fire them up--a major tune up, like putting Richard Simmons on steroids to attain a higher energy level.

5) Promoteth Scarcity for your Enemies, Abundance for your Friends. The ideal route must be "total benefit" as your goal--affluence and abundance for you and your followers. And, total triumph over your enemies--as you deprive them of everything, including their integrity and dignity--so they can be discarded on the scrapheap of humiliation and defeat. If you can manage it, impoverish them to the point they will consider dinner at Chuck E. Cheese a gourmet meal.

6) Only Your Philosophy Prevaileth. Your philosophy is the only correct one.
Even if it makes no more sense than saying sis boom bah is the sound a sheep makes when it explodes, it is essential to hammer home your philosophy. Make your sucker group thoroughly understand that they are never to argue with the monkey when the organ grinder is in the room, You, as the organ grinder, must maintain this severity of iron grip on your flock.

Now that your few opposing odd-balls are "set up," you must devote great effort to embarrassing , humiliating and destroying them. Follow John's Axiom: When your opponent is down, kick him. These Last 4 Commandments have to do with this important task.

7) Attacketh Dissenters with Gusto. Discredit them. Pick one heretic to attack particularly viciously, then publicize the destruction as an "example" to your loyal flock. This, to discourage others from disloyalty, as well as to gain admiration for your decisiveness and leadership.

8) Telleth a Lie, Loud Enough, Long Enough, Often Enough And people will believe it. (Thus speaketh Adolph Hitler.) This credo is necessary to smoking out your malcontents, Christians do not refer to the cross as "The Big T." But, you must make your flock want to crucify these dissenting louts with such fervor.

9) Employeth the "Scapegoat Principle." If getting caught is a looming reality and must be handled before it fully blossoms, simply sacrifice a low-level dunce, or a higher up victim who is a potential trouble maker. He who can smile when things go wrong has thought of someone he can blame.

10) Appealeth to Emotion. Every time emotion and reason clash, always forget reason and appeal to emotion. Even if this appeal defies common sense and logic, your sucker-group--as long as you have conditioned them properly--will go along. and, it will keep your malcontents off balance. If asked, be ready to tell any of your disciples why sheep don't shrink in the rain, and you will have gone a long way in con artistry--an applaudable achievement.

Once you have driven your sucker-group to the extreme of saying, I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize, you've reached your goal Now, like a politician, it's time to back-off, soft peddle, and start ringing up the cash register with their generous contributions and / or votes.

Remember "evil" is "live" spelled backwards.
Simply tell yourself, in 2 days tomorrow will be yesterday, and pack off to find a new group of suckers.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Legal Scam?--Con Artists' / Politicians' Ace in the Hole: Create Controversy

--Generating 2 Strongly Opposing Sides is Key to a Good Legal Scam enjoyed by Con Artists and Politicians Everywhere

It's said the hand that turns the knob opens the door.

If you be the con artist / politician, you know that, to succeed in selling a legal scam, several steps are essential. steps necessary to just getting to the door, before you can even hope to open it.

As it's said: Never wrestle a pig; you'll both get dirty, and the pig likes it. Take the easy way.

You must hatch a problem so that you can organize a group of people to step in with the "solution." You must then employ the Us and Them technique so that your group of suckers can be manipulated, with strong emotion, to become the 'void-filler" in this legal scam. Tell them your powers can only be used for good. At no time overlook the potency of collective stupidity.

You can't make someone instantly buy your scam: all you can do is stalk them until they give in. So, next up, you have to create, or piggy-back onto, emotion-laden issues This enables you to not only get through the door, but to climb the staircase in search of this perfect scam. If all else fails, lower your standards still further.

It doesn't much matter what the precise nature of the issue is, as long as you can condemn the other side of it as being dead wrong. (Embalming of a corpse is not a legal requirement; most people are unaware of this.) And, in so doing, you can more appropriately lay claim to the righteousness of your cause--occupy the moral high ground. Tell your flock it's not easy being right all the time. This will go over well with those of your followers who seem like they have been working with glue too long

How do you go about engendering this controversy? A number of ways are available to you. (Con artists and politicians promoting a legal scam are all the same. They think anything worth fighting for is worth fighting dirty for.)

> Start out broadly, by finger-pointing at everyone who might disagree with you in any way, no matter how small. Be ruthless. Cruel and unusual punishment works better. In the early stages you merely follow a fundamental Law of Bureaucracy: To get action create the illusion of a crisis, and hope somebody will try to do something about it. If at first you do succeed, try not to look surprised.

> Narrow your field down to a few of the better-known, more dominant, more influential entities. At this stage you will let a few of your fringe oppressors off the hook. (Forgive your enemies; it messes up their heads.)

> Among your array of enemies to fight, you must include entities such as oppressive government agencies, and some suspect and discredited watchdog organizations that you can accuse of devious ambitions which can be proven by "follow the money" trails. And, any other opposing group which can be scalded with the taint of blind ambition or greed makes a good scapegoat.

Mix in a little blasphemy with outrageous lies, stir well, and a most succulent conspiracy broth will emerge, ready for consumption by your sucker following. Be brutal. Be explicit. Be direct. Never play leapfrog with a unicorn.

> Now comes the final narrowing-down to that one enemy who threatens you in the harshest, meanest way--the one which is the biggest stumbling block to your achieving your noble goals (legal scam). You'll want to concentrate your fire more on this single villain than all the rest. Again, show no mercy. Nobody has ever complained about a parachute not opening.

> Stir this pot of contempt and hatred to boiling pitch. And, watch the money come pouring in to support your valiant cause. Once your group of suckers has made up its collective mind, don't confuse them with facts. Merely step aside and lovingly and gratefully accept their generous money donations. At this point don't overdo. That would be as pointless as a hit man outfitting his gun with a silencer to whack a mime.

How do you--as the victim of this accumulated nonsense--prevent yourself from getting so cleaned out that you are eating beans for breakfast? Just as you wouldn't consider beef jerky and Twinkies as 2 of the major food groups, and wouldn't consider barbequing Spam on your outdoor grille even if you didn't have anything better to eat, you've got to use plain old common sense. Talk is cheap because supply exceeds demand. Reason everything out from there.

