My Provisional List of COVID Anomalies, Red/ False Flags & Clear Indications of Scumbaggery And Scambuggery. LIHOP, MIHOP Or HOAX/SCAM? Def Not As Described. Very Much Updated Since 1st Posting. Please Let Me Know What I’ve Missed Or Add Links. Repost, Due To Strange Disappearance of 90% Of My Post.
Not going to add to my existing paranoia by speculating, but here it is updated... Here’s my Top 22 list of suspicious shenanigans and red flags surrounding the COVID narrative:
The Imperial College Death data - Neil Ferguson and Gates-funded Imperial College, London Model that ‘persuaded’ Johnson and Trump to lockdown. Projected 500K deaths in UK and 2.2m deaths in US, EVEN WITH LOCKDOWN. Less than 10% accuracy but 110% alarmist, and evidence that the coding was deliberately flawed and designed to inflate numbers. Gates funding everyone involved in the staged 'debacle'.
My Very Provisional List of COVID Anomalies, Red/ False Flags and Clear Indications of Scumbaggery. LIHOP, MIHOP Or HOAX/SCAM? Def Not As Described. Need Your Help To Source References and Links For Existing Categories And Add New Ones. This is WOEFULLY INCOMPLETE. I Know I've Missed Tonnes...Ideas?
Here’s my Top 22 list of suspicious shenanigans and red flags surrounding the COVID narrative:
The Imperial College Death data - Neil Ferguson and Gates-funded Imperial College, London Model that ‘persuaded’ Johnson and Trump to lockdown. 500K deaths in UK and 2.2m deaths projected in US, EVEN WITH LOCKDOWN. Less than 10% accuracy but 110% alarmist, and evidence that the coding was deliberately flawed and designed to inflate numbers. Gates funding everyone involved in the staged 'debacle'.
Alright guys, Ive been working on this for a while and a post on here by a guy describing his portfolio here was the final kick in the ass for me to put this together. I started writing this to summarize what Im doing for my friends who are beginners, and also for me to make some sense of it for myself Hopefully parts of it are useful to you, and also ideally you guys can point out errors or have a suggestion or two. I'm posting this here as opposed to investing or canadianinvestor (blech) because they're just gonna tell me to buy an index fund. This first section is a preamble describing the Canadian tax situation and why Im doing things the way that I am. Feel free to skip it if you dont care about that. Also, there might be mistake regarding what the laws are here so dont take my word for it and verify it for yourself please. So here in Canada we have two types of registered accounts (theres actually more but whatver). There is the TFSA "Tax Free Savings Account", and RRSP "Registered Retirement Savings Account" For the sake of simplicity, from the time you turn 18 you are allowed to deposit 5k (it changes year to year based on inflation etc)in each of them. That "room" accumulates retroactively, so if you haventdone anything and are starting today and you are 30 you have around 60k you can put in each of them. The prevailing wisdom is that you should max out the TFSA first and you'll see why in a minute. TFSA is post tax deposits, with no capital gains or other taxes applied to selling your securities, dividends or anything else. You can withdraw your gains at any time, and the amount that you withdraw is added to the "room" you have for the next year. So lets say I maxed out my TFSA contributions and I take out 20k today, on January of next year I can put back in 20k plus the 5 or whatever they allow for that year. You can see how powerful this is. Theres a few limitations on what is eligable to be held in the TFSA such as bitcoin/bitcoin ETFs, overseas stocks that arent listed on NYSE, TSX, london and a few others. You can Buy to Open and Sell to Close call and put options as well as write Covered Calls. The RRSP is pre-tax deposits and is a tax deferred scheme. You deposit to lower your income tax burden (and hopefully drop below a bracket) but once you retire you will be taxed on anything you pull out. Withdrawing early has huge penalties and isnt recommended. You are however allowed to borrow against it for a down payment as a first time home buyer. The strategy with these is that a youngperson entering the workforce is likely to be in a fairly low tax bracket and (hopefully) earns more money as they get older and more skilled so the RRSP has more value the greater your pre-taxincome is. You can also do this Self Directed. Its not relevant to this strategy but I included it for the sake of context. Non registered accounts ( or any other situation, such as selling commercial real estate etc) is subject to a capital gains tax. In so far as I understand it, you add all your gains and losses up at the end of the year. If its a positive number, you cut that number IN HALF and add it to your regular pre-tax income. So if I made 60k from the dayjob and 20k on my margin account that adds up to 70k that I get taxed on. if its a loss, you carry that forward into the next year. Theres no distinction between long term and short term. Also physical PMs are treated differently and I'll fill that part in later once I have the details down. The reason why all that babble is important is that my broker Questrade, which isnt as good as IB (the only real other option up here as far as Im aware) has one amazing feature that no other broker has: "Margin Power" If you have a TFSA and a Margin account with them, you can link them together and have your securities in the TFSA collateralise your Margin account. Essentially, when it comes to the Maintenance Excess of the Margin Account QT doesnt care if its in the TFSA *or* the Margin! You can see how powerful this is. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ So as you can tell by the title, a lot of this is heavily inspired by Chris Cole's paper "The Allegory of the Hawk and the Serpent". You can read it here: https://www.artemiscm.com/welcome#research Between it, his interviews and my mediocre options skills at the time my mind was blown. Unfortunately I didnt know how to do the Long Volatility part until after the crash in March but I've since then had nothing but time to scour the internet and learn as much as I could. The way I interpret this isnt necessarily "what you should have right now", but what abstracted model they were able to backtest that gave them the best performance over the 90 years. Also, a lot of my portfolio I already had before I started trying to build this. As such my allocations dont match the proportions he gave. Not saying my allocations are better, just showing where they are at this time. I'm going to describe how I do Long Volatility at the end rather than the beginning since the way *I* do it wont make sense until you see the rest of the portflio. Physical PMs 22% I'm not sure wether he intended this to be straight up physical gold or include miners and royalty streaming companies so I will just keep this as physical. I consider Silver to be a non-expiring call option on gold, so that can live here too. I am actually *very* overweight silver and my strategy is to convert a large portion of it to gold (mostly my bars) to gold as the ratio tightens up. If youre into crypto, you can arguably say that has a place in this section. If an ETF makes sense for part of your portfolio, I suggest the Sprott ones such as PHYS. Sprott is an honest business and they actually have the metal they say they have. If you have enough, you can redeem your shares from the Royal Canadian Mint. The only downside is that they dont have an options chain, so you cant sell covered calls etc. Simple enough I suppose. One thing to bear in mind, there is a double edged sword with this class of assets. They're out of the system, theyre nobody's business but your own and theres no counter party. That unfortunately means that you cant lever against it for margin or sell covered calls etc. You can still buy puts though (more on that later) Commodity Trend (CTA) 10% https://youtu.be/tac8sWPZW0w Patrick Ceresna gave a good presentation on what this strategy is. Until I watched this video I just thought it meant "buy commodities". A real CTA does this with futures also so aside from the way he showed, there are two other ETFs that are worth looking at. COM - This is an explicit trend following ETF that follows a LONG/FLAT strategy instead of LONG/SHORT on a pile of commodity futures. So if they get a "sell" signal for oil or soybeans they sell what they have and go to cash. COMT- Holds an assortment of different month futures in different commodities, as well as a *lot* of various related shares in producers. Its almost a one stop shop commodities portfolio. Pays a respectable dividend in December If you want to break the "rules" of CTA, and include equities theres a few others that are also worth looking at KOL- This is a coal ETF. The problems with it are that a lot of the holdings dont have much to do with coal. One of them is a tractor company. A lot of the companies are Chinese so theres a bit of a red flag. Obviously Thermal Coal, the kind used for heating and powerplants isnt in vogue and wont be moving forward...but coking coal is used for steel manufacturing and that ain't going anywhere. The dividend is huge, pays out in December. A very very small position might be worth the risk. Uranium- I'm in URA because thats the only way for me to get exposure to Kazatoprom (#1 producer), which is 20% of the holdings. The other 20% is Cameco (#2 producer)and then its random stuff. Other than that I have shares in Denison which seems like its a good business with some interesting projects underway. I'm still studying the uranium space so I dont really have much to say about it of any value. RSX- Russia large caps. If you dont want to pick between the myriad of undervalued, high dividend paying commodity companies that Russia has then just grab this. It only pays in December but it has a liquid options chain so you can do Covered Calls in the meantime if you want. NTR- Nutrien, canadian company that was formed when two others merged. They are now the worlds largest potash producer. Pretty good dividend. They have some financial difficulties and the stocks been in a downtrend