“Novice Crew to Rob Banks Legally” Mac X. Forex

by Travis Johnson, Stock Gumshoe | April 16, 2008 11:08 am

I don’t generally write much about teaser ad campaigns like this one, campaigns which don’t particularly tease a stock or even a single strategy. But so many people have written to me about this one, and it is so massively widely circulated, that I thought I’d share a few comments … if only to save you the effort of emailing me.

This is the ad that says that this special trader is “looking for novice crew to rob banks … legally” — and it is, of course, a very compelling ad that tells you how to access the “Hidden Money Mountain.” From looking around a bit on the various copywriter websites and forums, and reviewing the sales pitches by the folks who wrote this campaign, I can tell you that this is probably one of the most successful single ad campaigns of last year … it even won an internal prize from Agora for great performance, apparently.

Now, that’s not to say it’s bad — but just to share with you that it’s not new, nor secret, nor is it going out to a limited number of people. If he were really looking for a few folks for a “novice crew” he would have found them months ago. I’m not sure exactly how long this one has been around, but I think it’s been at least a year or so now.

Some of the questions about what this is are answered in the text of the ad itself — the writer claims to be a trader who left the hedge fund world to do his own trading and teach others to follow his examples.

He gives the pseudonym of “Mac X.” because part of the mystique is that this is top secret and he doesn’t want the banks to know that he’s letting their secrets out into the open. That’s obviously balderdash, but it works … don’t you feel like this is kind of privileged information? Even if it’s already been emailed to 30 million people?

And our friend Mac, champion of the little guy, says that he’s got a way for you to trade under the radar, so you don’t catch the attention of the big guys but can still harvest a few hundred dollars in net trading profits a day.

Again, he might have some good trading education to share with you — but this is also balderdash. As he does note in the letter, the foreign exchange market, where currencies are traded, is by far the largest trading market in the world, much larger than any stock market or the bond market in terms of trading volume. There’s no way on earth that anyone with the time to read his email … or the time to follow the mighty Gumshoe … is going to “catch the attention” of anyone in the Forex market by using any wildly innovative trading techniques. You could easily lose — or double — your entire liquid net worth in forex trading without anyone at any bank anywhere noticing a thing.

So this is clearly just another little tidbit put in to make you think that this is a good technique for “small timers” like you and I, folks who might think a couple hundred dollars a day is reasonable but not an outlandish promise.

And that’s true — I expect that if you have a reasonable size portfolio and are a very attentive trader who pays close attention to risk management, you could certainly generate that kind of an average trading profit. Well, I don’t know if you could, per se, but probably many folks could.

And you, being a discriminating and divine Gumshoe reader, would probably do better than most.

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So, just to pull a little of the wool away from the eyes of those who have some difficulty in paying attention through a ten page sales letter — especially one that sends the rivulets of greedy sweat streaming toward your eyes as this one does:

This is, basically, an ad for a Foreign Exchange trading course on CD-ROM.

They claim to also provide “individual” guidance, but frankly I’d be skeptical — given the remarkable success of this ad, I find it very unlikely that the sellers are able to provide much personal guidance, even if they want to, to every purchaser. I could be just a bit too skeptical there.

But what you would essentially be getting with this service, the way I understand it, is a class in how to trade the major foreign exchange markets — the major currencies that are traded heavily are the US Dollar, Japanese Yen, British Pound, Euro, Canadian Dollar, Swiss Franc, and Australian Dollar.

The ad teases that he’ll teach you how to trade within the six highest volume investments in this market, which I assume means the six busiest pairs — don’t know exactly what those are, but every Forex trade is a pair — Dollar/Yen, Euro/Dollar, etc. You buy one currency with another, in effect, thereby betting in the expected divergence in the value of the two.

I’m no foreign exchange trading expert — and that’s an understatement — but I can tell you briefly what it is: It’s a traders market in which nearly everyone uses massive leverage and where very short term trades are the norm — you may be used to 2:1 leverage if you use margin in a stock account, for example, which means you’re borrowing as much as you invest … and someone trading futures in the pits in Chicago might use 15:1 leverage for their bets …

… but forex traders regularly use 100:1 leverage, since daily moves are usually relatively small in real terms and huge margin is needed to make any money in a reasonable timeframe. This makes sense — imagine that the dollar might move half a cent against the euro over a couple days, you’d need to heavily leverage up if you wanted to make money from that move, which is a move of less than a percent.

