How To Protect Yourself Against Fraudulent Schemes And Wildcat Investments - Have A Life And Get Paid - Interesting Ways To Make A Living And Money
Self Protection Against Fraudulent Schemes And Wildcat Investments
Thousands of men and women, who have lost their savings of years through the skillfully manipulated schemes of men who make a profession of robbing the unwary, might still be in comfortable circumstances had they been forewarned and forearmed against these people by the timely advice of some one who knew the crooks and turns by which they approach their victims with honeyed words and roseate pictures of fortunes quickly and easily made.
Women who have come into the possession of considerable sums of money, through inheritance, or as beneficiaries of husbands, fathers or brothers, are the special objects of exploitation. It is estimated that fully 90 per cent of the women thus provided for, lose the entire amounts within three to six months.
Many of these women succumb to flatteries accompanying offers of marriage, and willingly turn over every dollar that some loyal and devoted husband and father has made untold sacrifices to provide. Once in possession of the money, however, these villains usually disappear, to seek new fields and swindle other women by the same contemptible methods.
The greater part of the fraudulent schemes through which women with little savings are swindled, consists of plausible plans for making “profitable” investments. The writer of this chapter is reliably informed that in a certain city of over 100,000 inhabitants, more than sixty-five men engage in this business.
Women, however, are not the only victims, for men are also easily persuaded to part with their savings.
The man or woman known to have acquired any considerable sum of money, or even a few hundred dollars, is skillfully approached and asked to make an investment that is “sure to double your money in six months,” or guaranteed to pay 1,000 per cent dividends within a year, and every year thereafter, and the alluring picture thus held out is usually a veritable gem of literary and artistic skill.
Perhaps it is a choice piece of real estate, which the owner will sell at a “great sacrifice,” as his health requires a removal to a “milder climate.” Or it may be a block of mining or industrial stock, represented by a gorgeously engraved certificate, embellished with an elaborate seal and is advertised as a “real snap,” as only a few dollars of additional capital will start the enterprise to grinding out dividends. Whatever it is, there is a dazzling certainty about its future that is perfectly bewildering to the poor investor, who is made to see him- or herself soon very wealthy. And how easy it is to make an inexperienced woman—or man, either—believe that her or his few hundred dollars can so easily be turned into a channel that will bring a swift and sure reward.
The bait may be a first mortgage on a piece of farm land, “worth many times the small indebtedness it represents,” bears a high interest rate, and which, if foreclosed by the holder, would make him well to do.
Oftentimes these seductive offerings come through a friend, who offers—for a commission—to guide the faltering steps of the investor to certain wealth, as a personal favor.
The valuable farm land is found to be upon a mountain top or in the middle of a swamp, where no one could live or nothing can grow. It is worthless. But the mortgage, which showed some one had loaned a large sum of money on it? Oh, that was a mortgage made for the purpose. No real money was ever loaned on it.
And the stock in that wonderful mine, almost ready to pay dividends? Why, that consists principally of a set of location stakes, with perhaps a 10-foot hole in the ground, representing the first year’s assessment work on a very poor “prospect.” Anybody can see that it never will make a mine.
But the industrial enterprise—that surely must have a bright and promising future. Well, maybe, but as yet it has no equipment, no raw material, no franchise, no location—nothing but a certificate of incorporation, authorizing a few comparatively unknown men, with no capital whatsoever, to do a certain kind of manufacturing or other business—if they can raise a little money with which to make a start. At last, when the money is gone and it is too late, the poor investor begins to realize what has happened. His money is lost.
It is bad enough for the one who has been thus defrauded, but it is many times worse when little children are made to suffer. It may be that the widow should pay the penalty of her foolishness but the innocent, helpless little children are the ones who suffer most.
How to guard against the depredations of these people, and protect one’s self, is the object of this chapter. By following the plan here outlined, any man or woman can be assured of comparative safety. It has been successfully employed, and has saved thousands of dollars.