forever. I feel its a good candidate to watch or sell some puts on. I'm trying to come up with a way to play agriculture since this new phase we're going to be entering is likely to cause huge food shortages. EURN and NAT- I got in fairly early on the Tanker hype before it was even hype as a way to short oil but I got greedy and lost a lot of my gains. I pared down my position and I'm staying for the dividend. If you get an oil sell signal, this might be a way to play that still. Fixed Income/Bonds 10% Now, I am not a bond expert but unless youre doing some wacky spreads with futures or whatever... I dont see much reason to buy government debt any more. If you are, youre basically betting that they take rates negative. Raoul Pal of Real Vision is pretty firm in his conviction that this will happen. I know better than to argue with him but I dont see risk/reward as being of much value. HOWEVER, I found two interesting ETFs that seem to bring something to this portfolio IVOL- This is run by Nancy Davis, and is comprised of TIPS bonds which are nominally inflation protected (doubt its real inflation but whatever) overlayed with some OTC options that are designed to pay off big if the Fed loses control of the long end of the yield curve, which is what might happen during a real inflation situation. Pays out a decent yield monthly TAIL- This is a simpler portfolio of 10yr treasuries with ladder of puts on the SPX. Pays quarterly. Equities 58% (shared with options/volatility below) This is where it gets interesting, obviously most of this is in mining shares but before I get to those I found some interesting stuff that I'm intending to build up as I pare down my miners when the time comes to start doing that. VIRT- I cant remember where I saw this, but people were talking about this as a volatility play. Its not perfect, but look at the chart compared to SPY. Its a HFT/market making operation, the wackier things get the more pennies they can scalp. A 4% dividend isnt shabby either. FUND- This is an interesting closed end fund run by Whitney George, one of the principals at Sprott. He took it with him when he joined the company. Ive read his reports and interviews and I really like his approach to value and investing. He's kind of like if Warren Buffett was a gold bug. Theres 120 holdings in there, mostly small caps and very diverse...chicken factories, ball bearings all kinds of boring ass shit that nobody knows exists. Whats crucial is that most of it "needs to exist". Between him, his family and other people at Sprott they control 40% or so of the shares, so they definitely have skin in the game. Generous dividend. ZIG- This is a "deep value" strategy fund, run by Tobias Carlisle. He has a fairly simple valuation formula called the Acquirer's Multiple that when he backtested it, is supposed to perform very well. He did an interview with Chris Cole on real Vision where he discusses how Value and Deep Value havent done well recently, but over the last 100 years have proven to be very viable strategies. If we feel that theres a new cycle brewing, then this strategy may work again moving forward. I want to pause and point out something here, Chris Cole, Nassim Taleb and the guys at Mutiny Fund spend a lot of effort explaining that building a portfolio is a lot like putting together a good basketall team. They need to work together, and pick up each others slack A lot of the ETFs I'm listing here are in many ways portfolios in and of themselves and are *actively managed*. I specifically chose them because they follow a methodology that I respect but I can't do myself because I dont have the skill, temperament or access to. The next one is a hidden gem and ties into this. I'm not sure how much more upside there is in this one but man was I surprised. SII- Sprott Inc. I *never* see people listing this stock in their PMs portfolios. A newsletter I'm subscribed to described this stock as the safest way to play junior miners. Their industry presence, intellectual capital and connections means that they get *the best* private placement deals in the best opportunities. I cant compete with a staff like theirs and I'm not going to try. I bought this at 2.50, and I liked the dividend. Since then they did a reverse split to get on the NYSE and like the day after the stock soared. When it comes to mining ETFS I like GOAU and SILJ the best. None of their major holdings are dead weight companies that are only there because of market cap. I dont want Barrick in my portfolio etc. SGDJ is a neat version of GDXJ. Aside from that my individual miners/royalty companies are (no particular order) MMX SAND PAAS PGM AUM AG MUX RIO- Rio2 on the tsx, not rio tinto KTN KL Options/Volatility: varies So this is where we get to the part about options, Volatility and how I do it. I started out in the options space with The Wheel strategy and the Tastytrade approach of selling premium. The spreads and puts I sell, are on shares listed above, in fact some of those I dont hold anymore. Theres tons of stuff on this in thetagang and options so I wont go into a whole bunch (and you shouldnt be learning the mechanics from me anyway) but theres one thing I want to go over before it gets wild. If I sell a Cash Secured Put, from a risk management perspective its identical to just buying 100 shares of the underlying security. You are equally "Short Vol" as well, it just that with options its a little more explicit with the Greeks and everything. But if I use my margin that I was talking about earlier, then I can still collect the premium and the interest doesnt kick in unless Im actually assigned the shares. But if I sell too many puts on KL or AG, and something happens where the miners get cut down (and lets be real, they all move together) my margin goes down and then I get assigned and kaboom...my account gets blown up So what I need to do, is balance out the huge Short Vol situation in my portfolio, be net Long Vol and directly hedge my positions. Since the overwhelming majority of my equities are all tied to bullion this is actually a very easy thing to do. Backspreads https://youtu.be/pvX5_rkm5x0 https://youtu.be/-jTvWOGVsK8 https://youtu.be/muYjjm934iY So I set this up so the vast majority of my margin is tied up in these 1-2 or even 1-3 ratio put spreads that *I actually put on for a small credit*, and roll them every once in a while. I run them on SLV, and GDX. I keep enough room on my margin so I can withstand a 10% drawdown before it sets off the long end of the spreads and then I can ride it out until it turns around and we keep the PM bull market going. Theres another cool spread I've been using, which is a modified Jade Lizard; if already hold shares, I'll sell a put, sell a covered call, and use some of the premium to buy a longer dated call. Ive been running this on AG mostly. I have a few more spreads I can show you but Im tired now so it'll have to wait for later. As I said multiple times, I do intend to trim these miners later but now isnt the time for that IMO. I'm also monitoring this almost full time since I have an injury and have nothing better to do until I heal :p
Hello visitors and subscribers of scams! Here you will find a master list of common (and uncommon) scams that you may encounter online or in real life. Thank you to the many contributors who helped create this thread!
If you know of a scam that is not covered here, write a comment and it will be added to the next edition.
Caller ID spoofing It is very easy for anyone to make a phone call while having any number show up on the caller ID of the person receiving the phone call. Receiving a phone call from a certain number does not mean that the person/company who owns that number has actually called you. Email spoofing The "from" field of an email can be set by the sender, meaning that you can receive scam emails that look like they are from legitimate addresses. It's important to never click links in emails unless absolutely necessary, for example a password reset link you requested or an account activation link for an account you created. SMS spoofing SMS messages can be spoofed, so be wary of messages that seem to be from your friends or other trusted people.
The most common scams
The fake check scam (Credit to nimble2 for this part) The fake check scam arises from many different situations (for instance, you applied for a job, or you are selling something on a place like Craigslist, or someone wants to purchase goods or services from your business, or you were offered a job as a mystery shopper, you were asked to wrap your car with an advertisement, or you received a check in the mail for no reason), but the bottom line is always something like this:
The scammer sends you a very real looking, but fake, check. Sometimes they'll call it a "cashier's check", a "certified check", or a "verified check".
You deposit the check into your bank account, and within a couple of days your bank makes some or all of the funds available to you. This makes you think that the check is real and the funds have cleared. However, the money appearing in your account is not the same as the check actually clearing. The bank must make the funds available to you before they have cleared the check because that is the law.
For various and often complicated reasons, depending on the specific story line of the scam, the scammer will ask you to send someone some of the money, using services like MoneyGram, Western Union, and Walmart-2-Walmart. Sometimes the scammer will ask for you to purchase gift cards (iTunes, Amazon, Steam, etc) and give them the codes to redeem the gift cards. Some scammers may also give you instructions on how to buy and send them bitcoins.
Within a couple of weeks, though it can take as long as a month, your bank will realize that the check you deposited was fake, and your bank will remove the funds that you deposited into your account and charge you a bounced check fee. If you withdrew any of the money from the fake check, that money will be gone and you will owe that money to the bank. Some posters have even had their bank accounts closed and have been blocked from having another account for 5 years using ChexSystems.
