Is James Altucher a Con Man?

I discovered James Altucher about two years ago when I’d just gotten fired from the worst job I ever had.

For the first time in my life I was really concerned about how I was going to earn a living. I wasn’t a kid anymore where you could just laugh about it, throw back a few beers with your buddies, take some time off — then land another job in a matter of weeks. This time was going to be different and I knew it. I was scared.

And then James Altucher came into my inbox on an almost daily basis. He wrote about failure and losing things and being completely broken and without hope. He wrote about starting over and reinventing yourself and how change was always good.

He even said if you had a job you should quit anyway, because sooner or later they were going to fire you, or outsource you, or sell the company and downsize you.

Don’t let one person saying two words ever ruin your life again, he said.

I was starting to like James Altucher.

He wrote about how going to college is a scam and not worth going into debt 50 to100K for at age 21. How that kind of debt is almost impossible to get out from underneath. How colleges actually collude with the government to continue this fraud.

He said the most important career advice he could give anyone was to find someone good to spend your life with.

He wrote about being an introvert and how it was different than just being shy. He explained that introverts ‘refueled’ by being alone, whereas extraverts did so by being around other people.

He wrote about downsizing our lives, how none of us need all the stuff we have. He even backed that up by giving away all his possessions and just having a computer and a few changes of clothes — literally down to two bags of stuff. To this day he has no permanent home.

He wrote about how writing saved him. He wrote about the transformative power of writing down 10 ideas everyday. He wrote about ping-pong and chess, and how important it was to just play everyday.

After writing numerous books that didn’t sell, he wrote one which did and continues to sell to this day — “Choose Yourself” — a wonderful book.

He started a Podcast where he interviewed people who he thought were interesting just so he could learn new things.

He forced himself to do things that took him out of his comfort zone. He’s now doing stand up comedy occasionally because it “scares the hell out of him” which he says is a good thing.

I eventually signed up for his newsletter “The Altucher Report”, where he’d share modern ways to make money in this new economy. It was only $49 dollars for a year. This was a guy who’d started million dollar businesses, studied the stock market and finance, was often a guest on “The Street” with Jim Cramer, and was friends with millionaires and CEO’s.

He seemed honest and raw and more than willing to share everything he’d learned over the years.

I even started to tell my friends about James Altucher.

And then one day, just a few months ago, James Altucher jumped the shark.

He put up a video of him as a sort of money version of David Blaine the magician. He walked around New York City, chose a few random strangers, then showed them how easy it was with just a few clicks of the mouse to make hundreds of dollars a day on the stock market, legally, in just a few seconds. He even wrote down how much he thought each stranger would make before they even made it, just to show how smart he was. Making a card disappear a la Blaine was nothing compared to this, actually making real money — magically and legally.

For the first time in a long time I was excited about something. This was right up my alley. Click, click — cash.

But after I watched this video all the way through (and believe me, that was no easy task. The video is almost an hour long and somehow it’s rigged so there is no progress bar underneath it, so you can’t see how long the video is or even jump ahead to get to the end??) — no, this was 1 hour of James talking and selling and talking and over selling and talking some more.

“Wouldn’t it be great if you could wake up everyday and with a few easy clicks of the mouse — make hundreds of dollars a day.” Yes James, sounds great, you had me 45 minutes ago — just get to how much this is going to cost me?

And then, just when I thought he was almost done — he actually offered to throw in a brand new Personal Computer with every order so there would be zero reason for you not to succeed with this incredible offer. I began to realize the figure I had in my head for this magical offer was way too low ($199?, boy was I wrong).

A Personal Computer? Are you kidding me? What’s next a free trip to Disneyland?

And then came the ultimate Bottom Feeder move — this was a limited offer. Only the first 300 people who signed up would receive it, then this incredible offer would be pulled forever.

A limited offer, a free Personal Computer — I suddenly felt like I was trapped in one of those Time Share pitches from the 90‘s and some Alec Baldwin type dude was flashing his Rolex in my face while brazenly telling me it cost more than my car. My scam-radar was now buzzing in my head.

And then it finally came — $2000 dollars was the price. Wow, that’s pretty steep James. And then I did some quick math — 2000 X 300 equals $600,000 thousand dollars!

Nice work if you can get it James.

Even if it took you 2 full years to set me up for this, to build up my confidence in you, that would be worth it on your end. 300 desperate enough people would make you 600 LARGE. That’s genius James, you really are a smart guy. No wonder you have all that time for ping-pong and chess.

But it gets even better folks. Not only is this “offer” still available some 2 months later, but another company — Agora Financial (which is apparently James Altucher’s partner company on his “Altucher Report” and is located in that bastion of financial integrity…Baltimore) — is now sending me emails on a daily basis about this same magical offer.

It’s even James Altucher in the video. But Agora Financial claims they were the ones to actually film it. (I know, it gets murkey here, but try to stay with me.) And their guy, some dude named Dave Gonigam, is now making the offer. Does this mean there are more than 300 of these available now? Dave? James?

I now get daily emails from Agora Financial with these fantastical headlines:

This 7 Billion Dollar Opportunity disappears tomorrow (I missed that one, but then it reappeared a few weeks later).

Social Security Shocker (the “tip” had nothing to do with Social Security).

Yuge Tax Cut on the Way, You’ll only win if you do this now (yes, they spelled it Yuge).

Warning, Content Protected by FBI (one of my favorites).

Urgent Customer Service Alert (it wasn’t urgent or even a customer service alert).

Urgent: Important Change to Our Business (you’re going to be honest with people now?).

This is my Final Note Goodbye! (unfortunately it wasn’t).

Only 11 people know about this, until now.. (and for another 2 Grand, I could be #12).

5 things you need to know, Congress cuts Social Security (no, they didn’t).

And my favorite happened on November 3, 2017.

RELEASED: Video Protected by the FBI’s Anti-Piracy Policy

Dear John,

A shocking new video that’s protected by the FBI has just been released to the public. It’s been circulating online.

But before you watch this short clip…

I have to warn you…

What this former insider reveals will upset a lot of people on Wall Street.

So please do not forward this to anyone.

And if you wait until Monday, it will be too late. You’ll understand why once you see this clip.

I honestly can’t even remember if I watched the clip, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t that shocking and I’m almost positive it wasn’t protected by the FBI.

Back to James Altucher.

On June 21, 2016 he even titled one of his articles, “Am I a Con Artist?”

One of his podcast guests had written a book “The Confidence Game: why we fall for it..every time.” James Altucher said, “I got paranoid reading it. I thought she missed someone. Me.

You have also said, “I continue to give out free valuable material and I hope to do so forever. Don’t look at my other stuff if you don’t want to.”

Fair enough James. I like your free material and will continue to occasionally read it. You’ve given me some good advice, you’ve encouraged me to keep trying - and told me it’s ok to fail, everyone does.

It’s just disappointing when you find someone you like, you find someone you believe in — only to be made aware of the one of the harshest realities of being alive — everyone has an agenda, everyone’s selling something.

Including James Altucher.

  • Authors Note: All of the above is ALLEGED. Other than the $49 dollars I paid for “The Altucher Report”, I haven’t purchased any of these financial opportunities of which I write about.