Saturday, May 17, 2014

How Does a Scammer Identify Your Needs and Scam You with Them?

Scammers are excellent psychological manipulators who can identify your needs and scam you with them by exploiting your needs as weaknesses. But how do they do it?

Abraham Maslow, who's a famous pscychologist, created the Maslow Hierarchy of Needs in the 1940's. It can be roughly represented as the diagram below, starting from physiological needs at the bottom, go slowly up to group psychological needs, then finally to self-psychological needs. Self-actualization means you fully realize the power of yourself and reach your full potential.
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs (source: Wikipedia)

Noticed any trends? That's right, scams don't want you to actually get to "self-actualization".  They claim they will provide:
  • Safety -- aka "financial independence", "fire your boss", JOB = "just over broke", etc. 
  • Love / belonging -- your sales group / team is what you want, not your family and friends
  • Esteem -- if you follow the system, you can get $$$ and esteem! Look at our "winners"!
But what do they ACTUALLY provide? 

Friday, May 16, 2014

TelexFree News Update 16-MAY-2014: Merrill will stay in jail for now; No News on Wanzeler; Possible Reload Scam Charged

According to Boston Globe, James Merrill was remanded into custody of DOJ after spending several days in a Federal facility in Rhode Island. At the bail hearing, Merrill's lawyer and wife affirmed their opinion that Merrill was not a flight risk and they are willing to sign over the deed of their house as security bond. On the other hand, DOJ lawyers stated that this may be the largest Ponzi scheme DOJ had ever charged in terms of possible victims and they simply can't take the risk should Merrill bolt (like a rabbit).

The judge has continued the case until Tuesday. Merrill will remain in Federal custody until then.

There currently is no further news on the Wanzeler or the other alleged co-conspirators, after Wanzeler's wife Katia Wanzeler was taken into custody... at JFK Airport (New York) with 4 suitcases (full?) and 3000 in cash... and a one-way ticket to Rio de Jainero, Brazil purchased for her FROM Brazil... who paid cash.  She's being held as material witness... without bail, as she's considered a flight risk.

And it's already reported here that Wings Network, which "voluntarily shut down", was charged next day by Massachusetts SecState Bill Galvin as a possible reload scam following TelexFree. In a press release, Galvin stated that his investigators are now aware of a group of promoters and scams that targets the same group of victims over and over, and he will likely investigate even deeper to protect the citizens of the commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

(UPDATE) BREAKING NEWS: Wife of Carlos Wanzeler, TelexFree fugitive, arrested at airport, denied bail

Boston Globe has learned that Katia Wanzeler, wife of Carlos Wanzeler, and alleged recipient of at least one cashier's check found in TelexFree, was detained and arrested at an airport (presumably, Boston Logan Intl John F. Kennedy Intl in New York)

Carlos Wanzeler has left the country several weeks ago, without informing his attorney. US DOJ considers Carlos Wanzeler a fugitive and apparently a warrant for his arrest had been issued.

James Merrill, co-owner of TelexFree, was already arrested last week.

UPDATE: According to affidavits filed with the court by Homeland Security, Katia Wanzeler's one-way ticket was purchased in cash by "someone in Brazil" (presumably, Carlos?)   Katia was detained as "material witness" by Homeland Security. According to Katia Wanzeler, Carlos Wanzeler and daughter (?) Livia Wanzeler drove to Canada on the day of the raid by HSI/ICE/FBI/whoknowswhatelese on TelexFree office, and from there, flown to Brazil.

UPDATE 2: According to reports cited by BehindMLM, Katia Wanzeler was denied bail (which means she's indeed ARRESTED, not merely detained), as she's found at JFK with $3000 USD in cash, as well as FOUR fully loaded suitcases (70 pounds each?) AND one-way plane ticket to Rio de Jainero, Brazil. Her lawyer tried to argue that she's merely going for a visit with clothes for relatives, and will return in 1 week. The judge did not accept that explanation, and bail was denied as she's a flight risk.

According to affidavit filed earlier by Federal agents, Katia earlier, when questioned by agents who served a search warrant on the Wanzeler residence along with on TelexFree HQ, claimed that her husband is staying at a hotel, when in fact her husband, along with daughter Livia, drove north into Canada and caught a plane there to Brazil when situation turned dire. This raises the possibility of Katia being charged with obstruction of justice / impeding active Federal investigation later by USDOJ.

IN RELATED NEWS: James Merrill, the TelexFree co-owner that's currently in custody, has his bail also denied due to possible flight risk.

If your name is among the "TelexFree 8", don't try to leave town.

Enhanced by Zemanta

BREAKING NEWS: Massachusetts Charged Wings Network as a scam

ton Only a day after Wings Network announced its own withdrawal from US Market, Bill Galvin charged Wings Network and its top promoters as a scam:

According to the complaint, Wings Network has soaked up over 12 million in past 6 months.

