Thursday, September 30, 2010

NOVA Conference - summary

I found a video the other day that shows a summary of the NOVA Conference that I attended in August. It was a wonderful event, and I want to thank NOVA for putting this on.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Non-Profits, Grants and Grant Writing

In August I attended the 36th Annual NOVA Conference and one of the workshops that I attended was on Grant Writing. It was a great workshop, but I left feeling overwhelmed. While Scam Victims United is an Non-Profit, our staff is very small . . . myself, my husband and a dedicated moderator basically sums things up. I guess when we started the process to become a non-profit I thought that it would open the doors to more opportunities, and we would easily be able to find grants to support our work, but finding and getting those grants is a lot of work. Add to that the fact that all of that legal talk sounds like "blah, blah, blah" or the adults from the Charlie Brown cartoons I watched as a kid, it is an uphill battle.

For those that know me, you know that does not mean I am not going to try . . . I just needed my day to vent about how hard it sometimes feels. Thanks for listening.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

More scam emails

Here is another sample of a scam email

Subject: Greetings From London & Business Proposal
Reply To:


Following the announcement by the Chancellor of the Exchequer,that all accounts that have been dormant for over 15years be transferred to the Treasury i send this mail.
I discovered a dormant account in my office, as officer in charge. It will be in my interest to transfer this fund worth 20,000,000 million British pounds in an account outside UK. If you are willing to be a collaborator/partner to this please indicate interest immediately.

Remember this is absolutely a non public affair,as i am seeking your assistance as the beneficiary of this unclaimed account, since we are not allowed to operate a foreign account,Your contact phone numbers and name will be necessary for this effect,I have reposed my confidence in you and hope that you will not disappoint me.

My Regards,
Archie Kane

Monday, September 27, 2010

What's in a name . . .

I just read this interesting post by Paul Levy on the Consumer Law & Policy Blog about a company that is saturating the internet with information about protecting people from scams so that when the average person like you and I go to our search engine and run a search for that name of that company and the word scam, to see if there are any reports by others of issues with them, what is coming up is this new show that they are a part of that exposes and warns people about scams.

Here is the post by Paul Levy . . .
I reported a couple of weeks ago that Vision Media TV Group, whose scam directed at unsophisticated non-profit groups thirsting for free publicity on public TV had apparently resurfaced under a new name, World Progress Report.  Since then, a few others have taken up the report (for example, Techdirt and Consumerist).  More remarkable is the response from World Progress Report, which has been churning out press release after press release about series that it is supposedly preparing to show on public television (put a big asterisk after both “show” and “public television), teaching consumers how to recognize “ponzi scams,” “mortgage scams,”and “foreclosure scams.”
At first, my reaction was to think about how ironic it was that the crowd behind World Progress / Vision Media was taking credit for showing up scams.  And wasn’t that cute?
But there is a more sinister explanation for this scam spam.  By this new strategy, World Progress Report is loading up the search results both for its own name, and for its name combined with the word “scam,” with reports about its supposed public television programming.  As a result, the information that impartial critics are calling it a scam are being buried in a welter of search results for its own self-promotion.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Con men

Today on Discovery Investigation Channel you can want the true life stories of women who became involved with con-men and how they found out the truth about these men.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Women Against Con Men

Today I would like to share a poem written by my friend Casey Jones, who is the founder of WAC'M, Women Against Con Men.

