How I Got Scammed
by Garry Robinson
You probably thought with the coverage of racing computer programs on shows like A Current Affair and Today Tonight, the scamsters would have taken a holiday by now. Not so. About two weeks ago I received a call at work and was asked "Are you the Manager?" I said "Yes". Would you be interested in an investment opportunity and I said "Yes." At that stage I was not given any idea about the program or what the opportunity was but I agreed that they could send me the information.
A few days later I received a glossy booklet featuring inside a good looking girl stretched out on a chaise lounge. On the next page was an even sexier pose by a girl in a bikini on the deck of a luxury yacht. On the opposite page was a good looking young couple who appeared to be in the interior of a luxury jet. Oh, there were some headlines like 'A rare Opportunity" "They will be winners" and a list of benefits like " Easy exciting work" Self employment" "Ability to travel" "proven figures" and so on.
Turn to the next page. On the left hand side is a middle aged man and on the right a good looking young girl. That'll keep you interested. The text talks about Racing being Australia's second largest industry and at least that's true. On the next page we see another successful looking "yuppie" in his sports car and another young couple. The headlines highlight how bookmakers are going out of business and how using a starting bank of , wait for it, $200-$500 you can gradually build a Bank of $10,000 and start making real money betting on the TAB. Of course you have to agree to restrict your investments so everybody can have a share.
The figures on the next section are very impressive. In fact the profits racked up come to over $100,000 in two years with just 2-3 bets per week. I wish I could do that! The remaining pages showed more pretty pictures. I particularly liked the girl on the inside back cover.
The booklet is designed to appeal to people's aspirations to be wealthy enough to do whatever they want. The message appears to be that if you invest in this program you will be able to share in the wealth with very little effort. It's not reality, but I digress.
Maria called to ask if I had received the booklet and what did I think of it. I played along. "It looks very interesting." This was enough for the following information to be revealed. The company is a software development company that used to promote software for the share market but they had discovered the tax free money that is available in horse racing. It was explained that all I had to do was to open a TAB account and do about one and a half hours work on a Friday evening using Sportsman form guide or download from AAP and then input manually all the data into their program. It was explained that they only invested in fields of eight or less at Sydney and Melbourne Saturday Metropolitan meetings.
It was also explained that the strike rate was 30% winners at average around $5 to $7. Very impressive. It was also advised that one or two months each year there would be only four or five selections for the month. I was also told that the maximum bet allowed was $500. This was in spite of the fact that the booklet showed bets of up to $1161 in the examples. There were only 190 programs to be sold, I was told and 187 had gone so I would get one of the last three if I was quick. My understanding was that the 190 programs were in each State as in response to the question why don't they bet themselves it was stated that they retained a significant portion of their own State's distribution for themselves.
Maria was very dodgy about the information booklet and manual. "They keep it on a different floor so our sales operators can't see it and unwittingly slip up and reveal too much about the selection process." Yet in another conversation with Maria, she revealed her sister backed the previous Saturday's winner and is very happy with the program.
Now here's another cruncher. I asked "Why didn't they have a program that automatically downloaded the form, after all for $6,500 it should have this level of sophistication?" Maria said AAP was too expensive and that's why they recommended the Sportsman. People didn't like paying AAP's prices. Gee! For all the money people are making you'd have to wonder why they would whinge about a few dollars to get the form. Don't you think?
I asked for some latest results and got those. Maria then rang about five times a day urgently trying to get me. I tested some of the "results". Medieval Legend was one of the winners and the company guarantees the results are genuine. The horse paid $3.80. The win pool was $284,000 after the TAB deduction so about $75,000 was invested on the horse. The bet was supposedly $766. I did some simple maths and after assuming 190 successful people would back a horse like this in the future I found that another $145,000 would have been bet. The resulting dividend would have been about $1.80. This being the case you could not have made a profit with the selections.
In another call I pointed this out to Maria who said she would consult with one of her managers and in due course Kirsty rang me back.
It was explained that in fact very few of the purchasers bet at this level, most followed it on paper first and then with $5 and $10 bets because many had been ripped off before by some not so genuine companies, so the dividends definitely wouldn't be affected. I could not convince her otherwise.
The next day Maria called back. "Kirsty and some of the managers had flown off to Fiji for a holiday" she said. "So I can offer you a special deal Mr Robinson. You can have the program for only $3,000 and pay the balance from future profits" she said. I told her that I had a good program that was already working and some of the selections were also my selections.
Not long after Liam called me. "I'm the person who authorized Maria to make the special deal of $3,000 up front" he said. I told him how some of the selections were also my selections and he told me "That's impossible." "No it's not" I said " If you don't mind I will stick with my existing program." "Don't you want to make an extra $50,000 per year Liam said. " The problem is that putting extra money when the same selection comes up would reduce the dividends." I said. I was told that their program could be reset to provide a different range of selections. Ones that were higher risk but more profitable.
I said good bye as I had more than enough material to write this article.
I would love to identify the company concerned but these companies threaten legal action and we don't have the time or money to defend ourselves. Let's simply say that if you receive any approaches they will all be like this one. The company names change but they are all the same in their operation. Whilst Maria was talking to me I could hear dozens of phone operators in the background talking to other prospects.
The one thing that should alert everyone to such scams is that the sensible approach would surely be to spend $200 to $500 on purchasing genuine racing information or books that could teach you how to win and the keep the $6,500 they are asking, for a betting Bank big enough to support your betting activities in a controlled and responsible way.