Remember, if you go dancing with a grizzly bear, let him lead.

But, the safe path is the best.

Clutching your wallet to your breast, run for the tall grass.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Power of Slogans: Con Man / Politician Similarities--Part II

--Political Season turns out to be a Great Teacher of Con Man Jargon Power

For those who wonder why "abbreviation" is such a long word, and why a diplomat thinks twice before saying nothing, we hope this will serve as a primer on the con man / politician relationship.

For starters, let's examine a few of the most impact-filled political slogans of history (from past Presidential campaigns):

> In Your Guts, You Know He's Nuts. Powerful putdown of Barry Goldwater in the 1964 Presidential race.

> Acid, Amnesty, and Abortion. Potent slogan, lifted from a statement by a prominent Democrat, used against George McGovern in the 1972 Presidential campaign.

> A Chicken in Every Pot, a Car in Every Garage. A strong slogan, effectively employed by Herbert Hoover in his 1928 landslide bid.

> Where's the Beef? Popular slogan, catchy phrase ,revered especially by late night talk show comedians.--but one that did not do Walter Mondale any good in his 1984 campaign against Ronald Reagan, who won 49 states. Probably because these 3 simple words were too vague, did not ring any particular bells.

> Ma, Ma, who's my Pa? When James Blaine used this slogan in his 1884 campaign--referring to his rival, Grover Cleveland's 1874 cotribution of an illegitimate child--it backfired. This was, perhaps, the first major attempt at "gutter politics" in U.S. history. Cleveland became the next President that year.

> Better Dead than Red. Powerful slogan which sprung up during the Eisenhower Presidency of the 1950s. "Left-wingers" and Communism were super-taboo in those days Lead to 2 Eisenhower landslides.

> Hey, Hey, LBJ, How Many Kids did you Kill Today? This bottom-of-the-deck slogan is said to have influenced Lyndon Johnson to pull out of his 1968 Presidential re-election effort altogether.

< Lips that Touch Liquor Must Never Touch Mine. Memorable slogan from the Temperance movement at the turn of the 20th Century

Now, let's examine a few catch phrases that can easily apply to the con man, and see how they might line up, comparably, to juice a political campaign:

> Boldly Going Nowhere. Could be used by any contender against any incumbent.

< You Can't Fall Off the Floor. Meaning, you may as well elect me (contender). Things couldn't get any worse.

> Hermits have no Peer Pressure. For any candidate pushing the isolationist line--get out of the UN, reel in all armed forces from around the world, concentrate on "Fortress America," go out in the backyard and eat worms.

> A few Clowns Short of a Circus. For the contender pointing a finger at an incumbent's inept administration.

> Capital Punishment isn't for making examples: It's for Making Bad People Dead.
Obviously, for those favoring cap;ital punishment. (This one is probably too long, though, to make an effective slogan.)

Biggest difference between a politician and an accomplished con man is illustrated by the old principle: Never miss a good opportunity to shut up.. The good con man knows that, at the right time, silence can be golden. The average politician hasn't seemed to have learned this lesson yet

If in doubt, you can always enhance your victimhood and cast your vote for the slimy weasel. When emotion trumps logic in elections--as sadly, it often does--this seems to be the only way out.

Or, if you can't figure a logical way out of the vote-choice dilemma, follow the Yogi Berra advice: When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Scam Artists' Bonanza: Home Builder Bailouts

--Rampant Fraud Schemes, Resulting from Sub-Prime Mortgage Crisis, Zero in on Home Owners

First it was Bear, Stearns. then Fannie and Freddie. Then, Lehman. Now the housing collapse has spread to many of the nation's top builders, as well. All points leading to a stupid question...

One of the mysteries of life is how can a 2-pound box of candy make you gain 5 pounds?

This is the kind of mystery so many home builders seemingly are trying to solve in these panic days of the sub-prime mortgage crisis, and the resultant collapse of home sales. If the shoe fits, wear both.

To set the scene:

1) Builders can't sell homes to real home buyers. Often this is due to antiquated floor plans as well as home buyers inability to qualify for a loan. Most builders adhere strictly to the letter of the law. But, sadly, with many other builders it seems to be a matter of thinking that safe sex means a padded headboard. They take "chances."

2) Thinking that a kiss is nothing more than the interchange of unisexual salivary bacteria, they feel emboldened to take these "chances." Plagued by interim construction loans hanging over their heads, builders turn to house flippers, housing speculators, scam artists, and other non-occupant buyers as their primary customers. Reality being their only obstacle to happiness, they try to do away with it. To them, an old axiom of frugality is satirized and becomes: A penny saved is beyond ridicule.

3) To avoid losing money, builder sells at a discount,, not only to investors, but also to "straw" buyers, and all kinds of scam artists. These people must represent that they intend to occupy, though they have no intention of doing so. Never argue while frying pork chops; distractions and flying hot grease particles do not mix; In no way can the health of your eyeball be assured. This is where the troubles begin.

4) Through the "Good Old Boys Network"--often replete with scam artists--rigged appraisals are set up. Example: a home selling for $300,000 might be over-appraised by $80,000 (not too difficult to do in a fast-falling market). Once the loan closes--at appraised value--the buyer, frequently a scam artist, pockets this $80,000 over the purchase price--often with a kickback to the Builder.

5) Multitasking is a way of screwing up several projects at the same time. This might well be a crowning example. The big variety of buyers--whether qualified, legal, or not--seems to be proof of this, at least as it applies to home builders. The variety of house closings became so complex that law enforcement was virtually invited to the party. Never moon a werewolf. You'll only have 2 options. He'll either tell you to pull your pants back up, or haul you off to the slammer. This could be the moral of the story.

Money can't buy you friends, but it does attract a better class of enemy. This is what many "adventurous" builders are now finding out. Still in the enemy category, many of these buyers (scam artists?) are now plea-bargaining with the prosecution, and turning state's evidence against the builders. After driving builders to drink, they are now stealing the corks off their lunch.

