There is an old saying popular among day traders: Plan your trades and trade your plans. And this is exactly what I did. Upon “signing up for free”, I provided a disposable e–mail address and a pay–as–you–go telephone number.
To be honest, I didn’t even expect “them” — whoever may be behind the “Tesler” scam — to contact me. If they were half as smart as they appear to believe, they would have taken the hint — finding no download link for the app on page 2, as promised in the video, I did not “create an account” — and let go.
Of course, I did not provide any bank details and most certainly did I not transfer the “initial deposit”. I simply had registered (which is indeed free) to find my suspicions confirmed.
If no one had answered, I would have written the entire encounter off as “yet another scheme”, and not even bothered to write the first part, Tesler Delivers Promises or How to Spot a Scam. Perhaps … I don’t know.
Yet some fraudsters appear to be as blinded by greed as their victims. In the end, it’s this greed that makes them all strip.
Plannig My Trade
As I said, I didn’t expect this short episode to continue, but the next morning (I had hit that “Sign Up” button in the wee small hours) my mobile disturbed the last circles of my slumber. London calling. A new business day had just commenced in Her Majesty’s capital.
I let it sit but, having a notion that this was only the first one of a series of attempts, set the phone to “airplane mode”. A minute later, it vibrated again. Same city, different number. I went to prepare breakfast, and pondered over how to respond — if at all. You know, “plan your trades and …”.
An hour later, I was prepared to check my e–mails. Forewarned by the phone calls, I was not surprised to find a message waiting for me. It read as follows (see also facsimile above):
Hello My name is Christian Adams and I am your personal account manager at .S2Trade I tried to reach you for assistance regarding your registration with us, Unfortunately you were unavailable. Please let me know when it is a convenient time for us to speak further so I could give you more details about the education program and the automatic system. Our educational department and our personal junior and senior brokers are here to assist you in every step of the way. We offer many tips, tools and courses to help our traders succeed! Weekly webinars with an experienced broker for beginners and advanced traders Video Platform walkthrough Online training video E-book Personal training (one on one) – this training is divided into several different levels defined by the client’s needs and progress Signals All my contact details are below, please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any further questions or if you require any further assistance.Best Regards, Christian Adams || Account Manager S2Trade
I wanted to see how this cat–and–mouse game would develop, if “the mouse” refused to play its part. For ten days, I did nothing, except declining calls whenever the phone was within comfortable reach. In total, there were almost thirty calls from three different cities across Europe. Even declining about two thirds of these did not put them off.
On a regular phone, it would have been annoying, to say the least (one of the calls even came in at around eleven p.m.). You just don’t let the phone ring twice or three times and hang up, without ever leaving a message. That’s “Communications 101”.
The idea behind this tactic is obvious: They hope for you to call back and wait in a loop for a human partner to answer. Apparently, this is how they make some of their money.
Yet what really puzzled me was the e–mail, both with the way it was crafted and the message it conveyed. This was the least professional business e–mail I have ever received.
Account Manager, me arse (pardon my French). Either “Christian Adams” was a pimple–faced teenager or an illiterate robot. The punctuation was not lost in translation; for this, the diction was not awkward enough. To me, it looked like an assortment of standardised phrases and sentences thrown together without much effort.
Perhaps “Christian” is actually using some sort of artificial intelligence, but then this software is not very sophisticated. It might still require some “beta testing” before it leaves the factory.
A week later, I decided that I’ve had enough of that nonsense, but I didn’t want to lose “Christian Adams”. I wanted “him” to show us what “he” is, so I had to act while the phone calls were still coming in. Here’s what I replied:
Dear Mr Adams,
referring to your e–mail of 5 May 2018, I have to admit that I am at a considerable loss. How can you be my “personal account manager” at a company I have never heard of thus far and therefore cannot possibly have registered or hold an account with? And why would I need “more details” about your “education department” and your “automatic system”? Also, if your system were automated, why would I be in want of assistance from your “personal junior and senior brokers” and your “educational department”? And, last but not least, if you happen to be my “personal account manager”, why do I receive alternating phone calls from three different cities across Europe every since you tried to contact me first?
You will most certainly understand that I cannot agree with further proliferation of personal information and that I am not interested in being contacted by or discussing matters with individuals who may or may not have obtained my details illicitly. In order to settle this issue in the most civilised manner possible, I am looking forward to your advice (via this channel exclusively) as soon as is convenient to you.
