Archives for February 2012

PHISHING EXPEDITIONS

Watch out for deepwater fraudsters— prowling like sharks!

Phishing doesn’t use a fishing rod; their “bait” is a set-up to “hook” you. Phishing is no sport, it is a serious and frequent scam involving the use of fraudulent emails and phony copycat websites created to trick you into revealing your confidential personal information such as your bank account, stock, credit cards or Social Security numbers, along with your passwords—–if you bite, you’re cooked!

These con-people go “phishing” to lure their targets with a false sense of security by hijacking the familiar names you know using phony logos of trusted, established companies. Often these scam-artists will send out thousands of emails that appear to come from well-known banks, high profile corporations, financial service providers or internet auction houses. Their bogus emails will ask you to provide confidential information about yourself and/or claim to be verifying data that you previously provided when you started an online account or some other lure-con.

Here are some of the common tactics fraudster phishers use to reel you in:

1. Misuse of legitimate company names and logos in phishing emails.

2. These bogus emails may contain the names of actual personnel that work for the company whose names and graphics are enclosed.

3. The emails can even cleverly contain links to the actual legitimate website of the misused company or to a well “spoofed” website that looks like the real thing.

4. Often the fraudster will use fear to trigger your fast response, such as, “A failure to respond will result in no longer having access to your account”; or, “suspicious activity has been detected on your account”, or that they are implementing new privacy software, or identity theft solutions— All of this is a con to cause you to reveal your confidential information quickly and before you realize you have been conned.

Protect yourself; follow these steps to ensure that neither that you or your accounts will not be “skinned and fried”——–

a) Do not respond to any emails that request personal or financial information, or emails that use any form of pressure tactics. Pick up the phone and call the company, the legitimate company. Look up their phone number in the “phone book”. Do not use any phone numbers listed on the con-artist’s email.

b) If you respond by email, get the correct legitimate email address that belongs to the real company. Never use the email address provided by the fraudster, even if it appears correct.

c) Beef-up your own security. Make sure your computer has the latest security software packages. Watch out for spoofed websites that have all the “padlocks”, etc. Look for the “security certificate” for the site on any suspicious listings.

d) Constantly and thoroughly review your bank, credit cards, and all monthly financial account statements, whether online or as soon as they arrive in the mail. Check all transactions and amounts.

e) Report all phishing emails to the company whose name is misused and also report them to the FBI Internet Fraud Complaint Center. (www.ic3.gov).

Here are some additional scams alerts to be aware of:

> Slick lenders with bad grammar

> Get rich quick schemes

> Debt Free schemes to eradicate your debts

> Too-good-to-be-true cheap houses that can be bought with nothing down

> Phony job services and offers

> Bogus reconfirmation requests of your online passwords

> IRS refund scams

> Fake letter/email regarding investigations of any kind

> Alluring “Big Check” awards

> Social networking predators — viruses galore!

> You-tube cons— advertising products, services, etc.

Always remember, don’t open any unknown email attachments, no matter how inviting or urgent they seem! On top of the problems you and your accounts can acquire, your computer may receive an infected file. Simple: do not connect with people you don’t actually know; never give out any of your personal information or your email/phone numbers. Finally, stay alert, install the best and latest security software and keep it updated. Again, always remember, if it’s too good to be true, it is; and there are no free lunches, dinners or breakfasts!

HOW DOES SOMEONE BECOME A JUDGE IN NEW YORK STATE COURTS AND GET TO PUT ON THOSE BLACK ROBES? YOU BETTER LEARN!

Those persons in “black robes” in this powerful role can and will, with a flick of a pen, or with their words from their “bench” in the courtroom, control your money, family life, home and even your liberty. Many are also well-trained masters of illusion. It’s a good idea, BEFORE you get there, to learn who they are, and how they got there, “in that formidable room with the big desk.” On the wall depicts “in God we trust”. Don’t believe everything you read. Sadly, what many of them trust in does say “in God we trust”, but it folds, it’s green, and goes into a pocket, and is far removed from justice and equity. First and foremost, the comments here are relegated to documented experiences involving litigants, lawyers and judges in New York State Courts, and not any experience with any court or judge in the Federal Court System.

