In case you were wondering, Jason talks about what we “really” do here in a live seminar clip. Next, Jason interviews an expert on Identity Theft Protection and Restoration. Finally, you won’t believe what Merrill Lynch did this time.
Announcer: Welcome to Creating Wealth with Jason Hartman, President of Platinum Properties Investor Network in Newport Beach, California. During this weekly program, Jason is going to tell you some really exciting things that you probably haven’t thought of before, or a new slant on real estate, fresh new approaches to America’s best investment that will enable you to create more wealth and happiness than you ever thought possible.
Jason is a genuine self-made multimillionaire, who not only talks the talk, but walks the walk. He’s been a successful investor for 20 years and currently owns properties in nine states. This program will help you follow in Jason’s footsteps on the road to financial freedom through real estate. You really can do it. And now, here’s your host, Jason Hartman.
Jason Hartman: Hello and welcome to another addition of Creating Wealth. This is Jason Hartman. Glad to have you with us today. I just returned from India and I’ll tell you I was in a YEO, Young Entrepreneurs Organization conference there and it was totally, totally fascinating. And while I was on my trip, I completed a book about China and India called, The Elephant and the Dragon by – I don’t have it in front of me – I think it was Robin Meredith is the author. And quite, quite fascinating and amazing and really impressed me with the amount of construction and development, and the amount of people that will be lifted out of poverty in the coming years. It is truly historic what is going on in the world today.
And that is a huge opportunity for us as real estate investors because remember our philosophy today, our current philosophy, and again, this game plan could change if the market changes, but for the next foreseeable future here, is to again, buy very inexpensive real estate and very expensive as a ratio is the LTI ratio, or Land to Improvement ratio, very expensive improvements on ultra cheap land. We want to gain the label of real estate when we’re buying these properties, but we almost shouldn’t even call them properties because they’re mostly homes, or apartments or shopping centers, or whatever the structure is sitting on the land. We are investing in packaged commodities or assembled commodities.
And when you look at what is the future of India and the continuing future of China, although they’ve already done a lot of this, is massive, massive need for incredible, just unbelievable amounts of infrastructure, roads, sewers, schools, buildings, homes, everything. The cost of all of these packaged commodities, all these construction materials, has already gone through the roof and it is going to go a lot higher in the future according to my prediction.
So take advantage of buying properties, and we’re calling them properties, but again, they almost shouldn’t even be called properties. They should be called structures or improvements or packaged commodities. And again, if you want to know more about this, go back and listen to the Creating Wealth show where I talk about the risk evaluator and explain this in a little more detail. And by the way, I know all of you – many of you – you’re telling me that you’re listening to all of the old podcasts, so I really think that’s great that you go back and listen to the older ones.
And by the way, we’ve segmented on the www.jasonhartman.com website. The core content, some of our sort of basic philosophy, we’ve got about 45 shows up now and a lot of you have asked us if we would segment so you don’t have to listen to all of them right away, and put the main sort of foundational material into a section, and we’ve done that for you. If you just look at www.jasonhartman.com and you click on Education, click on the podcasting page or radio show page, you’ll see a link there that says Core Content. That is the primary foundational material of our philosophy, and we’ll continue to add to that occasionally, but that’s the most important stuff for new listeners to hear.
Anyway, these prices of these buildings are going up a whole bunch, folks, so stock up because the perfect storm is upon us. Low rates, a slowing economy, a lot of fear. Remember, J. Paul Getty said buy when everybody’s selling, sell when everybody’s buying. Now is the time to be buying like crazy because everybody’s selling.
And I’m looking here at the January 9 issue of the Los Angeles Times newspaper and on page C-2, there is a big article here. It says KB Homes Woes Deepen and this is the builder KB Homes, formerly Kaufman and Broad. It says the builder posts a bigger than expected loss of $773 million in the fourth quarter amid the housing slump.
Folks, we are cutting incredible deals right now with many of these builders around the country in the 36 markets that we are in. So take advantage of this. I hate it when I go to these seminars and I hear the guy get up there and say, “There’s never been a better time.” Well, like I told you before, there has been a better time. Certainly, 1977 was a better time. Five years ago was a better time to be investing in real estate. But if you invested then, you obviously made a lot of money, so congratulations, and if you didn’t, don’t miss the boat. Right now, it’s like turning back the clock where you’ve got some of the lowest rates in a long, long time. It’s a little bit harder to borrow and qualify, but remember, it’s harder for people who are renting to buy their first home as well.
So that puts a larger number of renters in the renter pool. Take advantage of that. It’s like this perfect confluence of things that are going on out there in the marketplace right now that make it a really, really good time to be prudently, carefully, and conservatively stocking up on debt, on cheap, fixed-rate debt that will, of course, be reduced in value over the years by the wonderful beneficial effects of inflation. And then stocking up on a set of packaged commodities, where you’re really a commodities investor, but without all the risk of investing in the true commodities market. You’re just holding hard assets that you’re buying with the bank’s money mostly and you’re letting someone else, your tenant, pay the bank back on your behalf. Nothing could be better as an investment than that equation.
