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RKN Global on Health Scams

Society seems to be getting more and more health conscious, leading many to seek out ways to increase their health and fitness levels. Unfortunately, some scammers are happy to use our wish to stay healthy to their advantage.

Health scams often appear as advertisements on websites, but they may also pop up in the form of an email too. These scams can involve advertising a product that appears to be an authentic form of medication, or an alternative medicine.  The advertisements may also claim that they can cure baldness, arthritis, impotence, and other conditions, giving customers a unique opportunity to get their hands on the miracle medicine for a reduced price.                             

One method that scammers often use to try to convince potential customers that their product is authentic is to show them testimonials that previous customers have left. But how can one be sure that any of those testimonials are authentic? They may have been written by the scammer, their friend, or someone who has been paid to write an authentic-looking review. The reviews/testimonials have usually been written in an attempt to convince people to buy their products. Indeed, those who sell legitimate products usually list some of their customers’ testimonials on their websites, often making it hard to tell the difference between authentic testimonials and scams.

The next time you come across a testimonial that you’re not sure is genuine, take a look at what it claims. Has the product in question ostensibly made baldness disappear? Has it offered the user a new lease of life? Are there wild claims about how well the product works, encouraging others to buy it too? Note that when people leave reviews, they don’t tend to write 500+ words about their purchase, but instead usually leave a few lines of text, stating how well the product does or doesn’t work. If you come across reviews that are all-singing and all-dancing, chances are they are not genuine.

RKN Global’s founder, Ronald K. Noble, advises anyone who wishes to purchase medication or supplements online to do so with caution. If you are in any doubt about the authenticity of a product, buy it elsewhere.

In the UK, patients are charged just less than £9 per prescribed medication, while in the US, patients are expected to have medical insurance that will ideally cover the cost of their treatment. Medication and treatment can in some cases seem prohibitively expensive, meaning some people risk missing out on the care they need simply because they cannot afford it. However, with access to the internet, those who cannot afford the right treatment may decide to look for alternatives.  Desperation leads some to be more easily defrauded.

Miracle cures for diabetes, for example, may seem too good to be true, but if you do not have the money for prescribed medication, an advertisement that claims it can help may be all too tempting. Tragically, products that have been purchased online to improve a health condition such as diabetes, may in fact make the condition worse. If someone suffering from diabetes does not get the insulin they need, they could become seriously ill, or even die.  If patients put their trust in a false hope and neglect proper treatment, the results could be disastrous.

But there are other risks associated with buying medication online too. Counterfeit medicines can contain very harmful ingredients, or simply no active ingredients at all.

Labels and claims that are intended to lure are often vacuous, when you consider their meaning.  Something may be advertised as 100% natural, but that does not mean it is safe or effective.

One worrying method that scammers often use is to assure potential customers that their product has been approved by doctors. The problem is that the doctor in question may not give you any real evidence to suggest that the product works. Anyone could pose as a doctor, and claim that the medication or supplement can help. A photograph of someone dressed like a doctor may be all it takes to convince some people that they can trust the product that’s being advertised.  The opinion of a man or woman in a lab coat, even if he or she actually once earned a medical degree, is no substitute for peer-reviewed studies and widespread acceptance by the medical establishment.

Ronald Noble, founder of RKN Global, advises people to stay safe, ensuring they only take the medication that their doctor has prescribed. Ignore the advertisements and emails that state they can change your life or which offer you huge discounts. These are tell-tale signs of fraud.

RKN Global founder, Ronald K. Noble, draws attention to a recent case which is the corruption version of the sheepdog preying on the sheep.

Luis Gustavo Moreno Rivera rose up the ranks as a young criminal lawyer in Colombia to become its anti-corruption chief.  This past June 15th, he travelled to the United States to make an anti-corruption presentation to the IRS.  Some hours after his lecture, he met with a lawyer and an embattled former politician, identified by media outlets as Alejandro Lyons Muskus, who once served as governor of the country’s Cordoba reason, and solicited bribes in exchange for promises to scuttle a corruption investigation in Colombia against Muskus.

