Financial Scam Victim: Financial Columnist?

This is more than a little weird. While I am sympathetic and angry that this wrongdoing happens, I can’t be the only one that finds this odd, that a person is paid to write about money, and didn’t recognize this.

In February 2024, Charlotte Cowles, a financial advice columnist for New York Magazine, wrote a report about being scammed out of $50,000 by people posing as government officials. Cowles’s story is about how she received an unsolicited call from someone claiming to be Amazon. She then received calls from people claiming to be from the Federal Trade Commission and then the CIA. Cowles’s story includes claims that her home and family are being surveilled, her laptop has been hacked, and she is in imminent danger.

Cowles’s story is not unique, and at least 21 million Americans were scammed in 2023, according to a recent survey by Gallup. Cowles says that keeping quiet doesn’t benefit the person who fell for a scam, it only protects the scammers. She encourages people to reach out if they’re worried they’re being scammed, and be brave enough to do the same if it ever happens to you.

Use Common Sense

There is no such thing as a direct, incoming call, from any federal agency.

The other side of the coin is that I don’t live in constant paranoia. If someone actually targeted you specifically, then guess what? If that was the case, then they already have your information. All of it. So nah, go about your day.

Commercial RE Timebomb Ticks

We don’t know if the implosion will occur all at once, but make no mistake, commercial real estate is a disaster, and the ripple effects have not been felt yet. The exception is the the regional bank crisis, and the extraordinary measures taken a year ago.

Timestamps, y’all, this is a year old.

There is no solution, and after a year, the headlines have been relentless. The building on the left, in Ohio, was finally sold…at $9 a square foot. Banks and owners are selling commercial real estate at 50 cents on the dollar, if they can sell at all.

What We Don’t Know And May Never Know

Is the government preparing for ongoing bank and investor turmoil? Emergency measures are set to expire in March 2024. Oh boy.

Are banks actively reducing the value of the commercial real estate it owns, to reasonable, market levels?

Before someone stands behind his/her pulpit and makes statements like “the banks shouldn’t have taken on this much risk,” let me remind you that the reason the value of your home is so much higher is via this same mechanism. That leaves that person to “I only agree if the results are in my favor.” Got it.

Sounds Too Good To Be True?

I can understand that people want the simple answer. The problem is that a set of assumptions need to be made, to create any plan. Most of the time, these assumptions are glossed over, or not mentioned at all. AHA! If you do not challenge the assumptions, then how can you rely on the conclusions?

I point out a very popular [apparently] YouTube channel, and show you how easy it is to overlook vital assumptions.


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