I’d like address two related topics today. First is Affinity Fraud. (<< If you haven’t caught on by now, the underlined words are a link to an article) From the SEC site I linked to; “Affinity fraud refers to investment scams that prey upon members of identifiable groups, such as religious or ethnic communities, the elderly, or professional groups.” Why do I bring this up in my MMA series? Simple – because, due to the nature of MLM (multilevel marketing) sales, most sales tend to be made to a friend, relative or co-worker. No, I don’t have precise data on this, the evidence for me is intuitive. Every single agent that has written about happy customers of MMA refers to his/her parent, sibling, friend, co-worker, etc. purchasing the system and liking it. Making a sale of this nature cannot be easy, thus the claimed 100,000 sales made by a total of 50,000 agents. This implies an average sale of “one” as each agent is also a user, and first sale of another agent. On one hand you can suggest it natural that one would try to sell such a product to the people they do, but this is exactly how frauds (such as the recent Madoff Ponzi scheme) was perpetrated. For now, that ‘s my brief though on this topic.
Next, I’d like to offer what I find to be a very strange mix of God and MMA. I recently had a dialog with a woman on Bargaineering.com and the conversation quickly took a strange turn. She offered “Go look up Jesus Christ on the internet and see what ‘Experts’ say about him. So many people and so called experts will say he is not the Son of God and will really say some really ugly untruths about him, but we all know the Truth. So I don’t care what Kiplingers says, just like I would not base me continuing or deciding to be a Christian on if people on the internet (Same as reading junk on a bathroom wall of people’s opinions) and magazines and experts said there is no God or Jesus Christ was only a teacher and not the Savior.” Well, first, religion is a very private thing, and I shy away from trying to convince anyone of my views. I do know that many religions rely on faith to accept things that cannot be proven. On the other hand, the concept of a “Faith Based Mortgage Accelerator” seems a bit strange to me. The woman I dialogged with asks me “Did God anoint you to build a mission based company like UFF? No, he did not. He choose someone else.. Does that bother you? If it does then all you need to do is submit your plans for creating a better solution that will help America get out of the bondage of debt.” Wow, I’m sorry, it’s tough to criticize someone anointed by the Big Guy Himself.
So for my religious readers, I’d have to ask how to reconcile “judge not, lest ye be judged” with “love thy neighbor as thyself.” Am I guilty of judging when outing what I know (not believe, but know) to be a scam, or is it my obligation to use my knowledge to protect my neighbor from such scams. In all of my writings, I’ve done my best to avoid ad hominem (personal) attacks, although I’m sure I’ve slipped now and again. I’ve also tried to stay away from the ridiculous lists of references, those who approve or disapprove the program, trying to let the numbers speak for themselves.
In another post to me she writes “The real scam I believe in America is the 30 yr fixed mortgage with all front loaded interest for the 1st 10 yrs or more and people like you and your sources are probably in one and going to be in the bondage of debt and servant to the lender until they die.” Front-loaded? Interest is charged on the balance outstanding, and that’s just how it works, there’s no deal with the devil here, just math, and the time value of money. “Bondage of debt”? My mortgage payment is about 15% of my gross income, it’s a bill to pay, right there with property tax, gas, electric, summer camp, etc. In biblical days (and pardon my ignorance, I think today the Amish, too) a group would gather and raise a new house in a few days for the newly married couple. Today, with homes costing multiples of one’s annual income, the mortgage is needed, a necessary evil.