Dating, Dividends and Destruction in Atlanta | Fraud Avoidance
A financial adviser who serves the wealthy says he can provide record returns – it’s a closely guarded secret of reinvesting your dividends that only a few understand. In a different matter, one said “he was new in town” and was just looking for someone to have dinner with. An alluring photograph of an attractive woman says…well, just about anything you can imagine.
In the Atlanta area alone, investment schemes are legion. With the additional anticipated increase in population they will only increase. Fraud in general has always had common denominators and never discriminates in terms of victimizing both the sophisticated and unsophisticated. The fraudster doesn’t care and is not deterred because of your position, affluence or education. To my attorney friends, no matter how dynamic you are in the court room, a dishonest employee will steal from your firm (another topic). Speaking of attorneys, a special caution to my single attorney friends – even the best and brightest are fooled, so be aware of those “upscale” dating websites.
In Atlanta we are blessed with many fine business network groups. Getting to know trusted advisers can be very rewarding. Our chambers of commerce allow us to meet reputable providers, but also some who only have the appearance thereof. Some that you meet, those who seem to have it all together with accolades from the business community, may hold a dark past (or present). Their outward friendliness and a long-time membership in a business group would naturally bring your guard down. How could someone who has been in business for years be a high risk? We’ve noticed that some bad actors may conduct legitimate business then later completely defraud someone. They can and do stay in business after committing a despicable act. Some may close a business and then “rebrand” themselves when the heat is on.
At times, it’s a small myopic clue can alert us and cause us to examine further. In the case of a supposed airline pilot, we noticed he never wore a name tag on his uniform. Many matters will require a detailed review and are recommended before selecting critical vendors, contractors or business advisers. After conducting an examination, we may not find notable risks; however, the lack of information obtained may be of concern. Often, we do find the smoking gun, that blaze orange flare that says, run! Sadly, if only contacted first, the destruction of one’s financial wealth and the emotional toil could have been avoided.
Certain losses will leave a generational financial disaster which originated from the grandmotherly figure who serves police officers and firemen. Fortunately, in the case of the “airline pilot” the victim’s loss was only emotional. All of us can be victimized, even those in the anti-fraud profession. So, if anti-fraud professionals can be victimized, how much more vulnerable are you? Whether it’s a well-groomed aficionado, or non-profit board member with plaques and awards, don’t let appearances, fear or embarrassment prevent you from reaching out for professional assistance – BEFORE you engage. Oh, and Google is not enough.