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How to avoid common scams using patience and your trusted relationships

Scams scammers and fraudsters; many of us have suffered financial losses in one way or another to the unscrupulous. In this article I am going to show you how to avoid common scams using patience and your trusted relationships.

Receiving a call from an unknown caller

Patience

Patience is a virtue

Cato the Elder

In any scam, the scammer usually projects a sense of urgency, often times presenting a threatening situation that you must immediately respond to or suffer undesirable consequences. Your delaying action coupled with the involvement of a key relationship may help you thwart a rip off.

In addition, if you have a serious financial or legal problem, you are already well aware of it.

Eric Ten Broeck, MBA

If you are not certain about the nature of the matter or the person(s) contacting you, delay a response. If someone or something in your world is truly wrong, then chances are, more then one person will be trying to contact you. In addition, if you have a serious financial or legal problem, you are already well aware of it.

In your financial life your key relationships are with your accountant, banker, lawyer, and financial advisor. Here, I am highlighting banking relationships. Scammers often find a way to put you off guard by creating a sense of urgency or by inducing a mindset of fear.

Phishing and Banking Scams

Lets start with your banking relationship. Many people are moving to banks that only do business online. I am not in favor of these. I am not suggesting that online only banks are financially unsound. However there is no one you can see face to face and start a relationship with. My recommendation is ask around to find a bank that has a local presence with and staff that has longevity. If your bank fits that description, great!

Introduce yourself to the branch manager

The next step is to introduce yourself to the branch manager and get his or her business card. Take a picture of the card, and enter the information in your contacts. Make sure the manager’s email is in you email contacts. You can even send a short email saying “Dear Ms. Smith it was nice to meet you today at the Mulberry Street branch located in Scranton, Pennsylvania.” Lastly, try to do walk in business and say hello to the manager and key staff.

How does your banking relationship help you with scams? Lets take the email phishing scams that look like you are being contacted by your bank urging you to take action. How do you respond? Take a moment and ask is this truly my bank contacting me about misplaced funds or unauthorized transfers?

First, if the email looks bogus or fake delete it without opening it. Then call your banker and see if there is an issue. Secondly, you can always ask a legitimate person to resend an email. Therefore, if you think it may be an issue in need of your attention; here is a suggested email response.

“Dear _____, thank you for your email, I am not familiar with this situation, I am copying Ms. Smith, Branch Manager of XYZ Bank by this email to see if she can help us investigate this matter. Can you please give me your address, phone number and normal business hours so that we may properly and timely respond this matter?”

Your email reply to a phishing scam

Remember, you have the Bank Manager’s information at your disposal because you have already sent the Bank Manager a follow-up an email. I also recommend not logging into your bank until your bank has had a chance to reply and you are certain this matter has been resolved.

Internal Revenue Service (IRS) scams

This where your relationship with your accountant comes in handy. These scams originate as phone calls and or emails. Scammers claim to IRS Agents. They claim you have unpaid taxes and threaten severe penalties an/or enforcement actions. And some of these calls appear to originate from the Washington D.C. (202) xxx-xxxx area code. Then they instruct you to make a bank or credit card payment to satisfy your IRS debt.

How to bust the IRS scam – Firstly, the IRS never emails taxpayers, they rarely if ever call by phone. If you have an issue with the IRS, you will receive a letter from them. That letter will explain any deficiency, give you a time period in which to reply and provide a phone number by which to contact the IRS. If you really have a severe problem they may show up at your place of business. But the agents will properly identify themselves and clearly identify the matter they are there for. Also, if you truly have an issue with the IRS, chances are you are already well aware of it.

Remember, people are rarely imprisoned over income tax matters. And if they are it is after a lengthy investigation, prosecution and conviction taking months if not years.

Here is what you do when you are contacted by persons claiming to by IRS agents.

Scammer: “Sir/Madam we are going to seize your bank account and initiate enforcement activity against you if you do not pay now.”

You: After taking a moment to think about this call you reply:

“Thank you for your call Mr. IRS Agent, my accountant handles these matters for me. Can I have your number and he/she/they will call you back as soon as he has a chance? And can I please have your badge number so I can write it down?”

Your accountant, if he or she is a CPA and/or Enrolled Agent, has priority access to the IRS. It may take them a few days to reach the IRS by phone, but once in touch they can find out if you have any legitimate problems. Remember there is a lengthy process the IRS has to undertake before your assets are seized and/or you are put in any kind of legal jeopardy, your patience will pay off.

