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Home > The Oxford Club...investment club?? or Scam?

The Oxford Club...investment club?? or Scam?

November 16th, 2009 at 07:49 am

Over the weekend BB's grandparent's came to visit us for a nice vacation.

Yesterday, BB's grandfather pulled BB aside and gave BB a $50 bill and a newsletter. He told BB to invest in a government gas rebate program and that he would get $300 every month if he signed up. (Or something like that- this is second hand information as I was busy in another room and never saw any of it.) BB just shows me the newsletter and money this morning and tells me his grandfather gave us a great tax break tip.

I took the newsletter to work to read it, and because I was too lazy to even open the 16 pg document I went straight to the CPA in our office asking if he has heard of a tax rebate on gas. The CPA has not heard of it and asked to see the newsletter.

Immediately there are alarming headlines in it... "The Best Kept Secret in this $1.6 Trillion Dollar Industry"..."Collect Fat Monthly Checks Thanks to the Government"..."How You Can Start Receiving Your Extra 3 Checks Every Month." ...with graphs and so so many propaganda paragraphs from "quotes" from current members who talk about retiring early and doubling portfolio's to talk of "$126,850% Gains...on This Global Retail Giant."

I look The Oxford Club up online and there are alot of personal opinions on forums that it is a scam, and there are a lot of personal talk on forums that it is a legitimate investors club. (I know that scammers will pose as legitimate members to improve their credibility.) It is NOT listed in "rip off report" as a scam.

I think it is a Ponzi scheme of some sort. I think I will send in my $50 for a membership and receive a booklet of what "Gas" companies to invest in and I will invest into a Ponzi scheme.

Here's the kicker: I told BB all this and he goes: "So what it if it is a scheme? We send in $50 and invest some money and get a check for $300? We just made huge returns! Why not do it?"

I responded: "Because they only give you those returns upfront- then they disapear and you never get any more checks."

BB said: "So what? We still made a ton of money even if we only get one check. What is the harm?"

I said: "Because then they give you a huge return so you will take all that return and also more of your own money to get more shares. It's not a big deal sending them $50, but then after we get a check we will want to send them $500. And we may never hear from them again."

BB then tells me "Ohhh...I see. Ok, well how about we just do it this one time for the big upfront return and then never again?"

How do I argue with that logic? It almost makes sense!

Anyways, BB can do it if he wants to use his grandfathers $50 that way. Although I think the $50 is only a membership fee and then we need to actually invest in the stocks they suggest.

My concerns are: I assume that BB's grandfather has been doing this for 2 months. The newsletter is dated September 15, 2009. I am scared about how much the grandfather has invested in this club. He told both BB and BB's father to invest in it and is a big believer in it. The grandfather is a big stock market believer and has always put his earnings into the market with careful consideration and precision. Over the course of his life, while working as a telephone operator for his whole life, BB's grandfather has managed to earn somewhere (family guestimates) in the million dollar or more range from the stock market. The whole family trusts the grandfathers judgement when it comes to stocks. I am concerned that this club could end up taking advantage of the whole family when it stops returning dividends.

I am concerned because there are a few financial advisors "quoted" in this newsletter about advising clients to use this club. I have a financial advisor...I am frightened that financial advisors could fall into this trap without their clients even knowing what is going on. I know it happened with Madoff...I worry it would happen to my financial advisor. Is there a way I can upfront tell my advisor that I do not want my money invested in a "too good to be true" fashion? Even if he becomes a believer in whatever program he gets swept up in? Or am I just at the mercy of his judgement?

I am grateful that the Bernie Madoff thing was such a huge newsbreaking story. I had previously never heard of a ponzi scheme and otherwise probably would have invested in this club and then REALLY invested in this club when I saw the returns.

So...anybody using The Oxford Club? If I get a positive response from a long term member of this forum- I give that responce a lot more credibility than any of the online searches and "quotes" from this newsletter. Should I even do it BB's way and invest an initial amount for a big upfront payoff then stop using the service? How can BB or his father break it to the grandfather that this is most likely a scam without crushing the grandfather's ego?

140 Responses to “The Oxford Club...investment club?? or Scam?”

  1. Broken Arrow Says:

    So, this is how ponzi schemes work right? They ask for a little bit of money, and promise you a ton in return. Some will even PAY you a small dividend while you're with them, so you'll think it's legit and you'll buy even more of their shares. But while you may think you have X shares into that, you really have nothing. Because your money went to pay off the interest of somebody else before you who also bought in and so forth. And of course, they pocket anything that's left as their own money.

