I often use myself as a test case for the average person. And even I almost fell for a Nigerian-like money laundering scam (or in my case possibly a kidnapping scam) – which wasn’t as elaborate as the hilarious (and circulating again) version of the Nigerian astronaut lost in space who needs money to bring him back to earth.
My Nigerian was a Libyan and said he was a fan of my website Green Prophet. He loved what I was doing, he told me by email, and believed in the prospect of funding Middle East environmental activities to stabilize the Middle East and make the world a better place. He had $3 million dollars to help fund my mission and it would be putting bad money to good use: his money came from Muammar Gaddafi’s family and that he wanted to put it to good use. Once and for all. It sounded like the investor I was waiting for. But it needed to stay secret.
We spoke by phone and it sounded legit. So much did I believe him (I mean I really wanted to believe him, right?) that I actually contacted a friend of mine from an esteemed accounting firm where he was head of impact investments. With a few million new dollars I was going to need some experts under my wing.
Part of the deal my Libyan insisted was that I travelled to North Africa to collect the money. Are you kidding? North Africa? Love it. Morocco was great in the spring, and we’d meet in Libya. On my Canadian passport. Let’s do it. I spoke with my husband who was in a different country at the time. His words: tell them to transfer $20,000 to your account today in good faith to cover your expenses. If you go. Bring a friend. Good luck.
This appeal for money did not bode well for my Libyan philanthropist friends. They insisted that I come to them at my expense or their generous offer would dissolve. They even started getting mad at me when I said that I needed money right away.
Please remember the mantra spoken by moms around the world: when an offer is too good to be true, it probably is. Even the richest of the world’s richest say the key is hard work and diversifying. Elon Musk says he works like 120 hours a week and that’s what needed to change the world.
While this notion of working until you burn out or die is starting to fade in Silicon Valley – note this example – WeWork’s thousands of shareholder employees will no longer be millionaires after a failed IPO and they are starting to understand the loss of appeal of giving it all to the company. Even when the Israeli-born founder Adam Neumann will walk away with more than a billion!
So where is the happy medium between being an all-in type AAAA+ personality like Elon Musk and working till you drop or falsely (probably, maybe?) investing in get-rich quick ideas? Maybe you have read this Bitcoin Trader review by Inside Bitcoins and how you can use just a small amount of crypto cash using robots to turn you into a millionaire? Maybe. Hopefully? Probably not?
I own about one Bitcoin and it’s not going to a binary options company and some magic that will kiss it all away. And when I bought it during the rush it was already too late to get rich quick this year or next. I am going to save my Bitcoin for my kids.
Over the years Bitcoins will get lost or traded in new and sophisticated and evolving binary options ploys (even from Israel where they evolve quickly). A few years ago before my startup started falling apart one young advisor on the team urged us to all buy Bitcoin. Even just one. But not to watch it surge or fall. Just to keep it like a blue chip stock and bring it to the bank in 20 or 30 years down the road. I liked the idea.
That’s what I am going to do with my Bitcoin. But the “get rich internet” salespeople are bound to tap into our vulnerabilities as we and the internet evolves. I almost believed that the scammers from Libya were a fan of my website and that they wanted to help the environment. And I consider myself average. If you have less skill on the Internet than me you are at a risk of falling into a trap the second you do any kind of transaction online.
Think my best plan to stay safe is disconnect more often and start moving my 2 times a week yoga class to 4, and working on creating a pottery studio. Making my own inner peace is about the only way one can really change the world — and get rich quick in this life and the next.