The Dictionary of Financial Scam Terms: The truth vs. the scam

 

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Promissory Note

Truth:

A written promise to pay.  The note may carry interest depending on the agreement between the two parties.  A promissory note can be NEGOTIABLE INSTRUMENT and transferred to a third party.  At this point, the issuer now owes the third party instead of the original debtor.  

A Promissory Note can be called at any time by the current owner of the note (debtor).  The security of the note is only as good as the creditworthiness of the issuer. 

For instance, the check you write to the handyman is a promissory note and the amount promised is due to the handyman upon presentation at your bank.  Should he endorse the check over to his brother, then the obligation is now due to the handyman's brother.  If you have a good credit standing at your bank, then it is possible that should your account be short of the full sum due when the handyman's brother shows up to claim his funds, the bank will cover the balance on your behalf.  Now you owe the bank.  This is banking in its most basic form, and all other banking processes are built on this foundation.

Examples of Promissory Notes (also simply called "notes") are: Bank Note, collateral note, credit instrument,  and time note. 

Scam:

Having discovered through conversation that you are in possession of one or more promissory notes, a financial swindler will attempt to persuade you to assign the notes over to him, either directly or through a Limited Power of Attorney.  The given incentive is that the swindler will borrow against the note and then enter the borrowed funds into a HIGH-YIELD INVESTMENT PROGRAM.  The explanation given is that proceeds from the investment will more than pay back the loan within a few days or weeks, leaving you with a significant profit.  The swindler will more often than not state that this can be accomplished over and over again, using the same note.

What really happens is that the swindler borrows against the note and disappears with the funds leaving you to repay the loan.  Depending on the wording of the Limited Power of Attorney, the swindler may have the option of merely cashing the note and disappearing over the hill.  

In either case, because the note has been legally signed over to the swindler or assigned to the swindler through Limited Power of Attorney, there is no recourse through the banking system.  The only recourse available is through law enforcement since you were persuaded into a course of action based on a false premise.

 

 

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