All right, the global prosperity boom, and by the way, I’ll talk more about my India trip in a future podcast. I’ve just gotta sort of collect a lot of the clippings from the newspapers there and things like that for you, but we’re going to go into that a lot because it’s fundamental in our investment strategy. You might be thinking, well, what the heck do India and China have to do with investing in real estate in the United States. Hey, a lot. Don’t fool yourself. It is a global commodities market right now and there is a historic, epic prosperity boom going on around the world.
One of the things that they said in the book about the Elephant and the Dragon is they talked about how just 20 years ago, two to three billion people weren’t even playing. They weren’t even in the game of the global economy and now they are. And you know, that’s good and bad for us. I mean if you’re an American or you live in any Western country, you’ve probably seen a lot of jobs outsourced and it’s tougher for you, and that’s one of the downsides of this situation and that’s why you’ve got to invest because the government is not going to be there for us – we know that – in our retirement. And we’ve gotta take our future into our own hands and we’ve got to be prudent investors.
And obviously, the only proven investment really is rental properties because that works. It’s been proven over and over again and tens of millions of people have benefitted from it. But it’s just a much bigger marketplace now and one of the speakers we had in India was the founder of Infosys, the big outsourcing company. And it was just amazing what he shared with us about how people are becoming more prosperous in India.
So a lot coming up there. We’ll talk about in-depth on a future show, but I was looking at a copy of U.S.A. Today when I got on the plane from Taipei to LAX, and this is Monday, February 11. It’s the international version of U.S.A. Today and right on the front page, it says – there’s a picture of some kids playing soccer and it says, “In Mexico, an energized economy raises hopes. Increasing stability could help curb illegal immigration to the U.S.A.” But the subtitle of this picture says, “Thriving housing sector. Children play on a street of recently built homes in a big housing complex on the outskirts of Mexico City on December 20. Mexico is experiencing a boom in low-cost housing.”
Even a country like Mexico with so much corruption is starting to get in to the global game in a bigger way. So it’s not just happening in China and India. It’s happening all over. So take advantage of that.
And then another thing I want to share with you – pardon the rustling of papers here – is from The Financial Times. That’s the international, sort of financial paper, kind of like the Wall Street Journal, and this is also Monday, February 11, and when I opened it up to Page 8, I was sitting on the airplane and flying back, and there was a big ad for Chevron. And it’s a two-page spread and the caption in the ad says, “The world is growing by more than 70 million people a year.” The world is growing by more than 70 million people a year.
If you go to our website, www.jasonhartman.com, you’ll see right on the front page we have that population clock. I’d encourage you to do this. Go visit the site now, www.jasonhartman.com, and write down the number of people on the planet right now. And then go back tomorrow or go back in a week, or go back in a month, and notice how much that number has increased due to better healthcare, more people having babies, etc, etc, and just remind yourself of something. All of those people are consumers. They are consumers of commodities and if you remember your psychology class, they talked about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. What was the first rung on Maslow’s Hierarchy? Well, there are different interpretations of it, I think, but I’ll just sum it up in that old saying. I’ll say food, clothing, and shelter, and shelter is the investment that 70 million additional people need every single year on this Earth.
And even if they don’t need it in the area where you’re buying it, okay, remember, they still need the ingredients to build it; the lumber, the labor, the energy costs in building a house. What about the concrete? Not just what goes on the slab under the house or the landscaping in the front and the back yard or the sidewalks, but the while infrastructure for a whole neighborhood. The roads, the sewer pipes, everything, there is so much material being consumed around the world that this just bodes so well for us at this historic, epic time in human history, where people are being lifted out of poverty around the world and moving toward a middle class lifestyle.
The ad goes on to say, “With our planet’s population continuing to increase, the quality of life for millions in the developing world is improving daily. Our demand for energy is also growing and to meet everyone’s needs 25 years from now, it may take 50 percent more energy than we use today. Finding and developing all that fuel,” blah, blah, blah. This is just a commercial for Chevron basically.
But the point here is, think about it. What happens when the cost of energy goes up five years now, ten years from now? Energy is already very expensive. Energy is the ingredient in every piece of material we consume, from food to the microphone I’m speaking into, to the roof over your head, to the car you’re driving, or the bicycle you’re driving, and the shoes you’re wearing, energy cost is everywhere. So this bodes well for us as real estate investors.
Now, today, what are we going to do? Well, first, a lot of you have asked us kind of an odd question that I thought was kind of obvious, but I guess it wasn’t. It was to me, but it wasn’t to you, so I apologize for not making this more clear. What we wanted to do is just play a very brief clip from a recent live seminar that talks about what we do. What do we do here at Platinum Properties Investor Network?
So we’ll listen in to this and then after that, we have a special guest coming in talking about identity theft and how to protect yourself from identity theft and how to get your identity restored if it should be stolen. This is a big, big problem in today’s world. We live in the information age, obviously, and information is a very powerful tool for good or bad and you want to protect your information.
For the first time – I mean this happened to me before a couple times over the years, but only in a very small, minor way – but for the first time in a major way, last month, someone got a hold of my American Express number and charged up over $12,000.00 in fraudulent charges on my American Express card. My bill is normally pretty high, but last month it was really, really high, so I called them and one of the things I learned about credit cards is you’re not liable for the fraud on them, or at least not on the American Express card, and they said we’ll take those all off your bill, Mr. Hartman, no problem. And it’s just sort of scary. I must’ve given my credit card to a waiter or something and the common thing that they do is they swipe your credit card. They have a little scanner that swipes the magnetic strip on the back and gets all the information off it.
