I got so mad I wanted to SCREAM.
Recently, someone contacted my team asking for their money back. But here’s the thing…
They hadn’t purchased any of my DVDs. They weren’t part of the Trading Challenge. As a matter of fact, they hadn’t spent a single penny with me.
It gets worse. You might be thinking I was upset at this person and their claims. Nope. I felt sorry for them.
Because before the person in question got in touch with my team, they’d been conned out of several thousand dollars.
It all started when they were contacted on social media by someone claiming to be me. After the poser scammed the unwary victim, he disappeared. Never to be seen again…
Table of Contents
- 1 Finagling Fraudsters Pose as Teachers
- 2 Scam Alert Red Flags: Conversation With a Con Artist
- 2.1 Scam Alert Red Flag #1: Private Chat Invitations
- 2.2 Scam Alert Red Flag #2: Forex, Bitcoin, Options, and Money Management
- 2.3 Scam Alert Red Flag #3: The Platform Change or … “Hey, Step Into My Office”
- 2.4 Scam Alert Red Flag #4: The Scarcity Principle
- 2.5 Scam Alert Red Flag #5: You Should Be So Lucky
- 2.6 Scam Alert Red Flag #6: Gaslighting
- 3 How To Protect Yourself From False Stock Gurus and Con Artists
Finagling Fraudsters Pose as Teachers
They come at you with a fake account in my name, say they’re me, and then do everything they can to take your hard-earned cash.
These immoral scam artists deserve nothing less than the full brunt of the law to come crashing down on them.
In the meantime, beware. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is…
SO many scammers these days, 1.) don’t pay anyone via Western Union 2.) don’t use Walmart Moneycenter and 3.) I don’t refer ANYONE to ANYONE else other than my own teachings are there’s so much BS these days it’s disgusting
— Timothy Sykes (@timothysykes) January 15, 2018
Needless to say, the scam victim was distraught. One of my team members was nearly in tears because the victim was in tears. It was awful. For privacy reasons I won’t name the victim, but I want you to understand how serious this is.
It’s not the first time something like this has happened. But it seems to be happening more often. My team is already working hard to stop the scammers.
Click on the link below to watch a very important 7 minute video. (Video opens in a new tab.) Then continue reading this post so you know what a scam attempt looks like.
Bottom line: I’ve had enough. Scammers, pay close attention to these words … I’m on a mission to out you crooks once and for all. I’m gonna expose you and your methods so you can’t prey on innocent people anymore.
Now I want to give you some ideas … some red flags to tip you off to potential scams.
Scam Alert Red Flags: Conversation With a Con Artist
Below is an excerpt of a direct message (DM) exchange on Instagram. The victim was targeted because he follows me on social media. Luckily, this follower knew what to look for. Be aware of what cybersecurity specialists call spear-phishing and social engineering.
The conversation was taken from actual screenshots, some of which I’ve included. I’ll point out the red flags along the way so you know what to look for, as well.
If you ever get a private DM from someone saying they’re me it should instantly raise…
Scam Alert Red Flag #1: Private Chat Invitations
To be clear: I don’t have a private chat page. As a matter of fact, I will never DM you. I hardly have time to DM my family, friends, and members of my team … let alone students. Students get my attention on webinars and in my chat rooms. That’s about it.
Here’s how the conversation played out…[scammer] Hello. Welcome to my private chat page. How are you doing today? [victim] Cool. How are you? [scammer] Am great. Where are you from? [victim] From US. Live in UK. [scammer] Okay. Have you ever traded and earn some profit before? [victim] Only paper traded so far.
The victim, at this point, thought I’d contacted him. He thought it was pretty cool he’d been invited to my ‘private chat page.’
Scam Alert Red Flag #2: Forex, Bitcoin, Options, and Money Management
I don’t trade forex. Nor do I mine bitcoin for people. I’m neither an options trader or options trading teacher. If someone tries to tell you I do anything other than penny stock trading education, alarm bells should ring in your head. Don’t give them a penny.
In the next part of the exchange, the victim knew enough to question the forex trading claim.[scammer] Oh. I see. Would you want to trade in forex and earn huge profit daily? [victim] You trade forex? I thought you were penny stock trader. [scammer] I trade forex and also I mine Bitcoin for people. I can help you earn real big in forex and crypto trade. [victim] Oh. Your blog says you trade penny stocks. How can you help?
