Wouldn't I love an automatic money machine that sends me cash with minimal or even no effort? Imagine — sitting back in the sun, sipping a cool drink in the certain knowledge that my bank balance will keep increasing.
Well, I have a new friend who promises me just this. He is so keen on communicating with me that he has sent me 74 emails over the past three months — with 18 in the last week alone (and while writing this, another arrived so add one to the totals!).
He wants me to earn $3,567 in the next 24 hours and be in line to earn $254,653 in under 23 days. He says I joined this scheme in 2008 and is puzzled why I have yet to make my fortune.
He keeps telling me how lucky I am, but I really have to "grab this with both hands right now" before it sells out or my "risk free opportunity" goes to someone else.
This new bestest friend is Ranil Luando. He lives in the Phillipines and is my link to Lawn Chair Millionaire — a scheme which offers both a "money pool" and the key to a "vault" with "wealth generating system secrets".
In one email he tells me:
"Tony, This is NOT MLM (multi-level marketing), recruiting, networking, powerlines, downlines, and all that jazz. It's not too often that a true win-win deal comes around, so when it does...
"I want to make sure you know about it!
"This is a subscription to the most unique ways to make money that I have ever seen. You can test the waters with as little as $10 and I guarantee, you won't believe how big that $10 bill will explode when you implement a few of these systems."
Another email promises "more money while you're sleeping than that tough everyday job so the only smart move is to give your two weeks' notice — and hope your boss lets you go at once".
So what is it and how can I earn so much money for so little work?
The magic phrases are "internet business opportunity" and "making money online". He tells me that it's "really simple" if you follow the "right information". But once you do this, "it's really easy just like tying your laces."
Ranil Luando is not alone. There are thousands of websites pushing Lawn Chair. Even ones that appear to be critical such as "Is it a scam" actually support Lawn Chair but say other (similar) plans are a fraud.
Forget the internet — the plan is really child's play. Imagine you go to your high street and tell the first 100 people you meet that if she or he gives you £10, you will both open a bank account for them with £20 and tell them the magic money secrets.
Twenty people agree — so you have £200 in cash. But as you have credited them with £400, it seems like an instant £200 loss.
Well, one secret is your 20 new friends can't just take their cash and run. To access their accounts, they have to buy a special debit card for £50.
But even if they do, they still can't access their £20. They have to introduce five, 10 or even 20 people into this "money making empire". The incentive is that they get to keep the initial £10 from each new member — although only for a limited time.
You, as the number one in the pyramid, then get to market your "wealth generating secret resources" such as a one page guide to stock market secrets for £100 or a similarly sized guide to spread betting at £200. This is called "up-selling".
That's how it works on the street — it's less effort online.
Lawn Chair is a money generation scheme, also known as a "moneyline pyramid". At its most basic, you persuade others to give you cash so they can follow you and repeat the process.
Of course, it only works for early members as you soon run out of mugs. You cannot magic money out of thin air any more than collect tenners from people passing lovemoney.com's offices.
Pure money generating schemes like this are illegal in the UK and the United States. But that won't stop Ranil Luando from emailing me.
Sorry, Ranil. I gave up believing in the tooth fairy a long time ago.
Check out Tony Levene's Scam Magnet blog on lovemoney.com
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