    But you'll keep doing it because your computer or company letter says you have X shares. And even if they don't pay you anything, even $5 would validate their technique, so they'll keep pushing the scheme towards more and more people.

    The logical question shouldn't be, "It's not a lot of money, so what have you got to lose?" The logical question should be, "It's a ponzi scheme, so why would I want to validate and encourage their illegal business practices?"

    As for him grandfather? Were it up to me, I would gently but plainly break it to him. He needs to know, but no matter how you say it, it's not going to take the sting and shame away. So, you might as well shoot straight and fast, but still as gently as you can.

  2. Ima saver Says:

    I too, believe it is a scam. If it is too good to be true, then it is NOT true. I think I would break it to grandfather as nicely as possible. Please don't invest.

  3. gamecock43 Says:

    "The logical question shouldn't be, "It's not a lot of money, so what have you got to lose?" The logical question should be, "It's a ponzi scheme, so why would I want to validate and encourage their illegal business practices?""...good point. If we get involved even for 1 month we are setting up the company to target someone a little more ignorant to invest more than they have to lose. I dont want to do that. BB and I will not participate in this, and I will talk to BB after lunch about how to best break the news to the grandfather. We have to get him to pull out immediately- I am so worried about how much money might have already been invested.

  4. monkeymama Says:

    I don't know anything about this, but all I know is the "if it sounds too good to be true" rule. Thus, if it were me, the newsletter would go straight to the trash.

    As a CPA, I can't really give investment advice, but this is where I draw the line. I always voice my opinion on scammy things. If you had come to me, I'd ask if you were crazy.

    Or maybe it doesn't matter. I have a handful of clients who constantly fall for these schemes and will never learn. SOrry to say, this can't be the first "scam" Grandpa has fallen for. Certain people are just very gullible. PEople either tend to fall for these things and never learn, or never fall for them in the first place. (Though we did have a "smart" client lose a hefty six figure sum in a Ponzi scheme recently - it happens. But usually I am telling the same person over and over that they shouldn't believe everything they hear).

    Grandpa will probably have to learn the hard way - I doubt he'd listen. Though if you warn him and he gets burned, he may trust you in the future.

  5. monkeymama Says:

    Reminds me, "Mary Kay" is a "legitimate business." But I know quite a few people who were burned as MK consultants, etc. There will always be stupid people praising a ponzi scheme!

  6. gamecock43 Says:

    Well, when the Madoff thing went down I was surprised I had never heard of him before. I thought I was up to date with financial heavy weights and realized I was so far out of the ring that though thousands of people lost money on one of the biggest financial schemes ever, no one I even knew was rich enough to get involved in his ponzi scheme. It seemed like an uber-rich type of scam. Now I was invited to participate in a ponzi scheme. Someone does think I have enough money to become a target! I almost feel flattered to be invited in a weird way.

  7. Analise Says:

    Sounds like a scam to me, a Ponzi scheme of some sort. Logic tells me it can not be a sustainable investment. There is probably fine print somewhere.... investors can be held liable for losses. I would avoid it.

    I feel sorry for people, especially trusting older folks, who fall for this type of thing. The power of advertising seduces many a person to part with their common sense and their cents!!

  8. merch Says:

    The red flag with Bernie was th eno name accounting firm. $65 billion and you are using a firm no one heard of?

    As for this, if it has such stellar returns why would you offer people to join the club. 1 month 50 = 300, 2nd month 300 = 1,800, 3rd month 1,800 = 10,800, 4th month = 64,800; 5 th month 64,800 = 388,800; 6th month 388,800 = $2.3 million.

    Do you think that there is anyway $50 can be turned into $2.3 million in six months?

    when people promise easy money, I run. It's hard to be taken by a scam if you aren't greedy.

  9. merch Says:

    Source: http://www.stockgumshoe.com/2008/12/claim-your-gas-rebate-check-oxford-club.html

    These are just Canadian Income Trusts or Canadian Royalty Trusts like HTE and PWE. Canadian tax laws are set to change in 2011 so the pass through income will not be tax free.

  10. Broken Arrow Says:

    Just wanted to second the caution not to expect too much when you talk to his grandpa. Regardless of age, some men will still need to learn some things the hard way, and on their own.

