Get-rich-quick scheme

Get-rich-quick scheme

A get-rich-quick scheme is a plan to acquire high rates of return for a small investment. The term "get rich quick" has been used to describe shady investments since at least the early 1900s.[1][2]

Most such schemes promise that participants can obtain this high rate of return with little risk, and with little skill, effort, or time. Get rich quick schemes often assert that wealth can be obtained by working at home. Legal and quasi-legal get-rich-quick schemes are frequently advertised on infomercials and in magazines and newspapers. Illegal schemes or scams are often advertised through spam or cold calling. Some forms of advertising for these schemes market books or compact discs about getting rich quick rather than asking participants to invest directly in a concrete scheme.

It is clearly possible to get rich quickly if one is prepared to accept very high levels of risk — this is the premise of the gambling industry. However, gambling offers the near-certainty of completely losing the original stake over the long term, even if it offers regular wins along the way. Economic theory states that risk-free opportunities for profit are not stable, because they will quickly be exploited by arbitrageurs.


Illegal get-rich-quick schemes

  • When there is no pretense at selling a product, many get-rich-quick schemes qualify as pyramid schemes or matrix schemes, which are illegal in many jurisdictions.
  • Ponzi schemes, which are similar to pyramid schemes and offer exorbitant returns on investment, are also similarly illegal in many jurisdictions.
  • Advance fee fraud.

Online get-rich-quick schemes

Get-rich-quick schemes that operate completely on the Internet typically promote “secret formulas” to affiliate marketing and affiliate advertising.[3]

The scheme will usually claim that it requires no special IT or marketing skills and will provide an unrealistic timeframe in which the consumer could make hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars.

Schemes of this nature usually have catchy titles and images associated with wealth and luxury to encourage potential victims into paying signing up fees which can range from several dollars to thousands of dollars. The get-rich-quick scheme will heavily imply that the consumer will be able to earn much more than this small investment when they apply the special, secret techniques revealed in their training material they will send. Such training material is typically in the form of e-books or training CDs.

These schemes rarely work since the material sent to victims is frequently just basic or intermediate marketing material that is neither secret nor a guarantee to making a lot of money online.

Get-rich-schemes of this nature habitually share the same warning indicators that include, but are not limited to:

  • They will imply that anyone signing up will become rich within months to a year.
  • They will tell potential victims that the route to success is by following “secret formulas” that no one else knows about.
  • They will often claim they have been seen on various websites such as Google and YouTube, causing the viewer to assume said websites endorse the product.
  • They will use pressuring tactics to get you to sign up quickly, such as claiming that there are only a certain amount of copies of a CD left, or using special discount prices that are only available for a short amount of time.
  • Schemes such as this will often employ the tactic of displaying testimonials from “previous users.”
  • When trying to navigate away from their website, users are often presented with popup windows offering further discounts, in an attempt to make the user feel special.

Another indicator is the way the schemes are advertised. Many schemes will post so-called “success stories” on post-your-own-article websites.

Schemes like this will also be advertised through serial promoters. Serial promoters are individuals who are not directly affiliated with a given scheme, but will promote from one to the next almost everyday. In return the owner of the scheme may do the same for them, or if the get-rich-scheme is a Ponzi scheme, the serial promoters will be invited to join early in order for them to make money from new recruits.

Although Affiliate marketing is a genuine method of income , Get rich schemes make outrageous claims in order to lure people in.

An example of such products include the infamous Google scams, where the scheme will imply that viewers can make an income from home using affiliate advertising with Google, or simply posting links. These schemes have various titles and will trick the user into thinking they are endorsed or affiliated with Google Inc. through improper use of trademarks and logos.

Other popular online get-rich-quick schemes can include survey taking, whereby a user would complete surveys of varying subjects and get paid for the time. Get-rich-quick schemes take advantage of this and often promise that users can make a good income from doing this, which is not the case. Individuals who partake in survey taking can expect small profits that can supplement another full time income.

A different tack is taken by online "Clairvoyants" who offer to untangle psychic or ethereal blocks to wealth, for a one off or ongoing fee. Each has a different pitch but buying lucky talismans, obtaining lucky numbers for lotteries, or performing wealth attracting rituals often feature. Several such "Mystics" under different aliases operate from Rambouillet near Paris.

The legality of such schemes is often a matter of extreme controversy. This online get-rich-quick scheme can’t be described as illegal outright scams since the majority do send an end product to the user, but they do employ severely misleading sales tactics in order to get victims to sign up. Users should always be aware when signing up for schemes online that promise to show the route to financial freedom, especially if there is an initial investment to be made.

See also


  1. ^ 'Get Rich Quick' Insurance from the Inside", The World's work, Volume 22, (1911)
  2. ^ S.A. Nelson "The Blockite and the Get-Rich-Quick Man", Everybody's Magazine, vol 10, 1904.
  3. ^ " Get Rich Quick - The Real Deal?". Retrieved 2009-10-13. 

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • get-rich-quick — adj. Get rich quick is used with these nouns: ↑scheme …   Collocations dictionary

  • get-rich-quick — /gɛt ˌrɪtʃ ˈkwɪk/ (say get .rich kwik) adjective of or relating to a scheme, business, enterprise, etc., designed to make a lot of money in a short time, sometimes by shady means …   Australian English dictionary

  • Scheme — may refer to:* Scheme (programming language), a minimalist, multi paradigm dialect of Lisp * Scheme (mathematics), an important concept in algebraic geometry * Scheme (linguistics), a figure of speech that changes a sentence s structureystematic… …   Wikipedia

  • scheme — scheme1 W1 [ski:m] n [Date: 1500 1600; : Latin; Origin: schema arrangement, figure , from Greek, from echein to have, hold, be in a condition ] 1.) BrE an official plan that is intended to help people in some way, for example by providing… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • scheme — I n. 1) to concoct, cook up, devise, think up a scheme 2) to foil, thwart a scheme 3) a diabolical; fantastic; get rich quick; grandiose; nefarious; preposterous, wild eyed scheme 4) a scheme to + inf. (she concocted a scheme to get publicity) 5) …   Combinatory dictionary

  • scheme — noun 1 plan for getting an advantage, etc. for yourself ADJECTIVE ▪ crazy, hare brained ▪ She s come up with a hare brained scheme for getting her novel published. ▪ elaborate ▪ get rich quick …   Collocations dictionary

  • scheme — 01. The company that I work at has a [scheme] to increase its sales without increasing its costs. 02. Oliver is always [scheming] to get the most money for the least amount of work possible. 03. I don t think the government s [scheme] to reduce… …   Grammatical examples in English

  • Pyramid scheme — The unsustainable exponential progression of a classic pyramid scheme A pyramid scheme is a non sustainable business model that involves promising participants payment or services, primarily for enrolling other people into the scheme, rather than …   Wikipedia

  • Work-at-home scheme — A Work at Home scheme is a get rich quick scheme in which a victim is lured by an offer to be employed at home, very often doing some simple task in a minimal amount of time with a large amount of income that far exceeds the market rate for the… …   Wikipedia

  • Ponzi scheme — A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investment operation that involves promising or paying abnormally high returns ( profits ) to investors out of the money paid in by subsequent investors, rather than from net revenues generated by any real business …   Wikipedia

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