The flip side of that margin is actually two flip sides — it can be expensive to carry that margin, so if you are not a successful trader your capital slowly gets drained away … and, more importantly, if you are a really unsuccessful trader you can lose all of your money very quickly.

So … is it for you? That’s something only you can answer. Forex trading over the counter has been all the rage among individual investors for a few years, but almost didn’t exist a decade ago — before the advent of all these easily accessible electronic trading networks, you would have had to make currency bets by buying futures. I spent much of last year seeing a new article every few weeks about the popularity of forex trading among Japanese housewives … Italian retirees … midwestern investing clubs and, who knows, probably Canadian muskrats, too … if “everyone is doing it,” should that make you feel like you’re missing out, or should it make you really nervous?

Even worse, they talk about currency pairs trading pretty much every day on CNBC now, which makes us all believe that we understand where specific currencies should go next, and which central bank is likely to cut rates or raise rates next, or where the carry trade is moving. That strikes me as dangerous, with individual investors being continually encouraged to make highly leveraged bets on extremely big picture economic movements — which is, really, what currencies represent. But, again, perhaps I’m being too cautious.

If you’re a trader and want to spend your time learning currency trading techniques, I have no reason to believe that this particularly forex trading class/system is any better or worse than others — and there are thousands of similar type products available, most of which have not been marketed nearly as well as this one.

I have heard from a few folks that they actually tried it, ordered the package, and believed they got what they paid for … but then again, most of the ones I’ve heard from said they ended up sending it back for a refund because they weren’t committed to learning the stuff and doing this kind of trading. I have no idea whether those few comments I’ve received are representative of my readership, or of investordom overall. This is, by all accounts, certainly not a program that you’re going to load on your computer that’s going to do the work for you.

I can’t tell you whether or not this particular class is worth your time — but before taking it a step further and buying any service like this, I’d take a few moments to learn the basics of the foreign exchange OTC markets and forex trading, so you can make a guess about whether or not it’s going to be something to which you’re interested in dedicating a chunk of time and money.

Source URL: https://www.stockgumshoe.com/2008/04/novice-crew-to-rob-banks-legally-mac-x-forex/

  1. Avatar
    Apr 16 2008, 12:26:44 pm

    > if you are a really unsuccessful trader you
    > can lose all of your money very quickly.

    That is the key point. Most everything works if you are successful at it. Some things bite harder when you are not.

    Best Wishes,

  2. Avatar
    Apr 16 2008, 12:34:59 pm

    I’m not sure whether readers want to hear this, but Forex is largely a scam. First, the “daily trillion $ market liquidity” come-on is outrageously misleading. Liquidity strictly depends upon the broker you choose. The largest brokers have the highest liquidity, but high liquidity is an oxymoron in forex. Nearly all forex brokers provide less liquidity than if you traded currency futures. If you don’t believe me ask Joe Ross. There are a number of other reasons that retail traders should not trade forex, but hey, you shouldn’t go to the casino either. I’ve traded commodity futures for 8 years, forex for more than 4 years. I have made money trading commodities. I have not made money trading forex. I have not lost much money trading forex because I am a strict adherent to money management principles AND I am a disciplined trader. Why do I stick with it? Two reasons, neither good: 1) it’s a challenge; 2) I want my lost money (less than $1,000) back. Like my old pappy used to say, “do as I say, not as I do”. If you insist on wasting your time and money on forex, good luck.

  3. Avatar
    Apr 16 2008, 09:48:47 pm

    Just stumbled over the stock gumshoe dojo this evening, what an interesting site!

    It seems every Forex sca– I mean system being marketed is simply technical trading combined with (as spreadtrader notes) absurdly high leverage.

    I’m curious, has anyone promoted a conservative, fundamental analysis approach to currency trading? Or does the very leveraged nature of the enterprise mean that there’s no such thing as a “Forex Robert Graham” tm (just kidding) because margin costs would slowly eat you alive?