These days, so many builders are hung out to dry--right along with their lending institutions--that they can only ask themselves: What would the Lone Ranger do?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Con Men Staple: Collect Up-Front Money from Suckers

--Old as the Hills, Collecting Advance Fees for Services Not Yet Performed, or Never Performed, remain a Basic Tool in the Scam Kit of Con Men

If variety is the spice of life for con men, advance fees are the big can of leftover Spam.

Used for generations, advance fees always work, so why not keep using them as a dangle, a fitting way to set up a victim for a fleecing? This is the common thinking of con men. If you feel you were born wet, naked, and hungry, then things got worse, look at it this way: If you fall into this archaic trap you will suffer such evolution in reverse. when you are offered a lucrative-sounding advance fee deal, remember, If you don't believe a lion is dangerous, ask any antelope.

What are advance fees?

These occur whenever the victim pays his hard-earned money to con men in anticipation of receiving a product or service of greater value--such as a contract, loan, investment, or gift. Then in a big majority of cases, receives nothing in return. To the con men way of thinking, advance fee deals are much like dating a homeless woman. You can drop her off anywhere. In this case the "homeless" would be you, once parted from your advance fee.

Unfortunately, such finder's fee-type agreements are often legal. To get his advance fee returned to him, the burden of proof falls on himself (the victim), who must prove that no meaningful services were performed, or product delivered, on his behalf, or for his benefit, by the con man. This is frequently a difficult undertaking. Finder's, keepers. Losers, sleepers.

So, how do you steer clear of these traps?

1) Legitimate business is rarely done in cash, on street corners. Thus, rule #1 is stay far away from this kind of sleazy transaction. Follow cowboy wisdom: Don't squat with your spurs on.

2) Know who you're dealing with. It's always surprising, just how many full-blown adults will ignore their mother's advice, and not only talk to strangers, but deal with them, entrust them with their money. It's so easy to check with your bank, attorney, your Better Business Bureau, the police, any number of consumer watchdog groups. Do so. You don't want to be like the nonchalant truck driver who adorns the rear of his vehicle with a bumpersticker reading: Honk if anything falls off.

3) Complexities are commonly thrown at you in these kinds of deals. As confusion, distraction, and turmoil are among the con man's prime tools, you will find these "agreements" incredibly complex. The text is frequently similar to the product of the lawyer who takes a simple 2-way promise and turns it into several 1-way promises which neither side can comprehend or hope to fulfill. Watch out.
Frequently the document shoved in front of you to sign will seem like it should have been printed on Kleenex, for it expects you to pay through the nose. Reject it, outright.

4) Be especially on guard--to not sign any nondisclosure or noncircumvention agreements. The nondisclosure will prevent you from properly verifying the bona fides of the con man. And, the noncircumventioln will be used to threaten you with a civil law suit, should you report your losses to law enforcement agencies.
Be mindful of Gold's Law: If the shoe fits, it's ugly.

All in all, advance fee deals are about the worst strong-arm shots the con man will take at you. Why? Because it's the most efficient way for him to part you with your money, then speedily make tracks.

Consequently, when he offers to put a cushion on the chair in the gas chamber, or to perfume the cyanide for you, reject him with vigor, forthrightly.

And, walk away.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Scam Artists Investigations: Public Corruption Now Top Criminal Activity of FBI

Signs of the Times?--1,800 Government officials in U.S. sent Off to Slammer Over Past 2 Years

If at first you don't succeed, blame somebody else and seek counseling

Public officials' creed? Much of this is going on right now as an FBI crackdown has netted a major "catch" of public officials.

Would you call this level of scam artists' activity in government a top priority?--2,500 pending cases, a 50% increase in public corruption over the past 5 years? The FBI calls it just that. It has already sent 1,800 government officials "up the river" over the past 2 years alone. Lately it's been a matter of: He who feeds at the public trough gets far more than a case of heartburn--more like a case of severe food poisoning. (You can tell a lot about housekeepers' lifestyles if they keep a can of Raid on their kitchen table.)

In April, 2008, a Landmark state of Tennessee public corruption investigation--an FBI sting, conducted under the code name, Tennessee Waltz--was brought to a close with the conviction of a dozen state and local public officials. This included several state senators, a state representative, 2 county commissioners, and 2 school board members. Scam artists? It got so bad that the closest these people could get to making a fashion statement would be by wearing a designer jump suit.

The FBI's sting operation involved setting up a dummy corporation, one designed to distribute recycled surplus electronic equipment to third world countries. Bribes were offered. And, taken. Some of the legislators even introduced in their chambers the exact, same legislation that the FBI had written for them--in furtherance of its dummy corporation's cause. All told, $150,000 in bribe money was paid out.

It's said that confession is good for the soul, but bad for your career. It was career-preservation that was apparently the reason these cases went to trial. The old axiom--it's impossible to tell between a politician sitting on his hands, and one covering his butt--was apropos here. Some of these people proved to be so slick they could, literally, steal the shortening out of a biscuit without breaking the crust.

It's been long recognized on Capital Hill, in Washington, D.C., that you could well run into this temptation: If you apply for a job as a Congressional Staffer, and are asked if you lie, cheat, or steal, you can only say, no, but I'm willing to learn. Evidently, such conscientiousness has spilled over to 'fly-over" country too.

For the convicted scam artist politician--what with carrying humongous attorney's bills--reality has struck hard recently, with a clear message:

Yes, money talks, but--now--all yours says is , "Goodbye."

Sunday, September 7, 2008

New "Beware of Con Men" Warnings Dominate Vishing Schemes

--Con Men Upgrade: New Sophistication Enables Even Greater Threat to Consumers' Wallets

It's a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.

What's that?

The many schemes the con men can dream up to lure you into their various traps. When their conventional scams become tired, they sprinkle their Holy Water on a completely new one. And, presto. Look out. Run for cover.

