Some would-be advisor puts a logo on some fancy stationery...

Some would-be advisor puts a logo on some fancy stationery and sends out 32,000 stock letters to potential investors. The letters tell of his company's elaborate computer model, his financial expertise and inside contacts. In 16,000 letters he predicts the index will rise, in the other 16,000 he predicts a decline. A follow-up letter is sent, but only to the 16,000 people who initially received the correct prediction. To 8,000 of them, a rise is predicted for the next week; to the other 8,000, a decline. This is iterated a few more times, until 500 people have received six straight correct predictions. These 500 people are now reminded of this and told that in order to continue to receive this valuable information they must contribute $500. If they all pay, that's $250,000 for our advisor. excerpted from John Allen Paulos (2001). Innumeracy.