This is a review of Kevin Trudeau’s well-known book: “Free Money ‘They’ Don’t Want You To Know About.” First a confession: we fully expected to just slam this book with negative comments. But we have read it all the way through and admit it has a few good points. That said, we certainly have some concerns and some warnings to share.
Trudeau has just been sentenced to 10 years in jail for criminal contempt. The judge stated in his opinion that since Trudeau was 25 years old he has been trying to “cheat others for his own personal gain.” His sentence was related to a 2004 court order meant to stop him from creating infomercials designed to mislead the public about his books about weight-loss methods. He violated that court order and not only kept making misleading claims but also kept airing the infomercials.
With that said here is our review of Trudeau’s “Free Money” Book — The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. We leave it to you to decide if you think there is enough there to be worth shelling out $25 or so for it…
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Update May 2018 Before we begin our review we thought it appropriate to update the current status of Mr. Trudeau. He is still serving his prison sentence in a federal prison in Alabama. According to Wikipedia, though, you might still be seeing late night tv infomercials featuring Trudeau and selling his books. Apparently these are being paid for and run by an undisclosed business. Buyer Beware. Don't be fooled into thinking that Trudeau has been exonerated or that you won't still run into the problems that previous purchasers have and which they detail on lots of negative reviews of this particular book.
Free Money Book: The Good
We have to hand it to Trudeau: he is clever and he knows how to hype a book. His cover is perfect for capturing attention on Amazon and other sales sites. He intrigues you with his title about how some mysterious “they” don’t want you know about the alleged secrets he is going to share with you. And he is a pro at putting together an infomercial as well as getting himself on talk shows.
There is a wide range of views about this book and its author. Though you should be wary of reviews that might be placed by the author or by competitors, when there is an abundance of negative reviews that is something to cause concern. Trudeau’s books get pretty low ratings on the Consumer Affairs website. And this is a website that requires contact information from reviewers to be sure they are real and most are verified. And they use a combination of human readers to check reviews and intelligent software to ensure review integrity. If you do decide to order the book over the phone, beware of upsetting pressure and shipping and handling charges…
So he’s an excellent marketer and we suppose that can be a plus. With regard to the book itself, it is quite complete on the subject of “free money”. Though it is pretty basic information that you can get elsewhere, his team has done a lot of research and put it together in one place for you. We found the most benefit in a few resources we were not aware of. These include:
- He does a pretty thorough job of itemizing tax credits you should be aware of, though he fails to mention economical programs like Turbo Tax which will ask you all the right questions necessary to be sure you get your maximum deduction.
- He makes it clear that to find pensions you may be entitled to you need to visit pbgc.gov/search (though he stretches that fact into a 4-page chapter….).
- He provides potentially useful information on a website that will help you discover any unpaid military insurance benefits for yourself or relatives: www.insurance.va.gov.
- He provides a brief section on how much money you can make by buying and “flipping” homes that have been foreclosed on. He doesn’t, however, tell you just how to do that, and if you’re hard up for cash that may not be a path you’re able to take….
- However – and this is a big “however”: The man is in jail. A judge ruled he's been trying to cheat people for personal gain for years. His books include supposedly amazing secrets for losing weight (ever heard that before?) and for taking care of all your debts. We have seen many complaints from people trying to do business with his company. And even though some of the information in the book is useful, it cannot be kept up to date without a new printing. That is unlike online sources (like this one) that is constantly updating, looking for new “free money” opportunities, and sharing it with you at no cost..
Free Money Book: The Bad
We ordered this book through Amazon so did not run into any problems. Be aware, however, that if you order in response to an ad you are likely to get your costs driven up with various extra charges. There are lots of complaints documented online about experiences like this. If you still want to try it out, read on for our not so great findings:
Our most basic complaint about this book is that the information is all available for free on the internet (which Trudeau rightfully calls “the greatest tool of all”). You might have to spend some time finding it but sites like this one that you are on right now contain pretty much all the information that is in Trudeau’s book. All you have to do is go to the bottom of any page on this site, click the index, and choose whatever topics you find most interesting and promising. All for free.
