How to Tell the Difference When Investing, Gambling, or Falling for a Scam
Both excellent and terrible information can be found on the internet. Unfortunately, it’s also a gold mine of opportunities for con artists, both new and old. One of the most common categories of content on the web, alongside pornography, is monetizable. Money, like sex, seems to be appealing to just about everyone. Find out the best info about Cryptocrime.
To come to terms with this, one must accept that greed is a fundamental aspect of the human condition. Sorry to be so direct, but it appears in our genetic makeup. This happens constantly, whether men and women fight over the most fabulous clothes at a sale or individuals are waiting in line to be financially fleeced by a pyramid scheme. It’s for the same reason. Free stuff or nearly free stuff. And greed is the gasoline that drives that hunger.
Accepting that may have an innate tendency to seek the easy road, to get your hands on easy money, and accounting for that in your decision-making will put you in a much better position to objectively evaluate your options for producing money.
Two basic types of internet scams are always making the rounds. There are two common types of scams: the “advance fee” fraud and the “Ponzi” or pyramid scheme. The “Nigerian Letter” scam is symbolic of the first type; it involves the promise of a large sum of money in exchange for payment of processing costs. Emails claiming you have won or inherited a large sum sometimes include demands for creating a secret offshore bank account. The goal is to get you invested in the story to the point that you can’t imagine ending up elsewhere. Then, when you’re asked to pay a fee to move on, you don’t think twice about handing over your cash. The salespeople take your money and vanish without a trace.
Charles Ponzi is credited with inventing the Ponzi scheme, a fraudulent investment scheme in which early investors are rewarded with funds contributed by subsequent, unsuspecting investors. But, of course, all the investors had lost money towards the end, and the scam had been uncovered. Some Ponzi schemes, like the first chain letter, are highly rudimentary. You’d think we’d have moved on by now, but that issue continues repeatedly. However, nowadays, most of them are pretty sophisticated, often disguising themselves as an “investment” promising abnormally large profits.
These Ponzi schemes have gotten more sophisticated over the past few years, with websites that look legitimate and use clear language and an appealing sales pitch to attract victims. In addition to the guaranteed returns, the referral money is the main draw. In this sense, unlike in the postal period, the modern ponzi can take advantage of the internet’s viral marketing potential.
Now, I don’t have a problem with people gambling with their own money (after all, it’s their money), so long as they do it responsibly and thoroughly understand the stakes involved. So you see, I firmly believe that people should be free to spend their money however they see fit. But when rules aren’t enforced, individuals must make choices and be aware of the consequences.
There are winners and losers in any endeavor where the risks are known and accepted. It would appear, however, that some people cannot differentiate between gambling (in any form), a Ponzi scheme, and an investment. The government uses this as justification for passing laws intended to keep citizens safe from themselves.
It is crucial to differentiate between ponzi scams and gambling, for instance. Moreover, I don’t think you’ll find it challenging. To gamble is to bet on the outcome of a monetary game with predetermined rules and a predetermined winner. In gambling, luck is typically the deciding factor. However, this can be manipulated in several ways. There are various games where “form” and “luck” play a role, such as Lotto, where numbers are selected from a barrel, or a lottery, where one individual has the winning ticket number. The reason is that, unlike in other games, you know precisely how victors and losers will be selected in gambling. You have complete information.
Unlike a pyramid or Ponzi scheme, high returns (to appeal to greed) and referral payments (to encourage word-of-mouth) are typical features of Ponzi schemes that masquerade as investments. The pitch is that new members can expect monthly returns of 10%, 20%, or even 100% on their initial investments. The truth is that only the early birds get the worm and the spoils. Why? The money to cover the promised returns has to come from new players, and ultimately that pool will dry up.
Does this fresh crop of “investors” realize they are subsidizing previous “investors” who may have lost everything? That is not likely at all. You can’t cry over spilled milk if you lose money in a moneymaking system that advertises itself as a “game,” promises nothing, and openly claims that your cash rewards others who came before you. However, participants have been deceived if money has been collected using language that signals a real investment is being made, which is a Ponzi scheme.
Because the money was acquired dishonestly, legal action should be possible to recover it. Even if outstanding profits and referral bonuses are offered, a person should still use sound judgment before making any investment based on the information available at the time.
So, there’s gambling, which is upfront about the dangers of betting, Ponzi schemes, and other “money games” that don’t tell you anything you don’t already know, and, ultimately, legitimate investing. The danger of loss still exists when investing in genuine businesses, but at least the company is not designed to cheat you out of your money. Investors have a right to know everything there is to know about the potential downsides of a deal. But remember that no investment is ever risk-free. For example, I wouldn’t risk investing in government bonds because their value ultimately rests on the state’s ability to tax its citizens perpetually.
To sum up, the “rules of the game” are known in advance, and you engage in the entire understanding of the risk you are taking in an investment, as opposed to a scam, gambling, or a lottery. Whereas the hazards of gambling and investing are openly discussed, those of a Ponzi scheme are not.
Risk is inevitable; it’s just a part of living. However, no investment is entirely risk-free. For example, most countries consider bank deposits to be “unsecured” and hence in danger if the bank fails. Therefore, recognize that taking risks is inevitable and focus on balancing the hazards with the potential advantages, considering your needs and your psychological reaction to threats. And always keep in mind that the buck stops with you. Buyer Beware! Buyer beware.
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