Category Archives: Economy and Meltdown

Bank Fraud – Attacks From Inside and Out…

According to US federal law, bank fraud is knowingly committing or trying to commit some deceitful scheme to…

1. Defraud a financial institution; or
2. Obtain funds, assets, credits, etc., under the control or custody of a bank or financial institution
through fraud, misrepresentation, or false promises.

The maximum penalty for bank fraud is $1 million. The maximum punishment is 30 years. The court may mete out one or the other or both.

Not Necessarily a Bank

Although the crime is called “bank fraud”, it’s a mistake to assume that the law applies only to fraud against banks or financial institutions. The second subsection of the law also includes funds that are in the “control or custody” of the bank. So the bank need not be the loser in the fraudulent act.

For instance, a perpetrator engages in fraud that results in victims mailing him checks, which he cashes at a bank and pockets. The perpetrator could be charged with bank fraud. Forging checks (or the endorsements on them) could also be subject to charges of bank fraud.

Making False Statements

Federal prosecutors often charge perpetrators of bank fraud with making false statements to financial institutions. Making such false statements is defined as
1. Knowingly making a false statement, or overvaluing property
2. To influence in any way
3. The action of a bank or financial institution.

This is also a federal crime and carries the same maximum penalties as bank fraud.

Insider Bank Fraud

There are seven bank fraud schemes commonly perpetrated by persons operating within a financial institution. These are

1. Demand draft fraud – Typically perpetrated by a corrupt bank employee who makes a demand draft payable at some distant location without debiting any account. It’s cashed at the remote branch.

2. Forging or making fraudulent documents – Usually done to conceal a theft

3. Identity theft – A corrupt bank employee may give personal info to an identity thief who could obtain credit under the victim’s name.

4. Making fraudulent loans – A bogus company or one that soon declares bankruptcy takes out a loan with the collusion of a corrupt bank officer.

5. Rogue trading – Perpetrated by a highly placed bank exec, rogue trading involves using the bank’s funds to make speculative investments to make a quick profit. If the speculation pays off, the rogue trader pockets the profits. If losses come one after another, a scandal may ensue, and/or the bank may collapse.

6. Uninsured deposits – Some banks are not licensed to operate and are therefore uninsured (or vice versa). For instance, in 2002, a Washington bank called Chase Trust Bank was found to have no license after it was exposed to be unrelated in any way to New York’s Chase Manhattan Bank.

7. Wire fraud – Banks use wire networks to conduct business among themselves. Wire transfers are nearly impossible to undo and are thus vulnerable to corrupt insiders.

Outsider Bank Fraud

Following are a dozen common schemes perpetrated by people who are usually outside the financial institution, but nonetheless charged with bank fraud:

1. Accounting fraud
2. Booster checks, where un-cleared checks are credited to boost a credit balance
3. Check kiting, where cash that’s in transit (i.e., nonexistent) is stolen
4. Duplicating or skimming card data, copying magnetic stripe info off a card for duplication
5. Forgery or altering checks
6. Fraudulent loan applications
7. Identity theft
8. Internet fraud
9. Money laundering
10. Prime bank fraud
11. Stealing checks
12. Stealing payment cards

We all want to think we are safe but are we? If you want to know more about the different types of crimes committed today, is offering FREE ACCESS to its Criminal Records Information section. If you have a nagging suspicion on someone, run a criminal check on him or her today!

Timeshare Scams Uncovered

It seems every day now I hear another timeshare scam . The timeshare industry is known for scams. And when you hear the scam you wonder how people fall the scam. That’s until the scam happens to someone close to you. Recently, a family member (Walter) told me he was called by his timeshare resort company to rent his week out for him. The more I heard about the story, the more I smelled a scam. Let me tell you about timeshare scams, the tell-tale signs of a scam, and how to avoid timeshares scams so you don’t find yourself falling them .

Walter told me that the resort developer could rent the week for $2,500 and they would charge him a $1,300 up-front fee. I thought that sounded a little fishy . I was surprised that a resort of that stature would do that. So I asked some more questions. I told him to have them call me to talk it over. Let the fun begin.

The company rep called me and I had my questions ready. It turns out that it wasn’t the resort developer at all. It was some company from Florida. They explained to me that they could rent out his studio week in Cancun for the “standard rate” of $2,500. Obviously I challenged that. The more I dug, the more I found out. They weren’t “renting” the week since they were not Realtors. They weren’t handling the transaction. The only thing they were offering was to advertise it. And if it didn’t rent, there were no refunds. No specifics about how they advertised either. While on the phone I did a quick Google search on their name and story after story came up about people they had ripped off. The story was always the same. The company took the customer’s money and ran. The amounts of money they charged varied but the ending was the same. Suffice it to say I told them to never call me or Walter again. SCAM!