What you will learn here probably will surprise you, but it’s time for all to face reality, which is the first step in the long road toward change and progress. We all should become versed so that we do not blindly trust in what is depicted on a courtroom wall, or blindly trust the lawyer you hired and paid to put words on pieces of paper and to speak for you in the judges’ arena. Ignorance may be “bliss”, but it is suicide in many of these courtrooms.

For example, Judges in New York Supreme Court are generally “acting” Judges. The term “acting” within the Unified Court Systems, ie: Supreme Court, means a person who is appointed (not duly elected) to become a Supreme Court Judge by the Chief Supreme Court Judge. The Appointment is generally supposed to be temporary, but often lasts for many years. It is important to note these facts because these persons put in charge of our fate are placed there, not because of their intelligence, background, morality, honor or integrity; they are placed there because someone from the political “machine” directs the Chief Judge to select them. It is believed that the foregoing is sort of like a probationary period in order to determine whether or not these “acting” Judges will follow the directions of the “machine” and “make their bones”. Ask your lawyer who the judge is that you are before. They will know the name and usually nothing else. Most do not know where the “justice” was educated, or how they got there in the first place. Trust us, they don’t know, but it’s you whose fate is on the line. So you better know. Stop using a crutch. Lawyers make lousy crutches unless you have very, very deep pockets. Each second you speak to a lawyer who is “representing” you, the “lawyer meter” is clicking your money into their pockets. Even if a lawyer knows what is being outlined here, they wont tell you for obvious reasons.

Here is how it usually works. Mostly judges were “educated” first in Civil Court. Before that, who knows? Some were clerks in a court, writing decisions and “paying their dues” by being a “company man”. Many were/are pals of someone in the political machine, such as the groups of politicians like the well-known “Boss Tweed” era. If these “appointees” follow the orders and rules of “Old Boy’s Club” (like a John Crews or Boss Tweed) the “Boys” put Mr. or Ms. Judge on the Civil Court bench straight away, or on a ballot to be elected to the Civil Court. Once in awhile, referees or special referees will be tapped to become a court judge or magistrate. If the “machine” puts a candidate on a ballot, either he/she is un-apposed or will win one way or the other. After awhile, if the justice dances to the tune of the “Old Boy’s Club”, the Chief Judge will “tap” this Civil Court Judge to be an “acting” Supreme Court Judge. Once in awhile, the “machine” will also see to it that Supreme Court Judges are “elected”. The whole exercise is a perpetuation of a “club”. When the “king maker” (ie: a Crews, Tweed, or who knows who) comes calling, cases are decided not on the merits, but on who the “king maker” has scheduled to win. Larcenous and corrupt litigants, which are many, know who and where to go to in order to “expedite a favor”, just like Roy Cohn did, and others do and have done ever since courtrooms were built. When the fix is in, you’re dead meat. And when the “group in black robes” put you on their “hit list”, you’re worse than dead meat. These are for the most part incestuous persons and their methods not unlike the methods of organized crime but worse because they abuse the public’s trust, manipulate laws, and hide behind their “position”. If you are targeted, they will do what ever they can to ruin you. It is important to note that there are still judges around these Courts that really labor to administer fair and honorable justice, but these are far fewer than what we the people are entitled to. Courts should not be “Wheels of Fortune” where the guys with the “gold make or remake laws”. The Constitution must be the foundation, not a “Boss Tweed”.

Unfortunately, these activities are alive and well in Towns, Cities and Hamlets and will continue unless we all become aware of how the public is being skewered and skinned in these Courts, and do something to expose and put a stop to it once and for all.

Think of all of this like a corporation. The guy who controls the board of directors controls the company. The lawyers who pay for this “access” will abuse the rules because they want control of the courtrooms, and will follow the adage “the more you grease the easier you slide”. When thinking about this, remember the “Godfather” film and Don Corleone admitting the many judges in his pocket were like pocket change. Mario Puzo wrote the Godfather novel based upon a compilation of real-life facts.