As a teenager, I dreamt of boys to kiss….My mother stomped her feet and said "I'll have none of this!
In my 20s, I dreamt of love and a marriage that succeeded…..What I got was a man that I was attracted to, but not what I needed.
In my 30s, I dreamt of children in my arms hugging me….What I got was lots of jet lag and lonely celibacy.
In my 40s, I dreamt of a successful career and stability….But reality set-in and I got lots of expensive therapy.
For my mother was evil and my brother a psychopath….To kill a pet or torture me, would only make them laugh.
To spend long years in counseling was in itself very hard and cruel….But I survived and promised God that I would live by the Golden Rule.
It has never quite made sense to me….If they were the sick ones----why was I in therapy?
In my 50s, I dreamt of early retirement and a home that was paid for…what I got was a con artist who came knocking at my door.
But I'm not attracted to him, to my friends, I would plead….Oh, but Casey, he's exactly what you need.
He attends church and prays at every meal…He's a doctor and will love you with such zeal.
As soon as the "I dos" were said and done…He turned from kind and loving, into a barbaric hun.
And I quickly found to my dismay…..that I was the only one with money to pay.
Congressmen, Hollywood Producers and little old me, ALL HIS VICTIMS…..He's lie and steal, then walk away completely free.
I was not aware that he'd been stealing for over 30 years….Destroying people financially and leaving them in tears.
So I kicked him out, but little did he care….. For thousands more, he thought would end up in his snare.
I searched and searched ‘til Active Warrants, I did find…..Newly determined to place the "Doctor that wasn't" in a real bind.
With the Oklahoma police, I lured him into a trap….Two detectives grabbed him in Santa Fe, his capture was a snap.
And now I'm approaching 60 and wondering how it will be. ….That I have found a new career of victim advocacy.
It pleases me, to no end on my refrigerator to see….His VERY ANGRY mug shot, sharing back at little old ME.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Employment scams

With the economy the way it it, and everyone looking for a way to make some extra money, employment scams are on the rise. Here is an example of an employment scam email.


Attention: Please Read

I am Derick Swain, I'm a Credit/Collection Agent and I have worked with various Industries, but I work presently with some Construction and Manufacturing Company in the USA ( United State of America )and I have got 10yrs working experience.I want to employ you as my P.A (Personal Assistant) to execute my job till I return from a business trip in Spain . You don't need any Fund Collection or accounting experience to execute this job.


1. Make some minor calls and sometime attend some short meetings and also Receive funds from my clients either by Bank
Transfer , Cashier Check, Business Check, E-Check ,Money Orders and Western Union .

2. Disburse fund to my numerous clients either by Bank Transfer Cashier Check,Business Check, Money Orders and Western Union .


Benefit:10% on every funds collected and disbursed

Get back to me as soon as possible.
With Regards,
Derick Swain.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Here is an example of a scam email that showed up in my email box

I am Mrs Sloan Letman, a devoted Christian. I am in the process of setting up a charity foundation but due to my health condition I would need somebody to help me finish it. Everything is available including finance. So please reply to my email address for more details:

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The way life should be!

This video has been passed around the internet, but I feel that it is a wonderful reminder of how life SHOULD be.

Now, some people would say that is great, but it is just a story that was made up by someone cause a stir on the internet. No . . . that is not true . . . here is the HOME VIDEO of the actual game that this happened at

Again, this is how life should be . . . people doing what is right, just because it is RIGHT and not because there is some loophole that can benefit them.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Scams and Trying to Educate People

I had a former co-worker email me the other day and she told me she was reading her Homemade Simple Magazine, and saw my name in it.
While I was VERY happy to see this article about scams, since this helps to educate people to what is going on, I was disappointed to see that some of the facts were not accurate.  Here is a portion of the article that is speaking about how to verify the status of a cashier's check . . .
To find out a check’s status, call your bank twice (talk to two different workers in case one doesn't understand the process) to verify that the check has been fully processed. Otherwise you lose the money if the check is a fake.
This would not be accurate.  In the case of our story, I spoke with two different bank employees BEFORE I withdrew the money from the account, and both of them told me that the check was "good", "clear", "verified", "funds were available" and that I "had nothing to worry about".  Once we found out the check was counterfeit and were dealing with the bank's loss prevention department we asked them the same question, and we had two different people from THAT department tell us that "a cashier's check is verified as good within 24 hours".  These people in the loss prevention department knew what had happened to us, yet they were still giving us the same inaccurate information.
The ONLY real way to find out if the check is counterfeit or not is to call the bank that is listed on the check as the issuing bank.  Also, you cannot trust the phone number listed on the check.  The scammers have gotten smart and have started altering those also so that they go to one of the people within their group who will tell you that the check is good.  You need to do a Google search to find the official website of the issuing bank, or the Yellow Pages listing for that bank, and then call that phone number.
The advice from this article in regards to counterfeit cashier's checks would not save anyone from becoming a victim of these types of scams.  It is sad, because the point of the article was to show real world situations that the everyday person could become involved in, and how they can be aware and protect themselves from these scams.