Any connection between your reality and that of the con men is purely coincidental. If you were to believe some of the new email scams surfacing now, it would be like putting credence in a claim by your accountant that there is no such thing as a number three. Yet, many of these new email scams feature such a sophisticated approach that they are fooling a sea of new suckers at an alarming rate. Does artificial intelligence beat real stupidity? Never overlook the collective mental vacuity of naive people in large groups.

Go figure. New approach--believe it or not--is assurance. Assurance that the con men, themselves, are protecting--yes, protecting--you against con men and fraud. (That's like getting a pet Zebra and naming him Spot.) Here's how they do it:

This new assault on your identity--called "vishing"--involves an alleged bank representative, cleverly disguised as a responsible business executive, contacting you by email, and persuading you to divulge your PII (Personally Identifiable Information), claiming your account has been suspended, deactivated, or terminated.

You are directed to contact your bank via a telephone number provided in the email, or by an automated recording.

But, it this case it's best to react according to Bucy's Law: Nothing is ever accomplished by a reasonable man.

Were you to call the number given, you would be greeted with, "Welcome to the Bank of _________" and requested to enter your card number in order to resolve a pending security issue. Sadly, there are still too many people around who prove that evolution can go in reverse, too many people who still get suckered by these crafty con men. (An ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain; how many people do you know like this?)

The con men even warn against providing sensitive information by email, and not to click on attachments, because these might be (horrors) contaminated with "malicious software aimed at capturing your login credentials."

How to react?

A fake fortuneteller can be tolerated; but an authentic soothsayer should be shot on sight. Don't click Don't react directly to anything suggested. Incompetence knows no barriers of time or place. Instead, contact the financial institution supposedly involved-- do this by independent means. Banks never notify their customers of irregularities in this manner..

Appropriate in these unusual email cases is Goodfader's Law: Under any system, a few sharpies will beat the rest of us. Does this mean you don't have a chance? No. You do. How? What should your reaction be?

Rejection? Should be automatic, as this email assault insults your common sense. It all comes down to a matter of which grouping of people do you fall into? The suckered, or the enlightened?

It's like the converse purposes of smoking a pipe: It gives a wise man time to think, and a fool something to stick in his mouth.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Con Man / Politician Similarities: Many--Watch for Them

--With Political Season in Full Swing, Observe the Parallels between the Con Man and Politician

It's said that diapers and politicians should both be changed frequently--for the same reason

Extreme thought? Yes. A "fit?" Read on. You be the judge.

Politicall talk--like the rantings of the con man-- is so often filled with purposefully confusing, seemingly idiotic questiolns like: Why do we park in the driveway, and drive on the parkway?

Hence, with the political season upon us, it seems appropriate to study some of these stunning likenesses between the tactics and maneuvering of the con man--and, the politician.

Take ad hominem attacks, for instance...

> Attack the person, rather than the argument. "Senator Twaddle's book about the Fall of the Roman Empire has no credence, because, in his youth he served 3 days in jail for drunken driving." (May be true, but has nothing to do with the Fall of the Roman Empire.) Or, the similalrity of"Senator Twaddle's views and those of Adolph Hitler. "Hitler, too, believed drapes should go all the way to the floor." (So, does this make Senator Twaddle also a monster?)

> A varient of this is Deflected Thinking. This too is valuable. "How can Senator Twaddle argue for his spendthrift Dermatology Funding Bill when his mother-in-law has multiple tattoos?" If asked to explain, and the accuser appeals for time to prepare his impromtu remarks, you'll know he's stalling.

> Attack by innuendo (no, we're not talking about an Italian interpretation of a doctor's proctoscopic examination). "Why doesn't Senator Twaddle tell us what he really knows of the coup in Lower Slobovia? Is he afraid we'll panic?" Instilling fear is a major tool. (Panic now, avoid the rush.)

> Pretense that a personal attack is not occurring. "In order to maintain civil discourse, I will not discuss Senator Twaddle's drug problem." (If all else fails the attacker merely lowers his standards further.) Frequently, when listening to such nonsensical slander, you might feel you are becoming a jibbering basket case thinking: if life is a waste of time and time is a waste of life, why don't we all get wasted together and have the time of our lives?

> Attack on intelligence. Opponent could find Senator Twaddle guilty of many shortcomings. He's ill-informed. Behind the times. Lacks comprehension. Not up-to-date Behind the curve. Or, the Senator is just plain stupid. (This, however, does not always work well. Fortunately, when going to this extreme, it's comforting to remember that a show-off, is often shown-up in a show-down.)

Look. Listen. Learn. The political season--every 2 years--is a great teacher, alerting you to most all of the shenanigans going on all around you. You can only be better off in defending yourself--particularly your psyche and sanity--by knowing the tricks.

If the con artist / politician is a woman. Remember, witches are crafty too.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Con Man's Primary Targets: Who are the Victims?

--Are You in One of These Major Target Categories?

The con man's aim at specific targets is well organized, focused, pinpoint. It comes through like a telepathic echo.

His foremost candidates for victimhood are:

> The elderly. Good net worth, failing memories (inability to compile adequate evidence to be used against the con man), failing health (great for every manor of health-aid support scam), and a generally trusting nature. These are the lucrative appeals.

All the traits of growing old are sought out: those who first forget names, then faces, then pulling up their zippers (and, even worse, those who forget to pull them down. ) The individuals who are all doped up like a bear in the zoo are the very most attractive targets. These folks have been found the easiest to separate from their money

Yes, it's these people, numbering among your parents and grandparents, who desperately need special protection.

> Women. Especially older women. They are still considered to be the helpless sex when it comes to defending themselves in most sorts of business transactions (a changing scene, but one not changing fast enough). Reasoning? Who knows? Just to grab some possible reasoning out of thin air, let's liken things to the fat lady. The fatter the fat lady, the more likely she is to not object to caricature. Maybe that's it. Or, perhaps, the hard and fast fact: Fat ladies use more soap.

> People who live alone. While dogs and cats can be delightful companions, the con man still thrives on filling this "loneliness" gap--a desire for occasional human camaraderie. After all, there has to be something more left in life than being the crotchety old man, standing on the porch in his pajamas, yelling at the kids to get off the lawn.

