Truth Matters


patent and trademark organisation LLC Received an offer today from an American Company ” Patent and Trademark Organisation LLC ” offering to  update a trade mark which is  due to  expire next year  . They charge a mere  $1290  for the privilege   of re registering  the  trade mark which  if you renew  directly through the  Intellectual property office  would cost you  $402.50.

The letter that I received had terms and condition written on the back,  I initially thought the back  was grey but on closer examination words can just be made out, no doubt despite their visibility they would be binding and I would probably find that they are enforcible only through American courts.

There was no address on the actual letter but the PO Box number which was given was Patent and Trademark Organisation,  PO Box 2331 Shortland Street Auckland  1140.

IPONZ has a  warning on their web site IP scams and unsolicited emails

I note that  the Australian IP office also has it listed on its  warning page   .

Before paying a fee for any IP-related service, we recommend that you carefully consider what, if any, protection, promotion or other value the service will provide.

If you wish to  use a lawyer for   filing and maintaining    your  intellectual property  then we can recommend  a New Zealand Law firm  which  can act for you .

Further warnings have been given by the World Intellectual property Organization  who provide a list of  examples of   such unsolicited  letters.


The police    have a web page entitled How to prevent identity crime which gives many   useful tips on keeping your identity safe.

The also provide a brochure with suggestions as to how you should go about it.

But the reality is that no matter how careful you are you cannot prevent someone from stealing your identity.

Take for example the following story The stolen identities of dead children were allegedly used by an elderly man to scam taxpayers of $450,000 in a rare type of benefit fraud.” How do you think the dead children or their parents could have prevented someone from stealing their identities?  Well you are right they were entirely   helpless.

The amazing thing is that while some government departments have realised years ago that Verification was the only thing that stands in the way of fraud, there were others which took a lot longer to cotton on. I am happy to read in that same article that verification is now being carried out but we are only part of the way there.

Let’s look at warrant of finesses as an example.

This is a small piece of paper which is stuck to your windscreen and indicates   that for the current period the car is fit to be on the road.

Once upon a time there were only two ways to get this

  1. You had to get the vehicle tested
  2. You bought one in a pub.

With the advancement of technology option 2   can be avoided and you can go straight to your colour printer   and print one off and stick it onto your windscreen.

So why don’t people do this?

  1. With the advancement of technology the police    also have a data base and before they have even stopped your car they already know if you have a valid WOF or not and the copied warrant will only serve to make your life miserable. Not only will you get a fine for not having a warrant you will be fined for having a false warrant.
  2. Additionally if you have an accident even if it was not your fault you will not have insurance cover.

Therefore there are two   criteria to the decision to use false particulars and or documents.

  1. The risk of being caught
  2. The consequences of being caught.

If the risk of being caught is low then there is an incentive to attempt to dupe the other party

If there are no consequences or the cost of the penalty is less than the proceeds   of the fraudulent activity then economically speaking, the gamble is worth it.

What can we do to stop identity theft?

While you should never be complacent about your identity you have to accept that   protecting your personal details is largely outside your control. Your name date of birth and your address are the three   points of reference to identify you and there are many who have access to those details

  1. . Whenever you ring up organisations to query your bill e.g.   Telephone, insurance companies etc.  you will be asked security questions.. So what do they ask you.. Your name, address and  date of birth
  2. When you open an account or obtain a loan they  get your name ,address and  date of birth
  3. Go to the doctor the hospital, get a  speeding ticket – name ,address and  date of birth
  4. Entering a competition. to qualify  you need to provide name ,address and  date of birth

While the privacy act requires each company to take care with your   personal details   there are many cracks in the system and are others who are quite reckless with your identity    and in so doing your details can fall into any ones hands.

  1. There is no guarantee of the integrity of the person at the call centre  , and with  many call centres off shore  the  ethical standards and levels of enforcement    may not be the same as here in NZ
  2. The storage of records in companies you trade with. It can be as simple as them selling the photo copier which has your stored details on the hard drive which can be recovered    in the future by unauthorised third parties.
  3. The documents which are sent out in the mail, I have received them form the insurance and of late the registrar of elections.   The  specially marked envelopes makes these documents which contain all your personal  details an easy target  at any stage  between  leaving  the   electoral office  and  it arriving safely within your home .

It is therefore not the person whose identity is being used   who has an issue it is the person who is dealing with the person who has assumed the identity.  If everyone verifies who they are dealing with    then    the cycle of identity theft will be broken.

It is our politeness and our “not wishing to offend” which facilitates identity fraud.

Verifying who you are dealing with is easier than you think, I can come to your business   and teach you how to go about it  or you   can  contact us for the next  How to verify work shop .

While we are busy stamping out bullying in schools , it is  very much alive and regularly practiced in the real world.

The most common type of Bullying I see is where a lawyer makes a demand for something and expects compliance with the demand because he knows that   it would be uneconomical for the other party not to comply.

It is a bit like a game of Poker   the person with the money can make the demands  because the  party  with the best hand  usually   being the  truth and the integrity ,  is often in a situation where  they cannot  afford to  pay to protect the truth  and  has to withdraw  because the stress the   ridiculous  associated court costs are simply not worth it.

This would not happen if  Lawyers  were  held accountable to any claim they  made or threatened to make.  I see this so often  people create  any  kind of  document  or allegation   and “ sanitize”  it through a lawyer.

Because the lawyer  is an officer of the court and must not mislead the court  , it is assumed that the lawyer has  checked out and asserted the  truth behind the matter.  In reality   this does not occur.

