FRAUD SERIES: #1
FRAUD PREVENTION: HOW TO NOT GET CHEATED
It sounds so simple; just pay attention and be skeptical, right? If it seems too good to be true…
But every year, everywhere, countless people get cheated out of their money. Usually, they don’t get it back.
The bad guy/girl (the “cheat”) is looking for those that are easy; those that don’t read the contract, those not used to handling their own money (widows, heirs), those whose mind isn’t quite what it used to be, and those not comfortable with law enforcement.
So the cheat looks at probate records, joins a church or social group, sets up a phony company… and shows up in your life with a smile and some promises.
Be skeptical. Where did this person come from; what’s his/her history? Why are they here now? Does it relate to where you are in life (inherited money)?
How long has this person’s business been up and running? Any Better Business Bureau complaints? (Call BBB and see.)
Any lawsuits? Google “Maricopa County Superior Court” (among the many courts), find “Cases”, plug in their name as Defendant and then Plaintiff. What comes up?
Google their name and their company name and the name of any partners and previous companies.
Sounds like a lot of work? It is nothing compared to trying to get your money back when it’s gone. The cheater is looking for people for whom a few hours of work seems like a lot to do.
If you are thinking about entering into a deal where you would be giving someone money, in return for their promises to do things for you:
- It must be in writing. Actually read the document carefully and understand the whole thing. Exactly what is this person promising, in writing, to do in return for your money? Never mind what they told you.
If you are a normal, average reader and can’t understand it, that’s a danger signal. If the person says the deal must be closed quickly, that’s a danger signal. If the person starts off pleasant, but moves later into an “overbearing” personality (think “pressure”, “guilt-trips”, “fear-mongering”), that’s a danger signal.
- If you read and understand it, and it seems agreeable to you, and you’ve checked the person out, then it’s time to have an attorney review it all with you; an attorney that litigates contract and fraud cases; someone who has seen a bunch of tricks and has a sense of what works (and doesn’t) in court. That “ounce of prevention” is some of the best money you can spend.
- If any problem starts to develop, tell someone you trust. Don’t do this alone. Talk it over with someone else.
- Be skeptical, go slow, be deliberate. I’ve been working on business disputes, fraud and crimes for 25 years. In a fraud case, the cheater intends to cheat you right from the outset. Your job is to spot that, and prevent it.
B. DAVID ANDERSON
ATTORNEY AT LAW (ARIZONA CASES ONLY)
[email protected]; 480.833.4523; davidandersonlawoffice.com