Healthcare fraud and Medicare fraud cost the American public billions. The schemes are from A-to-Z – and the most despicable are caused by crooked and corrupt doctors, hospitals and pharmacies and medical suppliers.

Even lawyers and inept lazy and corrupt courts play a roll – believe it or not, Medicare has a lien on any recovery obtained from medical malpractice cases and settlements for what ever Medicare paid out. Sadly, lawyers and many derelict courts ignore these liens and approve med-mal settlements, circumventing Medicare and it is in the millions in NYC alone.

Healthcare insurance and Medicare cost us far too much, because all honest citizens are paying for the fraud and corruption arising out of Medicare and healthcare corruption and scams.

George Pavia Esq. a well-documented professional swindler and expert at the use of ‘buffers’ to hide behind, in 2007, recruited front-man Kenneth Gomez Esq. for this Pavia concocted heist. The take? —over $230,000 of liened Medicare funds. The history of Pavia is a long and twisted paper trail of corruption, fraud, bribery, tax evasion and perjury (See: Scamraiders’ Archives). George Pavia’s psychiatrist, Arnold Hutchnecker, before his death, revealed that George suffers from delusions of grandeur coupled with an underlying inferiority complex. That said, Jim Couri describes George Pavia as a spiteful, greedy, lecher who turned to retaliation and extortion when Jim uncovered George’s corruption and tax evasions involving the Pavias’ townhouse at 18 E. 73rd St, NY by revealing the Pavias’ willful circumvention of Rent Stabilization.

In 2006, corkscrew George learned that Jim suffered from melanoma cancer and that Jim had retained council to pursue a case due to the misdiagnosis of his cancer and associated malpractice claims. It appears that George by 2006 had made his ‘pact’ with JSC Madden, the judge in NY Unified Court, who Pavia compromised in order to rid himself of Jim Couri and his Rent Stabilization Rights. Even though George had Judge Madden successfully taint the jury in the rental trial, it seems that George’s anger and revenge against Jim continued on, and George began his campaign to grab for himself, and his ‘boys’, Jim’s medical malpractice funds. Pavia joined forces with an ex-associate of Jim’s, John Siebert MD, along with Joe Burke Esq. and Kenneth Gomez Esq.

By the time Pavia began his med-mal scam, Jim had filed his cancer misdiagnosis lawsuit and lawyers Aaronson Rappaport Feinstein & Deutsch Esqs, Phil Lerner, and John Hunt (Marion Polovy) had appeared for defendants. Pavia, Siebert, and Burke had the beginnings of a ‘perfect storm’ for their next swindle. Siebert, a doctor who has been sued frequently and represented by Aaronson began his dirty work. Phil Lerner of Aaronson Esqs knowing of the Statutory Medicare liens, kept demanding Jim’s signing of Documents stating that Jim knew of no liens. Lerner was clearly bought-off by Pavia, as was Hunt/Polovy, as these demands were further ‘mirrored’ by defense lawyer John Hunt. Both lawyers were supposedly acting for themselves, defendants, and Insurers MLMI and PRI. Cash is a tempting incentive to engage in corruption. Jim’s Case should have been a slam dunk for Jim’s claims, as among other things, a NY State Department of Health’s investigation all but confirmed negligence on the part of defendants and a mislabeling of Jim’s pathology samples (the pathology doctor was Eduardo Zappi-Dermopath-Labs). (The dermatologist, Robert Berger MD, was represented by Hunt/Polovy). However, the supposed ‘Settlement’ was carefully manipulated and therefore ripe for theft by these co-conspirators.

