NYT Honorable Mention Winner

When I received my first scam call, I was disgusted. The person was calling about “my” car warranty, but I didn’t even own a car. From then on, I have passionately hated people who try to exploit others for their own benefit, as they do nothing but annoy us.

My focus on the more obvious scams drew me away from the more subtle schemes that headlines often present. After seeing “Robinhood Has Lured Young Traders, Sometimes With Devastating Results,” I was intrigued by another way people are being deceived.

Nathaniel Popper describes the misfortunes of Richard Dobatse, a victim of the trading platform Robinhood’s misleading marketing. As an inexperienced investor, Dobatse was first drawn to the company by its free trading. The platform then provided false advice and tricked him into investing in risky ventures, such as options. Oblivious to the concealed risks, Dobatse and other investors lost their money.

The backlash Robinhood received for its deception reminded me of the lawsuits Tesla faced back in 2019. Similar to Robinhood, the automaker Tesla was sued for intentional misrepresentation when it mislabeled its car’s features as “Autopilot” and “Self-Driving”, causing accidents by giving users the impression that their cars were autonomous. When I learned of Robinhood, it surprised me that people even devised these schemes in the first place. Do they not feel shame? With opportunities constantly presenting themselves, people need morals.

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