 

THE NY STATE COMMISSION ON JUDUCIAL CONDUCT IS A ‘SECRET-SOCIETY’ THAT HAS BEEN ACCUSED OF CORRUPT ACTS IN FEDERAL LITIGATIONS. WHO’S WATCHING THIS SUPPOSED ‘WATCHDOG’?

Scams Inc and others are taking a look and it is not for the faint of heart. Its politics, bias, collusion, and often outright fraud. The commission ignores major complaints and focus on infractions of low level judges while dismissing worthy complaints against Supreme Court New York judges. Politics, collusion, and back-room deals are business as usual. The business of cheating at the courthouse is alive and well but we are dependent on the integrity of our courts which is wallowing sadly in a cesspool without constraints of a honorable process to investigate and remove the ‘bad-apples’ of the unified courts.—–We are taking a good hard look—stay tuned

Federal Complaint: NYS Commission on Judicial Conduct is Corrupt

Who Judges the Judges? (Gotham Gazette, Nov 14, 2011)

BEWARE OF UNCLE SCAM – CONS WHICH MASQUERADE AS OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

You might not trust the government, but when contacted by one of its employees, you most likely take notice and follow up with the initial inquiry. This automatic behavior has been drilled into most citizens from childhood. Certain scammers are counting on this fact when posing as various government officials in an attempt to con folks out of their hard-earned money.

The next time a government agency reaches out to you, whether by phone, mail or electronically, be sure to keep an eye out for the following red flags.

IRS SCAMS
As reported by the IRS, the goal in these scams is to steal a victim’s identity, bank information, or credit card numbers. Success in obtaining any of this information will lead to stolen funds, credit cards being opened in the victim’s name and years of headaches trying to straighten the mess out.

Here are some of the most popular:

Rebate Phone Call – A victim is contacted by a person claiming to be from the IRS. They say the victim is entitled to a rebate as result of early tax filing. They request the victim’s bank information in order to make a direct deposit of the substantial rebate. If the taxpayer refuses, the scammer says they are only distributing the rebate via direct deposit, and it will be forfeit if they refuse.

The IRS stresses there is currently no legislation, nor any upcoming, granting a rebate to taxpayers for early filing. In addition, they never require direct deposit for any refunds. If a taxpayer would like to opt for direct deposit, they can complete the appropriate section of their tax return when filing. The IRS will never acquire this information through a telephone call.

Refund Email – A phony email has been circulating which claims to be from IRS and informs the recipient they are eligible for a large tax refund. The email then requires they click on a link directing them to a refund claim form that can be filled out online. This form contains personal information such as name, address and social security number, as well as offering the option to fill in baking information for direct deposit. Though the email and claim form appear quite legitimate, they are totally bogus.

The IRS does send unsolicited emails about tax account matters to any taxpayers. The only way to claim a refund is by filing out a tax return, there is no separate application form.

Paper Check Phone Call – A potential victim gets a call from someone posing as an employee for the IRS. They claim to be calling because a refund check was sent to the victim by the IRS, but never cashed. They then ask for banking information in order to verify whether the check has been received, before re-sending it.

The IRS leaves it up to the taxpayer to cash or not cash any check issued and will not follow up regarding the matter. Also, if a taxpayer has opted for direct deposit, it is their responsibility to provide the correct account number and routing information and at no time will the IRS call to verify.

JURY DUTY SCAM

A simple, but effective, scam geared towards identify theft. The victim receives a telephone call from a person claiming to be an employee at the local court. The caller says the recipient has failed to report for jury duty and a warrant is being issued for their arrest. When the victim rightfully claims to have never received a jury summons, the scammer will then ask to verify the victim’s information starting with a social security number. Some of the bolder con artist will even ask for credit card numbers or banking information.

Most fall for this scam simply by being fooled and caught off-guard with the false threat of a potential arrest warrant being issued. The court will never call directly and request sensitive information. They do so through the mail, and even then, will require you to come down in person before giving up any personal data.

CENSUS TAKER SCAMS

The once-in-a-decade count of American citizenship is about to take place again in 2010. And with that event, scammers are taking an opportunity to try and steal both money and identities from potential census takers.