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Relaunch of my Blog

This year 2022 I have made a commitment to this Blog. I have had as they say “fits and starts” since 2014. Back then I was lucky enough to have a talented intern from LaSalle University by the name of Alex Miller. Alex set up this WordPress platform, edited copy, and engineered recordings. In this article I will talk about the relaunch of my blog.

Picture of a Space Shuttle launch as rocket blasts through the clouds
The Shuttle was a reusable space vehicle capable being relaunched many times

Encouragement from a friend to write a weekly column

Roughly five years ago, Jim Monaghan my high school friend, began a weekly Sports podcast. I have to give him credit, he gets high grades for consistently posting a quality show with quality content. Here is a link his latest show: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gklr-_DYick .

In the recent years, Jim’s brother Stephen Monaghan joined the production, and now they broadcast as Sports with Mono and Mono. It is MonO instead of MonA, because their hometown friends from Oakland New Jersey tagged Jim and his brothers with the “O” back in the day. MONO it is! I learned this Monaghan trivia because Jim pointed it out in his relaunch blog article, “Rookie-Writer.” http://www.jpmsportsertainment.com/2022/01/24/rookie-writer/.

Mono plus Mono equals 41 Sportscasting Families

I googled “sportscaster brothers” and found this article identifying 40 plus sports casting families; https://tinyurl.com/2p98bp84. It is an interesting list of families, and now I am happy to say that there are 41 sportscasting families in the business.

Blood Harmony

In singing they call it “Blood Harmony.” When you watch, you will see their show has a cadence and flow that only two brothers can pull off. They do; keep things interesting, talk on a variety of subjects, and give an historical perspective. They don’t; step in front of each other, belabor a point, and don’t argue at length when they disagree with each other.

Now it is my turn to relaunch

Jim and I where on the phone trading thoughts ideas, and I said Jim if you have a blog why don’t try writing a weekly column. And a few weeks later, Jim is writing a regular column. And his response to me is in so many words, is hey Eric where is Blog and weekly column?

So here is my second weekly column. And in this column as I announce my relaunch I have decided on focusing on “lifestyle” businesses. I look forward to working with Dr. Jeffrey Alstete and his colleagues in academia to explore and refine this topic. In the coming weeks I will be reviewing their important contributions to this space.

Tell me how I can help you

I want to help my fellow brother and sister business people launch a successful endeavor.

I believe people can actually have a “life” and a good and fulfilling life if they are in business for themselves. And many of these good things are not necessarily financial or monetary, but intangible. We will explore these intangible benefits in future article.

In the meantime please email me at eric@etenentrepreneur.info with your thoughts, ideas and comments. Thank you for reading my Blog.

Eric Ten Broeck

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Gary Brooker, the passing of

A picture of a bass and treble clef
This treble clef reminds me of a pin Gary would wear on his lapel when performing

I heard about Mr. Brooker from a friend’s podcast

I was listening to Jim and Stephen Monaghan’s weekly show “Sports with Mono and Mono,” when I learned of the passing of Gary Brooker.

But it was when he performed “Salty Dog” I was struck with the thought that when this performer, Gary Brooker sang on stage he sounded even better then his famous well produced and well engineered recordings.

Eric Ten Broeck

Here is a link to their show streamed live on Feb 26, 2022 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LjqGBMKo5QM wherein Jim makes his remarks toward the end of the podcast.

As a youngster my exposure to Procol Harum was only through the New York City F.M. Radio. Most notably, stations WNEW WPIX and WPLJ. I did not own any Procol Harum records back then, that came later in life when I gave my son Alex a turntable record player for his eighth grade graduation present, and he and I began collecting classic rock vinyl and cassette tapes at garage sales, flea markets and even the West Chester Pennsylvania Salvation Army record bin.

As a result of our endeavors, Alex became a huge Yes fan, especially a fan of bassist and singer the late Chris Squire, and I became reacquainted with many of the classic rock and roll records and artists including Procol Harum.

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania it was Mr. Booker’s night

It was in the spring of 2012, we learned that Yes was playing at the Casio in Bethlehem Pennsylvania with most of their original line up, sans singer Jon Anderson. Procol Harum was their opener. I bought tickets for Alex, Christopher (my other son) and myself.

Yes was the headliner but, quite frankly, it should have been the other way around. The Yes performance was not as good as expected. For instance, they played only a few of their classics. Moreover Gary Brooker and his Procol Harum band out shined and outperformed the famous band Yes.  A totally unexpected surprise.


Among my Procol Harum favorites that evening were “Whiter shade of pale” and “Simple Sister.”