> Church goers and anyone known for charitable giving This, to the con man, is like establishing a tributary connection to a flowing river. Many of this type are generous to a fault. These are people who, when they try to use a credit card and a family member chases them with a scissors, they should take the hint and not use it.

> The young, the restless, and the stupid-- younger, more adventurous people renowned for their gullibility. Targets sought most are those who think life is too short to live the same day twice. Never play cards with a man named, Doc, is, sadly, a fundamental truism not yet learned by most young people.

After taking on these primary groups the con man's thrust is simple: Go after any
assets that show, be they life insurance proceeds, pensions, annuities , stocks, retirement nest eggs, home equity, or, best of all, just plain old cash.

All told, the con man's search for victims concentrates on these, considered to be, most vulnerable groups. If you always wanted to be a procrastinator, but never got around to it, the time is ripe when dealing with a con man who reveals to you who he really is--makes you realize an important double whammy of life: Money can't buy you everything, and, then again, neither can no money.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Legal Thriller-Type Con Game?--Nuttiest of Them All: Online Pharmacy Scams

--Blatantly Illegal, Viagra-inspired Internet Pharmacy Fraud is Flourishing

If, each morning, you charged from your home onto the street, arms waving in the air, shouting, "Nuke the gay whales for Jesus," do you suppose your neighbors might think you'd lost your mind?

No doubt.

But, oddly, this is precisely the risk so many people take on--attaining an equal level of lunacy, possibly--when pursuing really hazardous dealings with online pharmacies. The con man knows that their victims want to be treated as equals--that, while dogs look up to you, and cats look down at you, pigs treat you as an equal. He is, therefore, right at home wallowing in the mud, filth, and slop of this sty. The consequences can be staggeringly detrimental to your health, as well as your standing as a law-abiding citizen. Whatever it is that hits the fan is not evenly distributed.

Two reasons:

First, it's a violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act to vend prescription drugs without a valid prescription. In short, a flat-out violation of the law. If your level of awareness is equivalent to one who donated all of his assets to O.J.'s Defense Fund, you might not have realized the significance of this, but the consequences can be severe, indeed. Enough to be akin to squashing your faith in O.J.'s attempts to find the "real killer." Fines and even imprisonment could loom on your horizon, penalizing you for your involvement.

Boiled down, it's hard, planning for the future when you're so busy fixing what you screwed up yesterday. Confidence is what you have when you really don't understand the situation. Don't let yourself get into that position.

And, secondly, it could be dangerous to your health. You have no idea where these drugs came from. Many are complete rip-off counterfeits--promoted by con men--which originate from all corners of the world

Analysis of pharmaceuticals bought from online pharmacies has revealed that the efficacy and potency of the delivered products vary considerably. Some contain no active ingredient at all. Worse yet, trace amounts of such deadly heavy metals as lead,, zinc, chromium, cadmium and arsenic have been found--even poppy seed (heroin) and cocaine--to build a new repeat-customer base, apparently. It's as bad as it seems, and, yes, they are out to "get you." At the very least, dealing with most of these people is about as useless as ordering synthetic hairballs for your ceramic cats.

Oh, there's more, too:

Additional crimes committed include copyright infringement, falsification of doctor approval, malware intrusion (for identity theft purposes), money laundering, false advertising, and sale of non-FDA approved drugs. If you are clean of involvement with this sort of commerce, fine. If you know people who have fallen into this trap, warn them off Friends don't let friends drive naked.

Where actual M.D.s are involved, these are usually doctors with troubled work histories, financial problems, substance abuse questions, and legal conundrums. Where questionnaires are included, these are usually a farce--never weighed, considered, or checked--merely window dressing. There is nowhere to go when dealing with con men like these. Remember, cancer kills smoking.

This in-your-face breaking of the law has been going on for some time. You can only wonder, when will our government stop inadvertently affording a protective cover for these people--con men of every stripe--and unmercifully clamp down, determinedly stamp this out?

That's like asking, why do they lock gas station bathrooms? Are they afraid somebody will clean them?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Cyber Criminals Pursuing Alarming New Fraud: Department of Justice Supposedly Investigating Average Citizens

--Emails allegedly from U.S. Department of Justice Spreading Stress and Anxiety--Big Time

Old joke. Question: What do you have when a con man is buried up to his neck in sand? Answer: Not enough sand.

For a reason?

When this scam comes at you, courtesy of the cyber criminals, watch out. It is one of the most vicious con games around. Yes, money does take the sting out of being poor. But, to earn it this way? Far submerged below contempt. Makes you think: Some people are alive only because it's illegal to shoot them.

This one has to do with the fraudulent email you could receive from a cyber criminal at any time informing you that you--or your company--are being investigated by the Department of Justice due to a complaint filed by some (unnamed) party. Could involve the IRS, SSA or any number of other government agencies. It's every bit as bad as you might think, and, yes, they are out to "get" you.

All things being equal, all things are never equal. Considering their victims to be as dumb as an ox eating grass,, the cyber criminal's thinking is simple: If your potential victims think virgin wool comes from ugly sheep, feed that perception.

Confusion? Sure. By design. If the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts. The leak in the roof is never in the same location as the drip

These emails, seemingly legitimate, would contain your name and several other pieces of personal information. The cyber criminal's thrust is up front, blunt. He follows Anthony's Law of Force: Don't force it; use a large hammer. If you hit something hard enough it will fall over.

Goal of the cyber criminals is to gain access to the "vitals" of your personal information--the Mother Lode--PIN numbers and passwords. Failing that, SS numbers, bank account and debit / credit card numbers would be acceptable too. They start out by going for the jugular, and, if they fall short, settle for the gizzard.
One way or the other, if you dance with a rattlesnake you ill get bitten every time.

The complaint included with the email is always in the form of an attachment which, once opened, contains virus software which will steal your vital personal data. (To err is human, but to really screw things up requires a computer.) This virus has a little "kicker" to it. It comes gift-wrapped in a screensaver file. This way most anti-virus programs cannot detect its malicious intent. Once downloaded by you, the virus is designed to monitor username and password logins, and record the activity. A "gotcha" game.

