May 26th, 2009
One of my favorite series bloggers sarahnity has a weekly series at Daily Kos called “Frugal Fridays” that offers different tips and ideas every week, by her and a number of volunteer authors, on how to make your money go farther, how to earn money on the side, and how to hang on to what you’ve got. Last Friday the theme was frauds and scams geared toward those being most harmed by the current economy, entitled Don’t Get Fooled Again.
I’m just going to list the major confidence games going around in recent weeks/months, and the several resources and good advice offered to help people determine if something’s on the up-and-up or just more grifters targeting the weak to make themselves strong. The series is awesome, definitely worth bookmarking by all readers of this blog and checked every Friday afternoon for the latest in resources for the frugal.
The major scams making the rounds these days – particularly via the internet – are sometimes old and sometimes new. There’s the standard Work from Home sting where you have to pay to find out who’s hiring. If someone wants your money before showing you the want ads, it’s likely a scam. Real employers aren’t looking for you to pay them, they’re seeking people to pay for good work.
Then there’s the new-ish trick of Facebook identity theft where a clever grifter assumes an identity from among your networking ‘friends’ (often a relative) to beg for money. Be suspicious if someone on your Facebook page suddenly asks for money. Often the real person knows nothing about it – so check on regular email before sending anything.
There are also property tax scams going around where someone tells you you’re paying too much for property recently devalued. All you have to do is send money and the scammers won’t do anything for you. These can come in the regular mail too, so always do your homework and check with your real property tax officials about what’s what. If you really do pay too much, they’ll let you know for free. In line with this there are also housing and mortgage frauds, where someone offers you a “special rate” to refinance, take your money and disappear. Don’t fall for it.
There are more, of course. Please click on Sarah’s linked diary and check them out, there is good advice on how not to be victimized and who to report suspected scams to in your state and locality.Filed under Debt, Government Bailouts, Housing, Pirates, Taxes | Comment (1)
January 28th, 2009
For those of us on the short end of the recent and ongoing mass looting of the economy by the kind of ant-populist robber barons who make Jesse and Frank James seem like do-gooders The Hardy Boys, there is now a historical record of the Fortune 500 CEO Hall of Shame in what could be printable trading cards outlining the shameful accomplishments of the Worst of the Worst.
Check out the card for Lehman Brothers’ Richard Fuld, whose stats list a total loss of $29 billion, while his personal take for the efforts comes in at a cool $71.9 million. Look at that punum… does he look suspiciously like a lizard? Then there’s Countrywide’s Angelo Mozilo, with a face only a mother (or a Sicilian Don) could love. Stats: in the loss column, a total of $22 billion. It’s the personal take that’s truly impressive – $225.7 million. This guy was good at being bad!
So if you’re overdue for an out-loud chuckle in the midst of economic meltdown designed to do the most amount of serious harm to the most number of honest, hard-working citizens, don’t miss this offering by BusinessPundit. It’s well worth the waste of card stock and color toner.Art, Credit Cards, Debt, Elitism, Holidays, Humor, Pirates | Comment (0)
October 24th, 2008
It’s true, and should come as no surprise that modern day pirates are responsible for the current mass chaos in the markets. I mean, this is just the sort of things pirates do, isn’t it? Or, so says Peter Hayes, Senior Lecturer in politics at the University of Sunderland.
In Dr. Hayes’ latest paper, ‘Pirates, Privateers and the contract theories of Hobbes and Locke’, the argument is developed and interesting. Not only did pirates practically invent participatory democracy by electing their captain, voting on major decisions and distributing the booty in fairly equal shares, but they were often backed by financiers in distant countries. Which, according to Hayes, makes your average pirate ship roughly equivalent to a modern corporation.
“Pirates had a democratic structure, and relative equality, but they were doing all this to violate the rights of other people,” Hayes says. “The idea of a social contract is that it protects human rights. But what if you create a social contract to say that we’ll observe rights toward each other, but we won’t observe rights for outsiders?”
Hmmm… Maybe Hayes has a point. Or maybe pirates themselves were an expression of the basic xenophobia that has existed ever since early tribal society. But pirates are a more popular romantic icon these days than simple hunter-gatherers, so Hayes can use them as a selling point. Somehow, the robber barons of today don’t elicit the kind of romantic idol-worship or secret sympathies from the vast amount of us in the out-group they’re busy hijacking day to day.
For the most part, they’re disgusting. Which is why when AIG and other failed brokers and bankers take $70 billion of a trillion-dollar taxpayer bailout to pad the top privateers’ junkets and golden parachutes, the taxpayers aren’t very happy with it. Off with their heads, I say!Filed under Economic Recession, Education, Government Bailouts, Humor, Pirates, Politics | Comment (0)