But it was when he performed “Salty Dog” I was struck with the thought that when this performer, Gary Brooker sang on stage he sounded even better then his famous well produced and well engineered recordings.

Here is a Youtube link to Salty Dog: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Gi7Z3-T_qQ

In conclusion – This was a profound experience. And when it comes to relating experiences like these, as a writer I have difficulty. Here is a list of my impressions of that evening:

  • This was possibly one of the best vocal performances I have ever heard.
  • If I was the sound engineer tasked with recording this show live, what would I do to ensure I captured the essence of this great performance?
  • This was a rare occasion where the opener outshines the headliner.
  • What a happy man I was to have spent the evening with my two sons in June of 2021.

Lastly, Mr. Brooker thank you for sharing your gifts with us. Thank you for that wonderful evening of music in Bethlehem Pennsylvania almost 10 years ago. May your soul rest in peace.

Eric Ten Broeck

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Writing by developing and using acronyms

You have an assignment, your boss asks you to write and article for the company newsletter, you’re a blogger and you need to come with some content and fast, OR you’re a sportscaster and your fans are asking you to post a weekly column.  But… you are suffering from writer’s block. 45 minutes passes and nothing at all comes to mind, and then 10 more minutes and nothing on the paper.

Develop a format and/or formula that works for you using acronyms. Many successful bloggers, vloggers, influencers, and YouTubers have a format and formula(s) that enables them to quickly find topic and produce content.  This is not to say that the task is easy and these folks don’t work hard, what I am saying is that these writers have systems makes it possible for them to produce content in timely manner, and in a reasonable amount of time.

Background: Come up with the background information to give your reader the context of your story, please be sure to properly footnote your references.

Your commentary  This is easiest part; it is coming from your stream of consciousness. You have been thinking about this issue for the past week or month.  Be careful not to make it a rant, no invective, just simply state your reaction to the situation that has been on your mind.

Analysis of your reasoning:  This could be a formula, or just a revaluation about how your mind goes about analyzing problems and issues. Relate this situation to other life experiences, your own or others. If your and in a specialized industry, use an acronym and fill out the word pattern.  Or make up your own acronym.  Say I am a sportswriter and I am writing an article about a famous sports figure who dropped his pads and uniform and walked off the field in somewhere in the meadowlands of New Jersey.  I could write, “when I evaluate athletes, I use my acronym DROPS.”

We have been talking about an acronym, but what is it. It is basically the first letter of word or phrase that when combined form a recognizable word. In this example I came up with DROPS.  

  • D Did the athlete do his/her best in this situation
  • R how Reliable is this athlete, notwithstanding injury status
  • O is how does the person take to Others on the team and/or coaching staff,
  • P is what is quality of Person is the player on and off the field
  • S is for Sportsmanship does this person exhibit good sportsmanship

Conclusion:  State what you decided about the issue. If have you not made a final conclusion state why, are more facts need to develop your final opinion?  Invite comments and respect the responder’s opinion(s). Often your responder’s comments will prompt you to react to another situation and give another opportunity to write about.  All my very best!

What not to say in a job interview

How hard is it to change Yep to Yes?

In speaking or writing, we are talking about ONE letter.

E. Ten Broeck

I am sure you have this heard many times before… but in a job interview every thing you say and do is under consideration and is being analyzed by your potential employer.

At the time of this writing workers are in short supply, and employers may lower the bar in terms of their hiring standards. Ignore this fact for now. You always want to make a good impression. Even if you are not offered the job, or decide not to take the position offered, employers take mental and written notes of candidates that may get future consideration. The point is that, even if there is not an opening for you or your decline an offer; you may have another opportunity in the future with company/firm if you make a favorable impression.

Here are a few words and phrases that will leave a poor impression.

Word or Phrase Replace with
Let me knowI look forward to your reply.
When may I call you next?
May I please ask what are the next steps?
YepYes, or yes please. 
Some people even text Yep, how hard is it to change Yep to Yes?
What?
Huh?
Pardon me, I did not hear what you said.
Like I said
 
If you say this to someone, you are implying that they:
 
a) did not hear you the first time,
b) they heard what you said and already forgot and/or
c) they are incapable of comprehending what you had said.
I might have mentioned this before…
OR
Please, I just mentioned this to you…
 
Also remember that some people have true hearing deficiencies.
Table offensive words and suitable replacements

New business owners

E. Ten Commandments

New business owners please consider these points

  1. Have a reserve of funds to pay your household bills for 9 months to a year.
  2. Learn critical applications CRMs, and accounting software needed to transact business before you start.
  3. Learn Microsoft 365, word, excel, power point before you start.
  4. Have liability insurance policies in place before you start.
  5. Consult a knowledgeable CPA and Attorney about forming the new legal entity.
  6. Pay your self on a W-2 as wage earner. Your income taxes will be withheld and deposited on a timely basis.
  7. If you must meet with the public, rent an office and avoid having clients to your home. Zoning restrictions, consideration of your neighbors, and parking come to mind.
  8. Make sure all of your business licenses are up to date and in place.
  9. If you have shareholders and/or partners consult an Attorney and get an operating agreement.
  10. Don’t skip out on Health Care Coverage, and maintain your credit score.