So what are the signs of a timeshare scam? Let’s review them.

* Don’t pay an upfront fee – As soon as they ask for that, run. Once they have your money, they have absolutely no incentive to work.

* Verify everything they tell you . Every scam is always the same. It’s some call center operation in Florida making outbound calls to elderly timeshare owners. They sound very friendly on the phone but you have no idea who they are. They will tell you what you want to hear. Check Google, the BBB, and the State Attorney General.

* Tip: Tell them you are recording – To ward off scammers I always tell them I am recording the call and ask for their permission. That usually puts them back on their heels. You’ll know right away who is full of it.

* Get specific – I asked them specifically “You are going to rent this for $2,500?” The answer I got back: “No, we are not realtors. We can only advertise. And there is no guarantee we can get $2,500. It depends on how flexible you are on the offers we get.” Once I started asking questions, the whole story came crashing down like a house of cards.

* Suggested Questions: What specifically are you doing for this money? Is there a refund? Are there any complaints currently filed against you with the Better Business Bureau ? Can you show me proof in writing that you have rented units before for this price? Is there a way for you to get paid out of the proceeds of the rental?

Timeshares are fun but the industry does have its fair share of scams and then some. However you get there, IntervalWorld or, timeshare vacations are great for the family. But remember “Caveat Emptor” (Buyer Beware). The victim feels powerless by the caller. Trust me; you are smart enough to handle this . Just ask a few questions and you’ll be surprised at how quickly you get that feeling in your gut. And once you get that…hang up.

Take a vacation for free! Trade your unused timeshare for another timeshare at over 4,000 resorts worldwide without using IntervalWorld or Come see us at TimeshareJuice!

How To Best Spot Online Scams and Frauds

Online scams and frauds are big business, but only for the scammer and fraudulent delinquent. The problem is that half of the guilty parties who debut these scams to make money, honestly do not have precise intentions to unveil them as scams and rip offs to take your money. Most of these guys just have a quick, not fully thought out plan or system to offer, and really do not care how it works for those who buy into them.

Now there are some who are specifically out there just to take you. For example, the notorious email scams that have been pretty viral the last several years. Usually they are from Nigeria or some other African country, with promises of millions to you, and all you have to do is pay the transfer fees. Yeah, right.

First things first, normally these scams and frauds are presented in magnificent fashion, with promises of huge amounts of money, and only a few buttons to click to receive these massive returns. Now contrary to what most believe, there are ways to make massive amounts of money online, and fast, but there is work to be done in order to get these payouts. If there is no clear strategy given on how to receive this money, than more than likely you can chalk it up as a scam or fraud.

Even these systems of gaining huge amounts of traffic to your site or affiliate link with only a click of a few buttons are, in a word, unrealistic. Now do not get me wrong, as I have stated, there are ways to get these huge payouts and even hoards of traffic very quickly, but some work has to be done in order to reap these benefits.

There was one so-called email scam that existed that claimed it was highly noted by Oprah, 20/20, and even CNN, and people were making anywhere from $40,000-$800,000 in less than a month. The thing with this email was that it actually was not like any of these scams and frauds. However, it only worked if people bought into it. Of course, very few did. And since only very few did, not many people saw this kind of money, and most simply labeled it an email scam. This was a case where skepticism outweighed faith, and a bad name was given to something that could have worked for everyone who received this email. Plus, most people do not have a great, responsive email list to blast to, and copy and pasting was a bit tedious.

Understand that these scams and frauds are real. And there are people out there that only want to take your money, with no conscious at all. However, just because something is not of your forte, does not label it a scam. Do your due diligence first. Find out more about the particular product or system you are reviewing. Ask around! When all else fails, weigh your options and make a decision on whether or not that particular product or system is even worth your money and time to invest in. Nowadays, most programs have a money back guarantee. And if your transaction is made through mediums such as PayPal, you will get your money back.

The bottom line is, if there are claims of you standing to make thousands overnight, and there seems to be no kind of work to be done, it is more than likely a scam. A lot of these salescopy pages for these scams and ripoff sites are dead giveaways anyway. Check the administration or customer service email and ask questions. Most of these sites will not even give you response in the first place. Find out more. If the product or system is genuine, it will be brought to light before you dip into your account for them.

Harold S is a seasoned internet marketer and writer of over 5 years. His work ranges from CPA approvals to video marketing. With a concentration on creating income streams online with the least amount of work, he has decided to focus more on giving insight via article marketing. Click here to view his partnered blog site:

Home Business Scam: Watch Out for These Latest Scams!

are becoming more prevalent these days because of the increased popularity of home based jobs. It is sad to see people falling into the trap to such Cons and usually these Cons are pointed at , the elderly and also disabled people. If you are looking for a work at home career, then you must know how to determine these scams and avoid becoming a victim.