For the victim it's always darkest just before the lights go out. For the cyber criminal it's just a game--like playing poker and laying a palm across his hole card.

It has often been said that the first thing to know about a survival situation is to not get into a survival situation. (Yes, a prefrontal lobotomy would solve a lot of problems.) If you receive such an email, touch nothing, click nothing. Instead, fire off a complaint to:


Remember, it's stuffy inside a fortune cookie. Don't believe everything you think.

This all leads up to finality by way of another old con man joke. Question: How do you keep a con man from drowning? Answer: Shoot him.

Illegal, of course, as stated earlier--therefore discouraged--but the urge would be strong.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Scam Artists' Job Opportunities: FBI Crackdown Reveals Them

--High-risk Opportunity for Big Income as Part of Worldwide Net

Don't listen to your mother; talk to strangers. Risk is the name of the game.

If this is a mindset you could embrace--and you don't mind getting entwined in a world that is a cross between Sodom and Gomorra, and Alice's Wonderland--an exciting, remunerative new career might await you.


Sure. The U.S. FBI has just recently exposed the inner workings of a gigantic, international "phishing" scam that shows the way. If you desperately cling to Utopian conclusions, this may be the "fit" you've been waiting for.

If you wanted to move to Romania, you might even be able to start near top management. This is where this colossal scam is headquartered, with tentacles reaching into the U..S., Canada, Portugal, and Pakistan. Virginity can be cured. So can honesty.

If your radar picked up on it, with a move to Romania you could become a "Supplier"--engage in online phishing on a massive scale. You'd gather personal data--PINs, social security numbers, credit information,, etc.--from all parts of the world. You'd get to learn all about "smishing" too--much the same as "phishing," but on text messaging. Shows what you can come up with, just by staying awake.

You could become uniquely maladjusted, and have fun doing it. In today's new, internet communications world you've got to wonder: How fast would lightening travel if it didn't zig zag? As Winston Churchill said: A lie gets half way around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.

A recent campaign by this outfit in Los Angeles, with a clever offline payoff, yielded millions of dollars from hundreds of financial institutions before being shut down by the FBI. This "double-dip" case was like the woman trying to decide between buying 2 dresses; finally deciding to take both. On a bigger scale, these people have proven that skill in manipulating numbers in a multitasking operation is a talent, not evidence of Divine Guidance.

In the U.S., working partners are known as "Cashiers." Here your job description would involve manufacturing your own cards of all types--credit, debit, social security, gift, from the encoded, stolen information fuelled you by the "Suppliers"
--to extract money from ATMs and point-of-sale terminals. Confucius say: Baby conceived on back seat of car with automatic transmission grow up to be shiftless bastard. But, if you swallowed your pride you could probably work your way in with these people.

But, 2 wrongs are only the beginning. Maybe 3 are better.

If you could not qualify for these 2 options above entry level employment, you could start at the bottom as a "Runner." Your job? To test the cards by checking balances or withdrawing small amounts of money from ATMs and point-of-sale terminals. Purpose? The cashable cards are then used to tap the most lucrative accounts.

Or, short-cut the whole thing. As an alternative, you could hire teenagers to serve as your "Runners" while they are still young enough to know all the answers. Actually, great brainpower is not required for such a lowly position. Your job candidates can be dumber than a box of hair.

This whole thing might sound like having to drive behind and an 18-wheeler in a snowstorm, but that's where risk comes in: big risk, big gain.

But, maybe, just maybe, a little too much risk? Sometimes it's best to practice random acts of intelligence, and achieve occasional feats of self-control. Even artificial intelligence beats human stupidity.

So, on the other hand, you might wish to reconsider this whole concept of "joining up." Why? On the grounds that it is always darkest before you open your eyes.
Once full realization of the possible consequences hits you--social condemnation, fines, imprisonment--you could well conclude that it would be preferable to be on a first-name basis with the people at your unemployment office.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Scam Artists' Focus: Senior Citizens Make Best Targets

--Scheme, Ream, and Cream--War Cry of the Scam Artists as they single out Seniors for their Con Games

When you talk to God, you're said to be praying. But, when God talks to you, you're said to be a psycho.

Sadly, it is the latter mental state many elderly people are driven to by scam artists.

Good judgment comes from experience, and al lot of that comes from bad judgment. Along with declining mental acuity, which accompanies this ageless truism, comes a more susceptible stance, on the part of senior citizens, to getting suckered by scam artists. When elders get to the point of thinking Christmas tree lights look better on a pumpkin, they are close to going over the edge. And, tragically, this is the low level of reasoning-grip many have been driven to by the scam artists.

Often, also accompanied by declining comprehension, seniors can no longer outlast the Energizer Bunny either. Advanced age signifies that "getting a little action" only means their Phillip's Milk of Magnesia is working.

Why does this combination induce such gullibility?

Here are some of the reasons:

1) Older citizens are more likely to own their own home, have good credit, and posses a nest egg, making them inviting targets. It's said that anybody can live to be 100, if they give up all the things that make them want to be 100. It's surprising how many older folks do just this, stretching their life expectancy. The scam artist is aware, and aims his guns accordingly. He knows they are only young once, but can be immature forever in managing their often times formidable assets.

2) These victims are less likely to report a fraud, because they don't know where to turn, are ashamed for having been scammed, or are concerned that family members may come to the "failing mental capacity" conclusion. It's no solace to think: If you are poor when you're old, at least you won't have to worry about your children having you declared legally insane in order to get control over your estate. And, still another lesson of life that might be learned could be: Be kind to your friends; you may need them to empty your bed pan some day.

3) The scam artist knows that, even when the elderly victim reports a scam, he / she often cannot provide all necessary details to be used as evidence--due to Alzheimer's onset, senility, other forms of dementia, or the just plain forgetfulness of age. (They know this particular group of victims is getting old when they consider Happy Hour to be time for a nap.) How to marshal flashbacks without selectively sanitized nostalgia, or other mental interference, is a real problem for the elderly. Plus, a mind as overcrowded as an auctioneer's warehouse is a difficult reservoir from which to flush facts.