Eventually, Jim uncovered that George Pavia and Kenneth Gomez, as part of the swindle, had provided suspect documents to Hunt in order to discredit Jim. The scam began to gel in or about September 2008. Although at this time Jim was in cancer care in California and not aware of Medicare Statutory Liens on all the Med-mal recoveries, which are up to the amount of ‘Conditional Medicare Payments’ made by Medicare related to the money paid by Medicare and related to all claims &/or injury. Surely all lawyers know of these Medicare liens and the law of notification to MEDICARE SECONDARY PAYER RECOVERY CONTRACTOR, (MSPRC). Curiously, John Hunt/Polovy and Aaronson/Lerner demanded documents from Jim in contravention to Medicare Laws and mandates, stating that there were no liens. Jim became suspicious, refused to sign these bogus documents. It wouldn’t be until after the Court rendered its decision that Jim learned of Medicare Statutory Liens, which in his case was and is about $200,000.00—still due to MSPRC—-now doubled, by Statute, and due to the Pavia-Gomez, et-al frauds.

The greed and corruption further unfolded as the assigned judge, JSC Abdus- Saalam, a judge who supposedly disposes of thousands of Med-Mal cases in the Unified Courts New York County, never inquired about the obvious Medicare liens in Jim’s Case before her. Not knowing at that time about the requirement of Medicare Statutory liens, not only did Jim wonder why the lawyers insisted he sign false statements on documents, he didn’t realize that the judge should have also inquired about Medicare liens. Undaunted, and orchestrated by George Pavia, JSC Abdus-Saalam sadly turned her back on Medicare Liens and Jim’s wife’s Liens and issued Orders that in contravention to filed Liens and the Law, permitted Pavia–Gomez, to make off with Jim’s $230,000.00, circumventing Legally Secured Creditors, including Medicare. Interestingly, Judge Abdus Saalam within approximately two weeks after signing her Order giving away Jim’s and Medicare’s money, was elevated to the Appellate Division 1st Dept. A coincidence? Anyone observing this charade can wonder— How can this happen? More significantly, how can this continue to happen in New York County Unified Courts—- for years constantly circumventing Medicare’s First Liens? Are these New York Unified Courts and Judges ignorant of the Laws or are they complicit in scamming Medicare for millions? And why does no one, up to now, launch a full-blown investigation into these Courthouse frauds on Medicare and MSPRC?

Gomez is a proven perjurer – Jim Couri and his accolades have been recently written about by many newspapers with glowing reports and reported on many TV stations – all recently. Gomez, George Pavia, sex maniac Siebert and crook partner Joe Burke, Esq have interfered and begged the Gannett papers to redact rogue Siebert’s name, reported as as a sex predator.

Gomez, Siebert and corkscrew Pavia conned NY Times’ John Eligon to write a article without advising the Times that they are the targets of sex crimes, pedophilia, Medicare fraud, gift tax evasion, bribery, extortion, thefts of Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield funds, Siebert’s being fired by NYU/Langone Medical Center for sex rapes of patients at NYU, insurance fraud, and narcotics abuses

Kenneth Gomez, Esq. Gomez didn’t tell the NY Times that he is a hired pimp covering up Siebert’s under investigation by NY State Dept of Health, due to over twenty victims filing charges against Siebert with law enforcement for patient sex molestings, drug abuse and intimidation. Gomez does not deny Pavia and Siebert/Burke/Gomez bribery, tax evasion by Pavia and Siebert and extortion and threats directed to Jim Couri, all well documented. We have tape recordings, affidavits and other proof of Siebert, Pavia, Gomez and Joe Burke’s bribery, tampering, sex crimes and extortion. Gomez wants a reward for his transparent rants on his one-man band-wagon with a busted wheel, yet no denials of facts or Gomez use of ‘peep-shows.’

