"Dialing for Dollars" - U.S. Postal Inspection Service Video

United States Postal Inspection Service2004

Smithsonian's National Postal Museum

Smithsonian's National Postal Museum

This dramatic video produced by the US Postal Inspection Service tells the story of telemarketing investment fraud and the lives that are ruined by these criminals. This video gives you tips on how to protect yourself against investment fraud and telemarketing scams and tells you what to do if you’ve been victimized. It’s information you don’t want to be without.

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  • Title: "Dialing for Dollars" - U.S. Postal Inspection Service Video
  • Creator: United States Postal Inspection Service
  • Date Created: 2004
  • Transcript: Hey, push them. Push them. Make the money. Push it up. Bump it up. If they got 8, you can push them to 8 1/2. Obviously, you're a man of the scene. Okay. Talk to me afterwards. But this is today, Joe. -You want to be the man? -It's your shot. Where do you want to be next year? Gentlemen, if I may have your attention for a moment, please. The management of Initial Investments International would like to invite all of its employees to join management at Escapades tonight. There will be free drinks, free "X," and if we're lucky, a little free entertainment. Your top salesman of the week. Mark, take a bow. He'll also be receiving the grand prize of an evening of pleasure with the lovely Miss Amber in the VIP room. That's right. Hopefully that's incentive for the rest of you slobs to start getting your numbers up next week. Let's go, boys. Dad? Hey, little girl. Are you ready? I'll be with you in a minute. I'm still dressing. -How was the traffic? -It wasn't too bad. Are you eating? Yeah. Just not too hungry this morning. Had too much for supper last night, I think. Forget IPO. Get in on the real ground floor! Here we go, Copper Top. I wish you hadn't have come all the way in from the city though. -I could have driven myself. -Stop! Perfect chance for me to take my best guy out to lunch. You promised we were going to go to lunch after you see the doctor. You're just like your mother was. Always worrying if I'd eaten. If I remember to take my medicine. I'm a grown man, you know. I can manage just fine. I know, Dad. You haven't invested money in these guys? Not yet. George Toras-- You remember George. He said he's making a lot of money with those folks. He sent me this and he said that this is going to make his retirement. It could make my retirement. It's not going to make your retirement, Dad. I see this kind of thing a lot at work. You don't need to invest in stuff like this, okay? Well, those folks must be on the level. George wasn't banking for years. He wouldn't put money in something that wasn't solid. It's got risks, but you've got to take risks to make money. You shouldn't worry. With your pension and savings, you'll be fine. You can put that extra money in a college fund for that grandchild I'm going to have someday. The grandchild you're going to see grow up. I hope you're right, Copper Top. But rainy days come too, and you've got to prepare for them. Speaking of...Do you have an umbrella? It's supposed to rain. Okay. You ready? Yeah. -Where do you want to go? -Let's go and get some fish. Okay. We can go to Seafarer and split a piece of lemon cake. -Salmon too. -Yeah. -You don't want me to go in? -No, honey, I got my book. You'd be bored. Why don't you do some shopping? I've got a couple calls I need to make. But I'll check in on you, okay? -Bye-bye. -Bye. -Goddard. -Hey, Alan. -Hey, Michele, how's your dad? -Good. He just went in for treatment. I've got something I need checked out. What do you need? My dad got this mailing I don't feel good about. It's from Initial Investments International. Their address is in the business district, but it looks like that stuff that outfit in Chicago used to peddle. Yeah. Give me that address again. Got it. I'll tell you what. Let me check the system, see if any complaints turn up. If nothing turns up, I've got a good contact at the SEC. Your dad doesn't have money in this, does he? No, but my neighbor, George Toras, may have. He's like my uncle. He looked out for me when I was a kid. I don't want to see him get burned. Let me see what I can turn up. I'll give you a call. -Thanks, Alan. -You got it. Bye. You have one new message and seven old messages. Michele, it's Alan. You were right. Got a couple of complaints about these guys. Five-grand-plus in losses both times. They've only been in business the last seven months. The lease is to a guy named Park Richardson. He's been sanctioned once before by the SEC. I'm going to go take a look a little later. I've already jacketed a case on this one. I'm sorry, Michele. I wish I had better news. Damn it. That's great. That's just great. Hello. Can I help you? Hi, Mr. Toras. I'm Michele Niece. I used to live down the street. In McCormick's. Yes, Michele. Michele, come in. It's good to see you. I didn't recognize you. -How are you? -I'm doing very well, thank you. I'm sure you'd love to see April, but she's not home right now. She went skiing with our kids in Denver, if you can believe that. -She'll be sorry she missed you. -Me too. Actually, I'm