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Saturday, 28 September 2013


7/30/2012 @ 11:17PM |163,857 views    
   You Can't Fix Stupid: The Iraqi Dinar Scam Lives
Jay Adkisson, Contributor

It is very common with financial scams for victims to simply deny that they have been scammed, as it is easier for them to simply put off the inevitable co [...]

In the words of popular comedian Ron White, “You can’t fix stupid.” That phrase, as elegant in its simplicity as it is frankly true, applies with special fervor to those who continue to believe that they are about to make millions, billions, or even trillions by investing in Iraqi dinars.
Yes, I know this has been written about before. Fellow Forbes’ contributor John Wasik wrote about this scam last January at http://www.forbes.com/sites/johnwasik/2012/01/19/the-curse-of-saddam-iraqi-dinar-deals/ And even various law enforcement agencies are publicly warning about this scam, such as that of the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions at http://www.dfi.wa.gov/consumers/alerts/iraqi-dinar-scams.htm
Yet this scam continues to persist, and hardly a week goes by that some sucker or another doesn’t call my office to inquire about asset protection planning for the untold riches that he or she is about to receive when the Dinar finally re-valuates by 100 times or more.
Of course, they can’t pay my legal fees now for such planning because every last cent is invested in the Dinars. But they can pay me when they finally reap their great reward.
Which is never.
Scams involving the arbitrage of foreign currencies have been around as long as there have been, well, foreign currencies. In the modern age, many pyramid schemes have been disguised as sophisticated “FOREX trading programs” — but in fact, the scammers weren’t doing any trading at all, but simply paying old investors with the money from new investors. Charles Ponzi, the modern Father of such schemes, would be proud.
In fact, FOREX scams became so widespread in the 1990s — playing on the speculation regarding the then-new Euro — that the U.S. Commodities Futures Trading Commission was compelled to put out a great deal of warnings about these scams. This collection is now found at http://www.cftc.gov/ConsumerProtection/FraudAwarenessPrevention/CFTCFraudAdvisories/fraudadv_forex and applies with equal weight to the Dinar scam.
There exists an entire army of FOREX scammers who spend their entire days looking for suckers, which unfortunately include the most vulnerable in our society such as the elderly. For those folks in or nearing retirement whose ordinary investments didn’t quite get them where they needed to be, these scam artists are ready, willing and able to divest them of their remaining wealth with promises of high “risk free” returns trading in FOREX. But that money is just disappearing to banks in Belize or elsewhere.
The FOREX scams didn’t involve any actual purchases of foreign currency, but simply scam artists running utterly bogus “statements” off their printers that showed huge returns, right up until the time that the scammers disappeared. Some of the Dinar scams operate the same way: You don’t actually get any Dinars, but instead just a statement showing that you have Dinars or some sort of phony-baloney “Certificate” of ownership.
But — and this is why the Dinar scam has been largely successful — with the Dinar scam you can actually get the cold hard Dinars if you want them. Yep, suckers around America have their closets and garages full of bales of Dinars, just waiting for that glorious day when they will re-valuate.
Which is never.
To help sell the scam, the scam artists have set up all sorts of websites and bulletin boards and newsletter and social media and you-name-it to try to create the impression that the Dinars are valuable and are about to re-valuate at any moment. I’ve had people tell me that their Dinars are going to re-valuate “within the week” or “by the end of the month”, and they’ve been telling me for years.
All of this reminds me of the “Magic Bean Scheme” which was a pyramid scheme run in my native Oklahoma by some creative scammers. The idea was that you could buy from the scammers a certain type of expensive bean that when left in a jar of water for a couple of weeks would produce valuable “bean juice” that could then be re-sold for a large profit. The key was, according to the scammers, you had to shake the jars every few hours to get the desired result.
Of course, the scammers threw some of their own money in to get the scam started. The first few people made some good money selling their bean juice, and of course they told their friends and family about this new sure-fire way to make a fortune. Soon enough many folks in Oklahoma were brewing “bean juice” in their garages, going out every couple of hours to shake the jars so that the bean juice would form faster. “Honey, it’s 4:00 a.m., and you turn to shake the jars.”
Then, one day after selling enough of the expensive beans, the scammers vamoosed and there were a lot of folks in Oklahoma with closets and garages full of jars of worthless beans and juice in them — turned out the beans were just ordinary navy beans. My guess is that there are still people out there who have never given up on the beans, still turning them, and still expecting that bean juice to result in untold riches.
