I was binge watching YouTube videos, when an intriguing advertisement flashed before the start of one.
‘Tired of being broke? Want to work from home?’, it asked me.
‘You, yes you, can make thousands of dollars every month from home!’, it seemed to speak to me.
‘Learn binary options trading! With only a few minutes a day, you can become a millionaire in no time!’, it boasted, proceeding to show me examples of many people who had done so.
As a broke 22-year-old who was in financial trouble, I needed the money. And as a naïve young adult with no worldly experience, I was mesmerized.
After hours of deliberating, I clicked on the link and signed up for an account with Opteck Online Trading. (Caution: This is NOT an affiliate link of any sort. Sign up for this shit, and you’re sure to lose every single cent.)
Pumping in my Hard-Earned Money
The minimum investment was $250. I whipped out my debit card, sent the money across, and started trading immediately.
Each trade cost me $25. Three trades later, and I had already lost $75.
I think they were monitoring my trades, and I got a call soon after. A call from Cyprus.
It was my “relationship manager”, and he spent a good 2 hours trying to convince me to throw in another $1,500. Apparently, when you “invest” a certain minimum amount with Opteck, you get free lessons. He convinced me that I could take out my money at any time, so I had nothing to worry about.
Fine. And into the giant Ponzi scheme, my money went.
I spent the next few weeks having brief lessons over the phone. They taught me about candlestick charting and other technical analysis. And I was eager to learn. I scribbled down whatever I could, and took screenshots of everything they taught me. I even read their damn manual, highlighting and memorizing as much as I could!
In a few weeks, they told me I was up and ready to start trading again. I did, and I incorporated everything they taught me.
And I still lost every single trade, my heart wrenching as I watched my $25 options turn to absolute zero.
After losing another 15 trades over the next couple of weeks, I decided that enough was enough. Nothing was working. I still had about $1,300 in my account, and that was better than nothing.
Scammed of Every Single Cent
I called my “relationship manager”, fully intending to pull out. I told him that I was in dire financial trouble and couldn’t afford to lose any more money. I told him I wanted a refund of every single dollar that was left.
Guess what? He had the audacity to shout at me, ‘No! I will not let you refund the money!’ I jumped as I heard him slamming his fist against his desk. But I needed the money, so I argued with him. For about an hour or so.
Eventually, my “relationship manager” told me that he would help me make back all the money that I had lost. He told me to make a few specific trades. After which, I could have a full refund, if I wanted to quit making money. Otherwise, he would refuse to let me withdrawal my own money.
I sighed and went along with it. What the hell kind of choice did I even have? I followed his exact instructions, authorizing 1-hour trades of certain currencies, at certain pricings.
I watched my trades for an excruciating one hour.
And I felt a physical searing pain in my chest, as I watched my options expire, with nothing to show for it.
I was in shock, and quickly fired an email to my “relationship manager”, demanding what the hell just happened.
But I knew I shouldn’t expect a reply. He got what he wanted – everything single cent in my investment account.
I stared at the zero-dollar balance in my investment account. I thought about how I had lost a good 2 grand, almost everything I had, in just a span of a few months.
Then I buckled over, my face in my hands. And tried to expel the pain as tears trickled down the side of my face.
To this day, my chest still aches a little when I recount the story of my naivety and my reckless loss.
Reflecting on My Attempt to Get Rich Quick
I was young. I was naïve. I was broke.
But those weren’t the main contributing factors to my loss.
It was my greed that caused my ultimate downfall.
At the time, I was having difficulties with my parents. I suspected it was a matter of time before they threw me out of the house, because I had refused to break up with my girlfriend. I needed to find money to pay for rent, food, transport, the works. I was pretty desperate.
When I chanced upon the Opteck Options Trading scheme, I fell for it immediately. I fell for the dream they sold me – earning lots of money working from home. I fell for the notion that I could earn some quick, easy money. I fantasized about how I could live a luxurious lifestyle, without the help of my wealthy parents. I dreamt about having the last laugh when they threw me out of the house.
Greed slowly took over me, and I blissfully ignored all the red flags.
The calls from Cyprus, of all places.
The constant pestering for me to “invest” more money.
The impossibly easy nature of earning a few quick bucks.
I ignored them all.
The thing is, nobody in this world is going to give you a free lunch. If options trading was that easy, why would they want to share their secret sauce for success? Why would they constantly pester me to invest more money? Why couldn’t they just earn the money themselves by trading options, instead of preying on naïve young adults with barely any money to their name?
Because trading options is, in fact, bloody difficult.
And because it’s much easier to rip people off.
Now, every time I see an advertisement for some get-rich-quick scheme, I can’t deny that fleeting thoughts of riches flutter through my mind. My subconscious will play tricks on me, planting the innocuous “What If?” question in my head.
But I stop, take a deep breath, and think about the time I got swindled of everything I had. And that stops me from being so ridiculously naïve.
Because if something’s too good to be true, let’s face it – It probably is.
In fact, it’s probably just someone out there waiting to scam you of every last cent that you have.
So, be careful. Be wise. Be prudent.
Never falling for any more ridiculous “get-rich-quick” schemes,