So this can happen to all of us. There are many forms of identity theft, not just using a credit card or opening up a dummy bank account in your name, or hacking into your bank account. There are many forms of identity theft. So you’re going to like that.
And then at the very end of today’s show, you won’t believe what Merrill Lynch has done now. A little clip from CBS News about some more of the other fiascos on Wall Street. So let’s listen in. We’ll go right through these and before we do, I just want to say be sure to go to www.jasonhartman.com. We put up a new offer there where we will either send you or make it available for download a free audio CD. It’s a 70-minute CD that I think you’ll like. A lot of people have requested it off our website and just go to www.jasonhartman.com and be sure to get your free CD with a lot of good information on it.
Anyway, let’s talk about what we do and then we’ll talk about identity theft, and then we’ll hear about more of the interesting fiascos on Wall Street. Thanks for listening.
So what do we do here? What is Platinum Properties all about? What we do is very unique. You’ve probably never heard of any other company doing exactly what we do. We provide the complete solution for real estate investors through this five-step process represented by these arrows.
It starts out with No. 1, Investor Education. That’s what we’re doing tonight. And then Individual Consultation where our investment counselors will sit down with you individually and help you determine what type of investment makes sense for you based on your risk tolerance, your time horizon, your investment goals. Everybody in the room is different, so they will help you with that individually. There’s no charge for any of these things. We do not make money by selling advice.
And one of the effects that has when you’re working with us is it has the effect of us being attached to the outcome of your investment. Now, I don’t know about you, but I read my first real estate investing book back in 1981. It was a book called Nothing Down by Robert Allen. How many of you have ever heard of Robert Allen? Yeah, great author.
And over the years, I got very interested. I mean I was in high school back then when I read it and I got very interested in real estate investing. And since that time, I’ve been to a zillion – not actually, okay – but a whole lot of real estate seminars. I’ve heard a lot of speakers. I’ve read just truckloads of books on the subject. And if you’re anything like me, this probably happened to you. You went to the seminar, you read the book, you got very excited. You got very interested, maybe really jazzed up. And then when you went out into the real world and tried to actually apply the techniques, you found that it was much harder than it was on the infomercial or in the books, or the tapes, or in the seminar. It was much tougher in real life when the rubber hit the road.
Now, what we do here is we actually help you invest through this complete solution. So what we say at the seminar has to come true in real life because the way we get paid, the way we earn our income, is as a real estate broker. We get a referral fee by referring you to a local agent, a local broker, in a local market that makes sense. And we have no loyalty to these people. They hate it because as soon as their market stops making sense, we change and we refer our customers elsewhere, but that’s because we are area agnostic.
So Step 2, Financial Analysis and Leverage, where we actually determine how much leverage you should use based on your specific situation and your risk tolerance. And then we help you actually acquire the properties and allocate the assets. So if you’re looking at a pie chart, a nice round pie chart, it is cut up into a lot of different pieces with a lot of pretty colors. Diversify; allocate assets so that you do not have all your eggs in one basket.
Step 4 and this is the one that usually carries most investors, is the Ongoing Management, Maintenance, and Monitoring of that portfolio. This is where it gets somewhat tough. Now, I submit to you that it is much easier than almost any other investment you will ever have. If you think there’s a such thing as a passive investment, I beg to differ with you. There is no passive investment, except maybe a savings account. But in a savings account, you are guaranteed to lose money by the time you pay taxes and inflation.
If you are a good investor at anything, you are – how many of you invest in stocks? Everybody in the room, I’m sure, right? How many of you read the annual reports? How many of you fill out your proxy and vote for the shareholders’ meeting? Nobody does all that stuff. How many read all the research on this stuff? Karen, you do this? Wow, okay. Well, you are the Goddess of paperwork and organization, so that actually doesn’t surprise me too much. We’ll introduce Karen later.
But one of the things we do is due diligence on all of the areas we recommend, all of the markets, and then we do due diligence on the agent. Then we screen and recommend property managers. I manage none of my own nationwide properties. None of my tenants know my phone number, they’ve never spoken with me, I never speak to them; they never write me letters or email me. I have no idea who they are. All I do is I have a professional property manager managing each and every property, and they just send me a check every month. It’s very, very arms length and very nice in that way.
But this is where most investors really get messed up and so we make this part a lot easier for you by helping you, by providing leverage, for the ongoing management, maintenance, and monitoring. And then, of course, the overall goal, the last one, Wealth Accumulation and Preservation.
Now, what we are not – we are not a seminar company. We are not a fly-by-night company. You notice that this meeting is not in a hotel. It’s in our office. We have no reason to hype up the investments because if what we say doesn’t happen in real life, you don’t invest, we don’t stay in business. We don’t sell books, tapes, and I’m sorry to disappoint you, there’s no $5,000.00 seminar next week. This is it.
By the end of tomorrow evening, you will really learn everything you need to know to be a very good real estate investor. This is not a teaser event. We’ll give you the meat of investing.
