Watchdog Nation partners with Mike Holmes

We work with the HGTV Star to “Make it Right!”

Watchdog Nation, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and HGTV star Mike Holmes joined with some caring businesses to fix a heartbreaking problem involving an elderly man who lost $19,000.

Royce Benson gave two ex-convict brothers money for foundation repairs that were never done.

The story, which first appeared in a Dave Lieber column in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, led to a series of events that resulted in one the culprits getting sentenced to four years in prison.

After the original story appeared, staff members for Mike Holmes contacted Watchdog Nation and asked if they could help fix the house of 80-year-old Royce Benson for free. [Read about this incident on the Mike Holmes blog here.]

Watchdog Nation Dave Lieber partners with Mike Holmes

Mike Holmes

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More Watchdog Nation News:

America meets Watchdog Nation/Listen to Fun Radio Interview

Watchdog Nation Changes Lives/Two People Who Learned to Fight Back

Watchdog Nation Debuts New e-Book and Multi-CD Audio Book

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The Fort Worth Star-Telegram and Watchdog Nation worked with Holmes to get area companies and suppliers to donate their time and materials. Thanks to Perma-Pier Foundation Repair of Dallas, Roto-Rooter of Fort Worth and Lowe’s for banding together and, in the motto of Mike Holmes, working to “make it right.” (Read the complete account here.)

Watch a video of Royce Benson explaining what he went through here.

Watchdog Nation founder Dave Lieber partners with Mike Holmes

Royce Benson points to a sample of the awful foundation repair job. He paid $19,000 for nothing.

Watchdog Nation founder Dave Lieber partners with Mike Holmes

Watchdog Nation founder Dave Lieber partners with Mike Holmes

Watchdog Nation founder Dave Lieber partners with Mike Holmes

Hubert Burdick runs a small remodeling business. He promised to do foundation work but never did. Photo: Texas Prison System


Billey Ray Burdick runs a tree-trimming service. He accepted two of Royce Benson’s checks that were made out to him. Photo: Texas Prison System

Holmes, the star of his Holmes on Homes TV show, also produces Holmes, The Magazine to Make It Right now available in the USA.  In the debut USA issue (January 2011), Watchdog Nation founder Dave Lieber tells the story in a “Holmes Heroes” feature about how Benson’s house is getting a makeover.

Read the Holmes magazine story by Dave Lieber here.

Watchdog Nation founder Dave Lieber partners with Mike Holmes

The debut issue of Holmes’ USA magazine is now for sale. See a list of retailers here. And following a new Federal Trade Commission rule that requires bloggers who promote products to disclose any financial relationship, we disclose: Holmes magazine paid Lieber for the story. Lieber, in turn,  donated the funds to Summer Santa, the all-volunteer children’s charity he co-founded in 1997. (Visit You’ll be surprised.)

The folks from Perma-Pier Foundation Repair of Dallas work with Benson to make it right.

Final note: Watchdog Nation is honored to work with Mike Holmes and his wonderful team. His continued efforts to keep contractors honest and do it right the first time is nothing short of heroic.

Watch his show on TV. Read his magazine. Learn how to find the honest contractors and stay out of trouble. A mission we share at Watchdog Nation.

UPDATE: In 2011, Hubert Burdick pleaded guilty to criminal theft and was sentenced to four more years in prison for his role in this incident.

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Dave Lieber book that won two national awards for social change.\

Still here? Visit Dave Lieber’s other fun websites:


Hipster site:

Free Document Destruction Leaves Watchdog Nation Founder Happy

Watchdog Nation is all about protecting yourself for free and in just seconds.

That’s how I try to operate my life — free and fast. And I bet you do, too.

Sometimes, though, that can clutter things up.

Do you shred your documents that contain your personal information before throwing them away? I’ve bought three different shredders from office supply stores — and returned them all. They stink.

Instead, I’ve been waiting for a free, local shredding service to take my receipts, bank statements and paper bills and ground them into pulp. Unfortunately, it can cost a homeowner around $100 for such a service to come to your door or for you to bring it to them.

That’s not Watchdog Nation’s way. We want it done free and in just seconds.

My last big shredding was in June 2007 in Addison, Texas. I remember because I attended an anti-fraud conference that day. Free shredding was one of the lures.

In the past three years, I accumulated more than a hundred pounds of paper. I had boxes stacked in the attic marked “To Be Shredded.” Trash bags were piled high in a spare bedroom.

Then yesterday, they all vanished.

I’ve kept searching the Internet and asking about free shredding. Then I heard about Legend Bank in Fort Worth, Texas that was staging a “Free Shred Day.” I’m not a customer, but the event was open to everybody. I told a lot of my friends and many of them showed up, too.