Ditto for the Dinars, the bales of which some suckers having in their closets and garages, taking up space and waiting for the day when they finally re-valuate.
Which is never.
Unfortunately, a bad thing about human nature is that once folks believe in a story, they refuse to believe they have been scammed. Often they are embarrassed, and figure that to admit they were wrong is worse than simply keeping their useless whatevers in the closet or out in the garage. But others are really, truly convinced that their initial investment was a good one, and no amount of proof or logic can dissuade them.
Even after Charles Ponzi died, some of his followers bought OUIJA boards and tried to channel his dead soul to find out when their utterly worthless investments would become valuable as he promised. Time and time again, I’ve watched as the victims of pyramid schemes continue to believe that they are about to get rich even as the perpetrators went to jail.
For me, after telling these folks they’ve been scammed and hearing their denials, I’ve been betting these folks who call me up to $5,000 in free legal work if the Dinar re-valuates in 30 days, against a gift certificate from a steakhouse. Suffice it to say that I’m going to be in good beef for some time. Which brings me back to Ron White, who is absolutely right: “You can’t fix stupid.“
And that goes for the Dinars, and the idea that they will soon re-valuate, thus leading current investors to great riches.
Which is never.
So, why is this a scam? It is a scam because the Dinar has no chance or significant appreciation, i.e., appreciation that would make buying Dinars worthwhile. First, there is the political uncertainty — who would invest in the currency of a government that is still fighting a significant insurgency and might not be around the next year, any year? Second, and much more importantly, there are so many Dinars floating around that even if Iraq discovered the world’s largest gold mine tomorrow, the value of the Dinar would not significantly appreciate.
The scam artists say, “But look at Kuwait!” After the first Gulf War, the Kuwaiti Dinar did show significant appreciation. But that is an Apples and Orangutans comparison.
First, Kuwait is significantly richer than Iraq with significantly larger oil reserves — it is forgotten that the Iraq invaded Kuwait to get the latter’s oil reserves, not because Iraq had enough of its own.
Second, the Kuwaiti population is much smaller — 3 million compared to the 33 million living in Iraq. This means that Iraq has to take care of ten times as many people as Kuwait, as well as attempt to rebuild an infrastructure racked by a decade of civil war, with less money than Kuwait.
Third, and even more telling, the Iraq government even now has to borrow about $100 million per year to provide basic services. No country which is borrowing money is going to have an “imminent revaluation” (the term often used by the scam artists to sell Dinars) anytime soon!
Fourth, Kuwait had a stable government before the War that simply fled Kuwait until order was restored, and then returned to be a stable government. By contrast, Iraq’s government is new and whether it survives is anybody’s guess.
The point is that there is absolutely no reason to believe that the Iraqi Dinar will significantly appreciate in the long term, and it utterly insane to believe that the Iraqi Dinar will significantly appreciate in the short term, i.e., within 10 years.
And there is the scam: The scam artists sell Iraqi Dinars to suckers based on the false story that the Iraqi Dinars are about to become very valuable, when they are not. You might as well buy bags of sand, because they are going to appreciate more quickly than the Iraqi Dinar. Or just go down to the bank and buy rolls of pennies and hide them in the attic. Someday the U.S. government will get rid of pennies, and then the pennies will become rare and valuable — in about two hundred years. That is about how quickly the Iraqi Dinar is going to appreciate too.
Which is never.
This article can be shortlinked from http://onforb.es/R1Tbec
Update 30 August 2012
After this article was published, I had numerous e-mails to the effect that I didn’t know what the hell I was talking about, and that the Iraqi Dinar would absolutely, positively re-valuate within a few days and the buyers thereof would become fabulously wealthy. Well, here we are 30 days later, and . . . the . . . Dinar . . . hasn’t . . . gone . . . anywhere.
If you think the Iraqi Dinar will make you rich, you must be listening to Baghdad Bob!
The only thing that did happen of interest is that Justin Rohrlich wrote this article: http://www.minyanville.com/business-news/editors-pick/articles/iraqi-dinar-scam-currency-investment-tampadinar/8/30/2012/id/43627
I’ll update again in another 30 days, and for those of you who are still wondering, I don’t suggest the Dinar will substantially revaluate by that time either.
Update September 30, 2012
Well, surprise, surprise, surprise, the Iraqi Dinar did not re-valuate upwards in September, but we did see some interesting news on the Dinar front.