    At any rate, keep up the good work. Who knew reading the Cliff Notes for my spam filter would be so interesting? :o)

  4. Avatar
    Apr 17 2008, 06:31:29 am

    Hi Beowulf,
    Leverage by itself is not a bad thing. However, it’s like giving a toddler a cigarette lighter. There are just some things a toddler shouldn’t have. But if it’s used properly….(you know the drill). Likewise, “simply technical trading” is not bad, it’s just different. To answer your question, there are a number of fundamental approaches to trading currencies. Buy foreign stocks and bonds on foreign exchanges. Buy currency ETFs. Buy international ETFs. Check out Chris Weber and his max-yield strategy at http://www.weberglobal.net/learnabout.html

  5. Avatar
    Apr 17 2008, 08:30:04 am

    I tried a practice account on Forex.com, they start you off with alot of practice money, so I was able to make really big trades and make some good money. BUT I imagine if you were using your own money(starting with little) it would be very difficult.

  6. 11 |
    Apr 17 2008, 09:18:40 am

    Hi folks, good points and thanks for sharing your experiences and ideas.

    Spreadtrader, that’s an especially good point about volume and brokers — thanks. The key is that this is an OTC market, it’s probably easiest to think of it as being comprised of a lot of different networks and exchanges run by brokers — while there is a huge amount of trade volume in the Forex market overall, it’s not all in one open exchange, so your experience could definitely be much different from broker to broker.

    That said, the advice of your fellow readers is probably more specific and useful than any words of mine here — I briefly flirted with forex trading a year or so ago and quickly decided that it wasn’t for me.

  7. Avatar
    Apr 17 2008, 09:53:38 am

    Just an observation or two regarding mrgoldy’s comments. One, paper trading is ENTIRELY different from putting real money on the line. It just is. The reasons are primarily psychological. This is especially true when you decide to day trade (which is essentially what Forex trading is). You have experienced it to understand what I mean.

    Second, IF you employ proper money mangement and self discipline, the size of your account does not matter. Many people think that they could be better traders if they had a larger account, or blame poor trading on a small account size. Of course, you have to have a large enough account to weather drawdowns and meet margin requirements. However, having more capital will not make a bad trader better. Point being, even (especially) with a large account trading full size lots, Forex is not for the average retail customer IMHO.

  8. Avatar
    Apr 17 2008, 10:00:00 am

    I can’t be sure how good the system is, although I bought it hook, line, and sinker. My gut feeling is that it will work for you like any system that is moderately well thought out, if you apply (like spreadtrader) strict money management principles. The problem with this package is not, therefore, I suspect, the system MacX is selling, it’s MacX himself. He constantly brags about how great a teacher he is, or at least did during the time I was following him more closely, but as an ex-professor myself I can say with some degree of assurance that he stinks! Plus he always seems to be having some sort of technical glitch that needs fixing, and he tries to get you to upgrade even before you’ve been able to master the information he’s already laid out for you in his very inexpert fashion. All in all, I’d say there are a lot of better ways to spend your money and time to learn about and profit from trading.

  9. Avatar
    Apr 17 2008, 10:06:58 am

    Has any one had any luck with currency options ?
    I beleive it is a little more less risky than the actual forex market Thanks

  10. Avatar
    Apr 17 2008, 12:28:59 pm

    Hi sequential,
    Options may be “less risky” than Forex in some respects, but more risky for the unwary in other respects. First, what kind of options are we talking about? Options on currency futures or options on currency ETFs (do they offer options on ETFs), or some other product? Second, there are a number of ways to try to trade options on anything. Many people don’t understand that there are at least three pricing components to options: a) price or value of the underlying security; b) time value; and c) implied volatility. (LOL….I think I’ve left something out). Anyway, most people have no clue what “c” is; yet it’s critical to understanding when to buy and how much to pay for options. With options, timing is everything (and I’m not just talking about the time you choose to buy an option). I’m talking about the strike price you select, the expiration month and importantly, the market sentiment at the time of your trade. Option prices are skewed to favor the option seller, so in most cases you are set-up to lose. The market can move in your favor and you can still lose all of your money. Very tricky business buying options, as most options expire worthless.

