Got a super glossy brochure in the mail today from 'I Trading Systems' that is spruiking all the magical buzz words of the typical sport betting software. More and more red flags are raised when I skim through the brochure.
ITS claims that you can turn $1,000 of initial investment into profits of $78,934.24 in 18 months.
Sounds nice though doesn't it? I'd like to take my $100k and turn that into $7.8 million in 1.5 years but if that were possible with their extra-ordinary software claims, then why hasn't Gina Rinehart, Andrew Forrest, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet or Mark Zuckerberg invested into this amazing opportunity?! Why be only a billionaire when they could be gazillionaires in only 1.5 years? Why haven't the AFR or the WSJ or the Murdoch publications caught onto this fantastical investment deal?! Maybe I shouldn't write using sarcasm just incase I mislead someone out there. But everyone needs to ask themselves these questions when faced with these 'deals'.
As per the old adage...if it's too good to be true, it usually is.
Read into the fine print and you'll see that their pretty graph and their extra-ordinary claims have a little minor clause: "Each and every result was carefully simulated and recorded...Figures are extrapolations only and represent faithful statistical modeling of simulated results for applicable period." The software is so fantastical that they can't even give you the actual results and can only provide 'simulated' results based on 'extrapolations'.
If those figures are only simulated and extrapolated then why would they even bother throwing in the paragraph, "These figures are accurate and are guaranteed to be certified correct as released by official government endorsed agencies".
Such fancy talk but which 'official government endorsed agencies' bothered to check simulations? Anyone could sit there and churn out piles of simulated materials and pretty little graphs and who the heck from the government would care to check and verify if they've already clearly stated that the results are simulated? The ACCC and ASIC would hopefully pounce on anyone who tries to publish actual results which are false and misleading, but if the publisher or advertiser have clearly stated that the results are simulated, they couldn't care less.
Are they an authentic company? If you're an investor or wannabe investor, here's a checklist that you can follow if you get a tempting brochure or investment offer and wonder if the investment is authentic or a scam.
Scams sicken me. People work so hard to save up for their future. Trying to invest so that they can afford to send their children to school, support themselves in retirement and also support their ageing parents. Let's bankrupt these dodgy sellers and scamsters by stripping them of potential victims.
Investigating I Trading System
* "...passive, tax free income in the vicinity of $50,000-$60,000"
Buzzwords are used. "...passive, tax free" is always enticing and get investors salivating
* Glossy brochures saturated with good looking models on almost every single page indulging in leisure activities. You name it, they've pictured it: models posing on luxury yachts, couples golfing, island getaways, men in business suits, glossy column graphs (full of simulated numbers not indicative of actual trading), pretty women in convertibles, pretty women in bikinis, women holding multiple shopping bags...
* Letter has "Brisbane/New York/London/Paris/Tokyo" printed on the bottom but if they're based in five capital cities then why don't they have a huge internet presence? One simple looking shallow website without much depth. No press releases. No mention in the news. No history. If you're a business with offices in those five capital cities and serious about business then you'd at least have webpages for all offices. In multiple languages such French and Japanese
* While every single registered company operating in Australia has an ABN or ACN number which you can check out business.gov.au, I Trading System has a "BN" number. It was so slick I almost missed that. Never heard of a BN number. Dodgy dodgy dodgy. Ditching the 'ABN' acronym means "BN 221 382 86" is a useless and worthless number
* They mentioned 'The Australian Financial Review', Australia's most prestigious financial publication, out of context. I'd be impressed if the AFR gave them a glowing review and credited 'I Trading System' directly but if the AFR DID give them a positive review or endorsement, then they'd have published that on their website...but surprise surprise...that was nowhere to be found
* Using professional words and graphs without any substance. Graphs and figures were all 'simulated' and no actual performance figures were given. So value of the supplied graphs and figures=meaningless.
* Trying to target the vulnerable and those seeking high returns without any effort: "Self employment...no experience necessary... work from home or anywhere...no bookwork...be your own boss..."
* And the clincher type of urgent, hurry or you'll miss out type of compelling directive: "Please note that I Trading Systems cannot guarantee that you will be able to acquire the program at the time you receive this literature"
Searching the net for information out there, I stumbled across a few interesting sites.
A poor person who has been scammed by ITS which you can read about here to the tune of $4,400.
So to answer my original question that was posed, dodgy or not? Resoundingly YES for DODGY.
1. Scamwatch.gov.au here
2. SMG related post: United Kingdom Beware of Shipping Container Scams
3. SMG related post: Meet James Lovell: 31 Year Old Ponzi Scamster
4. SMG related post: How To Lose Your Life Savings (on Bernie Madoff and Roger Munro)
5. SMG related post. Original post on shipping container scams and how to identify scams in general