Okay, we will talk to you about buying properties from some of America’s largest, most trusted homebuilders, and in fact, a lot of people say you should buy their stock now because a lot of them are having problems. But see, I don’t like stock because I’m not in control. Call me a control freak. I like being a direct investor.
Okay, today we are talking about a very important financial concern that all of us need to be wary of nowadays and it is that of identity theft and credit card fraud because remember, your ability to borrow, your ability to borrow money is a huge asset. We talk about this in our seminars, but if you look at a balance sheet, you see assets and liabilities. And the one asset that so many people don’t really even count as an asset is their ability to borrow, their credit score, their identity, and their character as it’s looked at in the eyes of the computers and the databases that are kept all around about us.
I recently, actually just last month, my American Express bill had over $12,000.00 of fraudulent charges on it. I never had that happen before in any real way. I’ve had a couple here and there, but they sent me a new card and said I wouldn’t be liable for anything, which is the good news, but I’m worried that there might be a bigger problem. So I have identity theft expert here, Sally Hessen, to talk to us about that. What is identity theft, Sally?
Sally Hasson: Well, that’s a great question. It’s kind of a very misunderstood animal. Identity theft is a very, very large problem. It’s really when somebody becomes you. They take on your identity and most people think of that in relationship to financial, what you’ve just been through.
Jason Hartman: Yeah.
Sally Hasson: And it is. Wow, that’s scary; somebody did a $12,000.00 charge.
Jason Hartman: Well, a bunch of charges.
Sally Hasson: A bunch of charges, yeah.
Jason Hartman: It added up to $12,000.00. I couldn’t believe how many there were. I mean there must have been 20 charges, 20 separate charges. Yeah.
Sally Hasson: Well, you know, that’s a pretty simple problem to solve, but you’re right to worry because it might be the tip of the iceberg because depending on what information was sold, that people got on you, they can do a lot with it. One, they can just assume your identity and so I really want to concentrate a little bit identity theft in the big scale and there’s really five areas of identity theft.
There’s driver license identity. There is Social Security identity. There is medical identity. There’s character of criminal identity, and then, of course, there’s financial identity.
Jason Hartman: Wow, so all of our listeners, you gotta be careful. Identity theft is a broad, multi-faceted topic, then. It’s not just about someone charging up your credit card. My little one area that I was a victim of last month, actually, was just a credit card fraud.
Sally Hasson: Exactly.
Jason Hartman: Now, who knows? Maybe behind that – hopefully not – there’s a larger identity theft. And then medical? I mean what about all these things? Tell us.
Sally Hasson: Well, let me tell you. First, let’s deal with the medical identity theft. You know the youngest victim, it was on the news recently, it was Andrew. He was 3 weeks old.
Jason Hartman: Yeah, 3 weeks old.
Sally Hasson: And that is where somebody assumes your identity and they max out your medical insurance benefits. This can be life threatening. If I become someone and I go in, I might change my allergies. I might say, oh, you have my blood type wrong. I might change the blood type. And I might go have surgeries done in their name. And so, not only is your insurance medical benefits being maxed out, you’re getting co-charges, but just the idea that now you go in for a medical emergency –
Jason Hartman: And you can’t get what you need. Wow.
Sally Hasson: Your information’s incorrect. Your allergies are incorrect. It can be life threatening.
Jason Hartman: This makes me really concerned. Some of these – it’s election year here, obviously, and we’ve got people running for President. Some are talking about we need a national database, which I don’t think I like that idea very much because of the possibility of getting it hacked. I mean these huge corporations with millions and millions of dollars dedicated to preventing this kind of hacking, they get hacked all the time.
Sally Hasson: Oh, you know, Jason, that’s such a good point. I always smile when people tell me that they have a shredder and they’re safe.
Jason Hartman: Well, it’s better than nothing.
Sally Hasson: It is better than nothing.
Jason Hartman: Better than not having a shredder. I shred everything. If you look through my trash, you won’t know I live there.
Sally Hasson: Well, a shredder is great, but the reality is if you’re alive in the U.S.A., in Canada, in the world, other companies have your information.
Jason Hartman: That’s right.
Sally Hasson: And the Veteran Administration lost 25.6 million people’s personal information. Here in California, UCLA, 800,000 pieces of information. You have just Bank of America, you would think they could protect information, and I’m not knocking Bank of America. It was backup tapes that their carrier had taken, that were stolen. I mean it’s amazing. So there are people out there with your information and they’re losing it. And so we started with medical identity theft, but another issue is Social Security identity theft. And this is, of course, big, particularly here in California with a lot of people here illegally in the country.
Jason Hartman: So people pose as you — okay, so illegal aliens will use like my Social Security number potentially, but what will they do? I mean unless they’re old enough, they’ll say they’re me and I’m suddenly aged and they can get my benefits, or what happens?
Sally Hasson: Well, that’s kind of funny about it. A lot of people say I don’t care, let people work under my Social Security number. They’re paying into my benefit.
Jason Hartman: They’re paying into the system, but what really happens?
Sally Hasson: Well, I’ll give you an example, and this was publicized recently. A woman had 31 people working under her Social Security number. Now, about half of them were 1099’ed, which meant taxes were not being taken out of their earnings, and yet those earnings were being reported. She ended up with a tax liability of over $1 million.