Here are some examples of some work at home business scams:

Scam #1: Envelope Stuffing
This is the classic con which many of us has come across at least once in the past. You see an advertisement or a junk mail announcing that you can gain $1-$2 for every envelope you stuff. Sounds like you can earn money easily, right?? Think again. Most of the time, you need to pay a start-up fee of somewhere $30 or more to join the envelope stuffing program. When you receive the start-up package, you realize that the instruction tells you to spread the word about this envelope stuffing business, then you will get paid. The trick is that they want you to help in earning the start-up fees by sending out the same junk mail you received in the first place. The trick is to get your start-up fee (your money!) first before you realize how this home based business scam really works.

Scam #2 : Processing Medical Bills
This requires you to pay anywhere from $300 to $900 for the tools you need to start your own medical billing service at home. They will promise you some advanced billing software as well as a list of would be clients in your neighborhood. Don’t you think that most medical institutions would process their own medical bills or outsource the processing to a legitimate company, instead of individuals with no experience or knowledge whatsoever? When the package arrives (if it ever does!), you will find that the software is not up-to-date or does not work at all and the list of customers is just plain wrong. Chances are you will never be able to get a refund..

Scam #3 : Craft Assembly
In this home based business scam, you are told you will be given an extremely huge amount of money for every toy, doll, jewelry or other craft item you assemble at home. In order to start, first you are required to pay a start up fee to receive a starter pack which includes instructions and parts. When you are done assembling the product, you are told by the company that they do not meet their specifications therefore you will not get paid for it. Actually you will never be able to reach their expectations because the scam gets money by selling the starter packs. At the end of the day, you are left with a bunch of unwanted products cluttering up your home.

Scam #4 : Data Entry
There are numerous advertisements and postings for data entry opportunities on the Internet and even on online employment sites. All you need to do is just pay $10 to purchase a training package and they would send you all the training materials. You should also see that the job scope is normally very blurry and no prior experience is required. The “job description” is usually that you will need to mail out advertisements and brochures similar to the one you received to other unsuspecting victims. Once they pay up the $10, then you will get half of the money and the person who recruited you will receive half as well.

Scam #5 : Email Processing
This scam is actually similar to the classic envelope stuffing scam stated above. Typically you will be required to pay an upfront fee of about let’s say $49.95 to receive an instruction manual and an email distribution list. The instructions will inform you how to process the emails and you will supposedly get about $25 for each email processed! Seems like the ideal work at home opportunity, doesn’t it?? Wrong! The instructions they send you are actually on how to spam other people’s emails with the same advertisement which motivated you to pay $49.95 in the first place. Then when another unsuspecting person (like yourself) takes the bait and pays $49.95, the spam company will (maybe) pay you your $25.

Ask yourself, is that the kind of work at home job you want to invest your precious time doing? Is it ethical? Is it legal? You are actually associating yourself with a con if you join such work at home business scams, which disguise themselves as genuine opportunities. One thing working from home moms should know is that there is no shortcut to success. Yes, sometimes with luck you can get there speedier than others but most of the time, it takes lots of effort and then some.

Stella Parks is a 28 year old corporate slave, determined to spread the word on “work at home” opportunities to Mums everywhere. Visit her blog at Mummy’s Home Biz for useful info, advice, tips and more to help you become a successful work at home Mum.

How Merchants Can Reduce Credit Card Fraud

If you operate a retail or ecommerce business, accepting all major credit cards and electronic checks is a required method of customer payment.   However, when you decide to accept electronic payments, business owners must also consider the potential cost of fraud.   Studies have shown both traditional and online merchants have lost billions in fraudulent transactions.  Today, technology provides proven methods for identifying and preventing fraudulent transactions.

Fraud can come in many forms. Needless to say fraud is bad for business.  If you process a fraudulent customer order by the time you find out the credit card was stolen you have already shipped the product.  Fraudulent orders usually result in a customer credit card chargeback to your business.   Unfortunately, by that time, you have delivered and lost your product, you have lost the income from the sale and to top it all off; you will receive a chargeback fee from your credit card processor.   I’m sure we can agree there is a strong need to identify and stop a fraudulent order before you deliver your product.

Fortunately for the merchant, there are many steps and processes that can be implemented to reduce and eliminate credit card fraud.