General fraudulent funds scams If somebody is asking you to accept and send out money as a favour or as part of a job, it is a fraudulent funds scam. It does not matter how they pay you, any payment on any service can be fraudulent and will be reversed when it is discovered to be fraudulent. Phone verification code scams Someone will ask you to receive a verification text and then tell you to give them the code. Usually the code will come from Google Voice, or from Craigslist. In the Google version of the scam, your phone number will be used to verify a Google Voice account that the scammer will use to scam people with. In the Craigslist version of the scam, your phone number will be used to verify a Craigslist posting that the scammer will use to scam people. There is also an account takeover version of this scam that will involve the scammer sending a password reset token to your phone number and asking you for it. Bitcoin job scams Bitcoin job scams involve some sort of fraudulent funds transfer, usually a fake check although a fraudulent bank transfer can be used as well. The scammer will send you the fraudulent money and ask you to purchase bitcoins. This is a scam, and you will have zero recourse after you send the scammer bitcoins. Email flooding If you suddenly receive hundreds or thousands of spam emails, usually subscription confirmations, it's very likely that one of your online accounts has been taken over and is being used fraudulently. You should check any of your accounts that has a credit card linked to it, preferably from a computer other than the one you normally use. You should change all of your passwords to unique passwords and you should start using two factor authentication everywhere. Boss/CEO scam A scammer will impersonate your boss or someone who works at your company and will ask you to run an errand for them, which will usually be purchasing gift cards and sending them the code. Once the scammer has the code, you have no recourse. Employment certification scams You will receive a job offer that is dependent on you completing a course or receiving a certification from a company the scammer tells you about. The scammer operates both websites and the job does not exist. Craigslist fake payment scams Scammers will ask you about your item that you have listed for sale on a site like Craigslist, and will ask to pay you via Paypal. They are scamming you, and the payment in most cases does not actually exist, the email you received was sent by the scammers. In cases where you have received a payment, the scammer can dispute the payment or the payment may be entirely fraudulent. The scammer will then either try to get you to send money to them using the fake funds that they did not send to you, or will ask you to ship the item, usually to a re-shipping facility or a parcel mule. General fraudulent funds scams The fake check scam is not the only scam that involves accepting fraudulent/fake funds and purchasing items for scammers. If your job or opportunity involves accepting money and then using that money, it is almost certainly a frauduent funds scam. Even if the payment is through a bank transfer, Paypal, Venmo, Zelle, Interac e-Transfer, etc, it does not matter. Credit card debt scam Fraudsters will offer to pay off your bills, and will do so with fraudulent funds. Sometimes it will be your credit card bill, but it can be any bill that can be paid online. Once they pay it off, they will ask you to send them money or purchase items for them. The fraudulent transaction will be reversed in the future and you will never be able to keep the money. This scam happens on sites like Craigslist, Twitter, Instagram, and also some dating sites, including SeekingArrangement. The parcel mule scam A scammer will contact you with a job opportunity that involves accepting and reshipping packages. The packages are either stolen or fraudulently obtained items, and you will not be paid by the scammer. Here is a news article about a scam victim who fell for this scam and reshipped over 20 packages containing fraudulently acquired goods. The Skype sex scam You're on Facebook and you get a friend request from a cute girl you've never met. She wants to start sexting and trading nudes. She'll ask you to send pictures or videos or get on webcam where she can see you naked with your face in the picture. The scam: There's no girl. You've sent nudes to a guy pretending to be a girl. As soon as he has the pictures he'll demand money and threaten to send the pictures to your friends and family. Sometimes the scammer will upload the video to a porn site or Youtube to show that they are serious. What to do if you are a victim of this scam: You cannot buy silence, you can only rent it. Paying the blackmailer will show them that the information they have is valuable and they will come after you for more money. Let your friends and family know that you were scammed and tell them to ignore friend requests or messages from people they don't know. Also, make sure your privacy settings are locked down and consider deactivating your account. The underage girl scam You're on a dating site or app and you get contacted by a cute girl. She wants to start sexting and trading nudes. Eventually she stops communicating and you get a call from a pissed off guy claiming to be the girl's father, or a police officer, or a private investigator, or something else along those lines. Turns out the girl you were sexting is underage, and her parents want some money for various reasons, such as to pay for a new phone, to pay for therapy, etc. There is, of course, no girl. You were communicating with a scammer. What to do if you are a victim of this scam: Stop picking up the phone when the scammers call. Do not pay them, or they will be after you for more money. Phishing Phishing is when a scammer tries to trick you into giving information to them, such as your password or private financial information. Phishing messages will usually look very similar to official messages, and sometimes they are identical. If you are ever required to login to a different account in order to use a service, you should be incredibly cautious. The blackmail email scam The exact wording of the emails varies, but there are generally four main parts. They claim to have placed software/malware on a porn/adult video site, they claim to have a video of you masturbating or watching porn, they threaten to release the video to your friends/family/loved ones/boss/dog, and they demand that you pay them in order for them to delete the video. Rest assured that this is a very common spam campaign and there is no truth behind the email or the threats. Here are some news articles about this scam. The blackmail mail scam This is very similar to the blackmail email scam, but you will receive a letter in the mail. Rental scams Usually on local sites like Craigslist, scammers will steal photos from legitimate real estate listings and will list them for rent at or below market rate. They will generally be hesitant to tell you the address of the property for "safety reasons" and you will not be able to see the unit. They will then ask you to pay them a deposit and they claim they will ship you the keys. In reality, your money is gone and you will have no recourse. Craigslist vehicle scams A scammer will list a vehicle on Craigslist and will offer to ship you the car. In many cases they will also falsely claim to sell you the car through eBay or Amazon. If you are looking for a car on Craigslist and the seller says anything about shipping the car, having an agent, gives you a long story about why they are selling the car, or the listing price is far too low, you are talking to a scammer and you should ignore and move on. Advance-fee scam, also known as the 419 scam, or the Nigerian prince scam. You will receive a communication from someone who claims that you are entitled to a large sum of money, or you can help them obtain a large sum of money. However, they will need money from you before you receive the large sum. Man in the middle scams Man in the middle scams are very common and very hard to detect. The scammer will impersonate a company or person you are legitimately doing business with, and they will ask you to send the money to one of their own bank accounts or one controlled by a money mule. They have gained access to the legitimate persons email address, so there will be nothing suspicious about the email. To prevent this, make contact in a different way that lets you verify that the person you are talking to is the person you think you are talking to. Cam girl voting/viewer scam You will encounter a "cam girl" on a dating/messaging/social media/whatever site/app, and the scammer will ask you to go to their site and sign up with your credit card. They may offer a free show, or ask you to vote for them, or any number of other fake stories. Amateur porn recruitment scam You will encounter a "pornstar" on a dating/messaging/social media/whatever site/app, and the scammer will ask you to create an adult film with hehim, but first you need to do something. The story here is usually something to do with verifying your age, or you needing to take an STD test that involves sending money to a site operated by the scammer. Hot girl SMS spam You receive a text from a random number with a message along the lines of "Hey babe I'm here in town again if you wanted to meet up this time, are you around?" accompanied by a NSFW picture of a hot girl. It's spam, and they'll direct you to their scam website that requires a credit card. Identity verification scam You will encounter someone on a dating/messaging/social media/whatever site/app, and the scammer will ask that you verify your identity as they are worried about catfishing. The scammer operates the site, and you are not talking to whoever you think you are talking to. This type of scam teases you with something, then tries to make you sign up for something else that costs money. The company involved is often innocent, but they turn a blind eye to the practice as it helps their bottom line, even if they have to occasionally issue refunds. A common variation takes place on dating sites/dating apps, where you will match with someone who claims to be a camgirl who wants you to sign up for a site and vote for her. Another variation takes place on local sites like Craigslist, where the scammers setup fake rental scams and demand that you go through a specific service for a credit check. Once you go through with it, the scammer will stop talking to you. Another variation also takes place on local sites like Craigslist, where scammers will contact you while you are selling a car and will ask you to purchase a Carfax-like report from a specific website. Multi Level Marketing or Affiliate Marketing You apply for a vague job listing for 'sales' on craigslist. Or maybe an old friend from high school adds you on Facebook and says they have an amazing business opportunity for you. Or maybe the well dressed guy who's always interviewing people in the Starbucks that you work at asks if you really want to be slinging coffee the rest of your life. The scam: MLMs are little more than pyramid schemes. They involve buying some sort of product (usually snake oil health products like body wraps or supplements) and shilling them to your friends and family. They claim that the really money is recruiting people underneath you who give you a slice of whatever they sell. And if those people underneath you recruit more people, you get a piece of their sales. Ideally if you big enough pyramid underneath you the money will roll in without any work on your part. Failure to see any profit will be your fault for not "wanting it enough." The companies will claim that you need to buy their extra training modules or webinars to really start selling. But in reality, the vast majority of people who buy into a MLM won't see a cent. At the end of the day all you'll be doing is annoying your friends and family with your constant recruitment efforts. What to look out for: Recruiters love to be vague. They won't tell you the name of the company or what exactly the job will entail. They'll pump you up with promises of "self-generating income", "being your own boss", and "owning your own company." They might ask you to read books about success and entrepreneurs. They're hoping you buy into the dream first. If you get approached via social media, check their timelines. MLMs will often instruct their victims to pretend that they've already made it. They'll constantly post about how they're hustling and making the big bucks and linking to youtube videos about success. Again, all very vague about what their job actually entails. If you think you're being recruited: Ask them what exactly the job is. If they can't answer its probably a MLM. Just walk away.
