Scam Alert: Crooks Posing as Your Government Tax Office to Steal Your Money or Tax Rebate

Millions of Americans and Canadians across North America will be filing their personal taxes before their government’s deadlines (April 15th in the United States and April 30th in Canada). The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) highly advise their citizens to file before the deadline to avoid late penalties.

Sadly, many are falling for a scam that’s robbing them of their money…

Crooks are posing as IRS and CRA employees and are calling American and Canadian citizen to say that they owe money and they need to pay right now. Typically, the citizen is told to wire money to the “office” or purchase a pre-paid credit card to send money to them so the debt can be cleared.

It’s a scam; don’t fall for it…

Here are some articles detailing this fresh new tax scam.

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Tips on How to Avoid Doing Business With Scam Companies

I hate money scams and I equally hate hearing when someone’s become a victim of one. That’s why when scammers are taken down, we must celebrate.

Arrests made in $6-billion cyber money-laundering case

According to this report on CNN Money, Spanish law enforcement arrested a man by the name of Arthur Budovsky, founder of a Costa Rican based online money laundering company called Liberty Reserve.

The issue? Liberty Reserve allowed its customers to set up shell companies and fake profiles to conduct transactions. Because of the anonymity, Liberty Reserve “became a popular hub for fraudsters, hackers and traffickers,” said one of the sources quoted in the article.

This is one of those scams that are hard to detect…

The company looks legitimate and so, too, do the people who either own or manage the company. But there are always clues that companies or the people that run them are scams.

  • Try to get independent referrals about a particular business. Alot of businesses will have customer testimonials on their websites. I recommend contacting the customers directly, or, use your network to locate someone who has dealt with the person or company and can give you their independent opinion.
  • Plug in the company name into a search engine and see what comes back. Every business will have one or two not-so-nice reviews about a company, but one that has the word “scam” or “con artist” associated with its name is one to stay away from.
  • Find out if the company is registered with your state or province’s business affairs office. This isn’t always a sure-fire way to protect yourself, but it helps. If a company is registered in your state or province, then you’ll have a place to turn to if you need to file a complaint.
  • Use a credit card with a low credit balance when making purchases online. Never send cash, money orders or wire transfers to purchase items online. Use a credit card for online purchases since many protect you against fraud and use one that has a low balance.
  • Run if someone is promising a return on investment that seems too good to be true. I recently blogged about a pastor who was arrested for running a scam within his church. He promised an 80% return in 12-months on a $10,000 investment. This is completely unrealistic. Be mindful of anyone that promises that you can “make thousands in your sleep,” “earn 6-figures or more with just one email,” “live your lifestyle business on just 1-hour a day.”

What other tips would you suggest to help avoid doing business with scam companies? Enter your tips below.

How to Keep You & Your Money Safe When Using Online Classifieds

I remember selling a stereo using the Penny Saver about 20-years ago. A man and woman visited my home, looked at the stereo, fiddled with the knobs, then gave me $40 and took it away.

It was a pleasant experience. And for the vast majority of people, selling unwanted items through classifieds such as Craigslist, eBay and Kijiji is a pleasant experience.

Sadly, there are many crooks who use these services as well to commit crimes.

Over the past few days, a man by the name of Tim Bosma has been in the news. He went missing after taking 2 men on a test drive of a vehicle Tim posted on the online classified site called kijiji.

The men went to Tim’s home, most likely after having a conversation as to when it’d be convenient to see the vehicle. Tim told his wife he’d be back in a few minutes, left his home with the 2 men and was never seen again.

Today, almost a week after Tim’s disappearance, the police announced that a charred body was found and they believe it to be the remains of Tim.

I’m saddened to hear this. Truly saddened. Tim was a family man and attended church weekly. He was a Christian and by the sounds of it, well loved by his community and church family.

He was 32. He was a father. He had a wife. And he had a mother. A law-abiding, God-fearing man killed. What a complete and utter waste. Tim had so much life to live. He did not deserve this.

Anyone can become a victim. According to reports, Tim was a big guy. He was a smart man, yet he became a victim. The question then becomes “How can you continue to use online classifieds to make money without becoming a victim of a scam?” I offer some tips.

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When a Pastor Promises an 80% Return in 12-Months

A Toronto-area pastor was arrested last week, along with his wife and the bookeeper for his church, for allegedly scamming $8.6-million dollars from members of his congregation.

Marlon Hibbert, his wife (who’s also a pastor) Verna Michelle Hibbert and the church’s administrative clerk, Lorraine Bahlmann, face 38 counts of fraud over $5,000.