First of all, you must learn to do your own thinking, instead of becoming confused by the advice that is offered you, for no two of your friends or acquaintances will advise you alike. Use your own judgment, and carefully weigh every suggestion.
Suppose you are approached with a proposition to invest your money. No matter how attractive the prospect may look, adopt this as a slogan: “Investigate before investing,” and do this thoroughly, because the “snap” will not be gone if you delay a little while. Make sure that your investigation is as complete as possible. This will not only protect you from fraudulent and wild-cat schemes but will enable you to find a really meritorious proposition. It may cost you from $25 to $50 as expense for investigation purposes, but this is far better than losing $5,000 to $10,000.
Make it a rule to test all propositions on which you are solicited—to never act until you have full information before you. When approached by the person desiring you to invest tell him before going into a discussion as to the investment you wish to be informed about his company. Copy all the following questions and submit them to him, requesting that each question be carefully answered, and that after the answers are made they shall be signed by the corporation, individual, company or partnership. If his proposition is all right, and he believes in it, he will gladly co-operate; but if he is doubtful whether or not it will stand the test, he will endeavor to persuade you not to put the company to the trouble of answering so many unnecessary questions. Adhere to your resolution to have the information first. These questions alone will eliminate nine-tenths of the fraudulent investments and all weak propositions.
List Of Questions To Submit
1. Give full name of corporation, partnership or association.
2. If partnership, has your firm name been properly filed of record?
3. If corporation, when were you incorporated?
4. Have you paid your last annual license fee to the state?
5. What is your capitalization?
6. In how many shares is the company divided?
7. Is the stock assessable or non-assessable?
8. Do you have common or preferred stock?
9. If you have common or preferred stock, how much common and how much preferred stock have you?
10. State the object of the company in issuing these two kinds of stock.
11. What advantage has the preferred over the common?
12. What is the preferred stock selling for? Also the common? How much have you sold to date of each?
13. What are the names of the present stockholders and their addresses and how much cash have they paid for the stock they hold?
14. If they have not paid cash—what did they give for their stock?
15. Has any stock or interest in the company been given for the promotion of the company? If so, how much or what interest?
16. Give the names, addresses and businesses, also amount of stock held by each of the officers, trustees or directors of said corporation or company, also did they pay cash for their stock—if so, how much? If service was rendered for stock, what was the service?
17. Is the stock of the company paid for in full? If so, state how or in what manner it was paid for.
18. When and where do you hold your annual meetings?
19. Do your trustees meet regularly and transact their business and have they done so from the inception of the corporation?
20. Have you a list of articles of incorporation and by-laws printed? If so, please furnish me with a copy of them.
21. Please state where I can see the minutes of your meeting.
22. Will you allow my attorney to go over the minutes of your meetings?
23. Have you real estate? If you answer yes, set forth the legal descriptions of all the real estate now owned by you, whether in this state or in other states.
24. Is the above described property free and clear of all incumbrances?
25. If you answer no, state in detail the kind of incumbrance, amount, and date it is due.
26. Please state the present value of each piece of property and state whether or not it is improved.
27. If you answer that the land is improved, state clearly how and in what manner it is improved and set forth clearly what the improvements are on said land.
28. What income has said lands and what is the gross expense of the property?
29. What net profit is made from land each year by your company?
30. What other assets has the company? And if there are other assets, where are they kept? Please set forth these assets in full, their present value and whether or not they are free and clear of all incumbrances.
31. What bank or trust company do you bank with? How long have you banked with it.
32. How much have you now on hand with said bank or trust company?
33. Please give the name and address of your lawyer and how long he has represented you.
34. What salaries are paid to officers of the company?
35. What are the total debts of the company at the present time? Please state to whom they are due and how long they have been owing.
36. Are there any judgments now on record or in existence against your company?
37. Are there any lawsuits now pending? If you answer yes, please give case number, name and address of plaintiff’s attorney and amount involved.
