Michael Wells
by Michael Wells
Tue Sep 23rd 2008 at 12:45pm UTC

All That Glitters is Not Gold

Donald Trump has done it again, hitting new lows for sleaziness. A full page ad in today’s Oregonian pushes a scam class to “learn how you can profit from the biggest real estate cash explosion in decades.” It’s tackier than the online version here, but you can get the idea.

These scam classes show up regularly wherever there are images of unlimited money – real estate and grantwriting are two common ones. They have a few things in common:

  • They promise quick, free money.
  • They’re unlikely on the face (if anyone could learn this in a few hours, we’d all be millionaires).
  • They start with a “Free Introductory Class” that pulls you into a class that you pay for, then often into monthly payments from your credit card for “advice.”
  • They target the least able to pay and the least likely to be financially sophisticated.

Every financial crisis brings out the hucksters and this one is no different.

4 Responses to “All That Glitters is Not Gold”

  1. Elizabeth M Says:

    About foreclosures the ad says, you will learn “how to capitalize at every stage of the process.” Ha. I can speak from experience on this one. I’m a new homeowner who just went through the nightmare of purchasing a short sale and I can tell you this much: there is NO art of the deal when it comes to the whims of a bank. You can either stomach the journey or crumble under the pressure – Trump makes it seem so easy. You’re right Michael – if everyone could do this we’d all be millionaires. We’re incredibly fortunate to be the 1 in 20 that actually made it successfully through a short sale.

  2. Meaghan Says:

    … how can he have a University? Isn’t there supposed to be regulations on what is a ‘University’ and what is not?

    Why hasn’t academia gone after this?

  3. Meaghan Says:

    … how can he have a University? Isn’t there supposed to be regulations on what is a ‘University’ and what is not?

    Why hasn’t academia gone after this?

  4. Michael Wells Says:

    I suspect there are rules about who can call themselves a University — but that they’re the rules of accrediting agencies that real colleges would pay attention to. A huckster wouldn’t be bound by them, and I see Trump as the P.T. Barnum of our age. I doubt that there are any laws broken by a con man calling his scheme a university.