Rip off artists appear in all shapes and sexes. They usually are nice looking, well dressed and very smooth talkers. They, in conversation, tell you about a financial killing they made, or are in the middle of closing. Then they change the subject. A really smooth talker never asks or suggests you invest. They wait until you beg and plead with them to let you in on their great deal. At this point you are HAD. That means, ” your goose is cooked and you are invited to the feast, because you are the main course.” The logical question is how do you know, before you lose your money that you are going to be ripped off? The answer is independent research, and lots of it.
Find a friend, a friend’s friend who is an “expert” in the specific field you are thinking of investing. Ask lots of questions and listen to him. Ask him or her how to make sure you are protected. In the years, 1990 to 1995, eight people I know paid the same real estate trainer over $5,000 each to show them how to buy real estate for “NO MONEY DOWN.” The trainer claimed she got results. Not one of the students, all of who got to know each other, after years of trying, ever bought a property for “No Money Down.”
Recently the same trainer is offering to get her students 100% financing on real estate, even with bad credit. The MARK (the name for a con artist’s pigeon) thinks he is paying for an education. The education is that you are $5,000 poorer and you have the name of a loan company that will charge you 8.5% on a 1st Mtg. and 11% on a 2nd mtg. I will tell you how to find such a lender yourself and it will only cost you a phone call.
See an attorney or an accountant to review the deal, especially the paperwork. I have seen contracts that if you just read it yourself, word for word and thought about what it said you would run like a wolf is chasing you. He is. One simple real estate contract allowed the con man to take the money out of the joint account before he did the repair work. He took the money and never did any work. Never release money until you have everyone’s signature on the paperwork and your adviser has read the whole contract, word for word. If you cannot afford an attorney, do not do the deal. It is better to not make a profit than to loose what you already have. “A fool and his money are soon parted.” Don’t be the fool.
Get to know this person. Who are his friends? Who does he work with? What does the real estate commissioner or the “Better Business Bureau.” Have on him? Ask for the names of people who have already invested with the “con artist”, made their profit, and are out of the deal. Do not ask a person who has gotten in but hasn’t gotten out. Multilevel people love to have you talk to people that have just gotten into the group, just before you.
One of smoothest people around was a securities investment adviser in Santa Barbara. He got hundreds of people to invest with him because hundreds of people had already invested with him. None of them did the level of homework they should have. The few people, who did do independent research, smelled a rat and didn’t invest. Many of his investors have lost their whole life’s savings; the rest just lost a lot of money, but will recover. If you think I am trying to scare you, then you are absolutely right. “Money should come in rapidly and be spent very slowly.” See “Fraud in Real Estate – part II”