Such as this article, “Prosecutor: Fake Iraq Veteran Sold Fake Hedge Funds” at http://www.finalternatives.com/node/21635
Or this article, “2 Who Bought Iraqi Currency Bring Suit Against Indicted Sellers, Firm” at http://www.toledoblade.com/local/2012/09/22/2-who-bought-Iraqi-currency-file-suit-against-indicted-sellers-firms.html
I’ll update again in 30 days — during which time the Iraqi Dinar will not have revaluated then either. But there will still be lots of suckers in denial at having been scammed sitting around thinking they are gazillionaires.
Update October 31, 2012
Nothing new to report. The Iraqi Dinar is as far from an upwards re-valuation as ever — you might as well wish for Jack’s Magic Beanstock to take the Dinar upwards. But, lots of seriously deluded folks still continue to believe they are going to get enormously rich off the bales of Dinar’s socked away in their attics and garages through America. My guess is that pretty quick you’ll be able to buy as many Dinars as you want at garage sales.
Update January 31, 2013
Well, I must apologize to everybody for not updating at the end of November and December, 2012, but I got very busy with clients’ year-end planning . . . and frankly nothing was going on with the Iraqi Dinar anyway. So let me take this opportunity to update you on what has been happening with the Iraqi Dinar through January 31, 2013, which is: Nothing, Absolutely Nothing.
I have noticed, however, that sellers of Iraqi Dinar are starting to offer “free gifts” to suckers who buy that currency from them, sort of like “Buy 1 Trillion Iraqi Dinar And Get A Free Pinata” or somesuch (the Vietnamese Dong, a currency of sorts, seems to be a popular give-a-way with purchases of Iraqi Dinar).
This expose of the Dinar Scam is pretty good too – http://www.learningmarkets.com/the-iraqi-dinar-scam/
Update March 29, 2013
And so we come to the end of another month, and find the Iraqi Dinar to be . . . falling in value. Now it’s down to 1,260 Dinars to the U.S. Dollar, but hope spring eternal (in the minds of suckers). Some say that Iran is behind the devaluation, see http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/03/iran-iraq-currency-devaluation.html but really who cares? Not only is the Iraqi Dinar headed in the wrong direction, but it is clear that there is not going to be anything like a huge re-valuation of the Dinar against the Dollar anytime soon. Probably most suckers have gone off to being scammed by some other currency by now anyway.
This investor in Jacksonville had his Dinar stolen – http://jacksonville.com/news/crime/2013-03-29/story/millions-iraqi-dinar-stolen-atlantic-beach-home-police-said  Well, that’s another $7 million in Dinars about to hit the U.S. market, further driving down the Dinar’s value. Enjoy.
Another good article about the Iraqi Dinar scam was published recently at http://fayobserver.com/articles/2013/03/19/1243823?sac=fo.business
I’ll check back again at the end of next month when the Dinar still hasn’t revalued against the dollar, or even recovered its recent losses — but there will still be folks with bales of Dinars in their garage and believing that they are on the cusp of making a gazillion dollars, that’s the way scams go.
Update April 27, 2013
Here is an excellent explanation of the Iraqi Dinar Scam on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7RThOACzuVw
Then, to get an idea of the mindset of the victims of the Iraqi Dinar Scam, watch the three YouTube videos of this poor guy who thinks the Iraqi Dinar is about to finally pay off: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VEJVPm_NN_o and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tb0oAP59KCc and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7bmJeaeCKsY
Then there is this slideshow presentation where a victim of the Iraqi Dinar Scam claims that it is a worldwide conspiracy – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQoCw21CLSM Sorry, buddy, it’s not a massive conspiracy; it’s just a scam. But then victims of financial scams never like to admit that they have been taken, so they believe “the deal was real” all the way to their graves, much to the delight of the scam artists.
Update May 31, 2013
Another month, and another month where the Dinar did not massively appreciate but more suckers bought into the scam thinking that it would. But we are starting to approach the one-year anniversary of the date that I wrote this article, after which I received numerous e-mails from folks telling me to basically, “Just wait, you’ll see! Within a few weeks I’ll be stinking rich and you’ll just be a sad commentator for Forbes.” Well, at least they got the stinking part right, and so now own to the monthly update:
(1) As mentioned, the Dinar did not massively appreciate.
(2) There are no signs that the Dinar will ever massively appreciate.
(3) I did see that I had missed this article on the Dinar by John Wasik – http://www.forbes.com/sites/johnwasik/2012/02/24/dinar-doubts-multiply/ John is more diplomatic that I am; he can call folks “stupid” without using that word. As for myself, I have no patience for people who can’t figure out that they were suckers.