    Out of respect and caring, I too would warn him about it, but make sure to let him make the final decision about what to do. No matter what it is, once that decision is made, I would just respect it and move on with your life.

    Good luck!

  11. whitestripe Says:

    so how exactly does this company/club make the money? I mean, I know if it is a scam they make the money from the investors - but if it is legitimate, the return they promise has to come from somewhere. you mentioned a gas rebate program? if i were investing money into something that 'could' be a huge thing, i would want to know every single detail about how they get their money, if not for my financial safety then for the impacts the company could be having on other people, the environment, the economy etc etc.

    are they just leeching money through a tax loophole? are they ripping someone else off down the line?
    who is really affected by this?
    if it turns out to be a true investment possibility; does that neccesarily mean it's good for everyone?

  12. ceejay74 Says:

    If it's a ponzi or pyramid scheme (which it certainly sounds like, if only from the returns they promise), then BB and Gamecock's initial investment would go to appease the people already in the scheme, and their payout would come from the next people to invest. Eventually the scheme usually crumbles because the bottom of the pyramid needs to keep getting bigger and you run out of suckers--er, investors--so the organization collapses. Or some of the bigger investors get suspicious and demand all their money. Since the money was never actually invested in anything, just passed up the chain, there was no growth in finances, and once people stop investing and want money back, it crumbles very quickly. At least that's how I understand it.

  13. Jerry Says:

    I smell a rat, at the very least. Who knows exactly what they are doing with the money they receive? It should lead a critically-thinking individual to ask some hard questions, but the "club" has pretty good insurance that there is a significant subset of the population that will respond to these kinds of come-ons. I have family among them, alas. You can't control your grandfather, nor should you as long as he is mentally able to make decisions... you can only warn, and then wince. Good luck.

  14. creditcardfree Says:

    I'd be leary just because of sending my check with my banking information to a company that I cannot validate as legitimate.

  15. LuxLiving Says:

    The $50 in this case is buying into the club so you are basically paying for their newsletter, that tells you how to invest in the gas return, correct? So, they aren't selling the gas stocks themselves. They are just selling you so called 'insider information' via the club's newsletters/whitepapers/etc.

  16. Spartacus Says:

    I could tell by the responses that there aren't too many investors here. They are selling a subscription to their investment newsletter for the $50. Their newsletter offers reccomendations for stocks, some of which are oil & gas stocks, Reits. Trusts & MLP's. These pay monthly or quarterly distributions. In this way you are in effect getting back some of the money you pay for gas by investing directly into the oil & gas companies. It's not a scam, but the way in which they try to grab peoples attention by their advertising could lead one to believe so.

  17. Jim Barr Says:

    The Oxford Club is not a scam. I was a member for several years and made a lot of money on their recommendations, i.e. Chesapeak Engergy, Fording Coal, BHP etc. One they recommended that I wish I had bought was Intuitive Surgical(surgical robots) It has more than doubled in the last few years. They do not invest your money, only make recommendations in their news letter. They do want to sell advance memberships that are more expensive. I subscribed to the basic membership only.

  18. Thrace Says:

    Okay, well, I worked for The Oxford Club for almost two years and first I'll tell you that it's not a scam. They're based in Baltimore in a nice old mansion that they restored and it's actually a very beautiful place.

    The way the membership works is that they sign you up and they send out monthly newsletters along with periodic "action alerts" where they give people advice on investment opportunities all over the world. They get their advice legitimately through people whom they employ in a consulting capacity, and they carefully structure their investments so that people are getting in early on some investments where the cost is low and the rewards high or, at the very least, losses are very low.

    Not necessarily penny stocks, but sometimes close to it. It's very easy to say you helped someone get a 300% return if they invested $100 and wound up earning $400, right? Still, though, it allows people to make some investments and if they want to invest more they can.

    The secret is that they do these mass mailings every month to keep an active membership role. They have it down to a science. They know that if they send out 150,000 letters, they'll get, for example, 4% of that in new members. They break even at 2%, so the rest means they are increasing club revenues.

    But long story short, it's legit, just not what you might call "high powered." They do help members earn some revenues and protect assets they might already have through advice which comes through the club's investment consultants. As you know, with tax codes being so complicated, they can dole out some pretty useful advice and help people in general because most people (including myself) don't know how to invest.

    And I believe you can even write in with questions and they will give advice back. The key is, it's your money you invest, you give them nothing. They're not interested in investing for you, they want you to subscribe. And if it doesn't work out, you can cancel.