1.    Address Verification Service (AVS) – is a simple and easy to implement process to decrease your chances of accepting a stolen credit card. When you process a credit card transaction; make sure you capture the card holder’s billing address and zip code.   Manual non-swipe (Internet and MOTO) transactions will require you to capture card holder information.  However, card present (swipe) transactions will not.  Once you capture the card holder’s billing address and zip code you’re ready to process the sale.   Your point of sale system will verify AVS with the card issuing bank.  You can receive a street address match only, a zip code match only or a match on street address and zip code.   If you do not receive an AVS match you should consider declining the transaction.  Approximately 80% of fraudulent transactions in the U.S. are AVS mismatches.  Keep in mind, most AVS systems can be configured so be sure to check your AVS settings.  Implementing AVS can have a major impact on reducing credit card fraud.

2.    Card Verification (CVV/CVV2) – is similar to AVS.  CVV is the 3 digit code on the back of a credit card (4 digits for American Express).   Like AVS, CVV is entered at the point of sale.   The card holder’s CVV code is verified by the card issuing bank when the credit card sale is being processed.    If you do not receive a CVV match you should consider declining the transaction.  Online merchants should make CVV a required field.

3.    Use a Threshold Management Service – Threshold management allows the merchant to set parameters for the transactions they will accept.  For example, transactions can be screened based on the amount of money charged per transaction, the number of transactions charged, transaction frequency, average user ticket, etc.  Transactions that are marked as a potential fraudulent transaction will require additional review by the merchant.  Threshold Management services are usually available an add-on service.

4.    Scrutinize Orders from Free email accounts – Fraudsters and thieves like to hide.  One of the easiest ways to hide the identity of a thief is to use a free email account.  Most fraudulent transactions use a free email service.  Merchants should not decline all transactions from a free email service.  However, you may want to provide those orders with more scrutiny.

5.    Scrutinize Orders with a different Ship to address than Bill to address – The thief with the stolen credit card may have the owners billing address and zip code.   If so, you will receive an AVS and CVV match on their order.  However, in order to receive your product they will request the order to be shipped to a different address.   Merchants should review all orders with a different ship to and bill to address.   If the ship to address is a foreign country pay even more attention to the order.

6.    Scrutinize International Orders / Foreign Credit Cards – If your business model requires you to ship to foreign countries you should obtain an International merchant account.   Since non domestic orders have a higher rate of fraud than domestic orders, having an International merchant account will provide you with a higher level of protection.  In additional, an international merchant account will allow you to settle in the local currency.  If you require a domestic and international merchant account you should use a payment gateway with load-balancing.  Load-balancing provides the merchant with the ability to use multiple merchant accounts in a single payment gateway account.

7.    Understand that an Authorization Code does not mean the credit card is not stolen – An authorization code is provided when the transaction has been approved.  However, an authorization code simply means the credit card is valid and has the available credit to process the transaction.  Ultimately, as the business owner, it is up to you to decide to accept or reject the transaction.

8.    Use an Advance Fraud Protection Service – Advanced Fraud Protection services allow the merchant to block transactions by IP address, Country of Origin and other fraud filters.  Advanced fraud protection services are usually available an add-on service.

9.    Use a PCI Compliant Data Storage Service – Merchants who have a requirement to store the customer’s credit card data should use a PCI Compliant Data Storage Service.  A PCI Compliant Data Storage Service allows merchants to transmit and store the customer’s payment information in a Level 1 PCI certified data facility.  Once the customer record has been securely transmitted and stored the merchant can then initiate transactions remotely without having to access credit card or electronic check information directly. This process is accomplished without the merchant storing the customer’s payment information in their local database or payment application.

10.  Review and Implement PCI (Payment Card Industry Standards) Policies – Merchants can review PCI Standards online at   If you’re using a PCI Compliant point of sale solution and you do not store payment data you’re already in good shape.  However, merchants should contact their merchant account provider for more information.

Fraud prevention is a necessary activity for traditional and online merchants.   Exposing your business to fraudulent transactions and high chargeback ratios is bad for business and could cause you to lose your merchant account.   The leading real-time payment gateway services provide advanced fraud protection tools.  However, many fraud prevention techniques can be implemented at no additional costs.

Top Real-time Payment Gateway Services

1.    Planetauthorize (Domestic USA and International)

2.    Authorize.Net (Domestic USA)

3.    PlugnPay (Domestic USA)

4.    Skipjack (Domestic USA)

5.    eProcessing Network (Domestic USA)

Ricky Bracken is President & CEO of SaleManager. SaleManager provides enterprise class payment solutions to small and mid-size businesses. Our payment solutions include PlanetAuthorize Payment Gateway, Certified Shopping Carts, CRM Payment Modules, POS Terminals, Mobile payment solutions and Merchant Accounts.