We would like to introduce an interesting and horrifying concept. What if Facebook's algorithms are actually steering victims to scammers right now? The incredibly brilliant sociologist Zeynep Tufekci explains how these algorithms are already controlling [...]
More Important Anti-Scam Info From RSN On Facebook
Funeral and Cemetery Fraud
Millions of Americans enter into contracts to prearrange their funerals and prepay some or all of the expenses involved, to ease the financial and emotional burdens on their families.
Laws in individual states regulate the industry, and various states have laws to help ensure that these advance payments are available when they are needed. However, protections vary widely from state to state, sometimes providing a window of opportunity for unscrupulous operators to overcharge expenses and list themselves as financial beneficiaries.
Tips for Avoiding Funeral and Cemetery Fraud:
Be an informed consumer. Take time to call and shop around before making a purchase. Take a friend with you who may offer some perspective to help make difficult decisions. Funeral homes are required to provide detailed general price lists over the telephone or in writing.
Educate yourself fully about caskets before you buy one, and understand that caskets are not required for direct cremations.
Understand the difference between funeral home basic fees for professional services and any fees for additional services.
Know that embalming rules are governed by state law and that embalming is not legally required for direct cremations.
Carefully read all contracts and purchasing agreements before signing, and make certain that all of your requirements have been put in writing.
Make sure you understand all contract cancellation and refund terms, as well as your portability options for transferring your contract to other funeral homes.
Before you consider prepaying, make sure you are well informed. When you do make a plan for yourself, share your specific wishes with those close to you.
As a general rule governing all of your interactions as a consumer, do not allow yourself to be pressured into making purchases, signing contracts, or committing funds. These decisions are yours and yours alone.
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.