You should generally avoid answering or engaging with random phone calls. Picking up and engaging with a scam call tells the scammers that your phone number is active, and will usually lead to more calls. Tax Call You get a call from somebody claiming to be from your countries tax agency. They say you have unpaid taxes that need to be paid immediately, and you may be arrested or have other legal action taken against you if it is not paid. This scam has caused the American IRS, Canadian CRA, British HMRC, and Australian Tax Office to issue warnings. This scam happens in a wide variety of countries all over the world. Warrant Call Very similar to the tax call. You'll get a phone call from an "agent", "officer", "sheriff", or other law enforcement officer claiming that there is a warrant out for your arrest and you will be arrested very soon. They will then offer to settle everything for a fee, usually paid in giftcards. [Legal Documents/Process Server Calls] Very similar to the warrant call. You'll get a phone call from a scammer claiming that they are going to serve you legal documents, and they will threaten you with legal consequences if you refuse to comply. They may call themselves "investigators", and will sometimes give you a fake case number. Student Loan Forgiveness Scam Scammers will call you and tell you about a student loan forgiveness program, but they are interested in obtaining private information about you or demanding money in order to join the fake program. Tech Support Call You receive a call from someone with a heavy accent claiming to be a technician Microsoft or your ISP. They inform you that your PC has a virus and your online banking and other accounts may be compromised if the virus is not removed. They'll have you type in commands and view diagnostics on your PC which shows proof of the virus. Then they'll have you install remote support software so the technician can work on your PC, remove the virus, and install security software. The cost of the labor and software can be hundreds of dollars. The scam: There's no virus. The technician isn't a technician and does not work for Microsoft or your ISP. Scammers (primarily out of India) use autodialers to cold-call everyone in the US. Any file they point out to you or command they have you run is completely benign. The software they sell you is either freeware or ineffective. What to do you if you're involved with this scam: If the scammers are remotely on your computer as you read this, turn off your PC or laptop via the power button immediately, and then if possible unplug your internet connection. Some of the more vindictive tech scammers have been known to create boot passwords on your computer if they think you've become wise to them and aren't going to pay up. Hang up on the scammers, block the number, and ignore any threats about payment. Performing a system restore on your PC is usually all that is required to remove the scammer's common remote access software. Reports of identity theft from fake tech calls are uncommon, but it would still be a good idea to change your passwords for online banking and monitor your accounts for any possible fraud. How to avoid: Ignore any calls claiming that your PC has a virus. Microsoft will never contact you. If you're unsure if a call claiming to be from your ISP is legit, hang up, and then dial the customer support number listed on a recent bill. If you have elderly relatives or family that isn't tech savvy, take the time to fill them in on this scam. Chinese government scam This scam is aimed at Chinese people living in Europe and North America, and involves a voicemail from someone claiming to be associated with the Chinese government, usually through the Chinese consulate/embassy, who is threatening legal action or making general threats. Chinese shipping scam This scam is similar to the Chinese government scam, but involves a seized/suspicious package, and the scammers will connect the victim to other scammers posing as Chinese government investigators. Social security suspension scam You will receive a call from someone claiming to work for the government regarding suspicious activity, fraud, or serious crimes connected to your social security number. You'll be asked to speak to an operator and the operator will explain the steps you need to follow in order to fix the problems. It's all a scam, and will lead to you losing money and could lead to identity theft if you give them private financial information. Utilities cutoff You get a call from someone who claims that they are from your utility company, and they claim that your utilities will be shut off unless you immediately pay. The scammer will usually ask for payment via gift cards, although they may ask for payment in other ways, such as Western Union or bitcoin. Relative in custody Scammer claims to be the police, and they have your son/daughtenephew/estranged twin in custody. You need to post bail (for some reason in iTunes gift cards or MoneyGram) immediately or the consequences will never be the same. Mexican family scam This scam comes in many different flavours, but always involves someone in your family and Mexico. Sometimes the scammer will claim that your family member has been detained, sometimes the scammer will claim that your family member has been kidnapped, and sometimes the scammer will claim that your family member is injured and needs help. General family scams Scammers will gather a large amount of information about you and target your family members using different stories with the goal of gettimg them to send money. One ring scam Scammers will call you from an international number with the goal of getting you to return their call, causing you to incur expensive calling fees.
Online shopping scams
THE GOLDEN RULE OF ONLINE SHOPPING: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Dropshipping An ad on reddit or social media sites like Facebook and Instagram offers items at huge discounts or even free (sometimes requiring you to reblog or like their page). They just ask you to pay shipping. The scam: The item will turn out to be very low quality and will take weeks or even months to arrive. Sometimes the item never arrives, and the store disappears or stops responding. The seller drop-ships the item from China. The item may only cost a few dollars, and the Chinese government actually pays for the shipping. You end up paying $10-$15 dollars for a $4 item, with the scammer keeping the profit. If you find one of these scams but really have your heart set on the item, you can find it on AliExpress or another Chinese retailer. Influencer scams A user will reach out to you on a social media platform, usually Instagram, and offer you the chance to partner with them and receive a free/discounted product, as long as you pay shipping. This is a different version of the dropshipping scam, and is just a marketing technique to get you to buy their products. Triangulation fraud Triangulation fraud occurs when you make a purchase on a site like Amazon or eBay for an item at a lower than market price, and receive an item that was clearly purchased new at full price. The scammer uses a stolen credit card to order your item, while the money from the listing is almost all profit for the scammer. Instagram influencer scams Someone will message you on Instagram asking you to promote their products, and offering you a discount code. The items are Chinese junk, and the offer is made to many people at a time. Cheap Items Many websites pop up and offer expensive products, including electronics, clothes, watches, sunglasses, and shoes at very low prices. The scam: Some sites are selling cheap knock-offs. Some will just take your money and run. What to do if you think you're involved with this scam: Contact your bank or credit card and dispute the charge. How to avoid: The sites often have every brand-name shoe or fashion item (Air Jordan, Yeezy, Gucci, etc) in stock and often at a discounted price. The site will claim to be an outlet for a major brand or even a specific line or item. The site will have images at the bottom claiming to be Secured by Norton or various official payment processors but not actual links. The site will have poor grammar and a mish-mash of categories. Recently, established websites will get hacked or their domain name jacked and turned into scam stores, meaning the domain name of the store will be completely unrelated to the items they're selling. If the deal sounds too good to be true it probably is. Nobody is offering brand new iPhones or Beats or Nintendo Switches for 75% off. Cheap Amazon 3rd Party Items You're on Amazon or maybe just Googling for an item and you see it for an unbelievable price from a third-party seller. You know Amazon has your back so you order it. The scam: One of three things usually happen: 1) The seller marks the items as shipped and sends a fake tracking number. Amazon releases the funds to the seller, and the seller disappears. Amazon ultimately refunds your money. 2) The seller immediately cancels the order and instructs you to re-order the item directly from their website, usually with the guarantee that the order is still protected by Amazon. The seller takes your money and runs. Amazon informs you that they do not offer protection on items sold outside of Amazon and cannot help you. 2) The seller immediately cancels the order and instructs you to instead send payment via an unused Amazon gift card by sending the code on the back via email. Once the seller uses the code, the money on the card is gone and cannot be refunded. How to avoid: These scammers can be identified by looking at their Amazon storefronts. They'll be brand new sellers offering a wide range of items at unbelievable prices. Usually their Amazon names will be gibberish, or a variation on FIRSTNAME.LASTNAME. Occasionally however, established storefronts will be hacked. If the deal is too good to be true its most likely a scam. Scams on eBay There are scams on eBay targeting both buyers and sellers. As a seller, you should look out for people who privately message you regarding the order, especially if they ask you to ship to a different address or ask to negotiate via text/email/a messaging service. As a buyer you should look out for new accounts selling in-demand items, established accounts selling in-demand items that they have no previous connection to (you can check their feedback history for a general idea of what they bought/sold in the past), and lookout for people who ask you to go off eBay and use another service to complete the transaction. In many cases you will receive a fake tracking number and your money will be help up for up to a month. Scams on Amazon There are scams on Amazon targeting both buyers and sellers. As a seller, you should look out for people who message you about a listing. As a buyer you should look out for listings that have an email address for you to contact the person to complete the transaction, and you should look out for cheap listings of in-demand items. Scams on Reddit Reddit accounts are frequently purchased and sold by fraudsters who wish to use the high karma count + the age of the account to scam people on buy/sell subreddits. You need to take precautions and be safe whenever you are making a transaction online. Computer scams Virus scam A popup or other ad will say that you have a virus and you need to follow their advice in order to remove it. They are lying, and either want you to install malware or pay for their software.
Chinese Brushing / direct shipping If you have ever received an unsolicited small package from China, your address was used to brush. Vendors place fake orders for their own products and send out the orders so that they can increase their ratings. Money flipping Scammer claims to be a banking insider who can double/triple/bazoople any amount of money you send them, with no consequences of any kind. Obviously, the money disappears into their wallet the moment you send it.
Door to door scams
As a general rule, you should not engage with door to door salesmen. If you are interested in the product they are selling, check online first. Selling Magazines Someone or a group will come to your door and offer to sell a magazine subscription. Often the subscriptions are not for the duration or price you were told, and the magazines will often have tough or impossible cancellation policies. Energy sales Somebody will come to your door claiming to be from an energy company. They will ask to see your current energy bill so that they can see how much you pay. They will then offer you a discount if you sign up with them, and promise to handle everything with your old provider. Some of these scammers will "slam" you, by using your account number that they saw on your bill to switch you to their service without authorization, and some will scam you by charging higher prices than the ones you agreed on. Security system scams Scammers will come to your door and ask about your security system, and offer to sell you a new one. These scammers are either selling you overpriced low quality products, or are casing your home for a future burglary. They ask to enter your home While trying to sell you whatever, they suddenly need to use your bathroom, or they've been writing against the wall and ask to use your table instead. Or maybe they just moved into the neighborhood and want to see how you decorate for ideas. They're scoping out you and your place. They want to see what valuables you have, how gullible you are, if you have a security system or dogs, etc.