Actual Complaint

Boston Globe

First Reported by through ASDUpdates

Enhanced by Zemanta

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

BREAKING NEWS: Wings Network quits US Market

Only days after Massachusetts SecState Bill Galvin expressed some concerns in the US and requested some documents from it, Wings Network decided to cease operation in the US altogether. Mind you, this is less than a month after Mass State and SEC and HSI and FBI, and ICE and who knows what else raided TelexFree.

Wings Network was often pitched by "leaders" in TelexFree as a plan B of some sort after shutdown of TelexFree.

Wings Network website now shows a message to all US IP addresses that it has VOLUNTARILY ceased operation in the US.

You can drawn your own conclusions.

(Thanks to BehindMLM for reference )
Enhanced by Zemanta

Scam Psychology: Is Enforcing Positivity Even Legal? (HINT: NO!)

English: Color logo of the National Labor Rela...
English: Color logo of the National Labor Relations Board, an independent agency of the United States federal government. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Previously here on MLM Skeptic the topic of "positivity" had been discussed several times. But a recent ruling by National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has great implications: turns out, enforcing "positivity" at work is ILLEGAL and violates Federal labor laws.

A non-Union hospital has a standing policy that prohibits any sort of negative commentary about the hospital or fellow workers, and outright prohibits "negativity or gossip". It even REQUIRES employees to represent the employer in the public in a "positive and professional manner".

The NLRB which interprets Federal Labor Law says this language so so vague and overreaching it is illegal. And it can inhibit the employees to discuss ways to protect their own rights in groups.

The MLM Skeptic points out that this sort of "no negativity" is common practice on many suspicious scheme's public forums. Zeek Rewards forums were famous in 2012 for killing off ANY sort of criticism or any hint of incompetence by the company, so you are reduced to virtually only 3 types of posts: announcements "Official Zeek", cheerleader-type comments "Zeek is great!" , and whiny questions "please help me..."

Monday, May 12, 2014

NEWS UPDATE 13-MAY-2014: TelexFree believers spam judge; WCM777 "counsel" unlicensed?; Botafogo dumps TelexFree

Some news on this Tuesday the 13th (unlucky day to some Hispanics)...

TelexFree Believers Spam Judge with Doodle

According to court documents made public via PACER court system, many TelexFree believers have mailed doodles and letters of support to the judge presiding over TelexFree. As they have really nothing to do with the case (it's not considered evidence), it's basically spam. They are in English a Spanish, handwritten and typewritten, some even includes doodles. Many of the letters basically says "I trust TelexFree, I think this is all some sort of media understanding and a conspiracy to make the company look bad..."  Which is, of course, hilarious.

You can see a sample of such at

WCM777 "General Counsel" may be unlicensed ANYWHERE

Vincent Messina, who was a part of the SEC probe into the WCM777 ponzi scheme as he was listed as "counsel" for the company, has no license to practice anywhere, according to a new SEC complaint filed to the Federal Court. The scam's size has been revised upward to over $80 million dollars, and Vincent Messina, whom was highlighted before as having "lost" a 200K dollar check, has no licensed to practice law in California (WCM777 is based in Southern California). While Mr. Messina claimed that he's licensed in Florida, SEC has checked with Florida Bar association, and Mr. Messina's membership is listed as "inactive".

According to the same complaint, Messina is also running another suspect scheme called IMV which may have received several million from WC777 before SEC closed the scam in April 2014.

See for details.

Botafogo Dumps TelexFree Sponsorship

On the team website, Botafogo announced that they have rescinded TelexFree sponsorship (in Portuguese). They will strip the TelexFree logo from their uniforms immediately. The announcement was barely 2 sentences.

Thanks to for the lead story.

Enhanced by Zemanta

ZeekRewards Ponzi STILL Screwing Victims long after it was closed in August 2012.

It is now coming up on 2 years since Zeek Rewards ponzi scheme was closed in August 2012, and we are once again reminded how wide-reaching this scam was, and how the effects of the scam continues to haunt its victims even today, but probably not in the way you think.

MarketWatch (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
An article on MarketWatch named the 4 biggest blunders a retirement saver can make, and one of them is listed as "emotional missteps".  Basically, after getting scammed by Zeek Rewards, the victims can react by choosing a super-conservative investment, simply because it is "low risk" when they can choose a higher yield (and more fitting to their risk profile) investment. So in effect, they CONTINUE to lose money due to Zeek, long after Zeek was closed.

This is compounded by the loss of interest on the money lost to Zeek, even if some of it is expected to be returned soon by the receiver.

There is a Chinese saying for this: "Bitten by snake once, fear hemp rope for 10 years." The western version is "Once bitten, twice shy."

But you will be getting back something soon (in a few months), if you've accepted the claim figures sent by the receiver. Of course, it's better to have never fallen for the scam in the first place.

But that's why you need to read skeptical blogs, rather than "avoid negativity".
Enhanced by Zemanta