    Hope that helps.

    FYI - I'm protecting my identity because I still work in the financial industry and don't want to burn any bridges with my old company.

  19. dthomas Says:

    I have been a member of the oxford club since 2003. It could not possibly be a ponzi scheme as you suggest as you don't invest with them directly. They simply make recommendations for stocks, options, etf, etc. I've been quite successful with their recommendations. I have to admit I am a member of the Chairmans Circle, which is not inexpensive to join, but I have no regrets as my portfolio continues to grow even as market tanks. They also suggest you use strict trailing stop orders to help with any downfalls in the market. I am happy and would truly recommend their services. Like I said, I've been a member since 2003 and would have been out long ago if it was a scam. I've never sent any money to them other than membership dues and I trade my own account with Optionsxpress with the recommnedations they make and prior to that used a brokerage firm. I left the brokerage firm only to save money on brokerage fees and am happy with optionsxpress as well.

  20. Ron Says:

    Question for dthomas... do you find the Chairmans Circle worth the investment? I have been a regular subscriber for 18 months now and overall am very pleased with the service.

  21. fin Says:

    i need to know how to mget the info oxford sends me out from all the advertising i get from the many firms i get newsletters from as i am just learning and feel the really important tips get submerged ! suggestions i think they are legit and ,i echo the sentiments above.

  22. Gone Fishin Says:

    To add to dthomas, the Oxford Club also has a very well known president, Alex Green. For anyone looking more into a Mutual Fund style portfolio, check out his book "Gone Fishing Portfolio". It is a good easy to understand strat.

  23. Rick Carrigan Says:

    The Oxford Club is not a scam. I have been using the services for 7 years now and have made a lot of money using them. I am a Chairman's Circle member which is the most expensive membership and have made my membership costs over many, many times. I to, as one poster above, made very good money with Chasepeake Energy, BHP, Fordling Coal and Intuitive Surgicle, which I wish I had never sold, lol (would have been a 10 bagger). I do find the constant emails from some of their sister company's irritating, but with the returns I am getting I will put up with that. I am very pleased with the service.

  24. Thor Says:

    Simply a scam... period!

  25. thomasbleser Says:

    These comments are extremely helpful. I've been on email lists like Investment U and before that Oxford Club. This does put you on junk snailmail sucker lists that tend to clog your PO box with dangerous clutter. Usually the fees are so large I never have any money left to invest. The "free" stuff they do send you is tantalizing, sort of like a "dance of the seven veils" that never quite let's you see what's really interesting. The way I handle this stuff is to copy and paste from websites like this to an email document that I attach when I forward promotional emails from the OC to family members.

  26. Shawn Says:

    I see they're pretty much not a scam. They have never said they're investing for me. they just give advice. The advice my broker gave always seemed a little fishy. Then I hear from the oxford club that brokers lie to their customers. So then I saw why he always sounded so fishy. Then the advice they gave, before ever investing I waited and always did a technical analysis. And the stock they recommend, The volume shot up like the space shuttle. But not every piece of advice they give will be excellent. No one or thing is perfect!!!

  27. TASMA ROYCE Says:

    I am Australian am I able to join The Oxford Club
    Tasma Royce

  28. Rick Froese Says:

    Tasma: Apply online. You'll see for yourself that the Oxford Club Portfolio/s are well worth the investment. Just check Market Watch's Hulbert Financial Digest and he gives the Oxford Club a very good rating--and that's over some years now. Forget the oil-scam stuff and concentrate on their main suggestions.

    This is their note on their Dec 2010 'Communique':

    Dear Member,Looking back, 2010 has been another great year for Oxford Club members.
    There have been bumps along the way, of course. But we got the big picture right. And made buckets of money as a result.
    (Even Peter Brimelow of the independent Hulbert Financial Digest
    wrote a recent column on MarketWatch citing The Oxford Club’s “dramatically successful” long-term track record.) (Now that's independent testimony of one who looks at ALL financial newsletters. This is very legit--and I'm making money on a monthly basis.

  29. Mr Donald Lagani Says:

    Seek furthor info

  30. chris Says:

    send me $50 i'll send you free advice. I think it is logical. they make there money on your $50. or why would they tell you any thing. I'll tell you what I think about he stock market. now and then. my website. is www.chrissjunk.com This is a new site. i'm not charging any one for any thing. unless I put something on there for sale.