Legend Bank is getting a reputation for offering checking that pays 4 percent in monthly interest if certain conditions are followed. The shred day was a great way to get people to visit the bank.

Mike Monroe, executive vice president and regional president, also passed along shredding guidelines to his customers — a story by Steven Hastert at You can read it here.

Watchdog Nation hopes you are shredding your documents for free and in seconds. No need to wait three years as I did.

Mike Monroe of Legend Bank (left), Dave Lieber (center) and Michael Morris of -- and the star of the show, all the stuff of Dave's about to get destroyed.

No need for me to repeat the latest identity theft stats here. You know the drill. Suffice it to say that I have written stories in my newspaper about dumpster divers who pull the unshredded stuff out and resell it to drug rings that also engage in identity theft. That’s incentive enough for me to do it right.

Dave Lieber's Watchdog Nation: Bite Back When Businesses and Scammers Do You Wrong

Three years of Watchdog Nation founder Dave Lieber's personal documents waiting to be shredded. Almost filled up a large trash cart.

We advise you to search the Internet regularly for “free shredding” and the name of your community. These events are almost always held on Saturdays. Often, the sponsors are private businesses, law enforcement authorities and neighborhood associations. You can even call your local shredding companies (easy to find on the Internet) and ask if they are scheduled to offer a free service with any community sponsors in the coming months.


Dave Lieber, The Watchdog columnist for The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, is the founder of Watchdog Nation. The new 2010 edition of his book, Dave Lieber’s Watchdog Nation: Bite Back When Businesses and Scammers Do You Wrong, is out. Revised and expanded, the book won two national book awards in 2009 for social change. Twitter @DaveLieber

Dave Lieber book that won two national awards for social change.

Watchdog Nation founder to speak to 1,000 Fort Worth volunteers

On Saturday, May 22, 2010, Watchdog Nation founder and Fort Worth Star-Telegram columnist Dave Lieber will address 1,000 involved Fort Worth volunteers as part of the city-sponsored CODE BLUE SEMINAR at the Fort Worth Convention Center.

Code Blue is one of the most successful community volunteer organizations in the nation. Volunteers work closely with Fort Worth Police to protect their neighbors and make the 17th largest city in America the best it can be.

Dave Lieber will share the core principles of Watchdog Nation that shows Americans how to fight back when businesses and scammers do you wrong. Copies of his award-winning Watchdog Nation book will also be on sale.

Also on the program is Fort Worth Mayor Mike Moncrief.

In this photo, Dave Lieber swears in Code Blue members as “citizens” of Watchdog Nation at Fort Worth Police West Division headquarters at an event in March 2010.

Dave Lieber shows Americans how to protect themselves from wrongdoing.

Background checks on pennies a day

One of the easiest ways to scour available public records is through a computerized database call

As an investigative columnist, I’ve been using the site for more than a decade.

I can check criminal and civil records, sex offender records and many other databases within seconds. I use it mostly for criminal background checks and also to find people through their driver’s license records.

The information on it is mostly accurate. I would never put anything in the newspaper found on the database without verifying it further. But it gives me a great start.

In my book, Dave Lieber’s Watchdog Nation: Bite Back When Businesses and Scammers Do You Wrong, I devote many pages to how consumers can use sites such as to learn information about individuals and companies before you hire them.

The cost for an individual annual account is about $30. Prices vary for corporate accounts. Here is the pricing schedule.

As a watchdog journalist writing the Dave Lieber column serving the public, I can say that this is my favorite database website.

As I showed in a previous post about an elderly man who lost $20,000 on bogus foundation repairs, this service easily pays for itself thousands of times over.

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Dave Lieber, The Watchdog columnist for The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, is the founder of Watchdog Nation. The new 2010 edition of his book, Dave Lieber’s Watchdog Nation: Bite Back When Businesses and Scammers Do You Wrong, is out. Revised and expanded, the book won two national book awards in 2009 for social change. Twitter @DaveLieber

Dave Lieber's Watchdog Nation book won two national awards for social change.

Core Principles of Watchdog Nation

The idea behind the growing consumer movement is simple: With money tight and scammers everywhere, anyone who buys anything must be on guard. Consumers today are smart to rely on five core principles to keep them out of trouble.

Simple to remember but often forgotten, these principles are the backbone of Watchdog Nation, a growing group of Americans who rely on sound research, accountability and ultimately, smart strategies to fight back and win when businesses and scammers try to hurt them.

That’s the philosophy behind Watchdog Nation, according to Fort Worth Star-Telegram investigative columnist Dave Lieber, whose new book on Watchdog Nation recently won a national book award.

