Fraudulent How-to Manuals and Services
How-to manual scams target the masses; anyone who is willing to send a nominal amount for instructions, presumably guaranteed to work, on how to get employment, start your own business, track down lost money, take advantage of government auctions, receive scholarships etc.
They promise the moon but deliver only green cheese in the form of a flimsy, poorly designed, stapled brochure containing the most basic and generic of information, easily obtainable from any library or government agency at no charge.
Some Truth in Advertising
One con, familiar with the actual mechanics and reality of how-to offers, took the scam to the next level by offering to "franchise" the operation to greedy individuals seeking to knowingly take advantage of others. This may be one case where the victims actually deserved their fate.
Sale of Distribution Rights to Consumer Manuals
My Multi-Million Dollar Publishing Company - $199
"If you ever wanted 'the easy way out' to make a lot of money with a business of your own. Here is the easiest way to start! "
"For the past five years or so, I've been running small, inexpensive ads in the back of many large national magazines and on the Internet. From these ads I've been selling little manuals which sold for from $14.95 - $49.95 each and I always ran a different ad for each manual I was selling."
"I have collected the reprint rights to 15 different HOT SELLING manuals on topics that consumers really need. It is very cheap to produce HOW-TO manuals. It usually costs me about 40 cents to produce each manual that I get to sell for as much as $49.95. That' s one hell of a mark-up."
"Each manual brings me about $2000 - $4000 per week - PER AD. This is big money stuff. A very lucrative business to be in."
"Well, this is where the unbelievable offer comes in. I hope you're sitting down for this one, because it is a once in a lifetime offer for you. I do not know of any easier way for you to become financially independent. In fact, THERE IS NO EASIER WAY!!! Since I 'm so busy selling my best-selling HOW-TO business books nowadays I do not have the time to service these ads. It' s just that I really can't find the time to have all the orders taken care of in a timely fashion."
"I 'm willing to sell you the entire set of reprint rights to all 15 of these manuals on a 3 1/2 " floppy disk. I' m also willing to give you the rough drafts of the actual ads that sold these manuals!!! All you have to do is have them copied. You can do it yourself - or you can take them all to a local copy shop. This is why I say Push One Button And Start Your Own Million Dollar Publishing Company. "
"Remember these are PROVEN winners!"
"One of the manuals in this kit sold $4,000,000 worth by a Florida man. Now, I've got the reprint rights and I'll sell them to you. If you're wondering how much this will cost you., think about it for a minute. There are 15 different manuals that can make you $3000 per week - each manual. That equals $45,000 per week if you placed an ad in one magazine. Now there are thousands of magazines and newspapers out there. You can place these ads in more magazines as you make more money and you can also sell them through direct mail."
"You get to make a ton of money off these manuals, for as long as you wish. All I ask for is $199.00 and I'll include RUSH shipping for free! There is only one drawback. I will only allow 200 sets of my Publishing Company In A Box to be sold. It won' t make much sense if I sold the kit to 1000 or 2000 people because the market would be saturated with the same manuals and I don't want that. To make sure the same people who invest in this offer get the same results I got in the past 5 years only 200 people can have it for $199.00."
"Anyone who gets their check in to me late, I'll simply send it back uncashed. For only $199.00 I'm going to let you in on the easiest money you'll ever make. Rush me your payment of $199.00 right now and get your very own MILLION-DOLLAR publishing company going!"
In fact, he has not been selling the consumer manuals for five years already and the experiences quoted are not his actual experiences over that five year period.
People who purchase from him the right to reproduce and distribute various how-to manuals can not begin to expect to achieve a specific level of earnings, such as $2,000 to $4,000 per week for each individual ad promoting a single manual, $45,000 per week for 15 ads promoting 15 manuals, $4,000,000 overall for one particular manual, or untold millions of dollars each year.
Now You Know The Secret
"Top secret, I worked for him, he made millions, I took the idea and now I'm selling it."
"I will return $4,000,000 in one year to silent partner with $24,000 investment. Call 714/285- 6320, J.B. Morgan."
By placing these ads in newspapers promising sparkling investment returns one con first got numerous people to call. He would then describe to them his business plan to sell self-help manuals through telemarketing and radio ads, saying that he had a copyrighted manual ready for sale and provided fictitious radio test results to further pique their interest. For their investments, he promised a 50% share in his company.
Five investors lost all of their "investment", totaling $72,043. Upon conviction for one count of wire fraud he was sentenced to 27 months imprisonment with three years supervised release.
Second Class Scammers
03/02 - Going under the names Dean and Bass and the Second Class Citizens' Committee, James Dean of Mobile suggested through his web site and toll free number that African Americans who had filed a federal tax return within the last three years could -- with a little help and a fee of about $150 -- now be due a rebate of $40,000 or more.
The advertised rebates were not reparations, he said, but refunds of "overpayments" on taxes that blacks had to pay during the century after the Civil War when they were often denied full civil rights.
Nonetheless, reparations claims began showing up on federal tax returns in the early 1990s prompted by scams which are aimed at milking the debate over whether government owes financial compensation to blacks as a consequence of slavery.
Such businesses tend to be clustered in the South, and their numbers appear to be growing according to the IRS who reported receiving almost 80,000 returns last year claiming more than $2.7 billion in false reparation refunds. By the time victims discover their refund claims are rejected their money and the promoters are long gone.
The Justice Department has sued two men in Mississippi and Virginia, claiming the men had filed returns seeking fraudulent tax refunds of up to $500,000 per client. Though not yet charged Dean acknowledges that he is now under investigation by both the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Postal Service.