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TV Show: Financial Squeegee Scam

Around Ottawa (and other cities) the Police are running a new “scam” to catch folks that are on their Cell Phones while driving (which in Ontario is against the law).

The first scam is a “homeless” person standing on a highway off ramp with a hand written sign on a piece of box card board, who approaches a car, and if the person looks closely at the sign it says:

I am Sergeant BCM of the Ottawa Police, you have been caught talking on your cell phone while driving, please pull your car over.

Or some similar sentiment to that. Evidently it has been quite successful, and there are variants out there on this thematic concept as well (“Squeegee Kids” that are actually cops, that can catch you on the phone as well). One of the cops claims he collected over $10 in change as well!

Mean Spirited TV Show Idea

This got me thinking is there something we could try for a TV show to run this kind of scam on the financial side of things. We should set up a store front  for a “Pay Day Loan” or cheque cashing store (in an affluent neighbourhood).

Another thing we can do is have lots of posters “advertising” cheque cashing services which actually say things like “Only losers would use this service” and “We are going to take all your money and leave you broke” and other great stuff like that (with scantily clad women as part of the advertising as well). We could call it the “We Screw You Pay Day Loan Service“.

When people come in, have the “teller” ask lots of questions like:

  • How much do you earn in a year?
  • Do you have a bank account?
  • Why do you need to use this service?
  • You realize this service is designed to screw you out of your money?

If it turns out that this is obviously a person who shouldn’t be using the service berate the “customer”  but if they continue to insist they need to use the service, tell them they are on “BCM’s Financial Follies“.

Yes, it sounds like a mean-spirited nasty show, so that is why I am positive it will be a hit!

Are there other variants on this scam that could make this TV Show into a series? A hedge fund version of the store front scam?



Why Complain? Why NOT Complain?

More than once I have touched on the subject of whether it is better to suffer in silence or to complain about bad service or when you feel you have been treated badly. This past weekend reinforced my belief that the only people who suffer in silence are martyrs-in-waiting, but then again Martyrs typically end up being burned at the stake (OK that was Joan of Arc, but you see my point).

We were staying at a hotel in Toronto, because my daughter was playing in a basketball tournament. The first night there, we learned that the room we were given had a big noise problem (it faced into the atrium area of the hotel, and the sliding glass door did not close properly). My wife (not a shrinking violet) called and complained, thus we ended up with a new room (the next day) and free breakfast. Was this suitable compensation for my son not sleeping enough? Not really, but it was better than nothing.

We then had another incident on the next night with a drunken woman kicking a door on our floor (luckily not our door) at 2:30 AM, I complained to the manager, and from that I seem to have received a discount on our rooms for the weekend.

I would have thought this was the least complaining most people would do, but I have had more than one person comment to me that they would have never complained about these incidents, and all I can think is, really? You would sit there and suffer in silence in a noisy room or when a drunken woman is keeping you awake?

If you complain the worst answer you can get is, “I am sorry, we can’t do anything for you“, rarely will the person you are complaining to threaten your life (note I say rarely, and once that did happen to me), so why not say something?

Remember I have said before with Free Banking if you do not complain or at least question things, you are going to have to live with your situation (and I question whether you are allowed to complain about it either). Am I out of line with this point of view?


More Tales of Indiscretion

No, I will not be regaling you with stories of folks who took part in the Vancouver Riots, only to find their faces splattered all over Facebook (aka the new Big Brother), incriminating them in a crime (that really is Dumber than Snake Mittens too), no my wife told me a story from the Charlotte, North Carolina Airport and how maybe some conversations should be kept private. Yes more tales of indiscretion (financially speaking).

My wife was having a lay over waiting for a flight to another place, so she was sitting patiently at the gate. She noticed that the Airport had many private looking alcoves and areas where “telecommuters” could get things done with some privacy (all of them seemed to have rocking chairs too?!?), however she then also noticed a gentleman sitting in the middle of the waiting area talking on his cell phone (in a very loud tone as well (if you think that my wife is a professional interloper or nosy body)).

This gentleman was concerned because he seemed to have had to purchase his airline tickets twice and he was not sure whether he had enough money in his account to pay for all of it (or he was afraid of bouncing cheques or something like that), so he was talking to his bank (my wife assumed).

The gentleman said loudly, “… yes take the money from the account that had $40,000 in it and transfer over $3000 just in case…”, or something to that effect. He then announced boldly and loudly, “… my access card number? It is xxxx xxx xxx xxxx…” (no my wife did not write it down and she did not recall it either).

As I heard this story I went WTF, is this person insane? I don’t care if he has not given out his PIN number for his access card or which bank he deals with or any other info, people who know how to defraud folks need less than this to break into your bank account and cause some severe damage. I was flabbergasted by the story, but my wife assured me the gentleman did not seem ill at ease doing this and nobody else around him pointed out what he was doing was very financially dangerous.

Rules for Telephone Banking

It’s pretty simple the rules for using telephone banking:

  1. Never do it in a public place where nasty folks can listen in
  2. Don’t use your wireless phones at home (all a thief needs to do is listen in to the tones and they have your banking info)
  3. Don’t really do this over your cell phone if you can help it

Sometimes being paranoid is the right way to be, especially when it comes to the security of your money. Careful or you may end up in another one of my tales of indiscretion posts.



