What “Boiler Room” teaches you about scams

Matthew Partridge looks at the lessons investors can learn from the film "Boiler Room".

930_MW_P29_Profile_Bottom

D5RF44

Boiler Room (2000) is a film starring Giovanni Ribisi and Vin Diesel (pictured), set inthe world of underground brokerages (also known as boiler rooms). To the distaste of his father, college dropout Seth (Ribisi) makes a living by running an illegal casino in his house. One of his customers persuades him to apply for a job at brokerage JT Marlin.

Seth quickly learns the brokerage is a scam, selling penny stocks in dubious companies to investors using high-pressure sales techniques. Disillusioned, Seth tries to set up a scheme to destroy the brokerage, which backfires, leading tohis father and him facing arrest.

The key moment

Lessons for investors

Being scammed by a boiler room isn't the end of the pain for some victims, who are then approached by people posing as "asset recovery firms". The companies inform their victims that they have been cheated, but promise that they can recoup the losses incurred in return for an upfront fee. Naturally, once the money is paid over, neither the firm nor the cash are ever seen again.It should go without saying that you should avoid anyone who makes such an offer.

Recommended

Rob Arnott: Covid's hidden investment opportunities
Investment strategy

Rob Arnott: Covid's hidden investment opportunities

Merryn talks to Rob Arnott of Research Affiliates about some of the unexpected consequences of Covid and their opportunities for investors, plus the "…
24 Sep 2021
University spin-outs: where to find companies involved in cutting-edge science
Share tips

University spin-outs: where to find companies involved in cutting-edge science

Universities are innovation incubators and often launch businesses involved in fast-growing fields ranging from biotechnology to artificial intelligen…
24 Sep 2021
Investing in football clubs: how you can profit from the beautiful game
Share tips

Investing in football clubs: how you can profit from the beautiful game

Football clubs may often be money pits for oligarchs, but they are also huge global brands, says John Chambers – and investors are now starting to rec…
24 Sep 2021
I wish I knew what contagion was, but I’m too embarrassed to ask
Too embarrassed to ask

I wish I knew what contagion was, but I’m too embarrassed to ask

Most of us probably know what “contagion” is in a biological sense. But it also crops up in financial markets. Here's what it means.
21 Sep 2021

Most Popular

Two shipping funds to buy for steady income
Investment trusts

Two shipping funds to buy for steady income

Returns from owning ships are volatile, but these two investment trusts are trying to make the sector less risky.
7 Sep 2021
Should investors be worried about stagflation?
US Economy

Should investors be worried about stagflation?

The latest US employment data has raised the ugly spectre of “stagflation” – weak growth and high inflation. John Stepek looks at what’s going on and …
6 Sep 2021
The times may be changing, but don’t change how you invest
Small cap stocks

The times may be changing, but don’t change how you invest

We are living in strange times. But the basics of investing remain the same: buy fairly-priced stocks that can provide an income. And there are few be…
13 Sep 2021