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. http://www.wipo.int/pct/en/warning/pct_warning.html
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
- You had to get the vehicle tested
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.
- The risk of being caught
- 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
- . 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
- When you open an account or obtain a loan they get your name ,address and date of birth
- Go to the doctor the hospital, get a speeding ticket – name ,address and date of birth
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
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 .
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.
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 www.pensnewzealand.com 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 .