Warning, this snake is back, avoid, avoid

Article by Charlie Wright

By Jove! I do believe he’s back!

Yes, it’s our old friend Tony Simmons. A snake in the grass if ever there was one. 

I first wrote about him in January last year. If you remember, he was the creepy guy ringing people’s mobiles out of the blue… telling them he had a “special inside contact” in Ladbrokes… and that he was willing to pass on ‘dead cert’ tips.

Last January my reader responded angrily to him…

“I said I don’t know you from Adam. He gave me the name of the horse which won and he then constantly pestered me for money, even threatened to bring in people who collect money for him. As I had not agreed to place anything on the horse I ignored his calls and for the moment all is quiet.”
And indeed it has been quiet on the Simmons front… I’d actually forgotten all about him, believing it to be a one-off.

That was until a few weeks ago when I got another email about someone called Tony Simmonds. At first I didn’t realise it was the same Tony Simmons with a ‘d’ at the end of the name.

But after hearing the full story, I realised the pattern of behaviour was exactly the same.

He rang up another one of my readers, with the classic spiel about inside contacts, blah blah blah, ooops where’s me trousers.
Again, my reader said ‘No way’.

And again Simmons (or Simmonds!) offered a ‘dead cert’ tip. It was a freebie tip on the condition that my reader also placed a £50 bet for him at the same time.
My reader says:
“I did £50 for him and the same for me. It came in at 7/1. I sent him £350 in cash to his address in Worthing.”

Simmons then wanted £500 cash to play with for the next 10 races.

To prove his worth, he tipped another ‘dead cert’. It romped home at 9/1. From this my reader made another £560.

The next move Simmons made was to ask for an extra £250 to pay off his ‘insider’, who was apparently getting jittery.
So on and on it went.

Thing is, my reader didn’t end up out of pocket. He broke even from the whole affair. But of course Simmons had taken pretty much all of his winnings without risking any of his own money.

I’m sure there were other people he rang whose ‘dead cert’ bets lost and WERE out of pocket – and damned furious about it too I imagine.
My reader says:
“There are a few things which seem odd… his mobile has a nasty voice at the end, which he says is not his because he lent it to someone, and a few other things….”

I agree, he sounds dodgier than a jammy dodger riding a dodgem in Dodge City.
And here’s why…
How this ruse works

I don’t personally know this Mr Simmons or Simmonds, but please swear that you’ll hang up on him if you ever get the call. No matter how well his first tip does.
Don’t even LISTEN to that tip or if it wins he’ll then ring up, claiming you own him money and threatening to ‘get the boys round’… if you know what I mean.

He’ll give different tips on the same race to LOTS of people. Those that lose never hear from him again. Those that win start to suspect he really DOES have inside information.
He’ll then ask all of those winners for £500 cash…knowing that some of them will trust him enough to send him the money.

Each time he offers another tip for the prospect to bet on (with their own money). And each time the losers never hear from him again… while the winners are asked for MORE money.
This sounds to me like the old trick exposed by Derren Brown in a television special in 2008.

In the show he rang a very large group of people with different tips for a single race. Those who won their bets received another call with another selection. Again, Derren Brown tipped all the possibilities in the race to a large number of people.
He continued this process until there was one person left who had not lost a race during the whole process. She was so convinced by the ruse he got her to put her entire life-savings on a horse… which then lost.
How to protect yourself from this fraud

My advice is to ignore anyone who rings you out of the blue asking for money, bank details or private information. This goes any kind of sales spiel, sob story or unbeatable ‘win win’ proposition.

This especially goes for share tipsters and betting tipsters. Boiler room frauds are on the increase. And the miserable economic situation is bringing more of these snakes out of the long grass in the Biz Opp Jungle.
As a postscript, my reader sent me a final email this week:
“I still have not heard from Mr Simmonds. No answer. Mailbox full. He told me a little while ago he had a bad heart. Maybe he’s dead.”
Hmmm… ‘bad heart’ would sound about right. But not in the physical sense of the term. He’s probably hanging out, keeping a low profile til the next campaign.
And finally today…
Why you should avoid this Brighton address
While we’re on a horsey topic today, a reader sent me an interesting email.
“Re: shyster tipster.  I did receive glossy marketing material from all of these names a few years ago…All with the same theme… “give me your money and I will turn it into a million pounds in 3 weeks”… which made me suspicious.
But what was laughable was that the reply addresses for all these “offers” were all in what I would call the “slum” areas of Brighton – it was a dead giveaway really – I know, I used to lived in Brighton!

If you’re going for a con, at least use the best address in town! They should have taken lessons from ‘Hustle’.”
My reader is quite right. It ALL seems to be happening in Brighton at the moment, the current home-of-the-racing-tip-shyster!
Usually the clever scamsters use Cheltenham addresses to pretend they’re something to do with the racing establishment.
Perhaps that approach is old hat now. Who knows? Things move so fast in the biz opp jungle.

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