Jason Hartman: Oh, very scary.
Sally Hasson: And it’s very hard to say to the IRS, that wasn’t me. I never got that money. And so, these take minutes to steal and it can take you years upon years to clean up.
Jason Hartman: To unravel, yeah.
Sally Hasson: Who we are in our character and our identity is huge, so that’s a big issue with Social Security is unpaid taxes on the income.
Jason Hartman: Okay, so we’ve got medical, we’ve got Social Security identity theft, and what, three more?
Sally Hasson: Yeah, one is –
Jason Hartman: You’re really getting me depressed here.
Sally Hasson: Driver’s license identity theft, I mean a many of us, when we were under 21, we know how easy it was to get somebody a fake I.D.
Jason Hartman: Yep.
Sally Hasson: Okay and a lot of things can happen with that, and with a driver’s license, just imagine that you get stopped for jaywalking, you get ticketed for things and they ask to see your driver’s license. And you get tickets and you don’t pay them because it really isn’t you.
Jason Hartman: So in other words, the identity thief gets a fake driver’s license and it’s got my identity on it, for example, and then they go out, they get into trouble, and I’m clean, I’m a good citizen. I’m so fortunate, other than Arkansas fiasco, but I did finally get out of that after writing a thousand letters. I was looking at property in Arkansas. I said it on another show, and I got a speeding ticket, an unfair speeding ticket, and I just fought with them forever. It was such a hassle.
Sally Hasson: You know what? Life’s too short. Isn’t life too short for that?
Jason Hartman: Oh, yeah, it totally is, but that’s kind of a different subject. But other than that, I haven’t had a speeding ticket in 12 years or any ticket, so someone can go out and they can get traffic citations under my identity, or what happens here?
Sally Hasson: Well, it’s basically with traffic, you have the car registration, so there’s some protection there, but I’ll give you an example. My daughter got ticketed for jaywalking.
Jason Hartman: But the car registration and the driver’s license are two different things.
Sally Hasson: Exactly, so here’s where driver’s license can get even a little more complicated. The big thing right now is to have identity theft over your vehicle identification number. So there is just so many ways. I’m going to move – to give you the bigger picture on driver’s license, I’m going to move in to character or criminal identity theft.
Jason Hartman: Okay, because the V.I.N. number is just exposed on every car. It’s right on the windshield. You can just read it.
Sally Hasson: Oh yeah, oh, yeah.
Jason Hartman: Okay, go ahead.
Sally Hasson: Let me move from a driver’s license identity to character or criminal identity. This is a true story. A woman seven months pregnant was having a dinner party at 9:00 p.m. Her doorbell rings. There are two officers at the door to arrest her because her car has been identified in a drive-by shooting where someone died.
Jason Hartman: Wow!
Sally Hasson: She is seven months pregnant. She doesn’t know what they’re talking about. Well, it turns out that her identity had been stolen; a car had been purchased in her name. The car was actually registered to her. The people have identity that they are her, and now there’s been a drive-by shooting.
Jason Hartman: That is really scary.
Sally Hasson: It is. It is so scary. And this, I think the character and criminal identity is the most terrifying. There was a teacher in Las Vegas that went in one day and was called into the principal’s office and fired for her night job. And she said I don’t have a night job. And he picked up the paper and there was her name, her address, for being arrested for prostitution the night before.
Jason Hartman: Oh, my gosh.
Sally Hasson: Identity theft.
Jason Hartman: Wow.
Sally Hasson: So I think that’s one of the scariest.
Jason Hartman: Yeah. Well, what scares me when you say something like that is like cyber identity stuff. Someone showed me a website once of a very well-known local real estate person where they were on a dating site and they were married. And the person is still married, and I don’t think that was really them who created that identity. I think someone was just spoofing them, I guess you –
Sally Hasson: I tell you, it’s just very, very scary and then, of course, the last story is financial identity and I know in your case with your American Express, you found out quickly about that because there were charges you didn’t make. I want you to imagine this. I want you to imagine that the same person that has your information went out, did a change of address with the post office, opened new cards, new charge cards in your name, and they’re charging like crazy. They’re not paying and you don’t know it because you’re not getting the bill.
Jason Hartman: Wow. Wow.
Sally Hasson: And you might say, well, I’m protected, but you know what? You have only 60 days to tell the charge company your card is missing or being misused, and if you don’t do it in 60 days, they have a right to go after you for it.
Jason Hartman: To be very frank with you, I haven’t always been quite as diligent about looking over my credit card bills in years past as I am now, and you’ve gotta do that. It’s something you really have to manage. The other thing I say, I want to tell our listeners, never get a debit card. I do not like debit cards because that money is pulled right out of your account and I’ve been told that the credit cards give you a lot more recourse and rights. The credit card will really help you out.
Sally Hasson: But that’s a great tip, and the other tip is that if you do have a debit card, use it as a charge card. Don’t use it with the pin number. You have a lot more protection when you use your debit card as a Visa and not with a pin number.
Jason Hartman: It’s a Visa charge card versus a debit card.
Sally Hasson: Exactly, exactly.
