The website for the United States Postal Service outlines many tips to avoid becoming a victim of mail fraud or ponzi schemes or indentity theft. You can click here to link to the website. The website has this to say about investment fraud and ponzi schemes:
Investment Fraud (Ponzi Schemes)
Fraudulent investment schemes are often marketed by telephone salespersons armed with high pressure and sophisticated selling techniques. Some swindlers surround themselves with the trappings of legitimacy — rented office space, a receptionist, investment counselors, and professionally designed color brochures describing the investment.
Seniors are a prime target for fraudulent investment schemes since many have saved a good amount of money for their retirement years. Fraudulent schemes require you to invest your money — often lots of it. Most promise you either a large increase in the value of your investment or higher-than-market interest on your capital, or both.
These schemes are fraught with danger: in most cases, you will never again see the funds you invested. And you may not even receive the promised interest. If you do receive interest, you will often be paid late. Often, unbeknownst to you, your interest will be paid from the investments of others who are newly brought into the program in order to keep it alive. The swindler hopes these payments will allay any suspicions you might have as to the strength of your investment.
If answers to any of the following questions are yes, you may be dealing with a swindler who wants you to put money in to a fraudulent investment:
Does the salesperson make it sound as you can’t lose?
Are you promised an unusually high rate of return or interest payment on your capital?
Are you pressured to make a decision immediately or within a short period of time because new investment units “are selling fast?”
Does the salesman have any prior successful experience in the investment area he is promoting?
Protect yourself. Be suspicious of any deal that promises fantastic return at little risk. Know whom you are dealing with. If you are not sure, check the company’s reputation with your local Better Business Bureau, Postal Inspector’s Office, or District Attorney’s Consumer Protection Unit. Protect your retirement nest egg. If you’ve been the victim of an investment fraud where the mail was used, contact your local postmaster or the nearest Postal Inspector.
An informative video interview of US Postal Inspector Wanda Shipp provides additional insights for avoiding mail and investment fraud scams which are often targeted at senior citizens:
The Postal Inspection Service’s website states that Postal Inspectors base investigations of mail fraud on the number, pattern, and substance of complaints received from the public. The Postal Inspection Service carefully reviews the information you provide. It may share the information with other agencies when there is a possible violation within their jurisdiction. If you feel you’ve been victimized in a fraud scheme that involves the U.S. Mail, submit a Mail Fraud Complaint Form to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service by clicking here to link to that webpage.
The Postal Service states that If money is lost through a fraudulent scheme conducted via the mail, Inspectors lack the authority to ensure you receive a refund and can’t require that products, services, or advertisements–on the Internet or elsewhere–be altered.
If you are a victim of mail fraud, investment fraud, investment broker fraud, a ponzi scheme, other forms of consumer fraud, unfair debt collection practices, or purchased a lemon automobile, rv or boat our Illinois based consumer fraud and class-action private sector lawyers may be able to assist you obtaining redress if the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, FTC, Illinois Attorney General or other government agency is unable to help you get your money back.
Class action lawsuits our firm has been involved in or spear-headed have led to very large consumer recoveries and in addition substantial awards totalling over a million dollars going to national and local consumer rights organizations including the National Association of Consumer Advocates, the National Consumer Law Center, and local law school consumer programs. Lubin Austermuehle is proud of our achievements in assisting national and local consumer organizations and law school legal aid clinics obtain the funds needed to ensure that consumers are protected and informed of their rights. By standing up to consumer fraud and consumer rip-offs, and in the right case filing consumer protection lawsuits and class-actions you too can help ensure that other consumers’ rights are protected from corporate misdeeds.
Our Naperville, Waukegan, Wilmette,Wheaton, Oak Brook, and Chicago consumer attorneys provide assistance in consumer fraud and consumer rights cases including in Illinois and throughout the country. You can click here to see a description of the some of the many individual and class-action consumer cases we have handled. A video of our lawsuit which helped ensure more fan friendly security at Wrigley Field can be found here. You can contact one of our Chicago area consumer protection lawyers here who can assist in lemon law, tele-marketing fraud, infomercial scams and frauds, unfair debt collection, junk fax, pre-recorded telephone solicitations, and other consumer, consumer fraud or consumer class action cases by filling out the contact form at the side of this blog or by clicking here.