Now back to George Pavia. Not only did ‘cheat-em-beat-em’ George steal Jim’s money involving his cancer illness, Pavia stole from Medicare, MSPRC with the scheming aid of defendants’ Insurance lawyers, John Siebert MD, Kenneth Gomez, and possibly the Court. Remember, Judge Madden, ‘working in the wings’, and all of the Unified Court Judges are ‘pals’—‘all for one and one for all’. This scam was too pat and too easy. It simply can’t be that a presiding Judge repeatedly signs Orders directing the disbursement of millions without being sure that Medicare Liens are satisfied. After all, these Medicare Liens are Statutory and Courts are supposed to follow the Laws. But do they? Stated otherwise, this ‘theft’ was a set-up, manipulated by greedy and corrupt George Pavia. Medicare fraud is a very serious matter. Please see the published Mandates of Lawyers and Insurers, etc., regarding Medicare and MSPRC, here and below. Medicare maintains its lien until paid. Failure to advise MSPRC and conversion of Medicare funds results in suit by the US Attorney seeking Double Damages and possible criminal charges if willful. Gomez, Pavia, Siebert and Joe Burke all know the law. They compromised many and formed alliances with Hunt, Lerner and others to rob Jim’s money—except they in their greed failed to deal with Medicare who has a lien of about $200,000.00 on this settlement. Now Pavia and cohorts will be chased for more than $400,000.00 plus damages, and possibly worse. Further, the negligence in the Unified Courts and the continued willful circumventing of MSPRC Liens involving tens of millions must be fully investigated. How many millions have been stolen from Medicare via the Courthouse? It is time to help the law and not the thieves. This is why Medicare is ‘broke’—-CORRUPTION, and why we the public, and our healthcare are suffering the consequences.

George Pavia and his wife Antonia and bag man Kenneth Gomez ‘cut up’ the supposed settlement, $230,000, one thing is for sure, George Pavia is ‘tighter than a crabs ass in the sunshine’, Gomez is bust-out and broke, so the paying Leona Helmsley and company $6,000 for a phony judgment against Jim and within a couple of days pimp-bag-man Gomez walks into the unified court and by fraud and corruption the court gives Gomez and company over $180,000 for Pavias $6000 and the court ignored secured parties and proper UCC filings. Then this same judge was elevated to the appellate division, a reward for a $230,000 score. By the use of court corruption, scams and fixes a-la George Pavia, thug Gomez and other courthouse scallywags? Scamraiders has the paper trail and remember, Pavia is a cheap tight-wad, nothing is going out of Pavia’s pocket and it ain’t going to happen unless the fix was in -a profit of over 30 times in a few days- this is how courthouse larceny,and greed is done, black-robed bandits with a pen and immunity and we find that this grand-theft was based on the phony and ‘set-up’ fixed decisions geared to rob Medicare and Jim and turn these monies over to ‘bag-man–dead-beat’ Gomez for distribution to the co-conspirators in and out of the bowels of the unified courthouse.

Gomez, fronting for George Pavia, Esq, John Siebert, MD, Joe Burke, Esq and Leona Helmsley Enterprises, knowingly and willfully robbed Medicare liened funds in excess of $230,000, in settlements of Jim Couri’s med-mal claims via a courthouse shuffle-swindle.

Gomez obtained these funds from MLMI & PRI insurance companies,implementing a fraudulent scheme,deposited these sums in his attorney accounts & paid out to his co-conspirators Pavia, Siebert, Burke, and Helmsley medicare liened funds.

On information and belief, lawyers acting for MLMI & PRI were part of the RICO-style medicare scam and defrauded Jim as well to cram down the settlement & not divulging the over $200,000.00 in medicare liens. the matter involving these culprits is willful theft and will have grave consequences—- as well as double damages being collected from Gomez, Pavia, Siebert, Burke, and Helmsley, all of whom know the law & stole from Medicare.