4) Individuals who grew up as part of the so-called "Greatest Generation"--1930s to 1950s--are thought to be more trusting, more polite, more willing to patiently listen to sales pitches. These people, therefore, make up a prime market for scam artists of all types. To the scam artists' thinking, age does not always bring wisdom; sometimes age comes alone. Life is hard, then you nap.

More simply, in all, growing old is mandatory; growing wise is not necessarily a tag-along component. So, the wrap-up is that, through simple chronology, the elderly make up a prime market for scam artists. So many of these cons are premised on easy money, greater security, and extended life spans (medical and health related scams proliferate). All those things that make seniors a natural target.

It all comes down to this: simple restraint must be exercised. in dealing with scam artists, the elderly should remember a fundamental piece of logic: Never try to milk a bull.

This clear identification, and avoidance, of the scam artist species would save them much in terms of their painstakingly-constructed estate, as well as retaining a grip on their self-respect.

Full recognition of an imperative, drastic change in their overall life style is a "must"--once their wild oats have turned to prunes and All-Bran.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Grand Jury Subpoena Via Email--If you get One, What will You Do?

--Cyber Criminals' New Stretch--Subpoenas to Appear Before a Grand Jury, Transmitted by Email, No Less--Latest Innovative Scam by the Con Man

A cat will blink when hit in the head with a Ball Peen Hammer.

An equally severe blow is If you receive an email ordering you to appear before a Grand Jury as a witness, under threat of a Contempt of Court proceeding. What would you do? a) Verify it by checking it out with the Court? b) Report it to police authorities? c) Comply with the terms? Or, d) Soil yourself?. Do nothing more, out of sheer mental paralysis brought on by fear?

When you are suckered, robbed, spit on, knocked down, and kicked by the cyber criminals, you could ask yourself, what would Clint Eastwood do?

But, when you've learned that you can keep on puking long after you think you've finished, there are good, logical, less violent answers, too: a and b would be the only "way to fly"...c would be a gift of your identity to a con artist...and, d) would only be messy, and wouldn't accomplish anything.

Don't trust anyone who bleeds for a week and doesn't die. This is the premise the cyber criminals are working on, the reason for the fierce bludgeoning It is therefore up to you to speedily throw up a staunch defense to stop them cold.

Slick. This new scam of the cyber criminals has all the trappings: You are commanded to testify before a Grand Jury. The email flashes its claim to "authenticity" by including a case number, code, full name and address of the supposed Federal Court involved, with room number, and even a phony court officer's name and court seal.

What's the catch? How does this cyber criminal score?

As soon as you click on the designated link supplied--gotcha. Malicious code will be downloaded onto your computer, a virus which will gobble up your personal data so as to construct a personal profile of you. In short, identity theft.

Heavy handed? You bet. The email "subpoena" contains language threatening you with Contempt of Court charges if you fail to appear. This, of course, menaces you with a fine, and/or, imprisonment. (Like microwaving cats for fun and profit.) As someone peering into a mirror for signs of illness, you now feel like you're inflicted with a touch of madness. But, don't forget, a bird in hand makes it harder to blow your nose Thus, we urge you again, for emphasis. mount a quick defense.

Among other things, report it to:


......then get on with a full report to Police or FBI, as previously noted.

You always get the greatest recognition for the job you least like. But remember, this is not exactly like getting a traffic ticket for overtime parking and trying to cop out by pleading insanity. This is something you must do, rationally.

On the keyboard of life always keep one finger on "Escape."

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

How to Protect Your Identity from Con Men Theft Through Detection

--Signs that Require Immediate Attention and How to Detect Them

Is Murphy's Law applicable? Speak softly, own a big, mean Doberman and a .44 Magnum.

In addition to such sensible close-to-the-vest awareness, however, you must also be able to detect identity theft attacks on you by con men you do not even know. If this happens, and, when asked if your problem is ignorance or apathy, and your reply is, I don't know and I don't care, then you have a still bigger problem.

But, let's suppose this is not the case. Let's suppose you do wish to put yourself in a position to play detective--in order to protect yourself. (The first place to look for a helping hand is at the end of your own arm.) How do you go about it? First, be alert to the signs:

> Bills that do not arrive on expected time schedules. They do not have to be slower than a herd of clams stampeding through Blackstrap Molasses, but, on the slower side, especially, you must be suspicious of possible foul play. Do not put off this important date-checking. Toothaches tend to start on Saturday night.

> Unexpected credit cards and account statements. Beware, particularly, when the fine print is so small that it would burn your retinas trying to read them. People will buy anything that is one to the customer.

> Denials of credit for no apparent reason. You would have to be a few beers short of a six-pack--in the brainpower department--to not hear this alarm bell being blasted at you.

> Letters or phone calls about purchases you did not make. Again, no grain in the silo if you can't figure that this signals hanky panky going on with your good name and accounts. Dr. Phil doesn't have all the answers.

Your first line of defense would be protecting your credit. Your credit report contains much information about you, including what accounts you have and your bill paying history.

Get a copy, at least once yearly. You may think the whole process is as satisfying as feasting on Tofu turkey at Thanksgiving, but always remember, the easiest way to make money is to stop yourself from losing it.

The law requires the 3 major nationwide consumer reporting companies to give you a free copy of your credit report each year,should you request it.. These 3 credit reporting companies are: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

Your free report can be had through any one of 3 ways:

The Net: www.AnnualCreditReport.com

Phone: 1-877-322-8228

Mail: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, Ga.. 30348-5281

Red tape? Burdensome? Yes. But, your best alternative, sadly, is to have plastic surgery--cut up your credit cards.

The only other "must"--an important, regular life function--is to review your billing statements and all financial accounts. Do this, as said, regularly. Your diligence in always searching for charges you did not make must be an ongoing, relentless one. Much tough digging might be involved--much like trying to find a plumber on Sunday--but, it must be done.
Continuously remind yourself, all's well that ends. Or, take the coward's way out, simply walk away. (The best way to forget all your problems is to wear tight shoes.)

