Influencers, trading and suspicious investments |

Influencers, trading and suspicious investments

For some time now, some influencers have been known to use their status to promote investments and training programmes in online trading. But despite these endorsements, it is important to remain cautious. Advice that may seem well intentioned can hide real scams. With any type of investment, it is important to remain vigilant and aware of risks and potential losses. It is also essential for traders (amateur and professional) to be able to differentiate scams from legitimate trading platforms.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Sadly when there’s money to be made there are always vultures circling in the sky. No great surprise really, as there are similar practices in any other financial realm - all debt traps waiting to catch the unwary.

A quick (or slow if you really must) browse through social media platforms can soon reveal tempting (for some!) invitations to make more money than you have ever dreamed of with very little work involved at all. Many, if not most, of these self-proclaimed millionaires are on skid row themselves and only make a commission when some poor sucker signs up to their affiliate programme.

Another factor that most of these so-called influencers have in common is that they are all within a certain age bracket and therefore looking to appeal to (target!) the more naive and young get-rich-quick merchants.

If you are ever tempted to signup through one of these ‘influencers’ then you would do well to take a read of this exposé article from a UK national newspaper of a couple of year ago first!

The main individuals investigates have an all too similar and depressingly pitch that goes along the following lines: “I’m offering a great opportunity to earn £100-400+ per week from trading, no experience required, all done from home and only requires 15-30 min per day… If you’re young, poor and want to defy the odds against you, the next question is: where do I sign up?"

Still interested, then just checkout these hashtag enquiry results on social media and see what pops up - #binaryoptions, #traderlifestyle and #richkidsofinstagram - then run the other way fast!

Influencers and suspicious investments have been around as long as humankind. It’s just a question of what particular type of methodology is employed to perpetrate the fraud or scam.

By way of demonstration let’s revisit one of the first recorded fraud attempts. Have you ever heard of bottomry? Probably not a word used in your everyday conversation - the name is derived from the keel or bottom of the ship on which the master or owner has secured a loan. In essence it is a system of merchant insurance in which a ship is used as security against a loan to finance a voyage, the lender losing their money if the ship sinks.

Way back in about 300 BC a Greek sea merchant, named Hegestratos, was due to carry a cargo of grain from Syracuse to Athens but he had other plans - more of a get rich quick merchant (pun intended) - by which he planned to insure the grain, sink his empty ship, sell the corn and keep the loan. History records that his crew didn’t take to kindly to his plan; they caught him in the act and he was drowned trying to escape their wrath. So Hegestratos was quite clearly endeavouring to profit from a crooked investment.

And so on and so forth down through the ages we have evidence of various individuals and/or regimes doing their utmost to carry out successful financial frauds to the detriment of their fellow’s bank account balances.

Now in the modern age we have a preponderance of Ponzi-type schemes, all of which take their name from Charles Ponzi the Italian fraudster. He was a career criminal arriving in North America in 1903, then to moving to Canada to ‘hone his trade’ (fraud) before moving back to the USA about 10 years later. There he elaborated on a fraud-pattern already well-established by predecessors but on a much grander scale, to net him more than $8 million in just 7 months before the scheme collapsed and he was eventually sentenced to 14 years.

For one of the most recent large scale ‘suspicious’ investments involving a modern day ’influencer’ see my most recent comment here. After all, what is an ‘influencer’ other than someone who uses their prominence to encourage (influence) others to follow a certain path? They don’t all have to have a social media platform to do that, although it can help to reach the more susceptible!

So, clearly, ‘influencers’ come in all shapes and forms, from the obvious to the not so obvious - they’re not all going to stand out from the crowd with neon signs over their heads illuminating their true intent, whether it be on social media or in supposedly reputable financial circles.

So, as always in this world, if it seems too good to be true then you can bet your bottom dollar that it is indeed too good to be true!