Fraud (online and offline) happens to people around the country on a daily basis, in some of the most unexpected of places. Take the recent disappearance of an unofficial Minecraft convention as an example.
Minecraft is one of the most popular video games in the world today. Fans of the game range from young children all the way to seniors, and it has become a big business over the past few years with multiple merchandising streams surrounding it. It was only a matter of time before a convention cropped up.
This unofficial convention, called Mineorama, raked in more than half a million dollars in advance ticket sales. Just a short time before the convention was to start, the promoter canceled it. At the time, he said it was not a con and that they would be scheduling a different event to take its place.
At this time though, the money is gone, will not be returned, and the brain behind the convention is gone. As much as people might not want to believe it, the evidence currently suggests that Mineorama supporters may be victims to a very profitable scam.
Like many instances of fraud out there, this could have been avoided with a little due diligence and common sense. Here’s some tips:
Make sure you know who you are dealing with all of the time. Research the company or the individual, and have much more than an email address and a Twitter handle for contacting them. If you find anything negative about the entity, avoid it. If you find nothing about the entity, good or bad, avoid it as well. Never send money to anyone or for anything that you are unable to verify.
Know what you are spending your money on before you buy. If you see tickets that do not guarantee a refund, for example, you really should not buy them. Even though the promoter might be on the up and up, you need a guarantee just in case something goes wrong. You deserve a refund if they cancel the convention.
Whenever there is the opportunity to make money, you can be sure con artists will be out in full force. With the popularity of Minecraft and tens of millions of units of the game sold, there are always going to be people looking to relieve a dedicated fanbase of their money.
The bottom line in our world is do your homework before you invest. To get philosophical for a moment, this applies beyond money: to investments of time and matters of the heart.
There are many world-class investigators throughout the United States that can perform background investigations on both people and companies. Some (like us) have their own proprietary in-house computer systems that contain unique information not found elsewhere, which they can offer reports from at a relatively low price. Many searches can determine the validity and veracity of people and their companies for less than a hundred dollars.
If you want to perform a background check, make sure the private investigator you select to perform it is licensed, in good standing with the state agency that licenses them and has an office you can go to versus meeting someone in a bar and giving them cash. Your money will likely be well-spent.