Ponzi scheme got its name from Charles Ponzi who made an elaborate scam in the 1920’s. It is closely related to pyramid schemes which operates a business model that recruits members via a promise of payments or services for enrolling others into the scheme. Some multi-level marketing schemes falls into this category.
Over time, people all over the world have fallen victims to one or multiple of such get rich quick schemes; which often comes, disguising itself as an investment opportunity.
Some of them that rocked Nigeria and robbed Nigerians are;
Top of the list is ofcos МММ a Russian based ponzi by late Sergei Mavrodi.
As a result of the economic recession which befell the Nigerian economy and by default Nigerians, various uncertified financial platforms or schemes (Ponzis) came into the scene promising financial freedom amidst the economic downturn and thereby gained massive attraction across the country.
One of the most popular was MMM, a Russian originated widely spread ponzi scheme which has a huge number of victims to its discredit!
It promised participants 30% returns on investment on whatever amount they invest.
The interesting thing about MMM is that even though reports abound of how it scammed members in other country, people were still participating, hoping to cash-out before it crashes, which suddenly happened in December 2016. It however re-opened in 2017 adding a crypto currency twist but it never gained momentum.
Twinkas was one of the most popular ponzi scheme that rocked Nigeria as the need to have an alternative means of income during the periods of 2016 when the economic downturn was giving Nigeria a hard time was been sorted for by all and sundry.
Ultimate Cyclers was said to be owned by a an American and it was reported to have gone through several name changes.
With the sudden pause of MMM accounts on December 2016, this scheme boomed only to go out of service and subsequently shut down just within a couple of months of its existence.
Claritta was a Member-to-Member Donation and Referral Platform. It was one of the schemes that came in after the MMM saga in December 2016, but just like some of the Ponzi Schemes that came and the site disappeared, it subsequently followed same route leaving many helpless in loss of their money.
Get help Worldwide
Get help Worldwide is a crowdfunding scheme which promises investors 30 % – 50% returns monthly. The 30% is if you want payment in local currency while the 50% is payment with Bitcoin.
This scheme claimed that it was attacked by wanna Cry Virus, (this is quite an unfortunate excuse as this type of virus does not affect a website rather it attacks Microsoft Windows operating system). What the virus does is to encrypt data and corrupt your system and lock it down and demand for ransom payment in bitcoin to release your computer. It is a mystery how Ghwx is the first website to be attacked by this virus. They claim this virus was from competitors who want them gone as more investors are joining them. They bottomline is that virus or no virus, they ended up as expected of every ponzi scheme.
Recently in Nigeria the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, recovered over Two Hundred Million Naira, from Swiss Golden Investment.
This was after the Commission received petition from thousands of complainants who alleged that they invested in Swiss Golden Investment without receiving the profits or recovering their capital.
Although they claim not to be a get rich quick ponzi scheme, they portray the characteristics of it.
Why we brought all this in retrospect
Despite the financial heartbreaks many have suffered as a result of schemes that scooped their hard earned resources out of their pockets, many similar schemes, repackaged with different names and mode of operations, looking so genuine and trustworthy are all over the internet, enticing people to join.
Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it’s probably too good to be true.
Be cautious of involving your money in unverified ventures, look before you leap, check out the underlying activities of any scheme before you join and consult your financial advisor to get an upper hand view before you go into any form of investment.