This article was originally published in February, the ad is recirculating with minor updates (mostly that the “deadline” is now April 1, versus previous versions that cited January 1 or February 1), so we’re re-sharing this piece to help answer continuing reader questions. What appears below has not been updated since 2/7/18.
I’m sure quite a few of you have seen the spiel for “Freedom Checks” in the past month or two — the ad includes a photo of Matt Badiali holding up a big, fat $114,287 check to the camera that looks very reminiscent of a United States Treasury check, with the big ol’ Statue of Liberty engraving and all.
It’s not, of course, that’s a private check — but more on that in a minute.
The spiel is a familiar one in many ways — it’s designed to make you feel like there’s a pot of free money that you can sign up for… at least until they get down to the details, by which point many readers will have lost interest (or, worse, will have already sent in their credit card number, hypnotized by that big, official check dancing in their eyes).
In this case, that money is called “U.S. Freedom Checks” … and though the same kind of pitch has been used many times to entice subscribers, including those spurious “Patriot Checks” that were advertised by Lifetime Income Report last year (that ad’s still running too, FYI, we get asked about it frequently), this one is pitching a different kind of investment entirely.
Yep, I said “investment.” Sorry, this is, as you might expect from an investment newsletter, an overhyped promise about something they think you should buy, not a way to get free money.
Still with us? OK, let’s see just what sort of investment Badiali is hinting at to provide you with those “Freedom Checks” … here’s a little taste of the ad to get you started:
“See this check … this one right here written out for $114,287?
“I call it a “freedom check.”
“Imagine this check being yours.
“All you have to do is sign it and cash it….
“It’s no wonder Reuters reports that freedom checks are ‘delivering a windfall’ and that Motley Fool says the ‘cash payouts are sky-high.’
“Barron’s reports … ‘it’s time to take a look.’
“Forbes gives them a … ‘bullish case.’
“And Seeking Alpha says freedom checks are a … ‘hidden gem.'”
So already, just a page or two into his “presentation,” we’ve got a few of those key items that every financial copywriter tries to squeeze into the pitch… a tantalizing taste of some big chunk of money coming your way, and some quotes from reputable sources that seem to back up that this idea is somehow real.
To be fair, they do also clarify that even though Badiali is holding up a check that looks a lot like a government check, it’s not a government payout…