Begging With a Purpose "I just need a few more dollars for the bus," at the bus station, or "I just need $5 to get some gas," at a gas station. There's also a variation where you will be presented with a reward: "I just need money for a cab to get uptown, but I'll give you sports tickets/money/a date/a priceless vase." Three Card Monte, Also Known As The Shell Game Unbeatable. The people you see winning are in on the scam. Drop and Break You bump into someone and they drop their phone/glasses/fancy bottle of wine/priceless vase and demand you pay them back. In reality, it's a $2 pair of reading glasses/bottle of three-buck-chuck/tasteful but affordable vase. CD Sales You're handed a free CD so you can check out the artist's music. They then ask for your name and immediately write it on the CD. Once they've signed your name, they ask you for money, saying they can't give it to someone else now. Often they use dry erase markers, or cheap CD sleeves. Never use any type of storage device given to you by a random person, as the device can contain malware. White Van Speaker Scam You're approached and offered speakers/leather jackets/other luxury goods at a discount. The scammer will have an excuse as to why the price is so low. After you buy them, you'll discover that they are worthless. iPhone Street Sale You're approached and shown an iPhone for sale, coming in the box, but it's open and you can see the phone. If you buy the phone, you'll get an iPhone box with no iPhone, just some stones or cheap metal in it to weigh it down. Buddhist Monk Pendant A monk in traditional garb approaches you, hands you a gold trinket, and asks for a donation. He holds either a notebook with names and amounts of donation (usually everyone else has donated $5+), or a leaflet with generic info. This is fairly common in NYC, and these guys get aggressive quickly. Friendship Bracelet Scam More common in western Europe, you're approached by someone selling bracelets. They quickly wrap a loop of fabric around your finger and pull it tight, starting to quickly weave a bracelet. The only way to (easily) get it off your hand is to pay. Leftover sales This scam involves many different items, but the idea is usually the same: you are approached by someone who claims to have a large amount of excess inventory and offers to sell it to you at a great price. The scammer actually has low quality items and will lie to you about the price/origin of the items. Dent repair scams Scammers will approach you in public about a dent in your car and offer to fix it for a low price. Often they will claim that they are mechanics. They will not fix the dent in your car, but they will apply large amounts of wax or other substances to hide the dent while they claim that the substance requires time to harden. Gold ring/jewelry/valuable item scam A scammer will "find" a gold ring or other valuable item and offers to sell it to you. The item is fake and you will never see the scammer again. Distraction theft One person will approach you and distract you, while their accomplice picks your pockets. The distraction can take many forms, but if you are a tourist and are approached in public, watch closely for people getting close to you.
What Is The Dark Web? How Can You Access It? What Will You Find?
Dark Net Hacker DarkNetHacker.net What is the dark web? How to access it and what you'll find The dark web is part of the internet that isn't visible to search engines and requires the use of an anonymizing browser called Tor to be accessed. Dark web definition The dark web is a part of the internet that isn't indexed by search engines. You've no doubt heard talk of the “dark web” as a hotbed of criminal activity — and it is. Researchers Daniel Moore and Thomas Rid of King's College in London classified the contents of 2,723 live dark web sites over a five-week period in 2015 and found that 57% host illicit material. A 2019 study, Into the Web of Profit, conducted by Dr. Michael McGuires at the University of Surrey, shows that things have become worse. The number of dark web listings that could harm an enterprise has risen by 20% since 2016. Of all listings (excluding those selling drugs), 60% could potentially harm enterprises. You can buy credit card numbers, all manner of drugs, guns, counterfeit money, stolen subscription credentials, hacked Netflix accounts and software that helps you break into other people’s computers. Buy login credentials to a $50,000 Bank of America account for $500. Get $3,000 in counterfeit $20 bills for $600. Buy seven prepaid debit cards, each with a $2,500 balance, for $500 (express shipping included). A “lifetime” Netflix premium account goes for $6. You can hire hackers to attack computers for you. You can buy usernames and passwords. But not everything is illegal, the dark web also has a legitimate side. For example, you can join a chess club or BlackBook, a social network described as the “the Facebook of Tor.” Note: This post contains links to dark web sites that can only be accessed with the Tor browser, which can be downloaded for free at https://www.torproject.org. Deep web vs. dark web: What’s the difference? The terms “deep web” and “dark web” are sometimes used interchangeably, but they are not the same. Deep web refers to anything on the internet that is not indexed by and, therefore, accessible via a search engine like Google. Deep web content includes anything behind a paywall or requires sign-in credentials. It also includes any content that its owners have blocked web crawlers from indexing. Medical records, fee-based content, membership websites, and confidential corporate web pages are just a few examples of what makes up the deep web. Estimates place the size of the deep web at between 96% and 99% of the internet. Only a tiny portion of the internet is accessible through a standard web browser—generally known as the “clear web”. RECOMMENDED WHITEPAPERS 2020 Modern Backup Buyers’ Guide Business continuity for remote workers 10 Reasons Why 15,000+ Businesses Point DNS to Cisco Umbrella The dark web is a subset of the deep web that is intentionally hidden, requiring a specific browser—Tor—to access, as explained below. No one really knows the size of the dark web, but most estimates put it at around 5% of the total internet. Again, not all the dark web is used for illicit purposes despite its ominous-sounding name. Dark web tools and services that present enterprise risk The Into the Web of Profit report identified 12 categories of tools or services that could present a risk in the form of a network breach or data compromise: Infection or attacks, including malware, distributed denial of service (DDoS) and botnets Access, including remote access Trojans (RATs), keyloggers and exploits Espionage, including services, customization and targeting Support services such as tutorials Credentials Phishing Refunds Customer data Operational data Financial data Intellectual property/trade secrets Other emerging threats The report also outlined three risk variables for each category: Devaluing the enterprise, which could include undermining brand trust, reputational damage or losing ground to a competitor Disrupting the enterprise, which could include DDoS attacks or other malware that affects business operations Defrauding the enterprise, which could include IP theft or espionage that impairs a company's ability to compete or causes a direct financial loss Dark web browser All this activity, this vision of a bustling marketplace, might make you think that navigating the dark web is easy. It isn’t. The place is as messy and chaotic as you would expect when everyone is anonymous, and a substantial minority are out to scam others. Accessing the dark web requires the use of an anonymizing browser called Tor. The Tor browser routes your web page requests through a series of proxy servers operated by thousands of volunteers around the globe, rendering your IP address unidentifiable and untraceable. Tor works like magic, but the result is an experience that’s like the dark web itself: unpredictable, unreliable and maddeningly slow. [ Is your data being sold? What you need to know about monitoring the dark web. | Get the latest from CSO by signing up for our newsletters. ] Still, for those willing to put up with the inconvenience, the dark web provides a memorable glimpse at the seamy underbelly of the human experience – without the risk of skulking around in a dark alley. Dark web search engine Dark web search engines exist, but even the best are challenged to keep up with the constantly shifting landscape. The experience is reminiscent of searching the web in the late 1990s. Even one of the best search engines, called Grams, returns results that are repetitive and often irrelevant to the query. Link lists like The Hidden Wiki are another option, but even indices also return a frustrating number of timed-out connections and 404 errors. Dark web sites Dark web sites look pretty much like any other site, but there are important differences. One is the naming structure. Instead of ending in .com or .co, dark web sites end in .onion. That’s “a special-use top level domain suffix designating an anonymous hidden service reachable via the Tor network,” according to Wikipedia. Browsers with the appropriate proxy can reach these sites, but others can’t. Dark web sites also use a scrambled naming structure that creates URLs that are often impossible to remember. For example, a popular commerce site called Dream Market goes by the unintelligible address of “eajwlvm3z2lcca76.onion.” Many dark websites are set up by scammers, who constantly move around to avoid the wrath of their victims. Even commerce sites that may have existed for a year or more can suddenly disappear if the owners decide to cash in and flee with the escrow money they’re holding on behalf of customers. Law enforcement officials are getting better at finding and prosecuting owners of sites that sell illicit goods and services. In the summer of 2017, a team of cyber cops from three countries successfully shut down AlphaBay, the dark web’s largest source of contraband, sending shudders throughout the network. But many merchants simply migrated elsewhere. The anonymous nature of the Tor network also makes it especially vulnerable to DDoS, said Patrick Tiquet, Director of Security & Architecture at Keeper Security, and the company’s resident expert on the topic. “Sites are constantly changing addresses to avoid DDoS, which makes for a very dynamic environment,” he said. As a result, “The quality of search varies widely, and a lot of material is outdated.” SALTED HASH Get a hands-on, inside look at the dark web | Salted Hash Ep 25 Commerce on the dark web The dark web has flourished thanks to bitcoin, the crypto-currency that enables two parties to conduct a trusted transaction without knowing each other’s identity. “Bitcoin has been a major factor in the growth of the dark web, and the dark web has been a big factor in the growth of bitcoin,” says Tiquet. Nearly all dark web commerce sites conduct transactions in bitcoin or some variant, but that doesn’t mean it’s safe to do business there. The inherent anonymity of the place attracts scammers and thieves, but what do you expect when buying guns or drugs is your objective? Dark web commerce sites have the same features as any e-retail operation, including ratings/reviews, shopping carts and forums, but there are important differences. One is quality control. When both buyers and sellers are anonymous, the credibility of any ratings system is dubious. Ratings are easily manipulated, and even sellers with long track records have been known to suddenly disappear with their customers’ crypto-coins, only to set up shop later under a different alias. Most e-commerce providers offer some kind of escrow service that keeps customer funds on hold until the product has been delivered. However, in the event of a dispute don’t expect service with a smile. It’s pretty much up to the buyer and the seller to duke it out. Every communication is encrypted, so even the simplest transaction requires a PGP key. Even completing a transaction is no guarantee that the goods will arrive. Many need to cross international borders, and customs officials are cracking down on suspicious packages. The dark web news site Deep.Dot.Web teems with stories of buyers who have been arrested or jailed for attempted purchases. SECURITY How the dark web has gone corporate Is the dark web illegal? We don’t want to leave you with the impression that everything on the dark web is nefarious or illegal. The Tor network began as an anonymous communications channel, and it still serves a valuable purpose in helping people communicate in environments that are hostile to free speech. “A lot of people use it in countries where there’s eavesdropping or where internet access is criminalized,” Tiquet said. If you want to learn all about privacy protection or cryptocurrency, the dark web has plenty to offer. There are a variety of private and encrypted email services, instructions for installing an anonymous operating system and advanced tips for the privacy-conscious. There’s also material that you wouldn’t be surprised to find on the public web, such as links to full-text editions of hard-to-find books, collections of political news from mainstream websites and a guide to the steam tunnels under the Virginia Tech campus. You can conduct discussions about current events anonymously on Intel Exchange. There are several whistleblower sites, including a dark web version of Wikileaks. Pirate Bay, a BitTorrent site that law enforcement officials have repeatedly shut down, is alive and well there. Even Facebook has a dark web presence. “More and more legitimate web companies are starting to have presences there,” Tiquet said. “It shows that they’re aware, they’re cutting edge and in the know.” There’s also plenty of practical value for some organizations. Law enforcement agencies keep an ear to the ground on the dark web looking for stolen data from recent security breaches that might lead to a trail to the perpetrators. Many mainstream media organizations monitor whistleblower sites looking for news. Staying on top of the hacker underground Keeper’s Patrick Tiquet checks in regularly because it’s important for him to be on top of what’s happening in the hacker underground. “I use the dark web for situational awareness, threat analysis and keeping an eye on what’s going on,” he said will. “I want to know what information is available and have an external lens into the digital assets that are being monetized – this gives us insight on what hackers are targeting.” If you find your own information on the dark web, there’s precious little you can do about it, but at least you’ll know you’ve been compromised. Bottom line: If you can tolerate the lousy performance, unpredictable availability, and occasional shock factor of the dark web, it’s worth a visit. Just don’t buy anything there.
