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:

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."