What Moreno did not know was that Muskus, wanted on numerous corruption charges in Columbia, was cooperating with U.S. federal agents.   A few weeks earlier, Muskus met with Moreno’s middle-man, the attorney Leonardo Pinilla.  During that meeting, Pinilla told Muskus that for the equivalent of $132,000, Moreno would scuttle the corruption investigation against Muskus in Colombia by impeaching witnesses.  The next month, on the day that Moreno had given his anti-corruption lecture to IRS employees, he met with Pinilla and Muskus, told Muskus about the Colombian prosecution’s plans and stated that he would bury the prosecutors in work so that they could not successfully prosecute Muskus.

A few days later there was a mall meeting between the three, including a surreptitious bathroom hand-over of a $10,000 down payment.

Ronald Noble, RKN Global’s founder, laments the phenomenon of the corruption of those who are charged with keeping the public trust.  It is especially egregious when the public servant’s particular role was to spearhead the battle against corruption.   Moreno had once said that only “the belief that he will be punished” can deter someone from an intended criminal act.  Perhaps he should have paid more attention to the possible consequences of breaking the public’s trust.

RKN Global on Charity Donation Fraud

Many people regularly give money to charity; in 2014, £10.6 billion was raised in the UK alone. On average, people in the UK donate £14 per month to a charity, with much of the money going towards medical research.  Those who donate money on a regular basis should make sure the money they’re giving goes directly to the charity they think they are supporting.

British charities, for example, should be registered with the Charity Commission; this registration helps to prove the charities’ authenticity, allowing people to know that their money will be put to good use.

Ronald Noble, founder of RKN Global, urges everyone to make sure they only donate to charities who have been registered as authorized charities.

In some cases, fraudsters have been known to operate online, using social media platforms to raise cash. One example in the UK involved agents raising money for an overseas animal welfare charity that did not exist. Many people genuinely want to help suffering animals; it is this desire to help that helps the pockets of fraudsters. While there are many different ways to give money to charity, it seems that donating money online is becoming more and more popular. Donating online is convenient, and it allows us to give money without having to withdraw any cash. However, online scams can often leave us out of pocket while funding the lifestyles of fraudsters and con artists.

Awareness is the key to protecting yourself from charity fraud, both online and offline.

In person, one way to protect yourself from falling victim to charity donation fraud is to ask those who claim to be collecting money for identification. If they show you identification but you still have concerns, simply do not give them any money.

If you genuinely want to give money to charity, approach the charity in question with a donation, rather than waiting for them to come to you. Charities will be more than happy to accept a donation of any size, and they will not use pressure to get you to donate more.

You should also be on the lookout for promotional material that contains spelling mistakes or is simply badly written. Genuine charities will produce material that is eye-catching and tells you who will receive your donations; it will read well. Of course, a good presentation alone is no guarantee.

If you are approached by someone asking you to donate money who uses intimidation or aggressive behavior to try to persuade you, just walk away, close the door, or hang up the phone. Genuine charities will not ask their fundraisers to behave this way.

Another way to protect yourself is to make sure you never give your bank details to someone you do not know; this includes charities too.

If you think you have been scammed by a fraudster, contact the relevant authorities as soon as possible. Describe whom you thought you were donating money to, and what the individual looked like. Describe his or her demeanor, how he or she acted, and what type of accent he or she had. All of these details may seem irrelevant, but they could help the authorities catch the fraudsters.

If you donated money to a website, look in your search engine’s history for the address. If you donated via a social media platform, look for the page or account you donated to.

There are many genuine charities out there that work tirelessly for good causes. Awareness on your part can not just keep you from getting defrauded, but also ensure that your money does the good that you want it to.

RKN Global’s founder, Ronald K. Noble, recognizes that genuine charities do incredible work throughout the globe, helping to save lives, give emergency aid where it is needed the most, and make the lives of those in need a little better. Fraudsters often work to take our donations for their own benefit rather than helping those who need it the most. If every one of us makes sure we only give to genuine charities, those in need will benefit.