Jason Hartman: Okay, anything more on the problem because we want to talk about the solution. I’m getting really depressed and fed up.
Sally Hasson: It’s huge.
Jason Hartman: What’s the solution?
Sally Hasson: Well, there’s a lot of cute ads out there on TV. A lot of people are going out and they’re getting what’s called credit monitoring. And what happens there is they’re monitoring, you have a service that monitors your credit report and sends you email alerts of everything that’s gone on.
Jason Hartman: Well, I’ll tell you. I signed up for one of these a few years ago. I’m a member of Young Entrepreneurs Organization and we had a speaker, a very famous one who you probably saw his movie. It was Frank Abagnale and he was the star – it was based on him, the movie “Catch Me if You Can,” I believe was the name of the movie.
Sally Hasson: Yes, yes, great movie.
Jason Hartman: Where he just defrauded everybody and told how easy it was. It’s kind of scary how we sort of revere criminals sometimes in this society, but he’s apologized, of course, and done his good for society. But now he’s on a speaking circuit and he was a great speaker, by the way. It was really interesting what he said, but at the end of his speech, he pitched a service and I signed up for it, and it was a monitoring service like you said. And I’m not a member now. I’m a member of the one you recommend because it sounds like it does a lot more. So there’s monitoring, that’s one level.
Sally Hasson: That’s one level. And monitoring is important. Monitoring is important to know that your nightmare has begun. Okay?
Jason Hartman: At least you’ll know.
Sally Hasson: You’ll get early detection. Early detection is good, but here’s what happens with these monitoring services. After that, you have to clean up the mess yourself and if you want, they’ll send you the cleanup book from the FTC. It’s 59 pages, has 300 forms –
Jason Hartman: From the Federal Trade Commission.
Sally Hasson: Yep, from the Federal Trade Commission, and you will spend an average on small issues of 600 hours to clean up your identity and that’s on small issues. So while monitoring is critical, it is not enough. So when you’re getting an identity theft product, you want something that goes beyond monitoring. You want something that goes into complete restoration.
Jason Hartman: Okay, so there’s a distinction between monitoring the problem and solving the problem and restoring your identity, restoring your good credit.
Sally Hasson: Absolutely, and restoring your good credit in all five areas. Not just financial.
Jason Hartman: Right. See, I thought it was really just about financial.
Sally Hasson: It’s only about 27 percent of identity theft, is financial, only 27 percent.
Jason Hartman: So the bulk of it is non-financial.
Sally Hasson: Yes, and it’s growing. One out of four people are gonna be victims and it’s the fastest growing crime. Now, let’s go back to monitoring. If you have monitoring, it’s one thing, but what if you have a product that’s monitoring and restoration. I want, again, for you to imagine this. Your house is burning down. You’re out of town. You have fire insurance, okay? They call you. They say, Jason, your house is burning down. You say, thanks, put it out, and they say, no, Jason, we just monitor. We don’t restore environments, but we’re gonna send you a hose and a book of instructions of how.
Jason Hartman: You’ve gotta put it out yourself.
Sally Hasson: I mean it’s the same ludicrousy to have monitoring with no restoration. And so what I like about the product that I’m involved in with a New York publicly-traded company, and what they offer, is we have something called the Identity Theft Shield. And we do monitoring, that’s included. For one small price, we protect you and your spouse.
Jason Hartman: And it’s what? About $10.00 a month?
Sally Hasson: Actually, it’s about $12.95 or $9.95 if you get it in conjunction with our legal services.
Jason Hartman: Okay.
Sally Hasson: Okay, so it’s very, very economical, protects you and your spouse, and what we do is we have the monitoring, you get real email alerts. By the way, women, be careful about this because I was out shopping and I got an Ann Taylor MasterCard. I wasn’t gonna really tell my husband about it. By the time I got home, he knew about it. He’s already gotten the email alert. So it really works.
Jason Hartman: Yeah. By the way, I’ll just tell you from personal experience, I’m on this service and I get these email alerts every month saying there’s no activity –
Sally Hasson: I like that.
Jason Hartman: But then, instantly, when there is activity, it says there’s activity. I can click on the link, go to the website, and see what the activity was or call the 800 number, the toll free.
Sally Hasson: Isn’t that nice?
Jason Hartman: Yeah.
Sally Hasson: So you get real email alerts and then you get something if there’s no activity, so you know somebody’s watching.
Jason Hartman: So say, for example, now this is great, so that’s monitoring and that’s included. So I find out about the problem. I say hey, there’s activity on my credit report, that wasn’t me.
Sally Hasson: Yes.
Jason Hartman: Then what? Tell them.
Sally Hasson: Then we are in partnership, prepaid legal as in partnership with Kroll Worldwide Risk Management and these are the top risk management specialists in the world for risk issues. I’m going to give you an example. They’ve been around 35 years. They’re publicly traded. They were the company that went in with the Kuwaiti government and helped unravel Saddam Hussein’s money. They were the ones that went into the Enron mess and tracked the money. These are FBI, CIA; these are professionals. That’s all they do.
Jason Hartman: So what do they do? Are they filling out the forms in that FTC booklet that you talked about earlier?