It looks like we still have a LOT of education to do, especially to the people that are trying to help educate the average American.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The little guy

If you know me, you know I am all for the little guy being able to stand up and tell big corporations "That's not right!"  I get very frustrated when I see companies doing things that are morally wrong, and only doing them because they know they have so many lawyers that the little guy will not be able to afford to fight them in court for with is right.

My good friend Denise Richardson recently wrote this article about the fact that the Supreme Court with be making a ruling in November that could change class-action lawsuits.  Here is a portion of her article . . .

Sometimes a class-action lawsuit is the only way to force a corporation to assume its corporate responsibility. Access to the justice system and a fair shake under the law are the little guys’ safety nets. Without the threat of a lawsuit, corporations can engage in negligence or recklessness, and the consumer will have little to say in his own defense. Which is why AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion, the case coming up in the Supreme Court this November, has got my attention and should have yours.
In this case, the Court will decide whether the Federal Arbitration Act preempts state-law rulings that class-action bans are unconscionable. They will decide “whether corporations can ban class actions in the fine print of their contracts with consumers and employees.
There is a petition you can sign letting them know that you are against forced arbitration and feel the consumer should continue to have the right to class-action lawsuits at

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Minnesota Victims

I am looking for victims of internet crimes in Minnesota who would be willing to share their story with City Pages.  If you do not want your name printed, they are willing to respect that.

If you are a victim of any type of internet crime, I encourage you to come forward and share your story.  I know it is not easy . . . I am a scam victim also . . . but I do know how rewarding it is to know that you have helped save others from being a scam victim because your story gave them the information to protect themselves.

If you are interested, you can contact me through

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Emails from your email provider . . . or are they

Have you ever been without your email, and felt totally unconnected to the world.  You could be missing some important information, and it is all because you cannot get into your account.

A popular scam right now preys on that fear people have of not being able to get at their email accounts, and to make these scams work the scammers make it look like the emails are coming from your email provider.  The emails will tell you that you have exceeded your mailbox quota or that someone has attempted to access your email account.  Either way, the email then asks for you to update your information within a set amount of time or your email account with be closed permanently.

If there ever was a real problem with your email account, your provider would not send you an email about it, and they would not set a time limit on when you have to respond by.  Not everyone checks their email daily, or even weekly, so if they are telling you to complete the task by a set date they are doing it to scare you into moving fast, without looking into things first.

If you do get an email like this, and you are worried that there really COULD be a problem with your email account, call the customer service number for your email provider . . . but do not call any customer service numbers listed in the email  . . . those will be fake also.  Use a search engine to look up the customer service number so that you know for sure that you are contacting the right people to check on your account.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Just need to vent

I just read the press release at and while it is great that there is so much attention to crack down on hackers and people sending out viruses to computers, what about scam victims!

The last paragraph of the press release reads

As the Internet and advances in traditional distribution methods allow
American businesses, inventors, and artists to market their “products”
worldwide, the threat from criminals and criminal organizations who want to
profit illegally from their hard work grows. But so does the commitment of law
enforcement and governments around the world to find new and effective ways to
combat the threat…together.