  11. Avatar
    Apr 17 2008, 02:38:49 pm

    I ordered the Inside Code by Mac X and returned it for a refund. My gosh, 10 CDs. I just don’t have time to go up the learning curve. And after reading some of my fellow Gumshoe investors remarks, I am glad I did. I even wrote a note to Early to Rise’s Charlie Byrne scolding him for claiming I wouldn’t risk “one thin dime” by trying this product. Because the truth is that you are risking 300 thin dimes on shipping and handling – each way. hahaha

  12. Avatar
    Apr 17 2008, 03:14:04 pm


    Thanks for the info. I hadn’t thought of it in that way before, but I suppose a bet on a foreign stock market is a bet on that country’s currency (if the currency moved up against the dollar, then your holdings are worth more even if the market average stays flat).

    I vaguely recall reading in some investment book or another of an investor who did very well tracking which foreign markets performed the worst last year and then buying their country funds this year. I guess he was banking on regression to the mean. Will have to backtrade that (or find the newsletter guru who already has).

  13. Avatar
    Apr 17 2008, 06:10:41 pm

    I have studied FOREX for 5 years.I trade regularly with moderate success. My best advice is do not play it unless you are well versed in technical analysis and fundamental analysis. I use both, but I trade like a floor trader. If you are not practised,you will lose.
    Many of the brokers offer a free 30 day promo that gives you a free taste of the difficulty.Try it before risking any money. I would also advise watching the market on regular basis to understand movement. An accomplished trader can make well over a million a year, but the learning curve is intense.
    The system was created by bank traders and it is their market. To think like they do to win takes a long time to master. They regularly trade bank funds. Weird to think what they are doing with our money.
    Unless your committed to learn, dont even try because your account is just liquidity for the pros.

  14. Avatar
    Apr 17 2008, 06:20:03 pm

    I too got the Insider Code with Mac X and returned it. A lot of hype here. You can get a better basic education for free from BabyPips.com

    You are supposed to be able to trade along side Mac X but I didn’t see very many trades.

  15. Avatar
    ros freed
    Apr 17 2008, 09:57:13 pm

    I had a ersonal experience on the front end of currency trading…..I used a third party wire transfer company to send $2,000.00 to Costa Rica. My local state bank wa having trouble figuring out how to wire money to a country it had never heard of! It wrked fine, I paid $75.00 for the transfer.
    Then I needed to transfer $20,000.00. I contacted the same company,they said it would cost $200.00. I said no thanks, they said ok, only $75.00 flat fee. the money got to Costa Rica, minus $1,400.00. THEY SAID I’d signed up to currency trade and my “trade” had resulted in a loss of $1,400.00. After many e mails back and ofrth, they suggested I send back the $18,600 to them and they would refund $20,000.00 to my US bank. I said if they thought I would wire good money after bad, they must think I was even more stupid than I thought I was by now. I never could get the money back, and gave it up as worthless waste of time and effort…..my currency trading story! I guess if they can do this often enough, currency trading would make big bucks. I reckon I’m a fairly savvy person with a good grasp of right v dumb and stupid, but they got me.
    ps Gumshoe is the only e mail I always read…I have 230 right now, of free newsletters, actually they are not “free” as I have to spend my time reading them. Thanks, Gumshoe, I will find a minute to make a contribution because you really deserve it!

  16. Avatar
    Crazy B
    Apr 17 2008, 10:04:22 pm

    What do you know about the Bakken Billions. Is it for real ? Its in Montana Area and the claim is that’s it s bigger than anything in Suidia Arabia

  17. Avatar
    Alex Moreno, MPH
    Jun 12 2016, 01:50:33 pm

    Also be wary of companies such as Traders Way/ IML. They charge a membership fee so that you can learn all about FOREX, view live trades from their brokers, and connect to a broker who will trade your money for you. Some of the webinars were interesting to a novice like me but I later discovered the same videos on YOUTUBE. With your membership of $150 per month you also got to view your brokers trading (I should have been skeptical with names such as Smooth Sterling/ Steady- Freddy!), via META TRADER 4 App. If you encouraged 3 customers to join (and maintain their membership) then the membership fee was now free. Their sign on company is based in China! I wasted money transferring funds into an account and did only pay the first month. Oddly enough, my broker did well on the first trade he did for me- BUT TO MY AMAZEMENT he worked about once or twice per month! At the end of the day I pulled my money out and calculated that the $200 I lost was a good learning experience…

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