Sure it was Madden to the rescue -again- and a few calls to a couple of her pals in black robes in the courthouse and behold a robbery better than Willy Sutton and John Dillinger combined and with the guise of justice in a brown paper bag. Jim’s and Medicare’s $230k gets ‘deep-sixed’ and ‘cut-up’ except these ostrich corrupt rogue judges and referees have violated the law we believe so this ‘dirty-money’ and disdain for the laws and US Constitution will bode poorly for these charlatans to be sure armed with the proceeds of mother-in-law’s home stolen by George after screwing the IRS. Corkscrew George Pavia thinks he is smart, but the truth is he is a well known fraud, a corrupt lecherous tax thief perjurer, who is a proved phony and a front for the mob, including jailbird Ted Kohl, living off moneys that he rooked from others and from his in-laws and the Internal Revenue Service, we at Scamraiders know and have exhibited proof that Pavia and his wife Antonia are forgers, perjurers and corrupt. As the New York DHCR, the department of buildings and the NYC ECB court all confirm that the Pavias are perjurers, and forgers and all covered up by kangaroo-court Madden -we wonder why?- and by the way, while all this railroading and highway-robbery orchestrated by ‘lecher-outlaw-facist George Pavia’, judge Madden is at it again ‘to the fixers George/Antonia Pavia’s rescue’, the Pavias needed ‘protection’ and insulation for this orchestrated theft of a quarter million by pulling strings in the courthouse using pimp-bag-man Gomez so body-guard Madden issues a fast and furious order directing that the Pavias can not be sued without her permission…not bad!!!

The Pavias, with the aid of black-robed Madden and associates, rips off with a series of transparent decisions issued by Madden’s pals, manipulating secured parties UCC laws, laws re judgments and worse so that a fortune is robbed without a gun, a clever maneuver for many, but we have been on to theses greedy and malicious corrupt villains. Madden condoned the Pavias perjury, threats, extortion and worse, then George the pig literally and physically attacks and threatens Jim in the presence of others, robs Jim and Medicare and the Pavias can not be sued without Madden’s ‘ok’. Hey, this is the ‘perfect storm’ commit grand larceny, threats and extortion with the help of the unified courthouse. A stacked deck? If you think otherwise, the good fairy and tinker-bell are on the way. It’s a courthouse and a cesspool of fraud, fixes and corruption, but from greed and corruption comes mistakes and money has paper-trails as do phones, etc. Who do these scoundrels think they are kidding?

See Scamraiders for more and up-coming exposes of the Pavia and other courthouse fixes, bullying, ambushes, threats, corruption and conversion, including the Pavias, others and Dr John Siebert’s defrauded taxes, rapes of patients, thefts, retaliation, set-ups, judicial abuses and deceptions, thefts of Medicare liened funds, tampering and frauds.

Jury Duty Scam – ID Theives Prey on Trusting Americans

Most of us have received a jury summons in the past, and whether you consider it a hassle or a civic duty, almost everyone reports. But what if someone told you that you failed to report and there was a warrant out for your arrest? That’s the twist on a scam that many trusting Americans have been falling for for years.

The scammer calls and claims that, because you have failed to show up for jury duty, your freedom is now in jeopardy. Of course, the victim will truthfully claim that they never received a summons — and then the swindler pounces. For “verification” purposes, they’ll need your social secutiry number, driver’s license number, date of birth — the boldest scam artists will sometimes even ask for a credit card number.

The cardinal rule to avoid this tricky scam is — never give out personal info on a call you did not initiate. This holds true for court officers, government officials, banking or credit card companies, among others.

Also remember: a court officer will rarely, if ever, call you in relation to jury service. The courts almost always follow up via postal mail, especially if you have missed jury service. Jurors will occasionally receive a call after sending in a completed questionaire — but this doesn’t happen very often.



Jury Duty Scam – ID Theives Prey on Trusting Americans

Most of us have received a jury summons in the past, and whether you consider it a hassle or a civic duty, almost everyone reports. But what if someone told you that you failed to report and there was a warrant out for your arrest? That’s the twist on a scam that many trusting Americans have been falling for for years.

The scammer calls and claims that, because you have failed to show up for jury duty, your freedom is now in jeopardy. Of course, the victim will truthfully claim that they never received a summons — and then the swindler pounces. For “verification” purposes, they’ll need your social secutiry number, driver’s license number, date of birth — the boldest scam artists will sometimes even ask for a credit card number.