Dave Lieber’s Watchdog Nation: Bite Back When Businesses and Scammers Do You Wrong is the winner of the 2009 Next Generation Indie Book Award for Social Change.

“I get about 50 letters and calls a week from people with problems needing my help,” Lieber says. “As a columnist, I can only handle two. It breaks my heart that I can’t help the rest.

“With Watchdog Nation, you can see ways to solve your problems beyond complaining to a company or to a newspaper columnist. It’s easier than you think.”

Watchdog Nation’s core principles are these:

  1. Do a background check before buying. Although obvious, many consumers forget to run a simple Internet search before spending money on a product, company or service. Before buying, put the name of the company or product between quotes and add the words “rip-off” and “scam” to the search. If anything pops up, there could be a problem.
  2. Ask a bunch of questions. Don’t assume anything. Example: Starbucks offers three sizes of drinks on its public menu. Actually, there are six different cups available – including a little-known “short” size that is smaller and cheaper than the others. Two other cups are free sample cups. Dig below the surface on all purchases. Ask questions and read up on buying tips and potential problems.
  3. Hold customer service reps accountable. When seeking assistance from a company, know to whom you’re speaking. Get a name, employee ID number and location of call center. Keep a record of the day and time you call and what is said. This information gives you confidence in your dealings and sets you apart from most complaining customers. Even better, tell the company you are taping the call for “customer quality control.”
  4. Find the point of vulnerability. Businesses are like castles. They allow customers in through a front gate – a toll-free number or by e-mail – on their terms. But castles aren’t impregnable. You can still gain entry through other means. By doing Internet research, you can find other customers who experienced similar problems. Maybe there’s a class-action lawsuit or a state attorney general conducting an investigation. Once you learn the company’s vulnerability point, use it to pressure for a more favorable solution. If you need help with research or don’t have a computer, ask your local reference librarian for free assistance.
  5. Apply the pressure point. If you are victimized by a business or scammer, remember that almost everybody is regulated, licensed, audited, inspected, certified or permitted by a local, state or federal government agency. Sometimes, professional associations for various occupations take complaints, too. If a company won’t satisfy your request, complain to whomever regulates them. Ask that agency to conduct an official investigation.

“For the first time in human history, information is quickly available to help you solve your specific problem,” Lieber says. “When you know what to look for, you become a citizen of Watchdog Nation and a superhero who can solve your own problems.”

Watchdog Nation book wins national book award

Subject: 2009 Next Generation Indie Book Awards – Winner Social Change

Indie Award Logo

Watchdog Nation has received the following communiqué:

We are writing with some fabulous news. Your book — Dave Lieber’s Watchdog Nation: Bite Back When Businesses and Scammers Do You Wrong — has been named the Winner in the Social Change category of the 2009 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. Congratulations!

Your achievement will be published at

Additionally, your book will be listed as a Winner in the 2009 Next Generation Indie Book Awards catalog which will be distributed at Book Expo America in New York later this month to thousands of attendees including book buyers, library representatives, media, industry professionals, and others.

Once again congratulations from all of us at Independent Book Publishing Professionals Group and the Next Generation Indie Book Awards.

Here is a complete list of the 2009 Winner and Finalists for Social Change:

  • WinnerDave Lieber’s Watchdog Nation: Bite Back When Businesses and Scammers Do You Wrong

    by Dave Lieber

    Yankee Cowboy Publishing

  • FinalistAn Unlikely Family: Voices of Ethiopian and American Youth Who Are Turning Tragedy Into Hope

    by Ben Beisswenger, Christopher Beisswenger, Margaret Eldred, Zoe Dmitrovsky, Meron Foster, Carolynne Krusi

    Anemeone Publishing

  • FinalistAudrey on Nantucket

    by Audrey Obremski


  • FinalistAutism ABC

    by Dr. Sherry L. Meinberg


  • FinalistBusiness Revolution through Ancestral Wisdom

    by Tu Moonwalker and JoAnne O’Brien-Levin, Ph.D.

    Outskirts Press

  • FinalistGreat Peacemakers: True Stories from Around the World

    by Ken Beller and Heather Chase

    LTS Press

  • FinalistNegotiating with Giants: Get What You Want Against the Odds

    by Peter D. Johnston

    Negotiation Press

  • FinalistNo More Mr. Nice Guy

    by James Alston


  • FinalistSaints in the City

    by Andie Andrews

    Outskirts Press

  • FinalistThe Thinking Person’s UFO Book

    by Gordon Chism

    Avenue Design, Inc.