Resume writing

E. Ten Commandments

10 tips on resume writing

1) Your resume may only get 10 Seconds of viewing time.  This is the TEN Second rule.

2 )  Drop the “objective.” The purpose of submitting a resume is to gain employment, this is understood by the reader.

3)  Use a larger then normal font. 

4) Keep your content to ONE (1) page only.

5)  Your contact info MUST be current. You MUST respond to potential employers. 

6) Your resume must be factually true, and free of omissions.

7) You must have the content of your resume committed to memory.  You don’t want to draw blank in the middle of an interview about a detail in YOUR resume. 

8)  Have a friend proficient in grammar  and spelling proof read your document, or use https://www.grammarly.com, OR better yet hire your own editor at https://www.fiverr.com

9) Upload, email or otherwise send a high quality pdf document NOT a MS word document. It you are going to an in person interview consider printing on high quality paper.

10)  Make certain your social media profile(s) matches the image you are conveying in your resume. 

SALT Deduction – has rusted out your 2021 Itemized Deductions

A picture of a rusted out boat

If you itemize your deductions, the aggregate amount of SALT State and Local Taxes shall not Exceed $10,000.

SALT TAXES ARE: State and Local Taxes are Real Estate Taxes, State and Local Income Taxes, State and Local Personal Property taxes.

Based on our experience from the 2021 tax season (2020 Form 1040), the $10,000 SALT limitation forced many taxpayers to use the Standard Deduction.

For your 2021 Form 1040 The Standard Deductions per the IRC are:

Married Individuals Filing Joint Returns $ 25,100
Heads of Households $ 18,800
Unmarried Individuals $ 12,550
Married Individuals Filing Separate Returns $ 14,250
Standard Deductions

E Ten Broeck SALT predictions:

Due to the fact that taxpayers who used to itemize are now forced into the Standard Deduction, I have the following predictions:

  • Charitable deduction: There will be a decline in charitable giving. Tax savings motivate charitable giving.
  • Mortgage Interest Deduction: There will be a decline in Home Ownership, more taxpayers will consider renting verses owning a home. Same applies to Real Estate Taxes. Tax favored deductions like mortgage interest and real estate taxes encourages home ownership.
  • SALT Taxes: Taxpayers will consider moving to states that offer lower lower real estate and income taxes. In other words, did you see the exit New Jersey for good sign, last time you drove the New Jersey Turnpike?
  • Employee Business Expense Deduction: Employees with high out-of-pocket expenses will form LLC’s. Self employed people will move these business expenses to Schedule C.
  • Investment Interest Deduction: Investors will seek lower fees, and/or use discount brokers.

Thanks for reading this post. Lastly, send me your thoughts and comments at: eric@etenentrepreneur.info

INTERVIEW WITH BONNIE GORTLER – AUTHOR OF JOURNEY TO WEALTH

bonnie

Bonnie Gortler the Inspired Wealth & Well-Being Coach is a successful stock market expert who has managed multi-million dollar client portfolios during her over 30 year corporate career.  As the author of “Journey to Wealth”, Bonnie has made it her mission to share the importance of risk management by applying the technical and mental sides of investing. Bonnie is a huge sports fan, a weight loss champion losing over 70 pounds, and a passionate networker. Bonnie is fully committed to your personal growth and development as she shares her winning spirit and powerful techniques with you. Visit BonnieGortler.com to gain tips and insights surrounding weight loss, investing and inspiration through her writings on Wealth and Well-Being.

Edited and Produced by Alex Miller

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Interview with Aginah Marie Shaw – Author of the ink from my mother’s pen

The Ink from My Mother’s Pen was written by Aginah Marie Shaw.  She is a wife, mother of three and  graduate of Temple University. Her passions include creative writing, improving the lives of senior citizens, and nurturing her family. Stay tuned for her upcoming book this Spring which intends to motivate mothers to pursue their passions.

Edited and Produced by Alex Miller

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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