The cardinal rule to avoid this tricky scam is — never give out personal info on a call you did not initiate. This holds true for court officers, government officials, banking or credit card companies, among others.

Also remember: a court officer will rarely, if ever, call you in relation to jury service. The courts almost always follow up via postal mail, especially if you have missed jury service. Jurors will occasionally receive a call after sending in a completed questionaire — but this doesn’t happen very often.

Better Business Bureau:…


If you want to learn how judges can cheat lie manipulate the laws and even attempt to rewrite laws when they are corrupted by a fix and ‘back-room’ bribery please look forward to a Scams Inc full expose.

A detailed ‘piece-by-piece’ assemblage of just how these scams and railroading’s are accomplished. The corruption is so pervasive it spreads to the courtroom clerks, court referees, some at trial support offices, and of course the corrupt judge’s law secretaries and clerks. If you aint a ‘company man’ and won’t go along with the fixes your out on your ass quickly.

And the corruption spreads to every nook and cranny including the appellate courts, commission on judicial conduct and the supposed ‘watchdogs’—in sum if you’re on the wrong end of a fixed courtroom you better learn quickly how to expose these thieves and beat them at their railroading schemes. Scams Inc will be putting all of these details in a ‘guide’ to the labyrinth of the under-belly of a sham and charade that effects our lives—stay tuned


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.



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)


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.

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.


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.


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.


The politicians can continue arguing amongst themselves on whether or not we are actually at war. The fact remains there are literally hundreds of thousands of Americans in the military currently deployed overseas. As with any newsworthy trend, this fact has not been lost on the scammers who are always looking for a new way to make a quick buck.

Whether they are posing as servicemen, taking advantage of the soldiers, or preying on the families left behind, these con artists show no remorse when finding new opportunities to separate people from their money.

If you are enlisted, have a family member serving, or just recently met a soldier online, here are some things to keep in mind as we wait for that great day when all our people come back home.

First we look at a couple of potential scams where the con artists pretend to be in the military in an attempt to gain trust and then use that trust against their victims.

VEHICLE SCAM SALES – Earlier this year the FBI put out an alert for folks looking to purchase used automobiles, motorbikes, etc. online. The classic scam consists of potential customers finding great deals on the used vehicles at different Internet advertising or posting sites. The majority of scams involve a phony third-party vehicle protection program presented as a means to guarantee a safe transaction. The victims are told to send either full payment or a large percentage of the payment after receiving very believable emails from the phony protection program. The money is sent directly to the third-party “protection” service and no vehicle is ever delivered.

In the newest twist to this scam, the scammers are now regularly posing as members of the United States military. The con artists claim that are either already overseas or even must sell the vehicle quickly due to their imminent deployment to either Iraq or Afghanistan.

The FBI advises consumers to follow through with Due Diligence when purchasing a vehicle via online means. It is important to take the time to verify your seller’s identity and location. If they are unwilling or drag their feet, you are probably getting scammed.

MILITARY DATING SCAM – CJ, a soldier on active duty, shared a new scam on his blog site A Soldier’s Perspective. The scammers troll dating sites that specialize in those looking for love with a member of the military. The con artist plays the part of soldier, starting up a relationship with the lovelorn victim. The scammer creates an entire military life history through emails and online chats. Eventually, the time comes for the two to speak on the phone.

At this point, the con claims that phone service is non-existent at their location in Afghanistan or Iraq and suggests the victim register with a telecommunications company, even providing an email address. Once the victim contacts the company, they will receive a lengthy email explaining all the benefits, including a free satellite phone and unlimited calling that will come with the registration fee of $400.

Of course, there is no telecommunication company. The scammer, who posed as the solider, actually set up the phony email address. After payment is received, all contact with the beloved “soldier” will be lost.