RKN Global on When Accusations of Corruption are Made

A media storm has enveloped a justice on the high court of Calcutta, India.  C.S. Karnan, before he was transferred to the Calcutta high court, served on the Madras high court.  At that time, he made public accusations, including through an open letter to the Indian Prime Minister, against numerous sitting and retired judges throughout the country.  The accusations included allegations of corruption.

RKN Global founder, Ronald K. Noble, notes that because corruption is so serious, accusations of corruption are a serious matter as well. In Justice Karnan’s case, the accusations resulted in his conviction for contempt of court.

Among some of the highlights of the storm surrounding Justice Karnan are:

  1. Contempt proceedings were initiated against Justice Karnan based on his behavior and accusations against members of the judiciary.
  2. On May 8, a seven-judge panel of the Supreme Court ordered Justice Karnan to undergo a medical evaluation, based on their concerns about his mental health.
  3. The next day, Justice Karnan issued arrest warrants for seven judges of the Supreme Court, including the chief justice, for failure to appear before him.  He cited Article 226 of the Indian Constitution and Section 482 of its Criminal Procedure Code, calling it a “judicial order in ithe interest of the national to protect the general public from corruption and unrest.”  Additionally, he ordered mental evaluations of the judges who ordered his evaluation.
  4. That same day, the Supreme Court sentenced justice Karnan to six months’ imprisonment for contempt of court.
  5. Justice Karnan  managed to evade arrest, and authorities believed he had fled the country, but after several weeks, he was captured by police in a resort near the city of Coimbatore, in India.

RKN Global founder, Ronald Noble, observes that this saga, with its themes of corruption, mental illness and racism (not discussed here, for simplicity’s sake!), is sad no matter how you look at it. If Justice Karnan were not mentally ill and in fact were correct, there would be a major judicial corruption scandal in India.  But in light of Justice Karnan’s likely mental illness, it is a sad tale about the descent of a talented lawyer and judge.

RKN Global on Corruption, Unaoil and the Domino Effect

Last year, an Australian newspaper, the Age, published an expose after coming into possession of a trove of emails relating to corruption in a privately-held, Monaco-based company called Unaoil.  Unaoil, which offered itself as a middle-man to foreign companies wanting to do business with oil companies in the Middle East, had apparently used bribery of officials in the target countries in order to secure business deals for its clients.

We have previously discussed the Unaoil case, examining the reach of the corruption of Unaoil’s practices, and the prominence of some of its clients, which included Halliburton, Rolls-Royce, and Samsung.  We have also looked at the case of one former Unaoil employee and his story of how he delivered a bribe on behalf of Unaoil to a Libyan official.

Ronald K. Noble, RKN Global founder, reemphasizes the important role of the media in shining a light on corruption.  In this case, it led to government action.

In the wake of the allegations, one of the government bodies to take an interest in the Unaoil affair has been Britain’s Serious Fraud Office, which opened a broad investigation into the allegations.  Recently, that investigation has apparently implicated a significant British oil company, Petrofac.

In a May 12th press release, the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) confirmed that “it is investigating the activities of Petrofac PLC, its subsidiaries, and their officers, employees and agents for suspected bribery, corruption and money laundering.”

As a result, Petrofac suspended its COO, who was identified as a possible suspect, and placed restrictions on its CEO in order to ensure the integrity of its cooperation with the SFO investigation.  Nevertheless, the SFO maintains that Petrofac has not cooperated with the investigation.

The Age newspaper reported that Petrofac’s dealings with Unaoil involved the hiring of Unaoil to secure contracts in Syria, among other countries, though Petrofac only stated that is interactions with Unaoil were mostly based in Kazakhstan from 2002-2009.

RKN Global founder, Ronald K. Noble, draws attention to the fact that corruption causes real harm.  It effects ripple outward and affect peoples’ lives in a real way.

The results are likely to be devastating to Petrofac as a company, as its stock price plummets and it may find itself fined for up to $800 million.  This could lead to its value dropping from £3 billion to £1.2 billion.   The harm is likely to reverberate and affect the oil industry in Britain, innocent employees and their families, and stockholders.