here on business. Okay. Let's have a seat. Refresh my memory. -What is it you do? -I'm a postal inspector. That's right. Let me take your coat. He said you were tops in your class. -That's Dad. -Have a seat. He's very proud of you. Where do you live? -I'm living in the city. I have a loft. -A warehouse. What's your dad think about that? -Daddy doesn't like that. -I know your dad, yeah. He said you recommended this company to him a few days ago. I wanted to ask you a little about it. I know what that is. Triple-I. One of the best investments I've ever made. These guys are sharp. Real go-getters. How'd you find out about them? I have you folks to thank. I got a piece in the mail. It talked about investing in biotechnology companies. Real ground-floor kind of stuff. So I called them up. My broker, named Park Richardson, got me set up in a small investment, and it's been growing ever since. Why do you ask? Some of the returns that they talk about seem really high. Well, they all do that. It's called advertising. If you look at the fine print, it says that these returns are not typical. It's all here if you read carefully. They're not registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. I asked that very same question myself. You see, this is a general partnership company. And the firms involved don't have to register with the SEC until they go public. We checked with companies they claim to represent. Most have never heard of Initial Investments International. And we have some complaints in our system about them. You must be mistaken. I have my account summaries here. I was just working with them. Now, look at this. Two months ago, I invested $5,000 in Fibercell. And it's currently valued at almost three times that. And when they go public, I'll get three shares for every one share that I already own. That's how this venture game works. It's not like your typical bank returns. Park Richardson has been involved in a company like this before. He was sanctioned by the SEC for making illegal trades. If what you say is true, he'd be in jail right now, wouldn't he? No, sir. Often we pursue civil actions against these people. We shut them down. Sometimes the SEC fines them. But this time I think it's a little more serious. I know you're concerned about your dad. I'm concerned about you and about April. I appreciate that. But I have some background in this kind of thing. I know you do. I'm just looking out for you. -You're just trying to help me. -I see this at work. You need to listen to what I'm trying to tell you. But in this case, you're mistaken. There's another Park Richardson. Maybe you're right. Why not play it safe? Call them and try to get your investment back. Sometimes they'll pay a few investors off just to keep the operation going. Tell them it's a scam. Threaten to call the police. Sometimes it works. Young lady, I will do no such thing. These investments have been very profitable for April and I. The way the market is these days, you have to take risks if you want to make money. Look at this. We have taken a few losses here and there. But overall, Park has done a very good job for us. You have not said anything for which you have any proof at all. And I'm looking at these figures right here. I don't mean to upset you, but I see this all the time. Just try to get some of your money back. Please! If I did that, I would have to pay penalties for early withdrawals. That could be almost 20%. Wouldn't you sleep better? Wouldn't you feel more comfortable? -You're worried about your dad. -I'm not worried about my dad. -I'm not trying to-- -I'm worried about you. You're one of the smartest guys I know. Mr. Toras, you have no idea what these guys will do. You've got a lot of money involved. I want to make sure that you're okay. I'm going to talk to April about it, okay? Okay. I'm sorry. That's okay. You guys mean a lot to me. I'll get your coat. Triple-I, can I help you? Yes. Hello. May I speak with Mr. Richardson? Yes. May I ask who's calling? This is George Toras, one of his clients. George. How's it going, my friend? You sneaking out to see some broads while your wife's away? Nothing like that, Park. I was just going over my account summary and taking a look at this Mitchum stock. It's not doing so well. Yeah, it hasn't been doing too great, George. Sometimes the R&D on these things takes time. That's going to be a good one for us though. Well, the thing is, Park, I've had a lot of expenses come up recently. I was thinking I might like to cash that one out. Just get the money and cut my losses. What are you talking about? You don't want to get out now. You're going get hit hard with the penalties. These guys are doing a press release on their new manufacturing process. You want to get out now, before the thing takes off? No, I don't. But April said-- "April said"? George, when my old lady tries to tell me what to do, I say, "I make the money. I'll spend it any way I see fit." Didn't you make this dough to begin with? Your wife stayed home while you slaved away at the bank? Yes, but... But nothing, George. There's no buts. I can't make you money if you won't go with my recommendations. Look at Pencourt stock. What do you got in that, 7 grand? It's up to 12.5. Didn't