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New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 25th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

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The formula for stupid is...

21 October 2019

I think someone has discovered the formula for stupid.

What am I talking about?

Well regular readers will recall that back in May of this year I wrote a column titled EZ Battery Reconditioning, AVOID in which I disected a scam which promised to reveal how anyone could "recondition any battery back to 100% using just a few household chemicals".

And yesterday I saw almost the exact same formula being applied to scamming folk who are seeking to free themselves from the tyrany of high power bills.

Yes, this breakthrough discover (made by no lesser tech giant than MIT) promises to cut your power bills by 65% -- without even an "up to" qualifier in sight.

Read on, and discover why P.T. Barnum was so very, very right.

This pitch uses the exact-same template as the battery reconditioning scam, only the names and technologies have been changed to "refresh" the concept.

In this pitch we have good old Zack Bennett who tells us how he turned bad luck into good fortune. You can see a picture of Zack on this page. But hang on, what's this?

Wow, Zack is also selling his image on ShutterStock *and* Adobe Stock?

Back on the EZ Battery Reconditioning page we have the sob-story of Tom Ericson whose car battery failed, leaving his family stranded and without transport (boo hoo). He had to decide whether to buy food for his children or a new battery for his car -- what a dilemma!

Switch to this latest scam and we have another hear-tugging sob-story that kicked the whole thing off. In this case it's poor old Zack who awoke one night to find the power was off and there was an intruder in his home.

He grabbed his gun and went into his young child's bedroom, only to find an armed man standing over the child "the gun just inches from her". A shot rang out and poor old Zack fell to the floor and passed out. He awoke in hospital weeks later after almost dying from blood loss (it was a miracle!).

It was at that point he decided that he would no longer be reliant on the power companies and the government to protect himself and his family -- he would invent a device that was TEN TIMES more efficient at converting solar energy into power than "off the shelf" systems.

And now he's going to share it with you -- for a small fee :-)

Yes, just as old Tom decided to share the secrets of how *any* battery can be bought back to 100% new condition with simple household chemicals, Zack is going to show you how to produce a 100% efficient solar system.

Right now you would have to wonder why *anyone* would fall for this crap.

Seriously... are people actually this stupid?

Sadly, the answer is obviously a big fat "yes". Clearly, there are enough fools, failed by the education system, that actually believe this crap.

It also doesn't help that I found this site through an ad in "paid content" on the Stuff news website. Really Stuff... you've sunk so low as to be carrying ads that pedal such obvious scams?

So the secret to pitching these scams is obviously formulaic...

Create a "too good to be true" promise.

Conjure up some affable "regular Joe" who has faced a life-changing crisis which has become the catalyst to the invention of this fantastic technology.

Tell people that they can also benefit from this fantastic technology and save/make money at the same time.

Add "limited time" or "limited number" to the pitch, throw in an "act now" discount and garnish with lashings of "never to be repeated".

Kerching... that's the sound of fools parting with their money.

Outrageous!

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