Stupid Investment of the Week

Every Friday, Chuck Jaffe at CBS Marketwatch posts an article about a shady investment opportunity, aptly named the Stupid Investment of the Week (this week’s article).

I first ran across this column while researching an ad I saw in the local newspapers Business section, advertising 8% to 11% annual returns on unsecured “investment notes”, by a company called ABFS, or American Business Financial Services (ABFIQ.PK). Chuck’s timely column helped me (and probably many unsuspecting others) realize that this company was bad, bad news (sub-prime housing lending. Can you imagine the rates they were charging if you were even getting 10%??) . See the article here (7/04).

Of course there were plenty of people happy with ABFS for a while. I mean, while Capital One 360 was giving out 1.8%, they were getting 8% on a short 6-month note. That is, until the got de-listed from the NASDAQ. And filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. See follow-up article here (3/05).

I like how Chuck goes into the details of exactly how these companies are trying to screw you over. This company obviously was targetting the relatively uneducated consumer who looks mostly at the rates, especially those who are wary of stocks after the last bust. This is why I think that, along with offering 401ks, companies should really offer some basic personal finance classes so people 1) actually participate, and 2) don’t bail out when stocks go down, as they simply do.

Comments

  1. John Loiselle says:

    Have you ever heard of “i team”. they have a web site at http://www.team-team.biz
    These people come to your house through a referel or whatever and get you to think that they are helping you start up a buisness. I just got back from a friends house who had a bunch of people over to listen to this guy in central PA. Alot of people seemed like they were buying his bull, but i know i will wind up seeing this ” i team ” on the stupid investment of the week.

  2. i just came from one of these meetings tonight, myself. I did see a difference in the way the guy who spoke presented his case, but, honestly, he didn’t sound much different from the others. I am still skeptical about the investment, but, i’m also praying for spiritual guidance. You see, no matter what you get into, if the Lord is with you, he’s more than the whole world against you. The Word also says, the enemy will mean it for bad, but, God will turn it around for my good. But, thanks for sharing. You wouldn’t happen to remember his name, would you?

  3. I was taken to one of these i team start up meetings, under false pretenses to begin with, and I would like to know if anyone out there has any other info on this organization. I felt it was almost cult like and totally out there. The meeting was located in Columbia County, PA. I am quite concerned because my estranged husband has abondoned his family and insists that until I get on board with this I can no longer be a part of his life. HELP!!!! Is this really legitimate??? Any information would be greatly appreciated.

  4. Rose, I am in the same boat as you. An old friend of mine, who I haven’t seen or talked to in 3 years, invited himself over for dinner. I thought, “ehh, no biggie,” since my friends know that they are welcome in my house with no invitation necessary. Some other friends joined me and we thought we’d have a simple pizza-and-beer Friday night.

    When said friend arrived, he brought his “mentor” (no, I hadn’t been told that he was bringing a mentor), they were both dressed in a shirt and tie (we *NEVER* got together in a formal setting). I still hadn’t realized what was going on. Again, if you’re a friend of a friend, then you’re my friend too and welcome in my house.

    Right after dinner, the “mentor” said it was time to get down to business. And I suddenly realized just how I had been lied to.

    I think the “mentor” got 5 minutes into the presentation when I lost my patience. (Those who know me, will vouch that I am a pretty direct person — if I’m thinking something, chances are folks around me will know it.) I made it clear that I had been lied to, that my friends had been lied to, and that none of us was interested in a sales pitch. The mentor asked for two more minutes, which I gave him, and when he kept up his charade, I had enough. As politely as possible, these two folks were asked to leave my house, stopping what (I found out later) would have been a 2 and a half hour sales pitch in about 15 minutes.

    (Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, they aren’t selling anything; they are offering me an investment opportunity. Right. And I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.)

    So what does this program boil down to? You are paying iTeam to learn how to become part of an affiliate program. But guess what? You can do that now… FOR FREE! Go to your favorite company, find the link that says “Become an affiliate”, and sign up. They will send you special HTML codes to insert links (banner ads) onto your website. Anyone who first clicks that link on your website, then purchases a product from the banner ad’s host site in that session will generate a certain percentage profit to your account. When you hit a certain level, they will cut you a check for your commissions.

    But, you say that this company offers a UNIQUE and convenient way to “group” a wide variety of companies and helps you track your progress.

    Folks, there are companies like Commission Junction that offer to you the same materials and opportunities for which iTeam charges a fee and a monthly percentage… FOR FREE! That’s right. FOR FREE!

    If you get that tingling on the back of your neck that calls out “THIS IS A SCAM” — you’re right!

  5. Hey folks talking about the “iteam” scam or whatever we want to call it now. I have a friend who joined and I Just got the pitch too, the gy spoke for like an hour before I told him he wasnt actually saying anything and he got frustrated with me. When I typed it tea-team.biz scam this is the ONLY site that came up, anymore information on this company would be appreciated. Any websites that pseak about it would be helpful too. I will be adding this page to my favorites to check on it and my e-mail is Milleniumkarl@hotmail.com, please title the subject in caps with “ITEAM SCAM” thanks much

  6. Am I the top search result for “I-team scam” or “iteam scam” or something? This post isn’t even about that.

  7. Actually I am really interested and excited about what iTeam is doing! From what I understand it isn’t a financial investment at all. As most people know that have started a business, there are costs associated with starting and running a business. I sat with someone and he seemed very knowledgeable about their training and business development system. But there was another guy who was just getting started and I could understand that he was still not as up to speed on the iTeam concept. That?s expected though in any apprenticeship program, right? Anyways, it seems very logical to take advantage of things you are already doing to make money like they are teaching people. We are in fact in the information age where those who become experts at intellectual distribution will profit. And unfortunately it also means that information has become way too accessible and easily shared whether or not it?s based on truth to begin with. Sort of like any random person?s opinion on a blog site. I?d rather get my information from those who actually have had success in what I?m researching and learn from them rather than get a free opinion from someone with no results or desire for them.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] are plenty more to replace SIG, just Google “high yield CD”. Back in 2005, there was American Business Financial Services, which imploded. Now there is Millennium Bank (based in St. Vincent), Zannett Notes, and CPS Notes. [...]