I’ve written before on my opinion of experts. I definitely think there are times when we need to seek out someone who knows more than us about a subject, but that certain professions cultivate this to a degree that’s detrimental to their clients. Beyond this, there are people who go even further and try to set themselves up as the guru on the mountain.
Gurus are particularly attracted to real estate, but you come across them in a number of areas. As well as writing up reviews of particular gurus, John T. Reed also provides general bullshit warning signs (most of which are applicable to gurus in any area).
I come across the occasional blog or website where the author is clearly trying to lay the groundwork to set themselves up as a guru. Sometime they provide tidbits of worthwhile information, but there seem to be a few glaring warning signs that I think should warn people off.
One of Reed’s points that has shown up in the early information in scams I’ve looked into is #44: Saying they only do it for the love of teaching and sharing their secrets. It’s amazing to me that people will describe how passionate they are about teaching others then charge a ridiculous premium for what they’re selling. Books, called courses, will sell for hundreds of dollars. Courses, called boot camps, will sell for thousands. Expensive monthly memberships provide a wonderful “passive income” FOR THE GURU.
If someone’s actions are so contradictory to their claims, it’s time to move carefully towards the door. Why would you trust the information being provided by someone is proving themselves to be dishonest with you from the start?
I was reminded recently of #1: Emphasis on luxurious lifestyle when I was on a woman’s site where she was selling her guru services. Her site talked about how wonderful it was to be rolling in dough, and showed pictures from around the world of her and her kids and their luxurious vacations. When I looked her up on Rip-Off Reports there was a litany of complaints about her (claiming she was charming and helpful until she got your check or credit card number). Digging further she has a criminal record of repeatedly defrauding friends and family.
Anyone can say they’re a millionaire. Anyone can post pictures of themselves next to fancy cars or in front of a mansion. I’ve never signed up with any guru (I see enough warning signs that scare me off well before I give them any money), but I imagine it gets harder to as you get deeper in with them. You have to realize you’ve made a mistake giving them cash, which makes it harder to see the ever more obvious warning signs.