Bob Herbert, a NY Times columnist, wrote a column about the dismal unemployment situation in the United States. Here is what he told us. Unemployment remains flat at 9.5%.

He went on to explain that of the 14.6 million officially unemployed, nearly 45 percent have been looking for a new job for six months or longer. There are 5.9 million people who have stopped looking for a job but still want to work and 8.5 million Americans who are working part time but would like to work full time. That is 30 million Americans who desperately need to find work. The consequences of such high unemployment are huge.

In Canada, the situation is not as dire but still worth noting. Stats Canada numbers released early August show that the unemployment rate was 8.0%. The percentage of unemployed Canadians who have been looking for work for more than six months is 22.5%. Worrisome too was the news that the unemployment rose for women 55 and over (6.5%, the highest in six years) and men 55 and over (7.1%).

Now think like a con artist. Wow! What an opportunity for people to promote schemes that promise significant returns with little or no risk to people who are desperately in need of money.

Watch out for on-line Ponzi schemes called high yield investment programs. Watch out for people who use personal relationships in religious communities or any other tightly knit community, to promote very sketchy investments.

Now is the time to get the message out. Anyone who promises you unusually high returns and says in the same breath, low or no risk should be suspect and reported to us.

To read previous posts on this and other topics, click on Let’s talk about investing.

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