Murmurs of the Sea | Monthly Portfolio Update - March 2020
Only the sea, murmurous behind the dingy checkerboard of houses, told of the unrest, the precariousness, of all things in this world. -Albert Camus, The Plague This is my fortieth portfolio update. I complete this update monthly to check my progress against my goal. Portfolio goal My objective is to reach a portfolio of $2 180 000 by 1 July 2021. This would produce a real annual income of about $87 000 (in 2020 dollars). This portfolio objective is based on an expected average real return of 3.99 per cent, or a nominal return of 6.49 per cent. Portfolio summary Vanguard Lifestrategy High Growth Fund – $662 776 Vanguard Lifestrategy Growth Fund – $39 044 Vanguard Lifestrategy Balanced Fund – $74 099 Vanguard Diversified Bonds Fund – $109 500 Vanguard Australian Shares ETF (VAS) – $150 095 Vanguard International Shares ETF (VGS) – $29 852 Betashares Australia 200 ETF (A200) – $197 149 Telstra shares (TLS) – $1 630 Insurance Australia Group shares (IAG) – $7 855 NIB Holdings shares (NHF) – $6 156 Gold ETF (GOLD.ASX) – $119 254 Secured physical gold – $19 211 Ratesetter (P2P lending) – $13 106 Bitcoin – $115 330 Raiz* app (Aggressive portfolio) – $15 094 Spaceship Voyager* app (Index portfolio) – $2 303 BrickX (P2P rental real estate) – $4 492 Total portfolio value: $1 566 946 (-$236 479 or -13.1%) Asset allocation Australian shares – 40.6% (4.4% under) Global shares – 22.3% Emerging markets shares – 2.3% International small companies – 3.0% Total international shares – 27.6% (2.4% under) Total shares – 68.3% (6.7% under) Total property securities – 0.2% (0.2% over) Australian bonds – 4.8% International bonds – 10.4% Total bonds – 15.2% (0.2% over) Gold – 8.8% Bitcoin – 7.4% Gold and alternatives – 16.2% (6.2% over) Presented visually, below is a high-level view of the current asset allocation of the portfolio. Comments This month saw an extremely rapid collapse in market prices for a broad range of assets across the world, driven by the acceleration of the Coronavirus pandemic. Broad and simultaneous market falls have resulted in the single largest monthly fall in portfolio value to date of around $236 000. This represents a fall of 13 per cent across the month, and an overall reduction of more the 16 per cent since the portfolio peak of January. [Chart] The monthly fall is over three times more severe than any other fall experienced to date on the journey. Sharpest losses have occurred in Australian equities, however, international shares and bonds have also fallen. A substantial fall in the Australia dollar has provided some buffer to international equity losses - limiting these to around 8 per cent. Bitcoin has also fallen by 23 per cent. In short, in the period of acute market adjustment - as often occurs - the benefits of diversification have been temporarily muted. [Chart] The last monthly update reported results of some initial simplified modelling on the impact of a hypothetical large fall in equity markets on the portfolio. Currently, the actual asset price falls look to register in between the normal 'bear market', and the more extreme 'Global Financial Crisis Mark II' scenarios modelled. Absent, at least for the immediate phase, is a significant diversification offset - outside of a small (4 per cent) increase in the value of gold. The continued sharp equity market losses have left the portfolio below its target Australian equity weighting, so contributions this month have been made to Vanguard's Australian shares ETF (VAS). This coming month will see quarterly distributions paid for the A200, VGS and VAS exchange traded funds - totalling around $2700 - meaning a further small opportunity to reinvest following sizeable market falls. Reviewing the evidence on the history of stock market falls Vladimir Lenin once remarked that there are decades where nothing happen, and then there are weeks in which decades happen. This month has been four such weeks in a row, from initial market responses to the coronavirus pandemic, to unprecedented fiscal and monetary policy responses aimed at lessening the impact. Given this, it would be foolish to rule out the potential for other extreme steps that governments have undertaken on multiple occasions before. These could include underwriting of banks and other debt liabilities, effective nationalisation or rescues of critical industries or providers, or even temporary closure of some financial or equity markets. There is a strong appeal for comforting narratives in this highly fluid investment environment, including concepts such as buying while distress selling appears to be occurring, or delaying investing until issues become 'more clear'. Nobody can guarantee that investments made now will not be made into cruel short-lived bear market rallies, and no formulas exist that will safely and certainly minimise either further losses, or opportunities forgone. Much financial independence focused advice in the early stages of recent market falls focused on investment commonplaces, with a strong flavour of enthusiasm at the potential for 'buying the dip'. Yet such commonly repeated truths turn out to be imperfect and conditional in practice. One of the most influential studies of a large sample of historical market falls turns out to provide mixed evidence that buying following a fall reliably pays off. This study (pdf) examines 101 stock market declines across four centuries of data, and finds that:
Large falls can lead to strong rebounds - After large falls of up to 50 per cent, the probability of a large rebound is higher.
Future returns after large market falls are generally positive - Returns following such a severe crash are systematically higher than otherwise.
Smaller market falls, however, may accurately signal poor future returns - Smaller declines (10-20 per cent) are more likely to be followed by further declines, although the strength of the relationship is weaker and less consistent.
Even these findings should be viewed as simply indicative. Each crisis and economic phase has its unique character, usually only discernible in retrospect. History, in these cases, should inform around the potential outlines of events that can be considered possible. As the saying goes, risk is what remains after you believe you have thought of everything. Position fixing - alternative perspectives of progress In challenging times it can help to keep a steady view of progress from a range of perspectives. Extreme market volatility and large falls can be disquieting for both recent investors and those closer to the end of the journey. One perspective on what has occurred is that the portfolio has effectively been pushed backwards in time. That is, the portfolio now sits at levels it last occupied in April 2019. Even this perspective has some benefit, highlighting that by this metric all that has been lost is the strong forward progress made in a relatively short time. Yet each perspective can hide and distort key underlying truths. As an example, while the overall portfolio is currently valued at around the same dollar value as a year ago, it is not the same portfolio. Through new purchases and reinvestments in this period, many more actual securities (mostly units in ETFs) have been purchased. The chart below sets out the growth in total units held from January 2019 to this month, across the three major exchange trade funds holdings in the portfolio. [Chart] From this it can be seen that the number of securities held - effectively, individual claims on the future earnings of the firms in these indexes - has more than doubled over the past fifteen months. Through this perspective, the accumulation of valuable assets shows a far more constant path. Though this can help illuminate progress, as a measure it also has limitations. The realities of falls in market values cannot be elided by such devices, and some proportion of those market falls represent initial reassessments of the likely course of future earnings, and therefore the fundamental value of each of those ETF units. With significant uncertainty over the course of global lock-downs, trade and growth, the basis of these reassessments may provide accurate, or not. For anyone to discount all of these reassessments as wholly the temporary result of irrational panic is to show a remarkable confidence in one's own analytical capacities. Similarly, it would be equally wrong to extrapolate from market falls to a permanent constraining of the impulse of humanity to innovate, adjust to changed conditions, seek out opportunities and serve others for profit. Lines of position - Trends in expenditure A further longer-term perspective regularly reviewed is monthly expenses compared to average distributions. Monthly expenditure continues to be below average, and is likely to fall further next month as a natural result of a virus-induced reduction of shopping trips, events and outings. [Chart] As occurred last month, as a function some previous high distributions gradually falling outside of the data 'window' for the rolling three-year comparison of distributions and expenditure, a downward slope in distributions continues. Progress Progress against the objective, and the additional measures I have reached is set out below. Measure Portfolio All Assets Portfolio objective – $2 180 000 (or $87 000 pa) 71.9% 97.7% Credit card purchases – $71 000 pa 87.7% 119.2% Total expenses – $89 000 pa 70.2% 95.5% Summary This month has been one of the most surprising and volatile of the entire journey, with significant daily movements in portfolio value and historic market developments. There has been more to watch and observe than at any time in living memory. The dominant sensation has been that of travelling backwards through time, and revisiting a stage of the journey already passed. The progress of the last few months has actually been so rapid, that this backwards travel has felt less like a set back, but rather more like a temporary revisitation of days past. It is unclear how temporary a revisitation current conditions will enforce, or exactly how this will affect the rest of the journey. In early January I estimated that if equity market fell by 33 per cent through early 2020 with no offsetting gains in other portfolio elements, this could push out the achievement of the target to January 2023. Even so, experiencing these markets and with more volatility likely, I don't feel there is much value in seeking to rapidly recalculate the path from here, or immediately alter the targeted timeframe. Moving past the portfolio target from here in around a year looks almost impossibly challenging, but time exists to allow this fact to settle. Too many other, more important, human and historical events are still playing out. In such times, taking diverse perspectives on the same facts is important. This Next Life recently produced this interesting meditation on the future of FIRE during this phase of economic hardship. In addition, the Animal Spirits podcast also provided a thoughtful perspective on current market falls compared to 2008, as does this article by Early Retirement Now. Such analysis, and each passing day, highlights that the murmurs of the sea are louder than ever before, reminding us of the precariousness of all things. The post, links and full charts can be seen here.
White Paper, Miner, Pizza … | "Old Objects" in the Cryptocurrency Museum
https://preview.redd.it/giu1ssilga151.jpg?width=900&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=41510785ccdc0d99544ec74229f62427d1c0ce3e Museum has played the role of a time recorder. Talking about bitcoin, more than ten years has passed since the creation of it. Although it is uncomparable to the stock market with a hundred years of history, during the ten years, in the different stages of the development of bitcoin and blockchain have continuously poured in geeks, miners, speculators, newbies, leaving keywords such as sudden rich, myth, scam, belief, revolution, etc. There are also many “old objects” with stories in the “Museum” of the cryptocurrency realm. On Museum Day, let ’s review the stories brought by these “old objects”. The First Digital Currency White Paper — Bitcoin White Paper On Oct. 31, 2008, Satoshi Nakamoto released the Bitcoin white paper — A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System in the cryptographic mail group where he belongs, and Bitcoin was born since then. A white paper is a document that explains the purpose and technology used in cryptocurrency. Usually a cryptocurrency uses the white paper to help people understand what it provides, and it is also an important information channel for investors to understand a project. Therefore, the level of the white paper affects people’s confidence towards the coin. In a word, in the cryptocurrency and blockchain industry, the value of a white paper is equivalent to that of a standard financing speech. The white paper plays a vital role in this emerging market. The First Public Bitcoin-Physical Transaction — Pizza Since Satoshi Nakamoto mined the Bitcoin genesis block on January 3, 2009, Bitcoin has only been spread among the small crowd and has not realized its value. Not until May 22, 2010, Bitcoin enthusiast “Laszlo Hanyecz” bought a pizza coupon worth $25 with 10,000 bitcoins. This is the first public bitcoin-physical transaction. Bitcoin has its price with 0.3 cents per bitcoin. This day has also become the famous “Bitcoin Pizza Day” in Bitcoin history. Bitcoin as the imagination of the financial system has more practical significance. The tenth anniversary is coming. How will you commemorate it? Will you buy a pizza? The First Digital Asset Exchange — Bitcoinmarket.com After the birth of Bitcoin, in addition to mining, the only way to get Bitcoin in the early days was to conduct transactions on forums or IRC (commonly known as Internet Relay Chat). However, this method involves both long transaction time and great security risk. In March 2010, the first digital asset exchange — Bitcoinmarket.com launched. However, due to lack of liquidity and transaction depth, it disappeared soon after its establishment, but Bitcoinmarket.com opened the era of the operation of the cryptocurrency realm exchange 1.0. On June 9, 2011, China’s first Bitcoin exchange — Bitcoin China (BTCChina) launched. Its founder, Yang Linke, translated Bitcoin into Chinese “比特币” for the first time. In 2013, China’s bitcoin trading entered the golden age, and exchanges sprung up. China monopolized more than 90% of the world’s bitcoin transactions. Now, if the top three exchanges Binance, Huobi Global, OKEx are the Exchange 2.0, then the index exchange represented by 58COIN called the 3.0 version, leading the trend. The First Generation of High-Performance Miner — ASIC Miner When Satoshi Nakamoto created Bitcoin, the only way to get it is to use computers (including home computers) to mine, mainly relying on the CPU to calculate. However, as the value of digital currencies such as Bitcoin has become higher and higher, mining has become an industry with the competition is getting fiercer, accompanied by increasing difficulty of mining. Therefore, hardware performance competition starts. In July 2012, the genius Jiang Xinyu (Internet nickname is “Friedcat”) from the junior class of the University of Science and Technology declared at the forum that he could make ASIC miners (chips). As far as mining computing power is concerned, ASICs can be tens of thousands or more higher than the same-generation CPUs and GPUs. At the beginning of 2013, Zhang Nanqian (Pumpkin Zhang), a suspended doctoral student from the Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, developed the ASIC miner and named it “Avalon”. In June 2013, the Friedcat’s miner USB was finally released, and it maintained 20% of the computing power of the entire network. At the end of 2013, Wu Jihan, used the tens of millions yuan earned from Friedcat through investment, worked together with Jenke group, to develop the Antminer S1. Since then, the miner manufacturer Bitmain began to enter the stage of history. It is no exaggeration to say that Friedcat and Zhang Nangeng have opened the domestic “mining” era. The Birthplace of China’s Bitcoin — Garage Coffee It is not only the “old objects” that record history, but also a place that everyone in the cryptocurrency realm aspires to. Guo Hongcai once said, “Without no The Garage Café, there will be no cryptocurrency realm today. Since it is a very mysterious place that all waves of people from the café joint together to create today’s digital asset industry. ▲ In March 2013, American student Jake Smith successfully purchased a cup of coffee at The Garage Café with 0.131 bitcoins. This move attracted the attention of CCTV, and it conducted an interview. Indeed, The Garage Café is the world ’s first entrepreneurial-themed coffee shop. It has been legendary since its establishment in 2011. The Garage Cafét is not only the core coordinate on China’s Bitcoin map, but also the birthplace of the Chinese cryptocurrency circle, where digital asset realm tycoons including Guo Hongcai, Zhao Dong, Li Xiaolai, Li Lin have made their ways. The development of digital currency is only 11 years old. Through these “old objects”, we review the various stories of this wave of technology together, hoping to help you understand the development process of the digital currency field. Meanwhile, I also remind all practitioners to use history as a mirror and forge ahead. Website: https://www.58ex.com/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/58_coin Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/coin.58COIN Telegram: https://t.me/official58 Medium: https://medium.com/@58coin_blog/
We Just Hit $500k NW! 25 & 26 Years Old. $156k DINK Income. Here's Our Story.
Hi guys. I've been a subscriber and lurker here for over 5 years and one of my favorite things to read are the "how you got to where you are" stories. I made this post once I hit $300k, but my new wife and I just hit the $500k milestone together and we thought it would be worthwhile to share our story. We hate lack of transparency and ambiguity, so we'll be as open and honest as possible. We tried to include everything that we would want to know as if we were reading someone else's post. Feel free to ask us any questions. There is a TLDR at the bottom of this post. You probably want to read that first to see if you're interested before investing your time in conquering this wall of text. Also, you can skip the wall of text below about our childhood/college/relationship stuff if you're just interested in the "numbers". I just wanted to include this background to provide context.
Age: I'm 26 and discovered FIRE via Mr. Money Mustache in 2012 at the age of 19. It blew my mind and instantly resonated with me. My wife is 25 and she found FIRE through me. We've been dating since we were 17. When I first discovered FIRE she didn't really buy into the idea until a couple years later when she started her first corporate internship and had her "Office Space" existential crisis. So she became a true believer around age 21.
Childhood: I come from a rural, solidly middle-class background. I owe all my success with my academics, career, and finances to my parents. My dad is a mechanic and my mom is a nurse. Both are very frugal and they passed that down to me. They are natural savers and maxed out their 401(k)s and IRAs every year on their modest incomes. They also pushed upon me the value of education. They had high academic expectations for me and I was always at the top of the class because of it. My wife comes from a lower-middle class background. Her parents immigrated from Mexico right before she was born and they run the local Mexican restaurant in our childhood hometown. Due to their business, they've always worked very long hours and had highly variable income over the years depending on how the restaurant was doing. They definitely aren't natural savers and have almost nothing saved for retirement. They work extremely hard, but believe the American Dream means spending your hard-earned money on nice things (cars and such). They also didn't push the value of education as hard as my parents did, but my wife didn't need it because she was way more self-driven than I ever was. They are great parents, but we don't always see eye-to-eye when it comes to our outlooks on life. Nonetheless, they are good people and raised my wife to be an amazing person.