Sally Hasson: It’s a good question. What we’ll do is you have a 1-800 and you have your membership number. When you’ve been a victim of any kind of identity theft, you call them, and they’re not going to simply clean up your identity; they’re not going to simply do fraud alerts for you. They can do proactive searches to say, okay, this American Express card is one problem, Jason, but let’s do some proactive searches in databases to make sure that they haven’t done any criminal actions in your name. So they do the entire package of restoring your identity and if you want, you can actually sign a limited power of attorney with them, so that while they’re doing this, you don’t have to be on the phone.
So you can be as involved or as uninvolved as you want, but you have a complete group of specialists restoring your name in all five areas.
Jason Hartman: So make sure you’re not just getting the monitoring service. Get a restoration service, too.
Sally Hasson: Absolutely.
Jason Hartman: Because that also keeps the monitoring service a little more on the hook about making sure they’re monitoring, which I like. It puts them together in one thing. Okay, anything in closing you want to mention about this?
Sally Hasson: I just want to basically say that I, too, have had the membership. I’ve been a victim of identity theft twice. I was a victim once without the membership. I was a victim once with it. It made a huge difference. If you have been a victim of identity theft, know that you are nine times more likely to be victimized again because your information’s already out there.
Jason Hartman: Wow.
Sally Hasson: And in closing, about 40 percent of the people who are victims need an attorney and that’s why Kroll Risk Management came to us prepaid legal and wanted to merge the services because it’s a perfect fit with our legal services because in identity theft, about 40 percent of the time, you’re going to need that and so anyhow, thanks for having us and your identity is your No. 1 asset. Protect it.
Jason Hartman: Yeah, good advice, Sally. I think this is something that really can’t be ignored any longer. I know that many of us have been sitting on the sidelines. I was, too, for many years. Of course, I was reading about it in the newspaper and hearing about it on the various media, but this problem has so much momentum now that I think at one time or another, all of us are sadly going to be a victim unless we take proactive steps to take care of it.
So it might be as little as a credit card fraud, it might be a financial identity theft; it might be a Social Security, a driving identity theft. There are medical and criminal, God forbid. There’s just a lot of stuff that can happen out there. We live in the information age and we have a lot of benefits from that, but there are also some responsibilities and liabilities created by it, too. So thanks for filling us in on this problem.
Sally Hasson: You bet. You take care.
Journalist: They were Wall Street’s wizards. Jack Grubman and Henry Blodget were trusted by investors to sniff out the best stocks. Instead, they got caught pumping up losers for personal gain. In the late ’90s, when everyone was putting cash in the stock market, they were at the top of their field, highly paid and well regarded by their bosses for generating millions in fees from the companies they touted.
Internal [inaudible] at Salomon Smith Barney called Grubman clearly a rock star, viewed as a god. He was paid like one, too; an $80 million salary over four years and $30 million severance, which makes the $15 million settlement he agreed to pay suddenly seem not so big.
Blodget got a $12 million a year salary at Merrill Lynch, touting practically every internet stock, even ones he privately ridiculed as worthless. He’ll pay a $4 million fine.
Both men are now banned for life from the industry that made them. Ten top brokerages will pay hundreds of millions more in penalties and will now work under new rules designed to dissolve the conflict of interest.
William Donaldson: The analyst will resume the role of “gatekeeper” and shed the recently acquired identity of cheerleader or marketer.
Journalist: It turns out hundreds of Grubman’s coworkers sounded the alarm long before regulators, calling him a “poster child for conflicts of interest,” “a crook,” “he should be in jail.” One writes simply, “Shoot Jack Grubman.”
One of the most outrageous incidents has to do with Grubman’s effort to get his twins into the right New York preschool. He did it by temporarily upgrading AT&T stock as a favor to his boss, who then made a million dollar contribution to the preschool. The twins got in.
Grubman admits the deal in a shockingly candid email. “I used Citigroup Chairman Sandy Weill to get my kids in preschool, which is harder than Harvard.” Once his kids got in, Grubman says, “I went back to my normal negative self on AT&T. AT&T Chairman Armstrong never knew that we both played him like a fiddle.”
The settlement doesn’t return any money to investors, but it also doesn’t allow the brokerages to deduct the penalties from their income taxes, something they wanted to do.
Jason Hartman: I’m here with Area Manager, Karam and if you’re looking for positive cash flow – yes, you can actually do that with only 10 percent down. Quite an amazing deal to do in today’s market and remember: the interest rates are getting a lot lower right now, so it’s a good time to be locking them in so that you lock in your cost of borrowing for the next three decades. Karam, tell us about positive cash flow and rent guarantees in Columbus, Ohio.
Karam: Well, Columbus, Ohio, we have a builder who is very, very creative. What he did was he went ahead on all these brand new single-family houses, townhouses, and condos. He’s guaranteeing six-month rent. Not only that, he is going to pay our investors the homeowners association fee and the management fee for two years. And what that does is, with 10 percent down, you get anywhere from $100.00 – $200.00 positive income before even the tax benefit is considered.
Jason Hartman: Wow, that is really phenomenal. That’s gotta be one of our very best markets in terms of cash flow, so excellent. Anything else you wanna say about Columbus, in general?