I had replied directly to his mail, leaving the original message and metadata intact to make sure “he” (provided, some human did actually monitor these mails) would recognise my “lapse” (the date I mentioned was two days off, the mail was sent on 7 May) and perhaps react in some way (proving my mails were actually read, rather than just replied to).
Much to my surprise, “Christian” did reply — and this time, it became clear that he was human — if not as eloquently as I had hoped.
Dear Mr. MacOstair,
You are asking a lot of questions, and I want to help you and provide you all the information that you need.
What will be the best time to call you?
Hm, I had to up the game a bit. For crying out loud, I wanted my questions answered, not acknowledged. This fellow wanted to play hide–and–seek. Wrong game, old chap. I felt that a hint of sarcasm wouldn’t hurt, either.
Dear Mr Adams,
I should be sorry, if I failed to make myself sufficiently clear: I do not wish to be contacted in any way other than by e–mail for the time being. Obviously, the best opportunity to answer my questions would have been in your reply to the e–mail I sent you earlier today. I see that “you” rang me twice — from two cities about 770 miles apart — within an hour since my last e–mail.
While I am adequately impressed by your efforts, I would suggest you determine whether you are located in London, Vienna, or Zurich — and stop calling me altogether until further notice.
To be honest, I was afraid that this was a bit too much. By then, he had to realise that I was playing with him. He had refused to answer any of my earlier questions, and I had little hope that he would make up his mind anytime soon.
Dear Mr MacOstair,
I didn't call you even 1 time since your first mail. I know how to read sir. At the moment you registered on the advertisement you saw, you let your number you be connected with different companies around the world. I'm calling you from London but we have branches all around the world by the way.
Okay. Eventually, your man was showing “signs of wear” … and emotions — but most importantly, he was giving away relevant information. Registering to receive the “Tesler App” led to my details being distributed to “different companies around the world”.
So there is some sort of collaboration of “enterprises” pursuing the same goal (which is basically to get their hands into your pocket). “S2Trade”, at any rate, is not the only “brokerage firm” affiliated with “Steven Abrahams” and his elusive app. They were simply the only ones who bothered to contact me in writing.
In a way, I was sorry for “Christian”. Of all the employees presumably involved in this scheme he had to communicate with me of all customers (or “prospective victims”, really).
Was it possible that this fellow — at that moment I was rather certain that, not counting the first e–mail, I had communicated with the same person — had no idea what “the advertisement” was?
Was it possible that what he — and many other employees in the “different companies and branches around the world” I seemed to be suddenly connected with — had been trained to deliver had nothing to do with the “Tesler App”?
No Fear of Missing Out
I have learned a thing or two from day traders while researching this matter, but the most important lecture is that one needs to trade one’s plans. “Destroying” this fellow had never been part of my strategy. I had no desire to hodl and was not suffering from FOMO, either.
All I ever wanted was some background information on this scheme; and, in parts, he had eventually delivered — if, perhaps, unbeknown to himself.
However, I still wanted to know what would happen when I told him that I was not interested. To this end, I sent him a final e–mail.
Dear Mr Adams,
that you didn’t call me even once since my first mail is interesting news indeed. I received three calls in short succession (10.28 and 10.29 respectively) from London (+442036089918) on 7 May and within the minute (10.29) your e–mail.
Four and a half hours later (15.00), while I still tried to establish who you might be and how you obtained my details, I received a call from Vienna (+431300706891). Another minute later (15.01), London was calling again (see number above). Ever since, I am receiving phone calls from London, Vienna, and Zurich; more than twenty in total thus far. For your reference, here’s the list of logged telephone numbers:
- +442036089918 (London)
- +442080684392 (London)
- +431300706891 (Vienna)
- +41435080938 (Zurich)
As I mentioned earlier, I didn’t know your company even exists until receiving your e–mail. Since none of the listed telephone numbers matches the hotline identified on your website (+442036775478), and your e–mail is using a generic TLD instead of your company’s propagated support e–mail address, you will certainly understand that I grew instantly suspicious as regards the genuineness of your efforts.
As the subject line of your first e–mail read “we tried reaching you”, and the first three calls arrived around the same time as your initial e–mail, I deem it safe to conclude that the first telephone number listed above is yours. Since you also provided your extension in the signature, I will store your details in my directory for future reference — and give you a ring whenever the need occurs. All other telephone numbers logged in this context will be blocked as of now.
For the time being, however, I am not interested in trading. Engaging you any further would therefore be irresponsible.