Already scams have been reported in section of Kentucky and Tennessee where someone will show up at the door claiming to be from the Census Bureau, ask a few census-style questions, as well as glean personal information like social security numbers and bank information, and then finally they solicit a donation. The donation is to cover their “expenses”, such as gas money and lodging while taking the census.

In the Midwest, a mailing has been circulating which purports to be the “2010 Census of Senior Citizens”. The bogus form asks questions such as “Should the Death Tax be permanently repealed?” and “Should Medicare benefits be means tested?” before eventually asking for a $25 donation upon its return.

The initial official pre-paid questionnaire for the census will not mail out until mid-March of 2010. Households not responding to the initial mailing will receive a second questionnaire. If the second form is not returned, and only then, a census taker at that point will visit the home.

Home visits by the 1.4 million will occur between April and July of 2010, and not before that date. If anyone at your door claims to be a census taker before then, they are most likely a scam artist.

Legitimate census takers wear a badge containing the taker’s name and signature. They also carry a black canvas shoulder bag which reads “U.S. Census Bureau.” The does not have a photo ID and you should ask to see a driver’s license or other photo identification to validate the taker’s identity.

The US Census Bureau does not send emails. Any email you receive claiming to be from the Census Bureau is a fake and should be deleted immediately.

Census workers will never solicit donations or any other type of payment.

These are just a few of the scams that clever con artists are using in an attempt to exploit folks life-long relationship with the government. They utilize on fear, the promise of money, and mundane bureaucracy while wrapping it all in the familiar trappings of official government business in an attempt to catch potential victims off-guard. Don’t let them fool you, stay sharp and keep your eyes open.

JOHN SIEBERT MD THE DISGRACED PLASTIC SURGEON ADMITS IN CORPORATE DOCUMENTS THAT HE IS A THIEF, A FRAUD, ENGAGED IN RECKLESS ACTS AND MISREPRESENTATION AND NEGLIGENCE RESULTING IN SIGNIFICANT LOSS TO OTHERS

Dr John Siebert has been proved to be a thief and a sociopath, and engaged in perjury, larceny and thefts.

Now Scams Inc has obtained various Documents and Corporate Records and Resolutions of a Company that Siebert was a Director and the Corporate Secretary. The Company was an enterprise conceived by Jim Couri that was endorsed by Trans America Insurance Company as a business that provided Plans for funding college educational Programs for minors on a monthly schedule coupled with insurance in the event of death or inpacitation of the parent-funder. This company, Kindervest Planning Corp, was destroyed by Siebert by his admitted to reckless acts of frauds, deception and thefts.

Now Scams Inc has obtained numerous Resolutions and other Documents ‘sworn-to’ by Siebert and also created by Siebert as Kindervest Corporate Secretary. In Resolutions Siebert repeatedly confessed and admitted to defrauding, ripping-off and misrepresenting himself and his qualifications, abilities and background to Jim Couri, Kindervest and its Directors by Siebert’s proffering perjury, fraud, collusion, misrepresentation, reckless acts, lies and deceptive conduct.

Further Siebert admits in these Resolutions that Jim Couri performed valuable services for Siebert and that Siebert failed to pay for any of such services and that Siebert admits that he engaged in vicious and reckless interferences, and outright fraud, causing irreperable harm to Jim Couri, Kindervest and its other participants.

Siebert further confesses to unconditional obligations due to Jim Couri for guarantees, advances and Notes due; and Siebert admits to delivering Releases to Jim and Kindervest and all affiliates.

Siebert in these Resolutions and other Agreements waves any defenses and the right to impose counterclaims against Jim and Kindervest for the collection of Notes and Guarantees owed by Siebert.

Siebert single handedly ruined Kindervest, robbed Jim for over $20million and then engaged in rampant perjury, fraud, deception, collusion and tampering in the Unified Courts in concert with Joseph M Burke Esq. in a scheme to rob Jim Couri by RICO activities through corrupting the Courthouse by fraud, deception, and rampant perjury——ALL CRIMES.

