Discover more from Thoughts from Enjoy the Ride (Tom Basso)
When you are asked to invest
Social media is never a place to invest your money
Events of the last week had me pondering what I can do about this in my own limited capacity. A childhood friend recently called me and asked what was going on with what sounded like some firm’s name, XXXXXX? I replied what company is that? He said XXXXX! You recommended it! I said that I had never heard of the company and my friend immediately said, “Oh crap”, and his wife, who was listening in, started crying uncontrollably. They had lost over $280,000 on a crypto scam that completely misrepresented that they were me, Mr. Serenity and Tom Basso.
Scammers had completely copied my picture and posts from my Facebook page and started Direct Messaging my friend with first some idle conversation, next some investment ideas, and then my friend finally decided to put some money into the scheme. He is now working with internet fraud law enforcement to see if any of it can be recovered. The account was at Coinbase and cryptos were moved on to somewhere else.
As recent as yesterday and about a month ago, I received two direct messages from some chagrined followers of mine that had also been scammed out of some money by someone representing that they were me. I’m just trying to be helpful to traders out in the world and others are using my reputation and good name to fleece people out of their hard earned savings! Exasperating for sure.
How they do it:
If you don’t already know this, a simple screen capture of the images that are very publicly available of my various head shots are very easily copied and can be used on a new profile. Every post that I’ve ever publicly made can be routed to a new fake profile somewhere. So they are now set up and ready to go with a new Tom Basso profile that will be:
@basso__tom, you get the idea. To the casual observer, it will be approximately like my real profile of @basso_tom.
The next step is to rope the victim in. It will start with a direct message from a profile that looks like me. They may even be smart enough to know where I grew up and match that up with friends that I have that still live there. “Hi, how’s it going, Joe?” “Hey I just stumbled into a great investment deal you might want to check out. Interested?” Etcetera, etcetera.
Next comes the close. The investment involves opening an account at some firm that may even be legit, like Coinbase. In this case the firm whose account your are sending the money has the ability to move it to other accounts as soon as you send it. Any communication the victim has with the firm is now moved over to email or phone and off of Direct Messaging. None of these communications are coming from my email or by phone from me personally, because I’m not at all involved with any of these transactions. If I knew about that, I would stop the process immediately. The scammers are moving the victim along the path as fast as they can and hoping that the victim doesn’t contact the real Tom Basso.
Finally, when they ask for more money and the victim either gets suspicious or tapped out, all the crypto moves to other accounts controlled by the scammer and the con is over and the scam account suspended.
Some common sense rules to practice:
First and most obvious to me is that any unsolicited direct message from someone should be labeled as a potential scam. If someone sends me a “Hi”, I BLOCK AND DELETE. If some women with suggestive poses sends me a “I’m XXXXX from XXXX and was hoping to make new friend on social media, I BLOCK AND DELETE. If someone starts asking me questions on trading, which is in my wheelhouse, then proceeds to start telling me they can improve my investment results or anything close to that, I BLOCK AND DELETE. If someone starts talking to me about helping each other out, I BLOCK AND DELETE. If someone uses a handle that’s close to someone I know, I search on that person’s real name and get all the listings for that person. Usually I’ll see the real person, then, and especially if he’s well known, several other handles that are close to the real one. I then report them to the social media site, and next BLOCK AND DELETE.
The second thing on any investing is to see if you can get a second opinion on something or check it out independently. See if it’s real company and perhaps call them or someone that would know that company. Ask someone who’s more knowledgeable in this investment arena or do some web searches on the people involved. If you know the person, call them on the number you already know or contact them by the email you’ve always used. NEVER TRUST DIRECT MESSAGING!!!
The third rule that I use is to never give access to the investment or money to the person that is managing the money. I spent much of my life as a professional money manager and never ever had anything other limited power to buy and sell stocks, futures, etc. I never ever had the full power to move cash anywhere. You should always follow that rule for all your investments and a lot of scams will fall apart. If they can’t get to the cash, they cannot steal it.
Make sure all you friends and family know that although you may have some investment knowledge, you will never contact them by direct messaging for potential investments. Most of my direct messages are responding to trading questions that get sent my way. Any unsolicited messages I send out are usually reporting to someone that a scammer is working their name out there. I hate direct messaging in general and use it as little as I can.
Now that I’ve done my good deed for the day, (Whew!), you should follow these rules and focus on taking charge of your own trading on your own accounts and you’ll be in control of your investing future. With that in mind, you can enjoy the ride!