Karam: Well, the economy is booming there. There are several major corporations headquartered there. University is big, so a smart workforce, low cost of living. That attracts a lot of investors there.
Jason Hartman: Okay, Karam thanks for updating us on Columbus, Ohio. Great market.
Karam: You’re welcome, Jason.
Jason Hartman: Hey, I just wanted to announce a couple of quick things for you. If you are able to come to one of our live events, we would love to see you and meet you in person. We’ve had people fly in from all over the U.S. for them. Join us for Creating Wealth 202. This is an advanced version of our renowned Creating Wealth seminar that several thousand people have been through. That will be Saturday, February 23, and it will be the last event in our soon-to-be old office here in Newport Beach because we are moving. So join us for our last event here at the Newport Beach office on Saturday, February 23. Register at www.jasonhartman.com.
As you know, we are all moving on the first week of March to our beautiful new office in Costa Mesa right near the world renowned South Coast Plaza, and you know, we have got to hold a Creating Wealth 202 event in March and our operations manager, Karen, is very upset that we’re doing it this weekend, but it will be Saturday, March 8. Yes, we may be in boxes, it may be kind of disorganized, but it will be in our beautiful new office, so be sure to join us for Creating Wealth 202 on Saturday, March 8. Register at www.jasonhartman.com.
Join us for our Grand Opening celebration, celebrating our 11th year in business at the grand opening of our new office at 555 Anton in Costa Mesa. That will be Thursday evening, March 27, from 5:00 – 9:00 p.m. and be sure to register. You must register for this party in advance. It’s free of charge, of course, but we need to know you’re coming so we can tell the caterers to provide for you. So go to www.jasonhartman.com and R.S.V.P. for the party on the website please.
We have a very special event coming up. It is our Master’s Weekend. It is on March 29 and 30, that’s a Saturday and Sunday, the Master’s Weekend. We only hold this event, so far, once every year, so it is a very, very special event. And last year, it was just exceptional. People loved it and we flew in 16 experts from all over the country on every topic under the sun regarding investments and finance and real estate, from property managers to area agents and brokers and builders, and asset protection techniques and tax savings techniques, and wealth creation techniques; and how to use the software to manage your properties and be organized in your real estate business, and just a whole bunch of great things.
I’ve got Karen and Karam here in the room with me to just comment on the Master’s Weekend. Karen, you want to say anything about it?
Karen Karanickolas: Yes, I’m very much looking forward to the Master’s Weekend. We’ll have some great food for everybody. We’ll provide you several meals throughout the weekend. And also, I’m looking forward to giving you a presentation on getting your business organized because once you start acquiring these properties, it does become a business, so I’m here to help you. And I’m looking forward to giving you an overview of getting your business organized.
Jason Hartman: All right, Karam, what do you have to say about the Master’s Weekend?
Karam: Well, last Master’s Weekend was a great success and this time, even it will be better. And for our clients who have already purchased the properties, investment properties, nationwide, you will be meeting one on one with all these agents and property managers that you have been dealing with. Now, you can put a face to it. And for our clients who are going to be purchasing, there will be a lot of questions answered when you meet these people. They will have all the answers about the areas and it’s great to meet all these property managers and area agents who come with the flavor of their different areas.
Jason Hartman: That’s excellent. So that will be at our new office and Karen, another comment?
Karen Karanickolas: Yes, for all of you new investors, we will have some testimonials from our existing clients, from our previous clients who have purchased multiple properties. We will have a panel there available for you to hear their stories and ask them questions about your experiences as well.
Jason Hartman: Yeah, this is a great thing Karen’s talking about. We’ll have a panel of actual investors who have done it. They’ll show you the ups and downs and pitfalls, and how to avoid the pitfalls and make sure you maximize all of your investments. So join us for the Master’s Weekend. It’s at the end of March at our new office and register at www.jasonhartman.com, and we have experts flying in from all over the U.S. for this event. It’s really a big one-of-a-kind event. So hopefully you can join us for some of those events.
Just wanna remind everybody listening that we are moving to our new office and you can find all that information on our website at www.jasonhartman.com.
Also, we just uploaded another video podcast and I’d highly recommend that you subscribe to that. There’s some stuff that just lends itself better to video than audio. If you want to see what’s on that, subscribe to it, you can go to www.jasonhartman.com. If you use iTunes or an iPod and you’re an Apple person, then you can go to the iTunes Store, type in Jason Hartman, and two podcasts will come up, a video podcast and the audio podcast. And you’re probably already, if you’re listening, a subscriber to the audio podcast, so make sure you get yourself a free subscription to the video podcast as well.
And this particular one that we just loaded in the video podcast is about Naked Short Sales and what goes on with this short sale and manipulation of the stock market. It’s a very interesting report from Bloomberg News and I think you’ll really learn a lot from that. So be sure to tune in and watch that.
Be sure to see appropriate disclaimers and disclosures on our website at www.jasonhartman.com. Remember that we are not tax or legal advisors.
Anyway, we’ll talk to you next week. Thanks for listening.
This material is the copyrighted creative work of either Jason Hartman, the Hartman Media Company, Platinum Properties Investor Network, Incorporated or the J. Hartman Company, all rights reserved.
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Duration: 66 minutes