  31. Gelston1950 Says:

    I have serious doubts about things like this. Heck, I even have little faith in stock brokers, advisors, consultants and the like. My question to them is always the same; "If you are so good at what you do, why are you still working for a living". Seems to me if these people really know what they are doing they would not still be working a full time job. They would already have their fortunes.

  32. Gored Bull Says:

    Be reasonable...use your common sense...advise is cheap...do NOT get greedy-ever !DUTCH

  33. mytwobits Says:

    Actually, all it is an investment newsletter sold as a club. There is no direct payout from them or investments you buy from them. Just advice and picks to follow or not.

  34. Doug Says:

    It is not a s.cam. I have subscribed for 3 years and have been very happy

  35. Jim Says:

    This is not a scam. It is payment for investment advice. When I initially started investing I took the advice of brokers, i.e. Pfizer, Microsoft etc. I really did not make any money in fact I lost on Pfizer. After subcribing to the Oxford Club and investing in some of their suggestions I did very well. I advised my son of some of their suggestions and he also did very well. When he told his broker what he wanted to buy they tried to talk him out of it. He was so successful that they started asking him where he was getting his advice. I really wish I had followed more of their advice as I am now retired and don't want to risk my 401K. Especially with the present congress and president.

  36. maus Says:

    Well, I've become Oxford club member for a couple of months and was disappointed with the fact that they can change their buying price in their portfolio after recommending a certain share that went down the next day. 2 days after the Fed announcement the buy price in their portfolio was updated from 23.44 to 21.31.

  37. Jane Says:

    I am a subscriber and it just sends you advice, some great and some not...they seem to make money off the other newsletters that are very pricey and which again can be good or bad but the big returns they promise seems to come from options and they only tell you the great returns not the big losses...of course. My boyfriend fears it is a scam for options folks...run up the price so they can make money...so who knows..but for $50 it gives you some ideas that you can research more

  38. Ryan Says:

    I happen to know that no employee of the Oxford Club (or its affiliated companies) can purchase the picks that they recommend until 48-hours have passed since they published the information to the public (emailed, updated website, etc...).
    It is a very legitimate company that honors its guarantee, tries to make its members as happy as possible while also helping them to become as rich as possible.
    Hope this has some sort of positive impact on your feelings about The Oxford Club.

  39. harris m freedman Says:

    I am a member of Oxford Club, I have lost a lot of money on their
    bond picks. I put a lot of money in EIX a utility on the west coast.
    I purchased the bonds on their recommendation, they gave false info
    that the bonds were tied to the stock...Wrong, and the bonds stopped
    paying the interest.

  40. sam Says:

    I've gotten duped by sales pitches a few times in my life. I've learned that many scams have one thing in common: they hype, hype, hype, and the point of their sales pitch seems to never come. I listened to the Oxford Club founder's speech for a few minutes, got bored with all the hype and fear tactics, recognized that there was no substance in anything I had yet heard, and closed the page.

    Want me to see you as trustworthy? Get to the point, and value my time. Scammers rarely do either.

  41. David Jenkins Says:

    Pitty! So many of the respondents appear to be uninformed, misinformed and inexperienced. The Oxford Club is a club but it also is publishing company. They try to give good advice but you never lose sight of the fact that are always trying to sell newsletter subscriptions. I have been a member for many years and I have made my subscription costs back many times over! Try the Insider Alert and the Momentum alert. May you do as well as I have.

  42. Bill Moskowitz Says:

    I have reviewed some of the Oxford Club booklets, and can’t make a judgement based on experience. Yes, They do make money on interminable subscriptions. I have not seen where they actually sell or broker any particular stock, but they do go to great lengths to recommend and support a few specific ones. Bill Moskowitz

  43. Steve Says:

    I occasionally receive the Oxford Club emails. I have not yet subscribed to their newsletters or joined, but plan to do so today for $49...a promotional price. The Oxford Club has been reviewed and given high marks by many of the major financial publishing companies, including Forbes.

  44. Harvey Belote Says:

    I belong to the Oxford Club with a basic membership! I try to invest my money by gathering all the info I can and then make a decision based on what I have learned! Over the years I have discovered that nobody can manage my money better than I can so long as I research the investment to my satisfaction! The Oxford Club has provided me with good info and the times that I have followed their recomendations I have done well! They are not 100% right all the time but neither am I!!!

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