Our second complaint is the extent to which he stretches information simply to increase the number of pages in the book. Things that could be said in a sentence or two go on for pages and constitute entire chapters. If you are short on patience you will quickly tire of the author carrying on endlessly about how exciting it is that all this free money is out there and how excited he is that he is going to help you find it. The mysterious “they” in the title of the book — those people who somehow want to keep you from learning all this information (along with the information of several of his other books) is simply a ploy to get you to buy the book to learn the “secrets”. There is no plot to keep you poor or short on cash, and nobody benefits from it. The one place we do have some concerns is about missing money, which you can read more about in our discussion about who’s really making money from your missing money. But in general, Trudeau’s claim is simply a marketing gimmick.
Speaking of missing money, this is an area where Trudeau gets things wrong. We assume that is the result of poor research rather than malicious intent, but the lack of accurate research is a efinite concern. He sings the praises of missingmoney.com over and over again and says that it is run by the NAUPA, a professional organization with state finance office representatives. This is not true. He does not explain any of the limitations of the site or mention that there are quite a few states that choose not to participate. In going on about bank accounts and other missing money sources he creates long sections by simply quoting what the NAUPA has on its website. So the book is longer, but there is no original information here. (This technique is used in other parts of the book as well.) You will learn a lot more “secrets” and interesting tips about missing money and how to really find it in our discussion about missingmoney.com.
Another major concern is the fact that so much of the information in this book is already out of date. These are fast-changing areas and it is impossible to quickly update a book without creating (and charging for) a whole new edition. Trudeau addresses this by repeatedly encouraging you to subscribe to his newsletter so you stay up on the latest…for a price of course. Or – you can simply visit a free website (like the one you are on….) and read the free monthly newsletter with all the latest on helping you find more income.
Free Money Book: The Ugly
Did we mention that Trudeau is in jail? For 10 years. For criminal contempt, and for purposely misleading people to increase his own wealth. We really can’t get past that. We are kind of sorry that we paid for his book but we are happy if we can help you save your money.
Judge Orders Refunds: In mid-2016 the Federal Trade Commission sent checks to buyers who had purchased Trudeau’s book about weight loss. To give you some idea how much money he’s been making, the checks totaled more than $6 million. Prosecutors claim he is still hiding quite a bit of money, as he took the fifth repeatedly (like hundreds of times) when questioned during trials about where his money is. Some of the money was finally found and that money was used to make the payout to consumers. We’ve found no indication that such refunds would be made for his “Free Money” book. The issue there is not so much misleading information as it is luring people to pay for information they can easily find for free. For example, check out our articles titled Free Money, Free Government Money, Free Money 2015 and Free Money 2016.
You should also seriously think twice before investing any hard-won cash into other Trudeau books such as “Cures ‘They’ Don’t Want You to Know About’”. This book touts natural “cures” with no proven scientific value despite their claims. These claims are also known as CAM — or Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Though highly questionable coursework in this area is offered at many colleges, including the so-called medical school Global College of Natural Medicine (no high school diploma required to enroll — just get a 60% or higher score on an admission exam. Yikes. Steer clear of the such schools and this book!
Update July 2016 If you're tempted by this book even though you can get the information free (and updated) on the web – and on this site – you might want to look at some others that could be more useful. One that caught our attention is “Almost Free Money: How to Make Significant Money on Free Items That You Can Find Anywhere, Including Garage Sales, Scrap Metal, and Discarded Items.” There are people who actually make some decent cash by buying or finding and reselling items either online or at their own garage sales. This book, according to its reviews, gives you some great tips and advice about how you can do that too. The paperback edition is cheap and you can also get it online.
Updtate May 2016: What’s the latest on Kevin Trudeau? He appealed his conviction for fraud but earlier this year (2016) the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago rejected that appeal. They concluded that he was rightfully found guilty of willfully violating a consent order and continuing to make false claims in his book about weight loss. He is in jail at a minimum security prison in Montgomery, Alabama and won’t be eligible for release until July of 2022.
Update on Kevin Trudeau, January 2016: Trudeau is still in prison as of January 2016. He has served 10 months of his sentence for contempt of court which he claims is completely unjust. It looks like he is continuing his questionable money-making methods by providing a new training course called the “Science of Personal Mastery.” A price is not listed but apparently you get it for free if you donate to his legal defense fund. He appears to have a number of followers but the comments on his page reflect a curious lot. We would advise proceeding with caution if you wish to support him….
We also are passionate about helping you find all the additional income you can, whether it comes from the government or from other sources! And we do that for free. Check back here often, take a look at out our newsletter each month, and check out all the topics in our index as well as in our summary of past Free Money newsletter issues.