Scams Inc have in Siebert’s own hand his admissions of his criminal thefts, frauds, perjury and malice
Siebert has engaged in fraud on the Courts and on Mr. Jim Couri—-the result of which may well be RICO treble damages and worse—-stay tuned

TEXT MESSAGE AND PHONE SCAMS: IN THE NEWS

Recently, a new scam involving text messages has begun to surface, and many people have reported being victims or at least intended victims. There is a text message going around that seems to come from a trusted source – Sears. The message reads: “customer issue. sears card frozen. please call at 786-206-5901”. When the number is called, the customer is asked to enter his or her Sears card number. Sears has addressed the issue saying that it is indeed a scam – a fake text from an illegitimate source, and that customers should never give out their card information.

This text message has alarmed many people. For those who do not have a Sears card there was concern of identity theft – someone else perhaps opening a card in their name. For Sears card holders, given that this is the busiest shopping season of the year, it can easily be mistaken as a legitimate message. Many people do their holiday shopping at Sears, and if you’d just charged a considerable amount to your card, this text would likely send you into a frenzy, which is exactly what the scammers want – people who will act before they think.

The Federal Trade Commission has now disconnected the phone number, so anyone else who calls will hear the message: “This is a message from the FTC. The telephone number you just called has been disconnected because it may be involved in a scam. You might have gotten this phone number from e-mail, text or voice mail message, but no matter how real it seems, that message was a trick.”

There are also several reports of a similar text message that claims to be from a bank, which could be even more damaging if anyone were to give out their bank account information. Authorities urge anyone receiving such a text message to call the customer service number on the back of their bank card to report and inquire.

Another very harmful phone scam currently in operation uses scare tactics to trick unsuspecting people into giving out their personal information. A scammer will call and inform their victim that they failed to report to jury duty, and therefore a warrant for their arrest has been issued. The caller will then claim that in order to clear the matter up, one must provide their social security number, date of birth, and even a credit card number in some cases.

The bottom line here is to NEVER give out your personal information to a stranger. If anyone calls or texts you asking for anything like this, do not respond. Instead, go directly to the source for answers – do not trust these texts and calls that could be coming from anyone.

PRESCRIPTION DRUG ABUSE AND ADDICTION WILL WRECK YOUR LIFE

More and more are people experimenting with prescription drugs because they think these drugs are safe for aiding with weight loss, depression, staying awake, or even thinking clearer– “feeling better”. These drugs are easier to get than street drugs and much less costly. All you need is a friendly/obliging doctor.

If you think abuse of prescription drugs is safer than the street-type—you are wrong. Unless an honest doctor legitimately prescribes and monitors the correct usage of these drugs, you could be wrecking your body and your immune system. Many prescription drugs must be taken while one avoids alcohol, smoking, or other medications. The improper mixture of various drugs with alcohol can even be fatal.

Be aware, many drugs that are sold at your local pharmacy, over-the-counter, also can be severely abused and injurious to the user.

Regretfully, teens who use street or prescription drugs usually have trouble at home, school, with friends or even the law. The likelihood that someone will commit crimes or have auto accidents are increased when that person is abusing drugs of any type.

Like all drug abuse, using prescription drugs for the wrong reasons has serious risks for the person’s health. Many can result in seizures, or slow heartbeat and breathing, and can kill you. All stimulants can cause heart failure and seizures. Mixing stimulants with other medications can have devastating effects. People who abuse prescription medications can become addicted just as easily as those who take street drugs. Look out for changes in mood, weight, or interests. If you or a friend is addicted, get into a rehabilitation program, and seek competent help through your doctor and hospital.

Drug addition is a biological pathological process. Prolonged misuse of any drug changes the brain in fundamental and long-lasting ways. These changes are the major component of the addiction itself. Young people and baby-boomers are prime candidates for drug abuse. The economic environment, loss of jobs and/or loss of nest-eggs further spawn prescription drug abuse. The negative results from the overuse of multiple drugs increases the risks of negative and possible fatal interactions when drugs are not used as prescribed.