  • FinalistThe Third Basic Instinct: How Religion Doesn’t Get You

    by Alex S. Key


Dave Lieber’s Watchdog Nation on TV

A clear and passionate explanation of what is going on with this consumer revolutionary movement – one that is growing with more new ‘citizens’ of Watchdog Nation getting ‘sworn in’ every day. Enjoy…

‘Watchdog Nation’ finalist for Book of the Year

Diane Estill, Dave Lieber and Suzette Martinez Standring – all members of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists – are finalists in ForeWord Magazine’s 2008 Book of the Year Awards in the categories of humor, self-help, young adult/non-fiction and writing.

Diana Estill, freelance columnist and founder of Corncob Press, is a finalist in the Humor category. Her book, Deedee Divine’s Totally Skewed Guide to Life, offers amusing advice for troubling times. Exposing the truths behind everything from why women won’t read maps to the nation’s GNP (“Gross Needless Products”), the author’s alter ego Deedee Divine shares her offbeat views. Midwest Book Reviews says this book is “a must read for those who want to truly understand the irrationality of the world… utterly entertaining reading.” Visit

Another book edited and published by Lieber is a finalist in the Young Adult/Non-Fiction category. The book, The Best of The Black Cow: Great Writing by Great Kids, is a collection of stories by 29 students at a remarkable public charter school in Texas, Westlake Academy. Under Lieber’s guidance – he works there as a volunteer – the little school newspaper, The Black Cow, gets mailed to every household in the city. The students won 47 awards in the Texas scholastic journalism competition last year – more than any other school in the state. The book shows how the students created their business model and the stories that propelled their product to great popularity.

Dave Lieber, “The Watchdog” investigative columnist for the Fort Worth (Tx.) Star-Telegram, was a finalist in the Self Help category for his hardcover, Dave Lieber’s Watchdog Nation: Bite Back When Businesses and Scammers Do You Wrong. This crusading newspaper columnist, one of the last of a dying breed, fights for his readers. His book shares remarkable tips, tools and strategies to fight back against businesses and scammers that hurt consumers. Lieber’s Watchdog Nation offers a core set of values and techniques designed to inform American consumers of their rights and show them how to make certain no one takes advantage of them.

Suzette Martinez Standring, syndicated columnist with GateHouse News Service, is a finalist in the Writing category.Her book, The Art of Column Writing: Insider Secrets from Art Buchwald, Dave Barry, Arianna Huffington, Pete Hamill and Other Great Columnists features tips and techniques from over 50 award-winning newspaper columnists.The guide covers writing basics, specialty columns, ethics, syndication and expanded platforms. Previously, it took First Place for Educational Book in the 2008 Royal Palm Literary Awards in Florida and has been made required reading at a number of universities.

Winners will be announced at the BookExpo America at the Javits Center in New York City on May 29. Each genre will award first, second and third prizes.Two Editor’s Choice Prizes for Best Fiction and Best Non-Fiction Book will be awarded $1,500 each. ForeWord will also name the Independent Publisher of the Year.

ForeWord’s Book of the Year Awards program was designed to discover distinctive books across a number of genres.The list of finalists in all categories can be viewed at

Dallas Book Diva APPROVES!

Nothing better than when the legendary Dallas Book Diva approves of your book! Cheryl Nason likes Dave Lieber’s Watchdog Nation. She posted:

Cheryl Nason, the Dallas Book Diva

This deceptively small book is absolutely packed with information. I mentally sat up and began to really pay attention when I started reading the story on page 18 (When they come knocking, you go tappin’).

The story describes a situation that happened to Doug Black and it actually happened to me as well! Doug is a much more savvy person than I am and avoided having his money taken. I guess I still cling to the belief that people might just be who they say they are. I was taken in by the same scam that Doug was smart enough to avoid and I didn’t even realize it until I read Dave’s book!

The average person has access to enough tools via the Internet to “take on” scammers, utility companies, and businesses when we believe we have been taken advantage of, overcharged, or wronged in some way. The book gives all of us the information we need to protect ourselves. The book contains literally hundreds of ways you can do it.

I feel better just having a copy of this handy book. It has given me so many ideas, it’s actually priceless! What do you think?

Key words: I want to cancel your service!

New Citizen of Watchdog Nation: Alex Ramsey, president of the National Speakers Association/North Texas chapter, had a major problem with Time Warner Cable. But she just finished reading “Dave Lieber’s Watchdog Nation: Bite Back When Businesses and Scammers Do You Wrong” and she knew EXACTLY how to make them kiss her ring finger, apologize and give her money back. She explains how she did it on our little Watchdog Nation T.V. channel video here: