Frequently Asked Questions

 

Q. I am owed money, and the debtor is not paying as promised. Will it cost me money to get what I am owed? 1
A. Unfortunately, you or someone acting on your behalf must expend time and energy to get the debtor to repay this money. If you have acted prudently and the debt is easily proved, a contingency fee arrangement with an attorney is a possibility. A cost/benefit analysis is necessary to determine how much you should spend out-of-pocket in order to get results.
Q. I think I have been scammed (swindled). What should I do to get my money back?
A. First, ask for it. It is likely that you will get a token reimbursement of a portion of what you are owed. Keep it up (initially keeping your suspicions to yourself) . Getting voluntary repayment (even if only partial) is the best first step. If possible, obtain additional information about where your money went, who else invested, who owns the company, etc. If you gradually become increasingly insistent, and gradually let the organizers know you are investigating them, you may have some more success. Keep very accurate records of who said what and on what dates. If you have to resort to involuntary collections actions (i. e. a lawsuit), you will want a very clear picture of all the misrepresentations and/or pattern of delay in repayment.There is no single “best” technique I can provide to answer this question. If you are not making progress on your own, consult a lawyer you know or try an attorney referral service.
Q. How can I get background information before I extend credit to or invest in a small company?
A. There are myriad sources many of which are on-line. Try a name search and surf. Try licensing bodies like the state bar, medical board, contractors licensing dept., the dept. of corporations, the county recorder and others too numerous to mention. If possible, also look into the individuals running the business. There are some good sources of “red flags” that should lead you to be wary of giving up your hard-earned money.

  1. Better Business Bureau or Dept. of Consumer Affairs complaints;
  2. SEC actions;
  3. Numerous lawsuits;
  4. Numerous name changes;
  5. Lots of latest greatest “hype” news releases; and/or
  6. News releases about the company that refer to unrelated business ventures.

 

Q. What is the best assurance of repayment when extending credit or investing in a small company?
A. Getting a personal guarantee in writing from the owner.
Q. What is the best way to determine if an investment opportunity somebody offers me is too good to be true?
A. Ask them to mail you information about the company they want you to invest in as well as information about themselves and their physical location (example: their business card if they are a broker of some kind).
Q. What are the risks of extending credit to or investing in a company located in a different state?
A. Physical proximity correlates with accountability. Stated differently: the further you reside from a business that owes you money, the less likely you will be able to personally influence your outcome if things go badly. If you give money to someone in another state and they experience setbacks or “hip-pocket” the money, the cost to you of recovery goes way up. When people don’t want to pay, you have to get them “face to face” in some way – usually in court – to get them to face the music.
Q. I know of fraudulent activity directed to collecting (insurance) (Medicare reimbursement) investments). Is there a way for me to profit from sharing this information with someone?
A. Yes, but the legal means to go about this depend on the circumstances. You should consult an attorney.
Q. I get cold calls for investments, and I would like them to stop. What should I do?
A. Set the phone down and walk away. You may want to set a timer or alarm to remind you to hang up the phone ten minutes later.
Q. They keep saying they will just go into bankruptcy and I’ll get nothing. Is it true?
A. Almost certainly not.

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