So how about finding new and effective ways to combat counterfeit cashier's check scams! We at Scam Victims United have been trying to bring attention to that battle since 2002 . . . actually, in a few weeks it will be the 8 year anniversary of the start of our battle to bring attention to this issue. I wish someone would pay attention to our battle.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

FTC Halts Cross Border Domain Name Registration Scam

I was glad to see this press release from the FTC, because as the Co-Founder of a non-profit I have seen the letters that companies like this send out, and how real some of them look, so I can see how some people would believe that they must really pay the fees that these people are asking for.

Read the press release to understand what I am talking about . . .

Thousands of Small Businesses and Non-profits Billed for Bogus Renewal Fees

The Federal Trade Commission has permanently halted the operations of Canadian con artists who allegedly posed as domain name registrars and convinced thousands of U.S. consumers, small businesses and non-profit organizations to pay bogus bills by leading them to believe they would lose their Web site addresses unless they paid. Settlement and default judgment orders signed by the court will bar the deceptive practices in the future.

In June 2008, the FTC charged Toronto-based Internet Listing Service with sending fake invoices to small businesses and others, listing the existing domain name of the consumer’s Web site or a slight variation on the domain name, such as substituting “.org” for “.com.” The invoices appeared to come from the businesses’ existing domain name registrar and instructed them to pay for an annual “WEBSITE ADDRESS LISTING.” The invoices also claimed to include a search engine optimization service. Most consumers who received the “invoices” were led to believe that they had to pay them to maintain their registrations of domain names. Other consumers were induced to pay based on Internet Listing Service’s claims that its “Search Optimization” service would “direct mass traffic” to their sites and that their “proven search engine listing service” would result in “a substantial increase in traffic.”

The FTC’s complaint charged that most consumers who paid the defendants’ invoices did not receive any domain name registration services and that the “search optimization” service did not result in increased traffic to the consumers’ Web sites.

A federal district court judge in Chicago, Robert M. Dow, Jr., ordered a temporary halt to the deceptive claims and froze the defendants’ assets, pending trial. The settlement and default judgment orders announced today end that litigation.

The orders bar the defendants from misrepresenting: that they have a preexisting business relationship with consumers; that consumers owe them money; that they will provide domain name registration; and that they will provide “search optimization services” that will substantially increase traffic to consumers’ Web sites. The defendants are also required to disclose any material restrictions or aspects of any goods or services they provide.

The settlement order, entered against defendants Isaac Benlolo, Kirk Mulveney, Pearl Keslassy, and 1646153 Ontario Inc., includes a suspended judgment of $4,261,876, the total amount of consumer injury caused by the illegal activities. Based on the inability of the settling defendants to pay, they will turn over $10,000 to satisfy the judgment. The default judgment order was entered against defendant Steven E. Dale and includes a judgment in the amount of $4,261,876.

Charges against Ari Balabanian and Data Business Solutions were dismissed by the court at the FTC’s request.

NOTE: Stipulated orders are for settlement purposes only and do not necessarily constitute an admission by the defendants of a law violation. Stipulated orders have the full force of law when signed by the judge.
The Federal Trade Commission works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, click or call 1-877-382-4357. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 1,800 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. For free information on a variety of consumer topics, click

Monday, September 6, 2010

Insurance Fraud

It is sad that stories like this one even exist. Recently, several people were conviced scam involving phony life insurance policy claims. Some of these people had experinece with funerals, death certificates and filing insurance claims. When they joined forces, they were able to use all of this knowledge to defraud companies out of $1.2 million.

To read the entire article, go to

For more information on insurance fraud, visit

Thursday, September 2, 2010

NOVA - National Organization for Victims Assistance

I wanted to thank NOVA for the wonderful conference that they put on in Salt Lake City, Utah August 22nd through August 25th, and for having me as a presentor for one of the workshops.  My co-presentor was Denise Richardson of

Not only did Denise and I get the chance to share our personal stories of how we went from victim to Victims Advocate, we attended several other presentations and were able to meet some amazing people, and I will be sharing that information with you in the upcoming days.