College Years: We both graduated in the top 2% of our high school class and had good test scores and extracurriculars. We both went to the same top public in-state university. Since we were both in-state, it was already a great value, but I received a full-ride academic scholarship from the university and my wife also received considerable scholarships and grants. My parents saved about $20k in a 529 plan for me to go to college. But since I got a full-ride, they gave me $10k as a college graduation gift and used the other $10k to pay for my sister's college. This was the only "windfall" that I've ever received (other than my scholarships). My wife's parents didn't save anything for her college, but they did help pay a couple thousand dollars of expenses in the first year. After that, my wife paid 100% of the costs on her own with no parental assistance and no student loans (funded by a couple grants/scholarships, part-time campus jobs, and an engineering co-op). I graduated in 2015 with a degree in business and my wife graduated in 2017 with a degree in industrial engineering. While in college we both worked hard academically and maintained good GPAs, but most importantly, we got fantastic work experience through internships and co-ops. This helped us gain experience, build our resumes, and get great starting jobs right our of college. It also helped us pay the bills and save a considerable amount of money while we were in college. We both graduated with no student debt and a considerable amount of money ($60k for me and $20k for her). Those numbers probably seem a little crazy, but you can read my previous post for the details of how we managed to save so much money in college. Long story short, I worked 3 jobs (dorm RA and two high-paying part-time internships) and had almost no expenses due to my full-ride scholarship. My wife worked 2 jobs (part-time on-campus job and a high-paying engineering co-op) and had very low expenses. Because we found FIRE so early, we both also managed to max out our Roth IRAs for a few years while in college.
Relationship: The most important part of each our our lives is each other. We went to high school and college together. We've been dating for 9 years and we just got married in May of this year (since this is a financial sub, I know you're wondering....we spent $9.9k on our wedding). We've lived together for 4 years and bought a small condo in the city 2 years ago. Although our incomes aren't identical, we split everything 50/50. She is dead-set on the path to FIRE now, although it took her a few years to really understand the "why". Now she is more frugal and more extreme than me!
Income: I graduated college at age 22. My first full-time job was making $55k. Now I make $86k at age 26. I'm a typical "financial analyst/project manager" for a Fortune 500 company. It's a pretty low-stress 40 hour per week job with 10-20% travel to support clients. If I had never negotiated twice for more money, I'd be at ~$68k right now instead of $86k. I'm still at the same company that I started at and not necessarily looking to change anytime soon. I really love my team, boss, work-life balance, and the work that I do. We also live less than 1 mile from my office, so I walk to work everyday. My wife graduated college at age 23. Her first full-time job was making $53k. Now she makes $70k at age 25. She is a also a typical "financial analyst/engineer" for a different Fortune 500 company. Her job is slightly higher stress and probably averages 45 hours per week with no travel. She's also still at the same company that she started at and definitely not looking to change anytime soon. She has great benefits and has a strong reputation as a rising star in the organization.
Home: We live in a MCOL city in the south. Our rent for the first two years out of college was $1,500 per month ($750 each) for a 1-bedroom apartment in the nicest area of the city (and walkable to my office). About 2 years ago we bought a 435 square-foot, 1-bedroom condo in the nicest part of the city for ~$125k. We did this as a way to maximize the efficiency of our monthly budget - not necessarily as a long-term investment. We plan on living here for at least another 5 years (we want to have kids in our early 30s), then keep it as an investment property. We've been living here for 2 years and we absolutely love it. It seems too good to be true.
Food/Dining/Groceries: $200 (Shop at Aldi and Kroger, always buy generic, eat out less than once per month, cook every meal, and bring lunches to work everyday).
Car Insurance: $171 (USAA for 2 cars: 2005 Scion xB with 120k miles and 2012 Honda Civic with 90k miles).
Gas: $40 (We both have short commutes).
Vacation: $200 (Carries over if we don't use it).
Fun Money: $200 (Our catch-all category if it doesn't fit in a category above. Things like video games, concerts, home decorations, new clothes, Amazon Prime, Netflix, HBO Now, extra vacation money if we go over our $200 budget, etc.).
Debt: Our only debt is our $97k mortgage.
Net Worth: $502,934
Roth IRAs: $90,541
Taxable Investments: $106,188
Property: $47,978 ($36,300 in Home Equity + Our Vehicles).
Savings Rate: Currently our savings rate for 2019 is sitting at 81%. Since starting our full-time jobs, our savings rate has always been between above 65%. It has steadily increased as our incomes have increased.
FIRE Goal: $1.5-2.0 million. Right now our expenses are very low, but we expect them to rise in about 5 years when we have kids and move into a larger house in a good school district. We hope to hit this amount by age 35-40, but we'll just have to wait and see what happens. Right now my FIRE spreadsheet says we'll hit $1.5 million when we're 32 and $2.0 million when we're 34. With the 4% withdrawal rule this equates to $60k-80k of withdrawals per year. We currently live comfortably on less than $25k per year, so we definitely are leaving a lot of buffer.
Post-FIRE Aspirations: I've always dreamed of being a high school US History teacher and tennis coach. I'd like to at least try it once to see how I like it. Since I'm FIRE I could easily quit If I don't like it. I've also always dreamed of being some kind of not-for-profit financial adviser for the "Average Joe" American. More of a "financial coach" where I could help people everyday with the basics (budgeting, index investing, etc.). Never selling any products. Just sharing my story and trying to inspire people to make positive changes in their lives. My wife is likely to continue her corporate career for a while - even once we're comfortably FIRE. It's hard for me to understand that, but she derives a lot of worth and happiness from her career. But most of all, we want to be great parents. One of the biggest drivers of our FIRE goal is to be very close to FIRE by the time we have kids in our early-mid 30s. We just want to be a part of our child's life every step of the way and just be "there" for them. And of course we have a ton of "bucket list" items that we'd love to try out (thru-hike the Appalachian Trail, thru-hike the John Muir Trail, build a camper-van and road trip to all the National Parks again, etc.).
Our Advantages: Amazing parents who helped to put good heads on our shoulders; frugal upbringings; being born in the U-S-of-A; large college scholarships; having a life partner with whom we share each other's values and aggressive FIRE goals; the 2013-2019 bull market; supportive friends; learning about FIRE at such a young age; and many, many more things.
General Habits Worth Mentioning:
We've maxed out our 401(k)s, Roth IRAs, and HSAs every year since starting our full-time jobs, plus invested the excess in a taxable account.
We've never invested in bitcoin or anything like that, just boring old Vanguard index funds. Vanguard is showing our personal rate of return since 2013 as 11.76%, which is only slightly better than the S&P 500 during that time.
We love to travel. We go on 3-5 trips per year to National Parks, European cities, etc. that we fund via "credit card travel hacking" courtesy of churning.
Unlike a lot of people on this sub, we've introduced the idea of FIRE to most of our close friends. Our parents and siblings also know our FIRE goals, but we set clear boundaries. My family is very understanding (my parents are FIREing next year at age 54). Her family still thinks we're crazy. We're pretty open about our journey and try to help others if they are interested. Because of this, our 15-20 closest friends are all into FIRE as well. We hang out with friends 2-3 nights per week, but instead of "going out for drinks" (we don't drink alcohol anyways...) we go over to each other's homes for home-cooked dinners and board games. I say this because we have a good social network, but don't have to spend a ton to maintain it. Having a like-minded SO and like-minded friends have been two of the most important contributors to our happiness and high savings rate.
Saving this much and maintaining a 70%+ savings rate hasn't been "hard" for us. We don't have to try very hard to accomplish these goals - it's just who we are. We are natural savers. Saving EXCITES us. We don't feel like we make any sacrifices in our life to meet these goals. We buy everything that we want...we just find that we don't "want" a lot of the typical things that other people "want" (luxury cars, eating out, 5-star hotels, brand-name clothes, $30k wedding, huge home, etc.)....And the best part is that each of us found another person whose values are so closely aligned to our own.
TLDR: Two married DINKs hit $500k net worth at age 25 and 26. We both had frugal upbringings. We both got scholarships/grants to top in-state university. We both worked 2-3 jobs every week while attending college to pay for living expenses and saved the rest. I got degree in business. She got a degree in industrial engineering. We graduated with no debt and $80k saved up. I made $55k/year at my first full-time and she made $53k/year at hers. 4.5 years after graduating I currently make $86k and 2.5 years after graduating she makes $70k. Our monthly budget is $1,822/month. Our savings rate is 81%. We have been dating for 9 years, living together for 4 years, and we got married in May.
BTCS Financials: This is the Financials-site for the company BTCS on Markets Insider Real time Bitcoin Shop Inc. (BTCS) stock price quote, stock graph, news & analysis. Fiscal year is January-December. All values USD millions. 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 5-year trend; Sales/Revenue 506,190: 355,212: 4,480-- Shares of Hertz have fallen 76% in the past 12 months, compared with losses around 3.3% for the S&P 500 index. Apr. 24, 2020 at 2:51 p.m. ET by Claudia Assis Related Cryptocurrencies Quarter ending 09/30/20 Quarter ending 06/30/20 Quarter ending 03/31/20 Quarter ending 12/31/19 Quarter ending 09/30/19; Estimated: 0.002 USD-0.013 USD
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