The Message Is the Medium: Online All the Time for Everyone

By Tom Koch | Go to book overview
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9

The Widow's Syndrome and Other Online Tales of Money
Hey, wanna' make some money? There's this small company where you're guaranteed to triple your investment . . .
Listen, this firm is taking off in the biotech'/robotics field and it's a sure thing. For a mere $15,000. . . .
Wow, if the Wealthy Barber is right, I just have to invest a few hundred a month, every month, and by the time I'm forty I'll be able to retire, with a condominium on Maui and a Ferrari. Cool!

As every conman knows, greed and avarice are powerful drives. Almost as powerful as sex and love. The idea of making a fast dollar, of being in on the beginning of the next IBM, Apple, or Polaroid-style stock winner is, for many, simply irresistible. Cold-call specialists run through the lists, letting perspective "clients" know about great bond values, amazing stock opportunities, and superior mutual funds that are almost guaranteed to make us all wealthy and powerful. The operative word, alas, is usually "almost."

These guys are slick. Ask them why, if the deal is so good, they are offering it to a complete stranger--or not just buying for themselves-- and the cold callers will say that they are getting others to join in so we can all be wealthy together. Ask them for a Standard and Poors sheet on the golden opportunity, for a bond rating, or a comparison of

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