“You can’t fix stupid,” –Comedian Ron White.
My grandson called the other day and said he needed some money. He was backpacking in South America and got into a little trouble. He’s a good kid, but he’s growing up way too fast for a 5-year-old, which my only grandson is.
“How much milk money you need?” I asked, as the scam artist hung up on me.
Maybe he called you next because the grandparents scam is still one of the more popular cons these bottom-feeders try to pull off, according to the AARP Fraud Resource Center.
Between the insistent boiler room calls, and phony emails I get from rich, older women, I’m starting to think I’m the perfect target for scammers – an old guy with money and rapidly diminishing brain cells.
Mrs. Aisha Gaddafi — the late, Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi’s daughter – sent me an email last week saying she had $27 million she wanted to get out of her country, and needed a trusted investment-manager in this country to handle her affairs.
Did she email Warren Buffett? Schwab or Fidelity? Rudy Guiliani? No, she emailed me, the guy who flushed $5,000 down the toilet on a hot tip Colonel Sanders was buying out Koo Koo Roo Chicken.
You can’t fix stupid.
Roselen Rogas, a sick soul living in Paris, sent me an email saying she had $6.8 million she wanted me to dole out before she dies to widows, orphans, the handicapped and underprivileged in this country. The only thing she left out was sick puppies. All I had to do was call her lawyer with my “personal details.”
“God bless you,” she said. If I was God, I’d be more than a little ticked off so many scammers were hiding behind my good name. One scammer even used a Catholic nun as a cutout in her con.
She left me an ATM card with $200,000 on it, but to get it I had to contact a nun who was a friend of hers. The woman would have sent me the ATM card herself, but she was too busy packing for a trip to China.
Who’s going to China these days? Everybody’s going the other way. You can’t fix stupid.
Pick a scam, any scam, there’s plenty going around, says Strat Maloma, AARP California fraud network campaign lead. There’s grandparents, home improvement, romance, pet, charity, and cruise scams. There’s debt relief, celebrity imposter, IRS, funeral, census, credit repair, health insurance and holiday scams.
They’re all “phishing” something, trying to get in your wallet and acquire valuable personal and financial data – social security numbers, credit card details, and passwords for online accounts. And, it’s getting worse.
“Scams are definitely on the rise from people inside and outside the country,” Maloma said. “They’re becoming more complex, especially with how easy the internet, online world makes it. We’re getting a lot of grandparent scams and IRS scams with tax season approaching.
“The scammers use pressure and scare tactics, like a loved one’s in trouble and unless you send money a detrimental consequence is going to happen. That makes people think with their emotion rather than rational.”
The romance scams are the worst. Not only do they steal a woman’s money, they break her down to the point she feels worthless and contemplates suicide, Maloma said. There’s a five-minute video on the fraud resource center website – aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork – that details such a case.
Do scammers feel any remorse when they’re caught? Maloma wouldn’t bet on it. “I don’t know whether they have remorse for what they did to their victims or more remorse about being caught.”
Either way, AARP has a full court press going on to train volunteers in fraud education, and then send them out into senior communities to give people information before they need it. The fraud resource center helpline is (877) 908-3360.
As for me, I’m getting pinged again. A Ms. Melanie Abebayo wants my assistance in the transfer and investment of her inheritance funds from her late father who died mysteriously, and left her $5 million euros.
“Please, if I can trust in your honesty to help me, I will give you $500,000 euros. I will give you more details when I receive your response.”
Here’s my response. Sure, you can trust in my honesty. I’ve got the perfect investment. Did you hear Colonel Sanders is buying Koo Koo Roo Chicken?
Dennis McCarthy’s column runs on Sunday. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
California’s vague new financial regulation law
California has a new financial regulation law but its reach is vague and awaits more definition.
Assembly Bill 1864 didn’t get much media or public attention as it zipped through both houses of the Legislature on the last day of the 2020 session.
Superficially, it appeared merely to reconfigure the state’s financial regulatory agencies into a new entity called the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation.
However, those in California’s vast financial industry were paying lots of attention because the bill creates an entirely new regulatory regime with broad powers, including fines of up to $1 million a day, to police financial players that hitherto have had little oversight.
The official rationale for the legislation is that President Donald Trump’s administration neutered the federal Dodd-Frank Wall Street Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010, so the state must step in with an equivalent to guard against predatory financial practices that harm consumers.
The new California Consumer Financial Protection Law gives the reconstituted agency authority to go after “abusive practices” whose definition in the law is fairly vague. Thus, the agency itself will define the term as it also decides which businesses will face its scrutiny.