I tell you to load up on that one, George? Didn't I tell you I had my own mother in that? That was a good investment, but this Mitchum stock-- This Mitchum stock is about to explode, that's what. Let me tell you what I want to see happen here, George. I want to see us make some real money. I want to see you hit this one big, okay? You're a great customer. Let's look at putting another 10 grand into Mitchum. Now's the time to buy it, George. The stock is underpriced. Buy low, sell high, George, right? Can you see that, George? I can see that, but I just don't have the money right now. Let's get at least 5 grand. You can do that, right, George? I don't really have that cash right now. Maybe I could move something over from CDs. How soon can you get it here? This thing is going to explode. I can cover you if you can get it here within three days. You can do that, right, George? Well, I suppose. Let me tell you what I'm going to do, George. You're a good customer. I'm going to eat my commission. I'll take one of the girls upstairs to dinner, my treat, talk her into covering you until your check comes. I'll make my money on the next one, okay? I don't really want you to have to do that. I could get down to the bank first thing tomorrow. Let me lock you in at 7 1/4 on Mitchum. You just hold on to verify the order, all right? Thanks, Park. I really appreciate this. Hey, for you, buddy, no problem, George. If you need me after confirmation, have her buzz you right back. Have a great weekend, pal. Take care. Here we go. That's why I'm the king. 5 grand, 30 seconds. I will take it. Anybody. I want to see someone do it. Get on the phones. Let's move. 7 1/4. Easy money. Just got to talk them out of it. Prey on the elderly. 2,000 shares is a drop in the barrel. Stay on them. "No" means "yes." Hello? Mr. Toras? Hi, it's Michele Niece. How are you? Hello, Michele. Were you able to take your money out of Triple-I? I'm not certain about any of this anymore. I've started getting a lot of mail asking me to invest in oil wells and precious metals. How do you think they got my name? They may have gotten your name from Park Richardson, sir. So they keep lists of who the fools are? No, I don't mean that. These crooks do share information sometimes. Yeah. I made a tape the other night when I called them back. Would you like it? Do you think it would help? I would love to have that. That was a wonderful idea. I was wondering if you might be able to do me another favor. Okay. Can I help you? Mail lady. Got Express Mail that needs a signature. Yeah, one second. -Hi. Here's your mail. -Thank you so much. I've got a restricted delivery for Park Richardson. Is he here? Yeah, hang on. Park, mail for you. -What do you need? -Park? -Yeah. -I need your signature right there. Always happy to see the mail come in. Good news, huh? Always. -You doing all right? -I'm good. How are you? I'm doing terrific. Thanks. Thanks. -Have a good day. -You too. Let's see. We'll celebrate tonight, Denise. Dinner at Vargo's. My treat. -What do we got? -One room. 12 guys. Split down the middle. No other entrance. Informant said the guy's got a gun. I didn't see one on him. You guys ready? -Can I help you? -Police! Search Warrant! Police! Open up! -How long you going to be here? -Five minutes to bag the evidence. Good job. Investment fraud is just one of the types of phone frauds. To avoid these telemarketing criminals, listen for these tip-offs. You must act now, or the offer will expire. Take your time. Be cautious about investing with an unknown caller or responding to a mail solicitation that insists you must make up your mind immediately. You must send money, give a credit-card or bank-account number, or have your check picked up before you've had a chance to consider the offer. Never send cash, and keep financial information private unless you know who you're dealing with. Get all information in writing before you agree to buy. You can't afford to miss this high-profit, no-risk offer. Realize that there's no such thing as a risk-free investment. Take the time to do your homework. Read articles in news and financial publications like Barron's or The Wall Street Journal. You don't need written information or references about the company. It's a sure-fire investment. Check the firm out with the Better Business Bureau, State Attorney General's office, or Consumer Protection Bureau. Talk to a friend, relative, or financial advisor before you do anything. Don't be afraid to hang up on pushy salespeople on the phone. Remember, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Young people can also help by keeping an eye on their parents' finances, especially if they're going through an illness that may make it difficult for them to think clearly or remember details. In this case, Inspector Niece may have prevented her father from losing money just by being alert. You can do the same for your parents. If you think you've been the victim of a telemarketing fraud, you need to report it. Contact your local postal inspectors. You can find them in the phone book or on our website at: USPS.COM/POSTALINSPECTORS.
  • External Link: Behind the Badge: The U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Transcripción en español