38. Is there any contemplated suit against the company which you have any knowledge of? If you answer yes, state the facts concerning it.
39. Please furnish me with a detailed statement of the affairs of the company. Showing the present income and expense and net profit or loss made to date.
40. Have you as yet paid dividends on your stock?
41. Please furnish me with a complete statement in writing as to what your company plans to do this year and the immediate future and what profits are reasonably possible from such operations.
42. If I invest $——, please state to what use my money will be put.
43. If it is to be used for a certain purpose, state how much of my money will go to the company and how much will go out on commissions.
44. Will the money I have subscribed be sufficient or will other money be necessary for the company successfully to carry out its plans? If you answer no, how much more will be necessary?
In the event of the above list of questions being answered in full, inform the salesman that you will familiarize yourself with the report and will later call upon him to go over the matter.
First look into the reputation of the men connected with the company. Also the reputation of the trustees and officers. Also obtain the financial standing of the large stockholders. This can be done in cities of over 50,000 by consulting reporting companies. See some prominent merchant and find out the best reporting company in the city. Call or write the reporting company and ascertain from them whether the above parties are good pay and whether they are the kind of men that are successful in carrying out plans. This report is important; it will cost you so much per name but it is well worth the fee to you. If the majority of these men are unknown—or have a poor reputation and are bad pay—it would be unnecessary to go further in your investigations as your chances would be very poor in such a company. Oftentimes this investigation alone will show the promotors have suits pending against them and even judgments on record.
However, if these investigations show the above-referred-to men O. K., submit the signed report to a banker not named as the company banker and obtain as complete a report as possible in writing from the bank and pay for the trouble; if the bank will not give a written report obtain a verbal report and write it down later yourself. If their advice is for or against the investment, obtain their reasons, and if none is given do not give it any thought.
Now see a lawyer and have him give you an exhaustive written report on your signed report, and pay him for it. Remember that it is far better to pay $25 to $50 and know where your investment is to go, than take a chance of losing all you possess. These last two reports will be very valuable to you. I suggest that they be put in writing so that when you are alone in your home you will be able to consider more carefully their report and advice.
Now make a copy of the real property and write the assessors of the county in which the land lies for a report concerning this land and its improvements. This information will be furnished you free of charge. If it be farm property, they can inform you quite well the kind of land and its value and also give you what improvements, if any, are on the land and their nature. And the same is true of city property. While the assessor’s estimate may be a little below the real value of the land it is far better to have the land at too conservative a figure than an excessive figure.
In the event that the company is in possession of mortgages, have a detailed report from the county assessor’s office as to the mortgaged property. This will give you the character of the mortgage security.
The writer in the last two years has saved more than $5,000 to his clients by checking up the property used as a security for the mortgage.
In one case my client requested me to prepare a deed and have it ready for him at three o’clock, the time of request being about 1:30 P. M., that he had decided to accept a $1,500 mortgage. The mortgage ran for three years—two years having elapsed—and the interest had been paid to date. He permitted me, by way of caution, to call the county assessor’s office, some hundred miles away, by long distance, which revealed that the land securing the mortgage was above the snow line up in a mountain region and worthless.
Armed with the above information you are prepared to talk and question the salesman. If he is sincere he will endeavor to answer fully your questions. After you talk with the salesman do not give your answer at once but inform him that you will give him your final answer in two or three days.
With the various reports before you—and the salesman’s answers to your questions which you should jot down—as judge of your own affairs decide your course of action. If your decision is to invest your money you will be an asset to the company as you will be familiar with its workings. Oftentimes ignorant investors in a company will destroy a good proposition.
If your decision is favorable, put away the signed report of the company, along with all the data, you have secured, and in case the future develops that the facts stated in the company’s report is untrue, you can lay the representation made, before an attorney and your case will be clear.
Read More From An Encyclopedia Of Plans To Make Money By Harold M. Dunphy