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Don’t get Ripped Off!

By Rabbi Eli Teitelbaum

We try to teach our students all the skills they will need to be successful in the business world, yet, the one skill they will need the most is often neglected and barely taught. We must not only teach our students the skills necessary to make money but we must also teach them how to hold on to their money and not lose it to the many skilled con artists and other dangerous traps lurking out there. Enclosed is a collection of essays that will give you some very important basics that you may need in order to protect themselves from the many charlatans, swindlers and con artists that walk the streets in search of the unwary and unsuspecting.

It’s not easy to make an honest living nowadays, yet it’s very easy for a clever con artist to quickly relieve us of all our hard earned money no matter how well we did on our math test and no matter how clever we may think we are. I’ve seen even the very clever well-seasoned businessman suckered in by their many fraudulent, deceitful, and deceptive tricks of a good and polished con artist. Every few years there is another well executed Ponzi scheme that makes its way through our community with devastating fury, leaving people impoverished and destitute. It’s extremely important that we learn the “Street smarts” so that we are able to survive in this jungle of dishonesty in which we live. Unless we learn to recognize the signs of a scam, there is a very good chance that we will be taken by one of them. Each year there are thousands of people taken for a ride and fleeced of their lifesavings by those clever sweet talkers and rip-off artists that are out to sell us the Brooklyn Bridge or perhaps even the Twin Towers.

The most dangerous weapon and tool these scam artists possess are their well-sharpened guile and cunning tongue. Someone with a good mouthpiece can easily convince you that there is a treasure chest of glittering diamonds at the end of a rainbow or get you to invest in stocks of cheese made on the moon. They have the amazing power of persuasion and can easily convince you to invest your money in their numerous clever schemes that they seem to dream up on a perpetual basis. The greater the deal sounds, the more slippery the slope and the deeper the pit into which you may fall.

Over the years, I’ve attended some of their meetings and was entranced by their fascinating sales pitches and have seen first-hand how easily they can lure the unwary into their net. When I saw the horrid damage they caused, I tried my best to expose these charlatans so that people learn to avoid them like the plague. In the process, I’ve had to fight with the publishers of some of the newspapers that unfortunately accepted their fraudulent advertisements. Yet, in the end, their schemes collapsed as their companies all declared bankruptcy or were closed by the Federal Trade Commission for fraud. It was only then that they stood exposed for all to see, but that was only after many people lost lots of money. Unless we learn to recognize the signs of a Ponzi scheme, a fraudulent MLM deal or a Bait and Switch salesman, or the many other clever fraudulent business deals trying to entice us with their promises of a great buy or quick riches, we too can easily get caught in their net.

One is not permitted to watch his brother drown without coming to his aid. We must do everything possible to stop these thieves from operating in our midst. They come disguised in a variety of uniforms. Some will masquerade as charity collectors, or as holy kabbalists, lawyers, doctors, and even policeman. They’ll don any hat that will offer them legitimacy. We must keep a constant watchful eye out for them and be on the alert at all times.
There are many good books that have been written on this subject and I would highly recommend that we read them.
Putting the Scam Artists Out Of Business

While these scams will never end, if this book can stop even one of them, it’ll be well worth it. I've put some of my articles together so that others can learn from these experiences. Past experience has proven that lots of people are unfamiliar in these matters and have therefore given incorrect advise to others. I do hope these articles will help enlighten the subject and prevent people from falling into the hands of the many charlatans waiting to pounce upon the gullible and uninformed.

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