So, please be careful. Depression due to loss of money or jobs is bad enough– you do not want to compound the problem with mucking-up your mind and body. Always seek professional help. Find a trustworthy doctor affiliated with a teaching hospital.

LINKS:

Prescription Drug Fact Sheet

NEWS FLASH – Scams Inc will be announcing exciting and major news

We at Scams Inc are proud to advise the public of an important acquisition and merger that will enhance and enlarge the presence of Scams Inc and its affiliate sites worldwide and markedly enlarge the already substantial daily users of all of Scams Inc’s domains. The announcement and details will be forthcoming by Feb. 22, 2012 — stay tuned.

Hitman Scam – Bribed to Stay Alive?

“SOMEONE YOU CALL YOUR FRIEND WANTS YOU DEAD,” the message reads, and at that point, most of us would sit up and pay attention. Lowlifes are targetting unsuspecting victims by claiming that their very lives are at stake – that a friend or loved one has hired a professional to kill them. The only way to stop the purported “hit”? Money, of course.

Some go so far as to threaten the lives of the victim’s family, as well.

Arriving in your Inbox in one of several variations, the self-described “assassin” tells you that:

– Someone you know has put a hit on you
– If you go to the police, the hit will be caried out (and in some cases, extended to include your family)
– That you can call off the hit by paying the “hitman” thousands of dollars.
These extortionists will even try to offer you a “tape” of the person who ordered the so-called “hit,” as an inticement for you to pay up.

The bottom line is, the FBI says that there is no real danger in these messages, but because of their violent nature, if there is any personally identifiable information in them, you should contact police.

FBI:
http://www.fbi.gov/page2/jan07/threat_scam011507.htm
Washington Post:
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/securityfix/2008/08/fbi_warns_of_hit_man_scam_resu.html

SCAMMING CHILDREN AND PARENTS – PRIME TARGETS FROM BIRTH TO COLLEGE

Successful scam artists thrive on identifying a victim’s weakness and then exploiting that area for their monetary gains. Those who are trusting or naïve are often the prime targets for these con artists. One group that fits the bill would be children, and the parents of children who would go to any links to improve the lives of their offspring.

There are many different methods scammers use to target trusting children and their frazzled parents. Whether stealing the identity of an infant or preying on the teen looking to go to college, these thieves constantly come up with new and awful ways to steal from kids and their families. Here are a few to look out for:

CHILD IDENTITY THEFT
This is a growing problem. The Federal Trade Commission recently issued a report stating that over 400,000 children are victims of identity theft every year. This number is growing at an alarming rate.

Many times parents will suddenly find themselves hounded by creditors who look to collect on defaulted credit cards and excessive bills that were accrued under their child’s name and social security number. The FTC has reported cases of this happening with children as young as eleven months old.

Hard to believe but those who find themselves tracked by down creditors looking to collect on bills in their children’s names are often the lucky ones. They know about the problem and begin the long process of fixing their child’s credit before they come of age.

One seventeen-year old recently visited the bank to open his first bank account, only to learn someone had stolen his social security number several years earlier and had defaulted on credit cards and defrauded businesses across the country under several different names. Because no one runs credit reports on youngsters, it’s easy to understand how this crime can go unrealized. Not until they look to open an account of some kind or apply for college does the spotty history of their social security number come to the young person’s attention.

And while the children pay the price, many times the blame lies with the parents’ lax attention to protecting this incredibly sensitive information. It’s important to take precautions:

Always destroy documents containing social security numbers if throwing them away. Dumpster diving is a prime way crooks steal these numbers.

Keep your computer safe with the newest anti-virus software and updates. Many Trojan programs will log keystrokes and send them back to the hackers. It’s just a matter of time before they are able to pick out the social security numbers. And a child’s is the most attractive.

Be sure the Bluetooth or Wireless network you are using is encrypted and secure. If not then all of your family’s personal information is at risk.

NEW H1N1 SCAM ON PARENTS
Most parents will do anything to ensure their children’s health. These days one can’t turn on the TV or radio without hearing about the latest health scare, and the atmosphere of fear is something the scammer will look to exploit.