If “Christian” was none of the scammers, he would confirm his telephone number to make sure I could reach him, if need be. That’s how account managers usually react: They make sure you have their details, even if the chances of ever hearing from you again appear slim at the moment.
Three weeks later, I have still not received his confirmation. This makes him one of the scammers, because I kept investigating between e–mails — What did you expect? — and had already learned that all of the listed numbers belong to “branches” of this scam (a genuine account manager with a reputable company would therefore be anxious to deny all affiliations immediately).
They use different fronts and go by different names, but apparently, they belong to the same network. Another hint that “Christian” is one of the “boys in the band” (not to be understood as a sexual metaphor) is that, after sending my final reply, all calls ceased within an hour — for good.
Why only one tried to contact me via e–mail (especially since I had declined or “missed” so many calls) I cannot say, but I consider myself lucky for it.
I earlier said such a venture might easily escalate. The precious reader may consider this an exaggeration, but it is not. If one fights too many battles simultaneously, it’s quite easy to lose focus.
Lack of pertinent information or emotional distance, or having a number of “account managers” more eloquent (or skilled) than “Christian” is beleaguering the unsuspecting “client” may, sooner or later, lead to grave tactical mistakes.
I was never at risk of “burning” my regular phone or e–mail, and whoever would come forward to “help [me] become a successful options trader” would have to extract my bank details from my dead body — but then I am neither your unsuspecting “average Joe” nor desperate for the fortune these schemes promise.
I was rather ignorant of just how many individuals actually fall for such offers ever day, though, but browsing through several help forums eventually gave me a good idea.
In a best–case scenario, people only lost their “initial deposit” and were never able to withdraw their “profits” from their accounts. Those who fared worse, were convinced by their “account managers” to raise their deposit to be able to make profits, and pestered with “margin calls” until they had no savings left.
I briefly debated with myself whether to also publish the names of the “brokerage firms” who tried to get their sticky fingers into my wallet, but eventually realised doing so would be useless.
I failed to track down even one of the “companies” who tried to contact me by phone in the physical world, as the names on my display — yes, I did, of course, use a “caller identification and scam alert” app — are simply the names reported by the last individual who updated the scam alert database.
I have no way of knowing for how long individual company names are in use. What I do know, though, is that none I was given are registered companies in their respective country. In other words, “ABC Binary Trading” could come up (on your display) as “XYZ Financial Management” or some such the next minute or day.
Don’t Punch Above Your Weight
So here’s my final set of advice (if the precious reader is still inclined to listen):
Do never give away more information than is absolutely necessary to get any of your financial ventures afloat — especially when encountering actors you don’t know the first thing about.
Gather as much relevant information about “the other camp” as you may before you jump at “great opportunities” — especially when you are supposed to stake a substantial amount of money. They will do the same — and more.
If you are desperate for money, don’t get involved with anything to do with exchange markets. Stocks as speculative as a hot meal at the soup kitchen are not promising quick profits — and most certainly not substantial ones.
Substantial profits require substantial deposits — which you do not have at your disposal, or you were not desperate for money. To put this into perspective: a registered, professional day trader in the US has to provide a minimum deposit of USD 20,000 (in words: twenty thousand) at all times.
That you are desperate for money clearly indicates that you cannot afford losses — but lose you will, every now and then. In the beginning, you will lose more often than not. That much for “suitable for beginners and professionals alike”.
In regulated markets, both gain and loss (per contract) are limited (at least in options trading). In unregulated markets, you may be robbed blind without any one authority taking notice — or providing a safety net to catch your fall.
If you are still looking for a fairly simple way to make extra money (and can afford to bring your “maximum deposit” to the table), here’s what I would do:
Play European (or — if available — still better French) roulette in a brick–and–mortar casino, as your success ratio will be slightly better than in American roulette.
Bet the required minimum wager on “black and odd” or “red and even”, as either combined bet covers 20 instead of 18 numbers (out of 37). Both options have, if you stick to your guns, a success ratio every options trader may only dream of. Between spins, instantly withdraw each gain but double the stakes after each loss.
If all fails, the money initially brought to the table will be lost rather quickly — but never more than that. Yet the odds are in favour of closing the evening “on the money” (zero–sum game) — perhaps even “in the money” (profit).
This way, you don’t have to analyse charts of former developments of weeks (or even months), anticipate “Bulls” and “Bears”, or mess with perfect strangers who may or may not have your best interest in mind. All that’s required to succeed is patience — and a sound strategy.