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More Important Anti-Scam Info From RSN On Facebook
Redemption / Strawman / Bond Fraud
Proponents of this scheme claim that the U.S. government or the Treasury Department control bank accounts—often referred to as “U.S. Treasury Direct Accounts”—for all U.S. citizens that can be accessed by submitting paperwork with state and federal authorities.
Individuals promoting this scam frequently cite various discredited legal theories and may refer to the scheme as “Redemption,” “Strawman,” or “Acceptance for Value.” Trainers and websites will often charge large fees for “kits” that teach individuals how to perpetrate this scheme.
They will often imply that others have had great success in discharging debt and purchasing merchandise such as cars and homes.
Failures to implement the scheme successfully are attributed to individuals not following instructions in a specific order or not filing paperwork at correct times.
This scheme predominately uses fraudulent financial documents that appear to be legitimate.
These documents are frequently referred to as “bills of exchange,” “promissory bonds,” “indemnity bonds,” “offset bonds,” “sight drafts,” or “comptrollers warrants.” In addition, other official documents are used outside of their intended purpose, like IRS forms 1099, 1099-OID, and 8300.
This scheme frequently intermingles legal and pseudo legal terminology in order to appear lawful. Notaries may be used in an attempt to make the fraud appear legitimate.
Often, victims of the scheme are instructed to address their paperwork to the Secretary of the Treasury.
Tips for Avoiding Redemption/Strawman/Bond Fraud:
Be wary of individuals or groups selling kits that they claim will inform you how to access secret bank accounts.
Be wary of individuals or groups proclaiming that paying federal and/or state income tax is not necessary.
Do not believe that the U.S. Treasury controls bank accounts for all citizens.
Be skeptical of individuals advocating that speeding tickets, summons, bills, tax notifications, or similar documents can be resolved by writing “acceptance for value” on them.
Fraudulent Cosmetics and “Anti-Aging” Products
The volume of counterfeit cosmetics arriving in the U.S. is on the rise. The Internet has given consumers widespread access to health and beauty products—some labeled with "anti-aging" properties—that they don't know are fake. Counterfeiters of personal care products increasingly view dealing in these fake items as a low-risk crime since many of them are located outside the U.S.
Government and industry studies and testing have discovered dangerous ingredients within counterfeit "anti-aging" products.
Fraudulent cosmetics may contain arsenic, beryllium, and cadmium—all known carcinogens—along with high levels of aluminum and dangerous levels of bacteria from sources such as urine. Some of these products have caused conditions like acne, psoriasis, rashes, and eye infections.
Tips for Avoiding Fraudulent “Anti-Aging” Products:
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Watch out for “secret formulas” or “breakthroughs.”
Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the product—find out exactly what it should and should not do for you.
Research a product thoroughly before buying it. Call the Better Business Bureau to find out if other people have complained about the product.
Be wary of products that claim to cure a wide variety of illnesses—particularly serious ones—that don’t appear to be related.
Be aware that testimonials and/or celebrity endorsements are often misleading.
Be very careful of products that are marketed as having no side effects.
Question products that are advertised as making visits to a physician unnecessary.
Always consult your doctor before taking any dietary or nutritional supplement.
As in Ponzi schemes, the money collected from newer victims of pyramid schemes is paid to earlier victims to provide a veneer of legitimacy. In pyramid schemes, however, the victims themselves are induced to recruit further victims through the payment of recruitment commissions.
More specifically, pyramid schemes—also referred to as “franchise fraud” or “chain referral schemes”—are marketing and investment frauds in which an individual is offered a distributorship or franchise to market a particular product.
The real profit is earned, not by the sale of the product, but by the sale of new distributorships. Emphasis on selling franchises rather than the product eventually leads to a point where the supply of potential investors is exhausted and the pyramid collapses.
At the heart of each pyramid scheme is typically a representation that new participants can recoup their original investments by inducing two or more prospects to make the same investment.
Promoters fail to tell prospective participants that this is mathematically impossible for everyone to do, since some participants drop out, while others recoup their original investments and then drop out.
Tips for Avoiding Pyramid Schemes:
Be wary of “opportunities” to invest your money in franchises or investments that require you to bring in subsequent investors to increase your profit or recoup your initial investment.
Independently verify the legitimacy of any franchise or investment before you invest.