Just last month the FDA issued warning about H1N1 fraudulent scams, and one of the most popular targeted the parents of infants and young children.

Parents often look to nutritional supplements as a means of boosting their child’s immune system. Some fraudulent companies are taking advantage of this, according to the FDA, and releasing products aimed at children that claim to diagnose, alleviate, treat, prevent or even cure H1N1. These products are bogus and the claims illegal.

Recently a generic alternative of Tamilflu was confiscated at the border and upon testing was found to mostly contain Vitamin C.

ACTING AND MODELING SCAMS
These scams often start with a stranger approaching a parent in the mall or some public place. They claim the kid has a “special look” and that they are an agent or manager and are pretty sure they could book the child work in the entertainment industry. They give the family their card and tell them to call and set up an appointment.

During that appointment the real scam begins. Suddenly the visit to a talent agency turns into a high-pressure sales pitch. Your child needs modeling or acting classes that they provide for several hundred to several thousand dollars. Or in order to sell you child they need to do a screen test or need to set up a professional-photo shoot for headshots.

This is all bogus. Legitimate agencies may require certain materials, but they will recommend third parties for this. These bogus companies will take your child’s picture or stick them in some expensive classes, but what they won’t do is actually book them any work.

The truth is the market for child actors, especially infants and toddlers, is very small. The truth is, because youngsters’ looks change so quickly, professional photos become quickly outdated. Infants, in particular, are never expected to have pro photos. Legitimate agents, talent scouts, and casting directors will ask for casual snapshots to market a young child. If someone is pressuring to get your kid’s picture so they can get them entertainment work, then they are most likely a scam artist.

SCHOLARSHIP AND FINANCIAL AID SCAMS
As a child prepares to leave the nest, many families are faced with the daunting task of coming up with the funds to send the young man or woman to college. There are plenty of scam artists out there who look to make money off of these families who are trying to save money.

While there are many legitimate scholarships available, most financial aid comes from the federal government or the colleges themselves. Scholarship finders who claim “millions of dollars in private scholarship money go unused every year” should be treated with caution. Consider, most private scholarships are funded for specific applicants with certain career interests, or members of particular church organizations. These scholarship funders are eager to get their money to qualified students, so it doesn’t make sense for them to keep them a secret.

Here are some lines to look out for, according to the FTC’s Scholarship Scams:

You can’t get this information anywhere else. – There are numerous free listings of available scholarships. A little research at your school, local library or online should give you plenty of options before you pay a third party to do so for you.

I need your credit card or bank account number to hold this scholarship. – Be incredibly wary of anyone making such a request. Research the potential grant thoroughly and get the terms in writing. This could be a con artist looking to make an unauthorized withdrawal.

We’ll do all the work. – Don’t fall for it. There are no two ways about it; your child must be personally responsible for applying for all scholarships and grants.

You’ve been selected by a National Foundation to receive a scholarship. Or, you’re a finalist in a contest you never entered. – Before your family sends money of any kind to apply for a scholarship, check it out. Make sure the contest or foundation are legitimate and not just another company whose primary goal is collecting nominal fees from thousands of students without actually delivering any college monies.

The scholarship will cost money. – Never pay someone who claims to be “holding” a scholarship or grant for your child. Free money shouldn’t come with costs attached.

In addition, consider foregoing financial aid consultants advertising there ability to help students through the confusing financial aid process and offer tricks to beat the system. The truth is that financial aid forms are pretty straight-forward and simple. And there aren’t really any tricks to the process. A financial aid officer is looking to grant the money they have available based on their school’s award criteria. You either meet it or you don’t.

An aid officer is your strongest ally in the process, and many will view the employment of a consultant, and some of the actions they might suggest (such as moving assets around to reduce the appearance of your worth), as red flags. If they get the feeling you are deceiving them, they might consider refusing the application outright.

These are just a few of the ways the scammers try to make a living off of our children, from birth to college, while they are still under our care. Stay alert and diligent. Raising a child comes with enough built in dramas and stress of its own, don’t allow a scam artist to get the best of your family because you didn’t recognize the signs.