E-mini trading, scam, and spam

A few days ago, around December 20th, 2012, I ran into some problem with Yahoo! Mail. Simply put, Yahoo! was blocking my messages from being sent implying that I was sending too many of them or perhaps even mass mailing.

It is true that because of KING's holiday special the e-mail traffic from my account was higher than usual, but nothing that should trigger Yahoo filters. I mail more, via mass mailing, to a large mailing list of KING owners several times a year, and only infrequently I get a message like that. This time I was not mass mailing, though, merely mailing KING updates to those who just bought KING or replying to those interested in buying it. And yet Yahoo! Mail did not like something about my emailing pattern, suspecting perhaps that I was sending spam.

I figured out eventually what was causing the problem. It was some message that I received from a man that had contacted me in the past, interested in this popular e-mini trading course. This time, he wanted my advice about something that sounded too good to be true, as they say about things like that, but which was written about on an msn.com affiliate site and so it sounded much more legitimate than most of such work at home business opportunities offered online.

Whenever I tried to reply to his email, Yahoo! prevented that and this would then cascade onto my other attempts to send email to other parties. I finally realized that it must have been his message that was causing it. I am not quite sure exactly why, but here is what I suspect.

His message (and my reply to it) contained a link to a page on an msn.com affiliate site that read as a genuinely independent review of some home based online business opportunity. It is certainly reasonable to assume that Yahoo! Mail filters, as random working they might be at times, learned that the message with that link was a spam. Well, it was not in my case, but it makes sense to think that messages with that link were mass mailed by others, by the people financially interested in bringing your attention to the page with this "great" business opportunity in the first place, but also by the many business opportunity seekers, rather less than more aware of what's really going on here, who joined this email stream, such as the guy who sent me the email that led my Yahoo! Mail problems.

It was not the first time I got an email pointing to this "great" business opportunity, so my reasoning that this is something people are mailing about a lot is probably right on the money. But the opportunity in question is a scam. In other words, it does not deliver what it promises to. Simple as that. Everyone can promise you easy money, but that does not mean they can deliver it. And just because someone writes about it on the msn.com or related pages does not make it any more legitimate. 

It is not that hard to get into the msn.com or Yahoo.com pages with articles that sound legitimate, but turn out not to be after a closer scrutiny. Marketers do this all the time. It took me only several minutes to find out that the business opportunity in question was not really it. It was a scam.

People sometimes confuse a spam with a scam. These are two different things, the former being unsolicited email sent on a massive scale, the latter happens when someone promises you something in exchange for money or other valuables and does not deliver. Quite different things, but in the online world a scam can lead to a spam and often does, so these two things are somewhat related.

What does e-mini trading have to do with all that?

Well, trading e-mini futures is not a scam, obviously, and neither is trading Forex, although, interestingly enough, to some people Forex is a scam, and that has probably to do with a greater number of shady characters and businesses that operate in the Forex niche compared to the e-mini futures niche. Forex also tends to attract a greater number of suckers and plain idiots who believe all the hype that scammers throw their way, and so no wonder that the Forex bad reputation, at least compared to futures or stock trading, is what it is. But trading, no matter whether it is trading currencies, futures contracts, options or stocks, is not a scam. The people who operate in these fields may, however, scam you.

I was once scammed. Big time. How did it happen?

I contacted a guy who posted an article on ensignsoftware.com, the website of a reputable charting software package, quite popular among traders. It was because he was as a guest poster on this site that I thought that what he was saying was true. See, that's exactly how the scammers work. They seek to enhance their credibility by appearing in a good company. It does not have to be a Yahoo news page or a page on msn.com, it could as well be a site of a charting software company of good reputation. I got interested in what he would call a trading system with excellent trading results based on indicators that I would easily recognize because I was using them too and that I still use today. I did not know how possibly he could have achieved his great results. I was doubtful, but the fact that he was guest posting on a respectable site convinced me that he was a real deal. That was his confidence trick.

What I got from him was two pages of text describing something that was unlikely to deliver the results he claimed, and, in fact, it was too vague to be considered a trading system. The "system" was based on only 3 rather basic indicators, too few to give you enough day trading power. A handful of screenshots illustrating how the "system" worked came with the whole "package."

I paid one thousand bucks for that! For two pages of plain text and a few screenshots.

For comparison, I charge about that much for KING which comes with well over 50 various text documents and over 25 videos and while I show plenty of evidence on this site that KING's trading ideas are sound, I also make it clear that your trading results are bound to vary because KING is not a trading system, but a discretionary trading methodology. In other words, I make no particular performance claims as he did, although I see no reason to hide the fact that good results with KING are certainly possible and I offer quite a bit of evidence to back this up. He offered none. Still, as a vendor, I am in the business of selling trading tools or ideas and not the trading results. The latter can vary and that's beyond my control.

My first impression was that it was indeed a scam. But I wanted to give the guy the benefit of a doubt and so I put the system to use for a whole month. It did not work as advertised. Did I get my money back? Nope, he did not even bother to respond to my emails. It was an outright highway robbery.

I recalled this sad story that is now over 8 years old, if I remember it well, because you cannot just help but notice that I got duped by trusting what one would consider an authority site just as someone else might be duped by trusting msn.com or its affiliate sites. I do not blame ensignsoftware.com for that because I believe they were as clueless about the scam being operated out of their site as the next guy and the article that served as a bait eventually disappeared from there. Msn.com is also an authority site, and much, much bigger than ensignsoftware.com. But scammers can penetrate it too.

How to avoid being scammed? There are some things you can do to protect yourself. For instance, if someone claims any trading results let alone stellar ones, they better show some evidence for it. Don't just take their word for it. Approach all promises with a big grain of salt, especially any sort of guarantee of performance which is not even legitimate in this type of business and plainly violates the standard disclaimer that you see on this and many other sites. And a double (or triple, haven't seen that one yet, but maybe I have not been looking hard enough) your money back guarantee is even worse than a regular one. Who else would be using it than a guy desperate to get your money? You think you will get your money back at all, let alone twice as much? Did I get mine?

The people you want to deal with are not those who promise you a lot, but those who show more evidence than their competition, not those who hide behind an online cartoon identity, but those who put their real names on their sites.

One of the places you have to be particularly careful about are online trading forums. That's because some of them are run by vendors who may not disclose this fact at all, moderated by some other vendors, while still other or the same vendors plainly manipulate the forum members and the public at large to either sell them something or to convince them with maliciously misleading statements that the competition cannot be trusted. Would you call a business run like that transparent? Or shady?

Would you trust a vendor who hides his vendor status or who hides behind a silly Internet handle? Well, you may even not know you are dealing with one. You may not be aware of the whole brainwashing dynamics that occurs in forums like that. And when you do become aware and start protesting, what do you think happens? Well, you get banned. Because you are obviously a threat to the forum "integrity."

But that's the topic for another article. The Internet trading forums and the sleazy operators behind them, that is.

The email from the man that inspired this article is shown here. But, please do not visit this msn.com link because the last time I did so, the page was infected with some virus that, fortunately, my Avast! arrested brilliantly. Or at least, proceed with great caution.