According to a report published a few years ago by the Rand Corporation, members of the armed services are particularly vulnerable to financial scams. The report, which had been commissioned by the Defense Department, noted that 27% of military personnel have problems with bills as opposed to 18% of the civilian population.

Although the entry level pay is higher than their civilian counterparts, most of those just entering the military are young, 18 to 19, living away from home and making more money than they know what to do with, which often leads to excessive spending and debt. The con artists prey on this, often times with high interest loans with annual percentage rates that are astronomical, like 365%. Here are a few ways they stick it to those defending our country:

PAYDAY LENDING – A quick loan is provided with a promise to have it paid back with high interest on the next payday. Unfortunately, the interest is normally so high, it’s near impossible to cover bills, which requires another payday loan. This begins a cycle that is really tough to break. Many are lobbying Washington for legislation that will control and curb these practices.

CAR SCAMS – Can take the form of yo-yo sales. This is where the dealer approves financing but then backs out after the service member has driven the car away. They ask the soldier to either put down more money or pay a much higher than previously agreed upon interest rate. This causes many more defaults than usual.

Another auto scam involves a used car dealer knowingly financing and selling a vehicle that isn’t in very good condition. The car breaks down, the soldier quits paying and it gets repossessed. At this point the dealer rigs the car just well enough to get it back on the lot and sell it again to the next soldier.

BAD INSURANCE – Many soldiers are sold expensive complete life insurance policies when in actuality all members of the military have low-cost options available to them elsewhere. Often these policies are sold by folks claiming to be former military themselves in order to gain the victim’s trust.

Perhaps the sickest cons of all are those that feed on the families waiting back home for their loved ones to return safe and sound. Their numbers have been increasing with the deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan.

GRANDPARENT SCAM – Navy Times Online recently reported on a disgusting scam that is specifically targeting grandparents of soldiers serving in Iraq, especially those who post on social networks, like Facebook or MySpace, about their grandchild’s deployment.

After gathering enough information by following these online postings, the con artists contact the grandparents. They claim to be coming back home on leave from Iraq and looking to surprise their parents, so ask that their return be kept secret. A week or so later, the phony grandchild reaches out to the grandparents again and claims they are being held up by a broken car and requests money be wired to them.

The FBI office in Kansas City recently issued an alert on this scam, noting that often these crooks take between $3,000 and $4,000 from people who are so excited at the prospect of seeing their love one back home, they are blind to the fact they are being scammed.

RED CROSS SCAM – The American Red Cross issued a warning to military families to be on the lookout for scammers who call claiming to be representing the Red Cross, in reality they are identity thieves.

This sick scam totally preys on the fears of the deployed soldier’s family. The caller, claiming to be from the Red Cross, regretfully informs the family that the soldier in question was wounded in Iraq and has been evacuated to a hospital in Germany. They say that treatment needs to be started immediately, but in order to begin there is outstanding paperwork to be finished.

The scam artist then asks to verify the soldier’s social security number and date of birth. Once they have this information, their con job is done and they can begin opening credit cards and taking out loans in the soldier’s name.

It’s not news that con artists are depraved individuals, but those scammers exploiting the brave men and women who fight for our country are a particularly rotten lot. The best way to fight them is through awareness. So keep sharp and stay safe out there.


Take a look, read between the lines and you decide. Is bribery, collusion corruption and access for a paper bag far behind? Cozen’s strategies are very curious and look much like the old days in Brooklyn, NY.



The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released an alert warning US consumers to be on the lookout for automated calls from companies claiming that for a fee they will help negotiate a lower rate on credit cards. In the alert, Credit Card Interest Rate Reduction Scams, the FTC urges consumers to be highly skeptical of these automated calls.

This scam has been making the rounds for several years. According to the Better Business Bureau, complaints began to come in slowly around the summer of 2007 then escalated significantly in the latter part of 2008. There was a fresh wave clogging the voicemail boxes of potential victims in early 2010 which led to the alert being issued by the FTC.