Does Your Money Work For You?

Various Hucksters, Charlatans, Confidence Men, and some Financial Analysts have commandeered this useful expression for use in their nefarious fast money making schemes, however, the question Does Your Money Work For you, or do you work for it? is an excellent question to think about in terms of your personal finance position. As a quick note, remember anybody who says they are not a huckster or charlatan, you should be skeptical of their comments (as you should with anything in a Blog as well).

If your money is working for you, it is helping you reach your goals in life and is being helpful. If you are working for your money, you simply are feeding the money monster which seems insatiable. This is my simplistic interpretation of this phrase (others may disagree and if so, please feel free to comment on my opinion).

How do you get your money to work for you? That is an excellent question, or possibly another more obtuse question might be how do I stop having to feed the money monster? Either one of these questions is asking how do I get control of money in my life? This blog and many other excellent sites are dedicated to this exact topic, and the easiest way to get back control of your monetary world, is by information and education.


What kind of information do you need to get your money working for you?

Lots of other information about your monetary situation needs to be collected not just this small subset, however, if you start here, that would be a very good thing.

Become a Tangerine client today


That one is simple, read useful books, sites and such to collect as much information as you can about how money can work in your life. Understand the various savings vehicles that are available to you, and understand what debt is and how you want to treat debt. Make a plan based on what you have learned, and execute it (and then fix it when you have made mistakes).

I have made Debt my arch nemesis, in my opinion there is no Good Debt anywhere, anyhow, and I have had a lot of folks disagree with me, but this is part of my Personal Finance concept, and after all my opinion should really only matter to me.

The Twist

Will this mean your money will be working for you? No, the actual expression is a Binary query about whether your are Rich or not. If your money works for you (i.e. it grows and builds faster than you need it), you are rich, if not, you are a working stiff and you are working for your money. I am in the latter category, and can’t see where I’d ever end up having my money work for me, but maybe one day if I am lucky I can break even (maybe when I am much older, and have less financial liabilities, my pension will be sufficient).

Sorry, this was a trick post (nasty trick for a Monday).


OK My Man! (Rudeness in my Opinion)

A new set of sales dweebs appeared at my doorstep a few days ago, attempting to shill more Rogers services to me (if someone can point me towards a NO SOLICITORS sign cheap I’d appreciate it). The way I was spoken to was rudeness personified.

The two young folk, addressed me by my actual name (no unfortunately they did not call me Big Cajun Man), and asked me how I was doing, I said fine, and gave my best, Can you please get on with wasting my time look. The sales team consisted of a  young lady and a portly young lad who seemed to be the mouth piece of the duo. He asked me about how I enjoyed my Rogers services, so I ranted about the overcharging game they play with their Internet Access products, and the young man smiled, but never really addressed my concerns.

The young man then made a classic sales blunder, that this generation of sales folks never seems to grasp, which is, if your customer is old enough to be your Father, do not address him as either:

  • Dude
  • Stud
  • By his First Name (before they say it’s OK)
  • Friend -or-
  • My Man

I am very old fashioned, and anyone who is the age of one of my kids addressing me with one of those colloquialisms, is the ultimate in terms of rudeness, and guarantees that this sales person will not be making a sale to me. If this young salesperson had thought about it, he should have started with Sir , and if I had then said, “Call me C8j or Mr. Big…” then become more familiar, but leaping to My Man as your title for your customer is just a loser 10 times out of 10.

I know that I am a sadistic bastard (another colloquialism I occasionally answer to) once I have decided I dislike a salesperson or their product, and I will then let them ramble around, give them as little information as possible, and then when they throw their sales pitch I answer with a quick, “No Thank You”, and will start closing the door on them. I must admit I did this and then the young gentleman continued blundering along and asked, “Can I ask you why not, My Man?”.

Once you have addressed me in an inappropriate manner and then insulted me with a crap deal, please don’t feel that I will follow any normal rules of engagement (i.e. I feel that I no longer need to be polite with you), and I will start to create complete fabrications about why your offer is a load of festering canine feces. I went on for a short period about how I had gotten a much better deal with Rogers through their phone center (which is true) and that I am a former Bell employee and get a great deal on all other services (a fabrication). I then said, “Thank you and have a good night”, and started to close the door.

“Wait, my man…”, my portly adversary blurted again as the door started to close. I gave an inquisitive look which hopefully suggested he now was at the level of the bacteria that causes cold sores, but he then thanked me for listening and he and his sidekick left with their tails between their legs.

My question is this, am I just too old fashioned to be assuming that someone who is at least 1/2 my age might address me with some level of respect? If you are dealing with your elders should you address them as Sir or Ma’am, or is it just the way things are that a door to door shill can address you with whatever odd colloquialism they wish? I guess I was lucky he didn’t call me Big Dude, or Home Boy?


Oh and if you have pieces of metal sticking out of parts of your face (other than your ear lobes) or have a really bitchin’ tatoo on your arm, please don’t knock on my door (yup, that bugs me too).


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