As the conversation continues, notice how the scammer works to keep the things moving along and overcome objections.
Scam Alert Red Flag #3: The Platform Change or … “Hey, Step Into My Office”
Watch how the scammer tries to get the victim to move to a different platform to continue the conversation. In this case, it was WhatsApp. But it could be any platform where they can avoid getting caught.
The target in this chat knew by now he was dealing with a scammer. He went along with things for a while, just for fun. As soon as this exchange ended, he contacted my team…[scammer] Okay […] that’s still okay…you can start up with something even lower than that. [victim] Yeah, but I’m practicing the patterns you teach on your blog. [scammer] Send me your WhatsApp number now so I can add you up and we chat better over there. So I can teach you all you need to know.
Scam Alert Red Flag #4: The Scarcity Principle
Look, scarcity is used in legitimate marketing. Heck, I use it. For example, I don’t let just anyone join the Trading Challenge. You have to go through an interview process. Not everyone makes the cut.
Here’s another example: we have a limited number of seats for my Trader & Investor Summit every year. Once the tickets are sold out … that’s it.
So you see, scarcity is nothing new. But scammers hit you with “be fast because I have so many people I chat with.” Sorry, that’s just BS.
Like I said, I don’t have time to chat with potential students. I wish I did. If you want to chat … join the Trading Challenge and hit me up in the chat room. Better yet, become one of my top students.
Only after you apply for the Trading Challenge will one of my team contact you. The conversation continued and raised…
Scam Alert Red Flag #5: You Should Be So Lucky
Notice how the scammer tries to make the victim feel both lucky to be in direct contact and … beneath him.
I don’t talk to my students like this. Yes, I’ve been known to be harsh on a webinar. It’s called a pattern interrupt and it helps students break dangerous thought patterns. Thought patterns that keep them in the wrong mindset to be a self-sufficient trader.
But this is different. This is an air of arrogance meant to lull the mark into feeling like he’d better act fast.[scammer] Yes. All of it. [victim] I was under the impression I had to apply to the challenge and someone from your team would call. Where are you now? [scammer] You should be very happy that you are communicating privately with me now so you are lucky. [victim] Most definitely. Exciting. [scammer] You still haven’t sent me your WhatsApp number…I will go off soon now.
The exchange continues…
Ultimately this led to…
Scam Alert Red Flag #6: Gaslighting
Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation where the victimizer sows seeds of doubt in the victim. Check it out…
The exchange continued, but you get the idea.
How To Protect Yourself From False Stock Gurus and Con Artists
The above conversation is real. It went along for a while longer, and the ‘victim’ had a little fun with the scammer. Unfortunately, the scammers get away with this all too often. They ask for money and some unsuspecting person gives it to them thinking I’ll make them a millionaire.
- I will never ask you for money.
- I will never ask you for investment.
- And I won’t offer to manage your money.
I am an educator. That’s it. No forex, no options, and no crypto.
They Who Laugh Last Have the Last Laugh
Unfortunately, this is no laughing matter. I want you to be successful. My mission is to help people. These criminals are using my name to scam unsuspecting people out of their hard-earned money.
All you Internet scammers and impersonators out there should be ashamed of yourselves and know it’s not your fault for your unethical behavior, it’s your parents and teachers who failed you…but if you keep scamming you’re going straight to hell so don’t say I didn’t warn you
— Timothy Sykes (@timothysykes) January 15, 2018
Contact My Team
Please be safe. Please, please don’t fall prey to these crooks. If you’re ever contacted by someone claiming to be me, contact email@example.com. Together we can let these jerks know we won’t stand for any more of their BS.
Verify Social Media Accounts
I use verified accounts on social media. If you EVER receive something from an account that looks like it’s from me but isn’t verified … it’s NOT from me.
Here’s Twitter’s official Verified Accounts FAQ page. There you’ll find all sorts of information about verified accounts, what they look like, and how to report a fake.
And here’s Facebook’s Verified Profile information page.
Remember, I won’t contact you via direct messaging. Should anyone contact you claiming to be me, get in touch via the contact page and we’ll get the fake page or account taken down.