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Making Money Quickly Can Be Expensive

By David McEwen

Monday 30th October 2000

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An enthusiastic young lady called me this week with an irresistible offer. For several thousand dollars she will sell me share-trading software that delivers average profits of 400% a year.

She is typical of many high-pressure salespeople who are taking money for products that are at best ineffective and often a complete scam. Watch out for a spiel like this:

"Hello, my name is Kirsty and I am calling you about a new share market computer programme that produces average profits of 15% a month.

"This is a unique opportunity for you to invest in a special share trading programme. It has been developed by top European brokers over the past 18 years and uses complex algorithms to identify which shares are going to go up or down.

"No, it is not a typical technical analysis package. We use technical analysis only on companies that are fundamentally sound.

"No, this is not a high-risk, high-return product. We look for small but regular gains, reinvesting those to achieve a compounding effect.

"Mr McEwen, our clients make on average 15% per month and someone as clever and experienced as yourself could make much, much more.

"How much does it cost? This incredible wealth-building product could be yours for just $7,900.

That includes full customer support and a warranty. No, that warranty does not extend to refunding your money if you are not happy with the product.

"What's that you say? If this product is able to produce such wealth for everyone, why aren't I spending my days using it instead of trying to sell it to strangers?

"Unfortunately, I am prevented from using it myself until I have finished selling my limited allocation of these packages. Marketing of this product is scheduled to stop within a week and then I can start making fabulous riches for myself.

"Oh, you're not interested? Then how about we sell the product to you for just $3,950! That's 50% off the normal price, but you have to promise to pay us the rest once you've made $20,000 profit. That should be easy because with our product there is no doubt you will make a lot of money. Obviously, we don't discount our product but we are very keen to assist you to make a lot of money quickly and easily.

"Yes, we are prepared to be flexible with payment. We accept both credit cards and cheques.

"No, we can't allow you to pay it off over a year. However, if you're a bit short, we will accept a 10% deposit to hold the product past our fixed cut-off point. You can pay the rest off on lay-by.

"Still unsure? Perhaps you should come in and see us. My diary is very full but, yes, I think I can squeeze you in today. If that is no good for you I'm sure I can make some time available for you this evening.

"Sorry, but we don't have a website where you can learn about the product. We have only been marketing it for three months."

If you get an unsolicited call like this, say no firmly. Buying an expensive share-trading programme that promises incredibly high profits could be the worst investment you ever make.

David McEwen is an investment adviser and author of weekly share market newsletter McEwen's Investment Report. He is commissioned by the New Zealand Stock Exchange to write an independent personal investment column. He can be reached by email at davidm@mcewen.co.nz.

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