You must not be naive about any of this. Nothing like asking a barber if he thinks you need a haircut. If you choose to stay with this challenge you need to dedicate yourself to such a defense. Failing that, life could get quite depressing for you.

And, remember, depression is, largely, anger without enthusiasm.

No way to live.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Con Men Profits Expanded by Using Sparks' 10 Rules of the Project Manager

--Taken from the Office Politics Playbook, these Rules Could start You on a New, Profitable Career as a Con Man, should You make this Choice Your Career Direction

It's said that people will believe anything if you whisper it.

This is one of the secrets known and used by con men, though only to be employed under certain, limited circumstances. They also know that more often, a loud, obnoxious stance--like the wheel crying out for grease--is the preferable course of action. And,what's the best, short-cut way to learn these traits? Try Sparks' 10 Rules of the Project Manager. Through these you will learn, and learn fast. Translated, these follow, below:

1) Strive to look tremendously important.
Don't conversationally engage; instruct in a fatherly way. Don't walk; strut. Let it be known in subtle ways that you appreciate praise, but will not tolerate criticism. And, most importantly, follow this sacrosanct Law of Bureaucracy: Never be the first to do anything. You must preserve a father-figure image, observing, waiting patiently for a brilliant idea to emerge from one of your underlings.

2) Attempt to be seen with important people. You must be totally V.I.P.-aware.
When the CEO of your company gives a speech, position yourself behind him to take best advantage of all camera angles. Glad hand your way into meetings with top executives. Grab that press release from the hands of your Publicity Director, and give that good-news press announcement yourself, with the smiling face of the company president at your side.

3) Always speak with finality. Exude complete authority. However, play it safe: only expound on the obvious and proven facts. Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.

4) Ask irrelevant questions and lean back with a satisfied, cat-that-ate-the-canary grin as your opponent tries to figure out what the hell you are talking about. Then, quickly change the subject.

5) Listen intently while others are arguing a problem, then pounce on a trite statement and snow them with it. Drown them in useless trivia. But, never speak until the meeting is half over. This makes your restraint appear wise, leader-like.

6) If an opponent asks you a pertinent question, look at him as though he's lost his mind. When he looks down in timid retreat, paraphrase the question and bury him with it. Adhere to the Nursing Monther Principle: Do not nurse a kid who wears braces.

7) Always keep your office door closed. This puts your visitors on the defensive. Makes it appear as if you are always in an important conference. Most people manage by the book, even if they don't know who wrote the book, or even which book it is.

8) Give all orders verbally. Never write anything down that might go into a Pearl Harbor file, to be used against you. When backed into a corner and forced to put something in writing, do it as a technical writer would: write words that no one wants to read. When forced to initiate something, read things that don't matter, then write memos saying they do matter, for points that don't matter, to get a project going for something that is totally unrelated.

9) Always take credit for anything good that happens whether you had anything to do with it or not. A "piece of cake" is any unit of work, regardless of scope, for which someone else is totally responsible.

10) Nothing is impossible for the man who doesn't have to do it himself. Cultivate the art of intimidation. Learn it well. Use it regularly. It will keep your employees on their toes. And, the possibility always exists that one of them will come up with a brilliant idea that you can adopt--step in, steal, claim credit for.

Some will say, if 2 wrongs don't make a right, try 3. Others will say, if you don't know what to do, walk fast and look worried. Through all of this an important mathematical equation holds true: Incompetence + incompetence = incompetence.

But, remember: Only a mediocre person is always at his best. So, use this omnipotent promise of perfection to guide you in your pursuits.

Master them, and you will make an excellent con man.

Or, as a fallack position, an excellent Project Manager with your own company.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Home Medical Equipment, Often a Scam--Look Out

--Con Artists Shine in the Art of Forcing Unneeded Home Medical Equipment on Medicare Recipients

"It's free. Medicare pays for it."

This is the hue and cry commonly fed to senior citizens--Medicare participants--by medical equipment manufacturers, their sales personnel, and by con artists. A wide range of in-house installations are covered--from oxygen units to various respiratory and other vital organs servicing devices. If your yawn is so wide that your cavities can be counted, be aware that a dentist somewhere will quickly step in, drilling and filling. Medical equipment fraud is a good example

For those who think you get Holy Water by boiling the hell out of it, the medical equipment boys frequently provide a good object lesson.

The appeal is so simple that it's hard to deny. All you need do is cough up your Medicare number and get your Doctor to sign a form certifying that the equipment is needed. This is most often easy to do. The physician justifies authorization on the grounds (to himself): Can't hurt; might help. With the con artist, they usually simply shortcut the whole routine by merely faking the signatures or bribing corrupt doctors to sign the forms. Once everything is in place the providers bill Medicare for services or merchandise not needed--and were not ordered through proper channeling.

As that renowned vendor of sage wisdom, Yogi Berra, said--you've got to be very careful if you don't know where you're going because you might not get there--it's best to hold back, show some restraint, before signing up. Here are some check points to protect you from these fleece jobs.

< Practicing better living through denial is better than freely giving personal information away. Give your insurance / Medicare identification only to those who have provided you with medical services.

< Don't get into a situation like 2 monkeys fighting over a lone banana. Know if your physician has ordered equipment for you. If in doubt, ask, in so many words.

< Keep full, complete records. Where deceit and humbug rein, you've got to have black and white documentation of everything.

< Don't let the choice become: Which is it? Are you a slow learner or a quick forgetter? This is a situation that could be dangerous. So, do not do business with door-to-door or telephone salespeople who tell you that use of medical equipment is free.

Little realized is that, frequently, the "beneficiaries" of the special home, medical equipment treatment are indicted right along with the con artist propagators. If the men in the white coats adorn you with a straightjacket--because you let yourself drift into fraud, and started beating your head against a wall when accused--you can be certain this is not a piece of medical equipment designed for use at home. Too late. For sure, you are about to be "hauled off."