So when a lawyers letter arrives people panic   and  think that they are about to be sued.  They comply with the demands just to make the issue go away. If they do not role over the lawyer  initiates action , this brings about  costs for the other party for many thousands of  dollars . In my mind this is bullying.

I have a simple solution   I stand up to bullying and  by using the law   address the issue. Lawyers are not law enforcers ,  they are  simply a weapon employed by  bullies as a tool for bullying , effectively  they  are nothing  but a  base ball bat used to beat the other party into submission.

of course this is all done in the name  of justice and  in a manner which prevents the freedom of speech  and the ability for us to warn any one  about  those in our society who  are actively seeking to rip others off.

It is therefore my sincere opinion that the officers of the court  those who are supposed to be seeking justice are actually facilitating and assisting  criminal activities by  siding with the bad   guys and not checking out their facts  before they act.

It has also been my experience that  for many lawyers  Justice is  the last thing on their  mind , and far too many are driven by  nothing more than the  all mighty $$$$.

One of the rules for lawyers and solicitors is that they must not allow their practice to be used for fraud, But when they don’t check the facts and defend their client no matter what they are often  the catalyst which facilitates   fraud   but they are pretty safe as  The Police appear to be loathed to take action against lawyers and the Law society protects their own.

When I was a police officer   we had to act according to the law,  I  just wonder why this does not apply to lawyers , instead they misapply and misuse the law to scare people into submission

The truth is that  by the very nature of crime the Bad guys  have far greater propensity to  pay for lawyers than the good guys who are slogging away for a wage  and don’t have $500 per week to spare let alone $500  per hour for a lawyer.

This kind of puts an imbalance on  things  and tips  justice and  integrity of our society out of kilter. .. and the  bad guy  benefits  from their action.

For that reason I do not  give in to bullying and  I stand up for my rights  because if we don’t stand up for the right to warn others of criminals and their methods of offending then   we all lose.

I recently wrote about Jonathon Mann a convicted fraudster who has manufactured and is selling a cream called fix to which he attributes  healing powers .

The  recommendations on the  FIX web site   are dubious   , many of the recommendations are  anonymous and at least one of the recommendations from  “ Paul Ashcroft“  is from a  name which Mr Mann has been known to use himself.

Jonathon Mann  alias  Jonathon Macdonald  has convictions  for   Fraud  and   has assumed   a number of  careers including  Physiotherapy which he  has convictions for.

The product IHO Fix  is  trademarked under pharmaceutical and medicinal preparations but is not listed  on the medsafe web site which has  to be a worry in itself.

I call people who pass themselves of as something   which they are not  “Con men” It appears that I am now being put on notice for defamation.  Truth Hurts   See the full letter and my reply on the transparency web site .

Time and again we read of fraud occurring and when I look at why it occurred there is a common thread.

TRUST  –  we trust total stranger to tell us the truth  and we trust them to such an extent that we do not verify .

Verification appears to be a lost art , it should be  the no 1 item on any  businesses agenda.. verify verify  verify.

In this news item alone there are three  examples of where verification could have prevented the embarrassment

  • More than 150 international students gained fraudulent qualifications in less than a year from API Institute of Education, which closed last year. Almost half were “ghost” students, who paid for qualifications but never attended classes.
  • Last year Massey University’s Albany campus had to get rid of about 50 students who enrolled in its business degree with fake diplomas from local schools.
  • Kingsland Institute has been barred from taking new students after two senior staff were charged with immigration fraud last July.

Significantly the article states “NZQA has advised the Government that it has found dishonest practices, particularly over the sale of qualifications and falsification of results. “

When accepting degrees   they have to be verified.  I spoke to a  Bangladeshi  lady recently  who advised me that in   countries such as hers it is common for the wealthy to have others sit exams for them.

We cannot claim to be the  least corrupt  county in the world  when we are blind to truth. We have to set up systems which make   people accountable to the truth.

Verisure  will help you set up  a verification system and allow you to train your staff so that  you  can  easily verify   the existence of degrees yourself.

I am not  saying that this is a scam  but  when an unsolicited  offer comes in  to your mail box   together with a free personalized pen its worthy of a closer look

The letter  and envelopes from national pen had me puzzled as to who they are, where they are from, and which Po box they use.

The letter uses PO box 9111 Newmarket   telephone 0800440816 which  is answered by  an  answer phone   with a distinct Irish accent.

The reply  envelope for the  order bears  Po Box 201236 Auckland airport   but the return address on the  original  envelope   has private bag 92901 Onehunga.

The  mail authority is spring global mail Po Box 91958 Victoria street West.

Call me old-fashioned but I am used to dealing with companies which have   just one address,  and are something more than a name. National pen is   not a New Zealand based company and there is no indication of where it is a company or even if it is a company.

This is a great way to trade as you will never be  able to find accountability if something is  wrong with the product or if it starts to glow in the dark   and it’s not meant to.

Richard Grant   who supposedly signed the    letter as  Vice president sales has a sufficiently generic name  which means  that  he , if he exists cannot be identified.

As for the web site   is registered  to  a San Diego address website registered in Melbourne with a Swedish admin address.

If I do want pens  I think I would rather deal with some one local then I would know  who I am dealing with  and if the pens  turn out to have no more than 5 drops of ink in them  then I have some where to  address the fact under the fair trading act.

I f you would  like to know how you can find out who or what your next offer is   from and if it is safe  place contact us at Verisure and  find out when we run our next   finding the facts workshop   .