It appears that the new law will affect firms involved in debt settlement, credit repair, check cashing, rent-to-own contracts, payday lending, student loan servicing and financing for retail sales. However, its primary target seems to be financial services offered by non-banks, particularly what are called “fintech companies” that offer bank-like services via the Internet without maintaining physical offices.
Fintechs, many of them based in the San Francisco Bay Area, have blossomed in recent years as part of the digital economy, competing with traditional brick-and-mortar banks. Their disruptive nature is not unlike the challenge that technology-based ride services such as Uber and Lyft pose to taxicabs and buses.
Late-blooming changes in AB 1864 exempted traditional financial firms that are already regulated, such as banks and credit unions, from the new consumer protection law, leading some analysts to conclude that its unstated aim is to help them stave off competition from new kids on the financial block.
The vagueness of the new law was encapsulated in what Gov. Gavin Newsom said during a signing ceremony. The new law and the new department, he said, will “create conditions for innovation to flourish in a way where we can steward that and we can just work against its excesses. So we support risk-taking, not recklessness.”
Newsom also signed two other financial protection measures, one that requires debt collectors to be licensed beginning in 2022 and the other creating a Student Loan Borrower Bill of Rights.
Although the new state law is said to mirror the Dodd-Frank law, it contains at least one significant difference. When federal regulators levy fines for what they consider to be bad conduct, the money goes into the federal treasury. When state regulators impose their fines of up to $1 million a day, the money will be retained by the new agency to finance more activity.
Will that give the new agency a financial incentive to skip over minor consumer issues and go after big companies? It’s a question that only time will answer.
Significantly too, the new investigative and regulatory mechanism contained in AB 1864 specifically does not usurp the authority of the attorney general to also target companies under the state’s equally vague “unfair competition” law.
From its inception a decade ago, Dodd-Frank has attracted criticism from business executives for regulatory overkill. Will California’s new version be less controversial? We won’t know until the new agency puts some definitional meat on its bones.
California’s vague new financial regulation law – Whittier Daily News
Significantly too, the new investigative and regulatory mechanism contained in AB 1964 specifically does not usurp the authority of the attorney general to also target companies under the state’s equally vague “unfair competition” law.
CalMatters is a public interest journalism venture committed to explaining how California’s state Capitol works and why it matters. For more stories by Dan Walters, go to calmatters.org/commentary
397 people register to vote on deadline day at Duval Supervisor of Elections – 104.5 WOKV
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Monday, Oct. 5 at midnight, is the deadline to register to vote in Duval County.
But the Supervisor of Elections helped hundreds of people get registered today.
Robert Phillips, the chief elections officer of the Duval Supervisor of Elections, told Action News Jax’s Courtney Cole that 397 people came down to the Supervisor of Elections in downtown Jacksonville to get registered.
Supervisor of Elections staff assembled tents outside to allow people to register to vote without having to go through the COVID-19 prescreening necessary to enter the building.
“Again, 2020 has thrown us some challenges,” Phillips said.
There was even a little rain thrown into the mix today, but it didn’t stop folks from coming out.
“Out here, we have a lot of activity. We’ve been going since first thing this morning,” Phillips told Action News Jax.
There were people of all ages from all walks of life — some even registered for the very first time like Lemark Jamison.
Monday, Oct. 5, is a day he will always remember.
“It feels awesome, you know? It feels awesome,” Jamison told Cole.
Today, Jamison had the opportunity to register to vote for the first time in Florida.
“I’ve worked for voter registration companies. I’ve done advocating for Amendment 4, but I was never able to vote because of my prior background. But now I can,” Jamison said.
Jamison, the owner of a tax and credit repair business, told Cole his prior felony conviction held him back in the past.
In November 2018, more than 60% of Floridians voted to restore voting rights to more than 1 million people who completed their sentences.
But several months later, legislation was passed that required them to pay all financial penalties, which means thousands lost the right as quickly as they gained it.
“I’ve been contributing to society. I’ve been able to have several businesses. And I pay taxes. But I haven’t been able to, when it comes to voting, whether in a local level or any type of legislature — I haven’t been able to vote,” Jamison said.
The 35-year-old told Cole even though his wife helped him fill out his voter registration form — to which he exclaimed, “Thank God for wives, right?” — he told Cole it was pretty easy.
Now, he has this advice to share with other people who may be in his shoes:
“Get out and vote. Take advantage of this opportunity, regardless of who you plan on voting for.”
Here’s a breakdown from the Supervisor of Elections of how the 397 people registered today:
-56% registered as Democrats.
-21% registered as Republicans.
-22% registered as nonparty affiliates.
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