It took just over 6-months for the arrests to take place after the Ontario Securities Commission ruled in September 2012 that the 3 were guilty of securities fraud.

Here’s how the fraud worked…

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How to Avoid Becoming the Victim of a Charity Scam

This week, the United States has been rocked by explosions. The bombing at the Boston Marathon and the explosion at a Texas fertilizer company creates dozens of victims who need help.

How can we help humans who are suffering after a tragedy or disaster without falling victim to the crooks who set up fake charities to steal our money? I share some tips in the video below.

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How to Spot a Speaking Scam (Jarrow Speaking Scam Revisited)


It is the one year anniversary when I nearly took leave of close to $2000 due to speaking scam.

I was stopped in my tracks when my very suspicious virtual assistant confirmed it was a scam. I blogged about my experience and I’m happy to see that nearly 150 comments later, that blog post is helping a small group of speakers, trainers and coaches avoid losing their money.
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National Fraud Prevention Month: The Nigerian Scammer’s Why

I’ve had the pleasure of seeing how others have avoided becoming a victim of the speaking scam due to my blog post outlining a years old speaking scam that nearly got me back in January 2012.

But if you knew the scammers reason why they’re participating in a scam, would you be less angry at them?

That’s the question I asked myself when one of the commenters, an American-based trainer and author, added to the comments area an email exchange he had with one of the scammers.

The American-based trainer and author, Bayo, happens to be Nigerian and was pretty upset that the speaking scam is being perpetuated by people in his homeland.

Bayo sent an email to the scammer letting him know that what he’s doing is wrong and that it’s putting a black mark on the reputation of all Nigerians. He got a reply where the scammer, who identified himself as Ola, said that Christian missionaries, corrupt politicians and constant war has made living in Nigeria unbearable.

Here’s what Ola says (and I edited for clarity – you can read the email exchange here):

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National Fraud Prevention Month: What I Learned from the Jarrow Speaking Scam

It’s National Fraud Prevention Month as declared by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the Government of Canada. After almost becoming a victim of a speaking scam, I’d like to share my thoughts on how you can spot a scam so you’re not a victim.

1. Separate yourself from the situation

In the heat of the moment, it’s easy to fall for the charm of the scammer. They seem helpful, empathetic and professional. Get off the phone or leave your computer quickly. Take a walk, take a showever, anything so you can separate yourself from the spell being cast on you.

My dad tells people who call him that he has to check with his board of directors before he makes a decision (and then hangs up the phone). His board of directors are me and my 2 sisters. In his mind, if he wants something, he’ll go out and get it. He doesn’t need someone calling him to tell him what he needs. Take on my dad’s mindset and you’ll be safe.

2. Talk to a family member or trusted friend

Don’t make your decision in isolation. Speak to someone about what you’re going to do. When I chatted to my mom about the speaking scam, she made a wise comment. She said “Leesa, when you usually speak overseas, you typically tell me months in advance. This one seems so quick.” She was right. Reputable event planners start organizing their events at least a year.

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Saint Paul’s Church, Jarrow, UK Speaking Scam (I Was Almost a Victim)

I speak and train for a living.

In fact, I call myself a motivational teacher (hat tip to John C. Maxwell for that clever term). If an organization wants to hire me to speak, my personal assistant gathers all the details, sends them our speaker contract, gets their signatures, the deposit is made into my account, then we know it is all legit.

So when she received the following email from a one Bishop Mark Jarrow from St. Paul`s church, my personal assistant had little to suspect that anything was amiss. She did do a quick Google search and found out that the Bishop and the church are real.

Here’s the email…

Name: Mark Jarrow

Blessings to you from Jarrow, Leesa, I am Bishop Mark Jarrow, presiding Minister of the Saint Paul’s Church, Jarrow, United Kingdom. We are pleased to inform you that we would like to engage you for a speaking event here in Jarrow at the Church conference coming up on the 17th, 18th & 19th of February 2012. The conference is tagged: ‘Big things: How to start small’.

Please we would like you to convey to us your availability for one of the dates as it can fit in your schedule.
Also, please we would as well appreciate if you get back in-touch with us in ample time so we can start corresponding the details. Thank you and expecting to hear from you soon.

Remain Blessed.

Bishop Mark Jarrow
+44 7031873786
St Paul’s Church,
Tyne & Wear,
NE32 5QJ
United Kingdom.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
1 Peter 2:9

Given that I’m a woman of faith and I love speaking in front of groups where I can add principles from the Bible and not have people squirm, I was even more eager to visit St. Paul’s and speak to the Bishop’s conference.

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