(4) Self-Annointed “Dinar Guru” Blanche Bonet put out this “amazingly” list of Iraqi Dinar “experts” who predicted that the Dinar was about to soar in value – http://www.dinarguru.com/  Trouble is, they were all wrong. The list does pretty much prove, however, that the “Iraqi Dinar community” is just a bunch of suckers trying to convince each other that they made good investments. As just mentioned, the trouble is that they are all just wrong.
(5) This video posted on YouTube discussed predictions that the Iraqi Dinar was about to appreciate upwards on May 11, 2013 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iunTQLI432w  Those predictions were wrong.
(6) Meanwhile, back to the real world, news came out that the Iraqi government is struggling mightily to try to keep the Dinar from DEvaluation, i.e., going down in value – http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/05/baghdad-hault-dinar-collapse.html In the words of Homer Simpson, “D’oh!”
(8) And finally, a new book has been released, “The Iraqi Dinar Scam: Why Buying The Dinar Is For Dummies” by John Jagerson  at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007Z9DFN8
Talk to you again on June 30, when the Iraqi dinar still will not have revalued upwards (but maybe has gone down, again).
Update 30 June 2013
Of course, nothing more has since happened with the Iraqi Dinar, other than more utterly baseless speculation that something might happen soon. 
But to pop that balloon, Joseph Cafariello wrote this excellent article, ” The Future of the Iraqi Dinar: Three Misconceptions” at http://www.wealthdaily.com/articles/the-future-of-the-iraqi-dinar/4424
Lake Worth, Florida, attorney Timothy McCabe, a sucker who apparently bought into the Iraqi Dinar Scam himself, disappeared for a couple of weeks before finally turning himself in, and then was sued — see story at http://therealdeal.com/miami/blog/2013/06/26/lake-worth-attorney-mccabe-sued-for-sham-iraqi-dinar-deal/
I’ll check back in next month, when of course the Iraqi Dinar will not have RV’d, again. Suckers!
Update 31 July 2013
Welcome to the one (1) year anniversary of my article on Iraqi Dinars, where I predicted that — despite about 200 billion e-mails speculating that the Iraqi dinar was about to re-value (RV) tomorrow, next Monday, or next week — the Iraqi Dinar would not RV or anything close to it. I told you so ~ there I said it, even though it was a pretty easy prediction.
Now on to this month’s news regarding the Dinar:
(1) It didn’t RV.
(2) There were a bunch of rumors that it was about to RV, but,
(3) It didn’t RV.
(4) The government of Iraq is apparently re-denominating its currency (which is very different from re-valuing it), by simply lopping off 3 zeros at the end. So, if you now own 1,000 Iraqi Dinars, you will thereafter only own one. While some thing that this will cause a re-valuation, most experts have debunked such suggestions, such as http://www.wealthdaily.com/articles/iraqi-dinar-reset/4511
(5) John Wasik wrote this thoughtful article about the Dinar at http://www.forbes.com/sites/johnwasik/2013/07/31/dinar-like-dreams-can-be-nightmarish/ and how pretty much the same suckers (my term, not his) are now falling for Bitcoins. Research the history of cyber-currencies: It isn’t good.
(6) The Wall Street Daily (not to be confused with the Journal) weighed in on Dinars with this article — http://www.wallstreetdaily.com/2013/07/30/egyptian-pound-currency-scams/
See you again next month, when the Iraqi Dinar still will not have RV’d despite another 173 million e-mails between investors saying that is is just about to do so.
Update 31 August 2013
Well, here we are again folks! Another months with hundreds, if not thousands, of rumors of imminent re-valuation of the Iraqi Dinar against the U.S. Dollar . . . and it not happening . . . or even getting close to happening . . . or my OUIJA board even moving close to the letters “R” or “V”. Hey, if you put your Iraqi Dinars into jelly jars and turn them twice a day, maybe that will do the trick. And now on to this month’s update about the Iraqi Dinar:
(1) It didn’t RV.
(2) There were a bunch of rumors that the Iraqi Dinar had RV’d, or was in the process of RVing, or was oh-so-close to RV.
(3) But it didn’t RV, again.
(4) The President of the Better Business Bureau of Chattanooga threw this cold water on the Iraqi Dinar scam- http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2013/aug/23/biz-bulletin-what-watch-foreign-currency-investmen/
And that is pretty much it — a painfully non-newsworthy month for the Iraqi Dinar actually. What if a country had a currency and nobody cared, except for the folks stashing bales of the stuff in their attic in anticipation of glorious future riches? I’ll update again next month, when again nothing will have happened. Cheers.