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Authorities to battle more ponzi schemes as ‘MMM’ faces relegation

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By Okoronkwo Chuks

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), Nigeria Insurance Corporation (NDIC), are set to fight more ‘ponzi’ schemes in the country as Mavrodi Money Movement, MMM, moves to relegation stage.

It is no longer news that online money making Ponzi schemes have taken over Nigeria’s cyberspace with an aggressive popularity on daily basis. These online portals were in low number in the middle of 2016 with less visibility and popularity until SEC made their first warning against the premier ponzi scheme MMM Nigeria late August.

The warning by SEC was supposed to relegate the growing popularity of MMM Nigeria but surprisingly the warning turned out to be a free advertisement for MMM. SEC’s warning was followed by CBN calling MMM a “wonder bank.”

The move by CBN was followed by NDIC warning members of the public not to patronize such investment schemes.

The more these government agencies dish out warnings and cautions, the more MMM Nigeria gains more sympathy from Nigerians. Then finally House of Representatives ordered a probe into MMM Nigeria, a move that broke the internet with an attendant protest and warnings from loyal participants.

Right now the authorities no longer have to contend with only MMM Nigeria, but a whole lot of them which have conveniently found their way into Nigeria’s Cyberspace.

According to an online dictionary, Wikipedia, ‘A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investment operation where the operator, an individual or organization, pays returns to its investors from new capital paid to the operators by new investors, rather than from profit earned through legitimate sources.’

 Operators of Ponzi schemes usually entice new investors by offering higher returns than other investments, in the form of short-term returns that are either abnormally high or unusually consistent.

 Mavrodi Money Movement is part of the MMM Global community, a Russian Ponzi scheme dated back to 1989.

The scheme promises a 30 percent return on investment to members. A message on the site’s home page reads: ‘This is a community of ordinary people, selflessly helping each other, a kind of the Global Fund of mutual aid. This is the first sprout of something new in modern soulless and ruthless world of greed and hard cash. The goal here is not the money. The goal is to destroy the world’s unjust financial system.

Ultimate Cycler is second most popular online money making Ponzi scheme in Nigeria, currently it is ranked in alexa.com as the 15th most visited site in Nigeria. The founder Peter Wolfing is United States based network marketer. When you register, you will need to donate the sum of N12,500 to a fellow member and the person will then confirm your donation.

Givers forum is one of the top online money making Ponzi schemes in Nigeria just like MMM Nigeria, Ultimate Cycler, i-charity, crowd rising etc. With the increasing rate of new Ponzi schemes in Nigeria today, one can only imagine how long these schemes will trend on the web.

The domain giversforum.net was registered on 17th October 2016 and it is already the 47th most visited site in Nigeria as at today, this goes to show how popular givers forum has become and it is the 4th most popular ponzi scheme in Nigeria.

GIVERS FORUM is a community of givers, people who provide each other financial help on the principle of “Give, it shall be given unto you, good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over…” In GIVERS FORUM you don’t have to make contracts or pledge your property, there are no lenders and no debtors.

The only thing that GIVERS FORUM demands from its participants is to be honest and kind to each other. You ask for financial help when you need it, you give financial help when you are able to do it.

Zar fund (zarfund.com): Zar fund is the 3rd most popular Ponzi scheme in Nigeria, currently ranking as the 57th most visited website in Nigeria as at today.

 The scheme is founded by Hannes Jordaan, an online entrepreneur living in South Africa. Zarfund help with direct funding for your financial needs. With this program you are just a click away from financial freedom, the statement on the its website affirm convincingly.

After joining your level 1 upline’s referral link, you pay your upline 0.03btc per month to be in a position to receive the same from each of your level 1 downlines. This is followed by receiving the same amount from each of the two people you recruited. This initiates a chain such that with enough collection of funds from your level 1 downline you get to upgrade to level 2 in the same manner you joined. This process keeps expanding and helps you gain enough money in a convenient way.

 Icharity (icharity.club): This is the 5th most popular ponzi scheme in Nigeria, currently ranking on alexa.com as 71st most visited website in Nigeria. International Charity Club (iCharity Club) is an International network of donors. iCharity. Club is a peer-to-peer donation platform for members to help other members in a systematic way. By using this platform, member can give and receive donations from each other. It is open to everybody, anywhere in the world can join this program.

The major difference between iCharity.Club and other networks is that iCharity.Club platform allows members to donate directly to each other (peer-to-peer) while other networks allow members to donate to each other through a central system (peer-to-server). This is why it has been very difficult for people to succeed in other networks being that every payment goes into a central system which further decides who to give, when to give and how to give members money.

Crow Rising (crowdrising.net): This is relatively new in the online Ponzi Scheme market in Nigeria, although it currently receive low traffic as it ranks at 143rd most visited site in Nigeria. The system was designed in such a way that it can be used by Fundraisers, such as for Charities, Schools, Clubs, Churches, non-profits, family, and personal financial needs etc., etc. The donations are NOT collected by the Administrator, nor are they automated by the system, rather donations are sent directly and personally from one member to another member, from one member’s payment processor to another member’s payment processor.

Get help worldwide is also one of the trending mutual fund peer-to-peer donation portal in Nigeria today. The scheme has only been in existence since August 2016 and it already having a major share in the mutual fund community.

It is simply an online Community where people are helping each other Financially Directly with No Third Parties Involved, whatever Help you give to someone financially grows by 30 percent if in Local currency or 50 percent if in Bitcoin in 30 days.

e-Cooperative.online: The influx of pyramid schemes and multi-level marketing in Nigeria took the internet by a storm, within the space of about 4 months a lot of them sprang up, many of them with similar model, which is promising a certain percentage on capital donated.

The Central Bank of Nigeria had in September 2016, warned Nigerians to be careful of any deposit money institution that is not insured by the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC).

According to the acting Director of Corporate Communications, Mr. Isaac Okoroafor, “At times like this when the economy has suffered some decline, Nigerians should be very careful with those they deal with. Any institution that is not licensed by the CBN to accept deposits should not be given money to keep under any guise,” he advised.

In an effort to combat it, the acting chairman of EFCC, Ibrahim Magu and Mournir Gwarzo, the chairman of SEC, recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding for cooperation and agreed to pull resources to attack Ponzi schemes in the country.

As at the time of writing this report, none of the promoters have been apprehended or punished by any of the regulatory bodies.

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