The automated calls make vague claims about saving big bucks for those in serious credit card debt. At the end of the recorded message, the recipient is given a call-back number to contact, if interested. Once the consumer returns the initial call, the real pitch begins.

Alison Southwick, a spokesperson for the Better Business Bureau, broke down how a typical scam call will go in a posting late last year. A typical consumer with two credit cards carrying interest rates of 12 and 14 percent is promised a drastic reduction in APR to between 4.99% and 6.99%. The consumer is then promised a savings of interest and fee payments somewhere in the neighborhood of $2,000 to $25,000, with additional assurances that the debt will be paid off three to five times faster than normal. After these non-binding promises are made, a large upfront fee is requested, normally $600-$900. The scammer gets the consumer’s credit card information, which includes the customer service number on the back of the card. The caller, which at that point has already charged the advance fee to the credit cards, then places a conference call to the credit card issuer. The scammer then makes a request with a customer service representative to have the interest rate on the card reduced during the three way conversation with the cardholder. With the majority of complaints the BBB has received, Southwick says, “that’s the extent of the negotiation process.”

During the sales pitch from these scammers, they often claim to have a special relationship with the credit card companies. Besides the guarantees of lower interest rates and speedy debt resolution, they regularly aggressively push the scam by saying the reduced interest rates are only being offered for a limited time and quick action is crucial. There have been reports that money-back guarantees were offered as incentive.

The FTC warns consumers to be wary of the hype. Those behind the automated calls are not capable of doing anything that any individual consumer couldn’t do for themselves for free. The individual has just as much cache with the credit card issuing companies as these scammers and both are just as likely to be accepted or denied for a reduction in interest rate payments.

Last week’s alert from the FTC stated plainly that their investigators, “found that people who pay for these services don’t get the touted interest rate reductions, don’t save the promised amounts, don’t pay off their credit card debt three to five times faster, and struggle to get refunds.”

Here are some tips to remember if you get one of these calls, whether automated or live:

– Call comes up as “unknown caller” on CallerID with no provided phone number.

– These scam calls are made cold turkey; the recipient might not even have a credit card. The calls are being made randomly in the hopes of discovering potential victims. Calls like this should be regarded as scams.

– If you are on the National Do Not Call Registry, companies can call you only if you have agreed to accept calls from the company the salesperson works for, have purchased something from the company in the last 18 months or requested information from the company in the last three months. If none of these apply, then you have been randomly called by an automated system. Do not call back. Information and links to the National Do Not Call Registry are provided at the end of the article.

– Don’t give out your credit card information. There is no reason to share this information with a third party when you can be dealing directly with your credit card issuer. After using the number to charge the upfront fee, some scammers might also make further fraudulent purchases in the future and/or sell the information to others.

– Never share personal information like your bank account or social security number during one of these calls. Scammers will often try to lure this information while bombarding the victim with multiple form questions they are “filling out” during these unsolicited sales pitches. Once they have this type of information though, you can be certain they will use it against you in future frauds.

– Unsolicited and automated calls should always be approached with caution. They are often simply scams in disguise. If you want to renegotiate but don’t feel comfortable taking on the task alone, the Better Business Bureau recommends using the services of a reputable credit counseling agency. Links for checking on a company’s accreditation can be found at the end of the article.

The Federal Trade Commission takes the stance that if a consumer is interested in trying to negotiate new interest rates with their credit card issuer their success is just as likely if they do it themselves for free. It really is as simple as calling the number on the back of your credit card and then asking the customer service representative about reducing your rate. Remember to stay calm and be persistent. There is no reason to pay someone else hundreds of dollars to complete a task you can perform for yourself. If an automated call with promises of reduced credit card rates tempts you – hang up immediately.

If you would like to report violations of the Do Not Call Registry, or would like to register, call 1-888-382-1222. Or visit the website –

Check a consumer credit counselor’s credentials at:

Better Business Bureau –

National Foundation for Credit Counseling –