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Netflix has a great documentary limited series called Money, Explained.
I just finished watching the first episode on “Get Rich Quick Schemes” narrated by Tiffany Haddish.
The episode was interesting to me because over the years, I’ve helped internet searchers avoid various online scams and even some offline swindles.
I’m looking forward to checking out the rest of the series but I think I’d probably relate more to this one.
In this review of the episode, I’ll run down some of what was presented and some interesting observations I made.
What Does “Get Rich Quick, Explained” Cover?
The episode was pretty informative and covers a lot of the get rich quick scams people encountered throughout history and even recently.
The Poyais scam – The episode frequently refers to one of the most audacious scams in history where in the 1800’s, Gregor MacGregor conned British investors out of the equivalent of $20 million in today’s dollars to invest in a fictional land called Poyais.
Advance fee scams – From Nigerian Prince email scams to Lottery schemes, this popular type of scam asks for money in advance with the promise of a much bigger return.
Pump & Dump scams – How these schemes work in stock investments is illustrated with a example of a fictional coin.
Ponzi schemes – Bernie Madoff’s story is featured in this segment.
Pyramid schemes – How they are similar to Ponzi’s and how they differ from legitimate MLMs.
Coaching schemes – This name of this one was new to me but I recognized some popular infomercials like Free & Clear, Shortcuts to Internet Millions and can identify some like MOBE and Empower Network.
Get Rich Quick also talks about why and how scams catch on.
- They thrive at moments of change.
- Technology makes it easier (television, internet etc.)
- When new trends appear, new scams appear.
Infomercials, internet marketing, social media, Amazon and cryptocurrency are all trends touched on.
Most Interesting Observations
Here are some of the more interesting things about the episode that I made. These are things that I can personally relate to.
Shortcuts to Internet Millions
I liked seeing this infomercial featured on the episode. Back in about 2007 when this first aired on television, I happened to be watching and quickly picked up on the ridiculous earning testimonials given for something I was just learning about.
I had enough experience then to know that the claims were outrageous.
One guy claimed he used Jeff Paul’s program, went on a vacation for a week and made $200,000 in those 7 days. The guy was Jeff’s friend and was also a known scammer.
This was one of the first scams I wrote about, warning people to steer clear. I got a lot of traffic whenever the infomercial aired and made a lot of money from ads and from referring people instead to something else that would get them started earning online. Of course, it was something that I used myself that worked for me which I still use to this day.
When I was calling Jeff’s product a scam, he was selling it successfully but with obvious complaints until he eventually got shut down and fined by the FTC.
Cheating internet gurus should definitely get some spotlight on this show.
In one segment, they show four guys including Grant Cardone, Tai Lopez, Dan Lok and… John Crestani?
I don’t know but I think that John Crestani is legit. He may be a little flashy but I did check out some of his training as well as his Internet Jetset program.
While Internet Jetset isn’t as well structured or engaging as Wealthy Affiliate’s training, it is a legit program designed to teach how affiliate marketing works.
Crestani comes on seconds later telling viewers what he does online. This seems to be a clip from another interview he did in 2020.
I’m not sure if they’re trying to say he’s a scammer or “get rich quick” purveyor but it sure sounds like it. And I’m not sure if they’re right either but I like the guy. He seems OK to me.
After the narrator points out that none of the gurus have been charged with fraud, one of the panelists says this:
“It’s just really sometimes hard to identify the well meaning confident entrepreneur from the scoundrel.”
Kinda sums it up for me.
Watch the Show
I really love watching the Netflix series Explained and the limited spin-offs like Money, Explained.
The “Get Rich Quick” episode was nice and I had to comment on it somehow which is why I wrote this review.
Check it out when you have some free time.