Not so, says Jamie Campany, who took advantage of the booming gold market.
This greedy guy scammed more than 1,400 people out of tens of millions of dollars by setting up a bogus company called Global Bullion Exchange. Clever, but there never was any gold despite legitimate-looking transaction papers.
When it comes to scamming, one would think prime targets are vulnerable little old ladies. Campany said, “Quite frankly, little old ladies are a lot more astute and a lot more skeptical about making investments with people they don’t know.”
Scammers take advantage of the fact that we want to believe. We want to trust and grab our piece of the bigger, better deal. And therein lies the problem. Campany said his most promising victims were spotted through Google earth satellite images. Imagine that. He and his team simply matched phone leads to addresses and picked those with the biggest homes. The assumption? That they had the most money to invest in gold and silver…that unfortunately for the victims didn’t exist.
In typical “con” fashion, Campany worked off the falling stock market and the rising price of gold. He recalled his lines for ABC News.
“Come on. Everybody knows what’s going on in the markets today. Are you living in a cave?” he would say.
There was an answer for everything — even if victim’s protested by saying they didn’t have any money.
“Sure you do,” Campany or one of his telemarketers would say. “You’ve got a 401k, you have a stock portfolio… You have dead dogs that are not performing.”
That’s how con artists manage to pull off huge scams.
Several years ago a friend of mine was almost pulled in by a similar scam. She was about to invest $50,000 in a company called Diamante International in Beverly Hills, California. She had already given them a check, and wanted me and my then-boyfriend to be able to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity. The commodity was investment grade diamonds that would be held in secure vaults. How wonderful was it that she would never even have to take possession. They would just sit in that vault making her lots of money. She had impressive certificates to support her investment. Yeah. Right. Something smelled to high heaven and we went with her to hear the pitch.
A sophisticated gray-haired man dressed in a very expensive suit welcomed us into sumptuous offices. The mahogany wall outside the suite boasted gold-leafed letters proclaiming they had offices in Beverly Hills, London and Geneva. Pretty impressive. In a slick presentation he assured us he would advise his grandmother to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity. Sure he would. Probably advise her to help him fleece the unsuspecting. We advised our friend to withdraw her money even if she had to lose a few dollars and run in the opposite direction as fast as she could. The company was later closed down for fraud.
Be cautious. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. A federal judge will sentence Campany next month.
For more information about Morgan, visit www.morganstjames-author.com, www.silversistersmysteries.com, http://writerstricksofthetrade.blogspot.com and http://morgan-stjames.blogspot.com. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook. Her Spotlight column appears in the Las Vegas edition on Tuesday and in Los Angeles on Wednesday. For those interested in writing, read her Writers’ Tricks of the Trade column on Thursday in Las Vegas and Friday in Los Angeles editions.