No Santa Claus

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It's December, and a time for merry making.Unfortunately, also a time when our guards are down.Lately, I have received many queries about money making schemes on the Internet. The schemes come in varying names, guises, colour and contraptions. But the bottom line is this – send them your money, recruit people and all your dreams will come true with no additional work.To some, particularly those who are drowning in debts, the pitch sounds like a call from Santa Claus.I logged on to such a website recently and burst out laughing. The site uses the name of a country famous for its financial expertise – Switzerland (obviously to impress people who wants to be impressed). Incidentally, Bank Negara and the Securities Commission recently reported that the company is not licensed to collect money in Malaysia . Further, the Swiss embassy confirmed that the company had nothing to do with the country!What is even more hilarious is when the “fund managers” stated that they cannot possibly explain to everyone how they place, invest and trade their money. In other words, just trust them – don't let something as minor as the fact that you will never meet them stop you from giving them money!

Folks, even the originator of the Ponzi scheme – Charles Ponzi – said what he was going to do with the money to his investors, which was to trade stamps. Of course, he lied about the whole thing. All he did was recycled the money – paying the earlier investors with the money collected from later entrants. And as long as there were new “investors”, the wheels kept on running. But once the inflow stopped, the whole operation grinded to a halt and thousands of “investors” lost tons of money.

Interestingly, I do remember reading about similar schemes in the 1800's in Europe . As people rushed to dump money into such schemes – turning metal into gold, spice trade, shipping to the exotic East and the famous Tulip mania – one enterprising young man came up with the most exotic scheme of them all: the scheme was so secretive that he cannot tell you what it was!

And as incredible as it sounds, he collected a handsome sum of money. Sure enough, the young man soon disappeared with the money and was never to be seen again, leaving the greedy “investors” licking their wounds, empty bank accounts and very bruised egos.

Today we probably would say that they deserved to lose their money as only fools and greedy individuals would fall for such schemes.

The truth is that the money making schemes on the Internet today are even worse! If things go wrong about such investments, who are you going to turn to? Once the webpage is shut down, what happens?

No easy answers.

Folks, at the end of the day, stick with things that you know and things that have proven time and again to build wealth – business and properties. It might take a longer time but you will not feel like a fool once the Ponzi game comes to an end – which it surely will.

Of course, I could be wrong. Of course total strangers that you never met are lining up to give you a 20 percent return every month – forever. If it happens, then good on you. You've just met a real life Santa Claus.

But I seriously doubt it.

I do not need to remind you that there is no such thing as Santa Claus.

Copyright © Azizi Ali 2011

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