BY CHIJIOKE AGAPTUS
Over 100 thousands, mainly university and secondary students, teachers, unemployed, artisans, and pastors, across the country have been duped by scammers of the new Ponzi scam, known as affiliate marketing, Saturday Times, can authoritatively reveal.
Investigations carried out by our correspondent revealed that major victims are university and secondary students, applicants and their lecturers and teachers who are into online trading and marketing.
The victims who spoke to Saturday Times described the scheme as a new Ponzi that has gradually taken over the internet fraud simply known as Yahoo Yahoo scam.
Most of the Yahoo Boys are now moving from the normal internet romance, banking, fake alerts, cyberpunk, cyber stocking, hacking scams and other online related crimes to the new scheme called Affiliate Marketing trading.
Ponzi schemes, is defined as fraudulent investment operations that pay out returns to investors from money paid in by subsequent investors rather than from any actual profit earned from the operation of a business.
Recall that early this year, the CEO of cryptocurrency platform, EminiFX, one Eddy Alexandre, was charged with running a Ponzi scheme that duped investors of $59 million.
They created fake wallets and exchanges and trick many users into making cryptocurrency transfers.
The victims believed they are making a huge investment but end up being duped
A victim, a student of one of the universities in South West, Nigeria Agbarakwe Okechukwu, said his investment in one of the Affiliate Marketing online platforms (name withheld), duped him of his N100,000, school fees, he invested in the affiliate marketing trades that he was supposed to “cash out” but three months down the line, the withdrawal portal is on red, stating that his earning is ‘PENDING’, a language common with the scam.
According to our source, the affiliate marketing runs thus: A group of people or ‘guys’ could decide to come together to form a new business platform that involves affiliate marketing trades.
He said the group of racketeers identified as Chief Executive Officers, (CEOs), would create a platform on social media including Facebook, Whatsapp, X, Telegram, and others to run the scam.
He disclosed that after creating such platforms, they go about adding other people phone numbers to grow the group.
Investigations carried out shows that the “Board of Directors” would also create their own Whatsapp group and add so many contacts on the channel and after this was done, they then organise online tutorial class on the platform where they give details of the “business” that they want to float.
However, immidiately they had carried out the tutorial class online after gotten handful of attention from their would be victims, or clients as the case may be, especially those interested in the alleged business, the next thing was to tell the clients to pay their registration fees to be able to be part of the business ventures as partners.
It was gathered that the Board of Directors who created the platforms would edit an image of the business earning structures.
From what our correspondent was shown, the registration fees start from N5000, only, registration bonus is N3000, only, Login bonus is paltry N250, only Referral earnings is only N500, and other charges as case may be.
According to our source, who in the past three months lost close to N3000, 000, amount of what he supposed to withdraw from the withdrawal portal, the Board of Directors are defrauding their clients and investors who deposited or invested their school fees, feeding allowances and money for books into the affiliate marketing trades.
According to him, the initial offer of the Board of Directors was just to create plans for students to be making money.
He said the plan was to encourage students and people to invest by offering a high level rate of interest, using their money to pay earlier investors who are themselves the Business Administrators or (ADMINS), with the password codes of the platform.
According to our source, if the Board of Directors, (BD), were not satisfied with enough new investors or depositors, those who recently invested lose the money they had invested.
He explained that in essence, once the Board of Directors refer all clients in the platform, that’s the WhatsApp channels or other platforms, they earn the referral earnings.
Arithmetically, if the social media platform consists of about 365 members and they refer all 365 members, with N2,500, per referral, multiple it by N2, 500, the Board of Directors, go home with N912,500.
It was learned that once they get such massive income, they will then fix a date of withdrawal for their clients.
Investigations carried out also showed that immidiately the date of withdrawals reach, the Board of Directors would first withdraw their N912,500, then being the ADMIN, shut down the market site.
Our source stressed out that once a client now a victim of the scam, reached his or her own minimum withdrawal limit and as you click on to withdraw the withdrawal portal will sent you a message: that “the withdrawal request you placed is PENDING”.
Another victim, a student of Imo State University, Owerri, said the withdrawal you placed would keep being on a PENDING mode till God knows when adding that after a weeks or months of being pending,
it would then be clear to you that it’s all a scam.
According to our sources, the Board of Directors or the CEOs, would have earn from the registration fees you paid to them and the referrals they got from adding their victims to the platforms.
He alleged that such platforms are GOLDEN BOX, IGREEF, ASTRO TECHNOLOGY, EARNINGESTATE, NOVEUSTECH, MEGA PAY and many others emerged after the crash of MMM. Others are Loom, Twinkas, Donation Hub, Get Help Worldwide, Smile2Charity, Ultimate Cycler, Givers Forum, I-Charity, Crowd Raising, Clarrita, and Help2Get.
An operative of the Special Fraud Unit, SFU, at 13 Milverton Avenue, Ikoyi, Lagos, told our correspondent that such fraud are yet to be reported to the office adding that he cannot confirm until he sees a victim of such fraud.
He said that it’s not new in Nigeria, adding that CBN, and other security agencies have warned Nigerians of such crimes.
Attempt to get the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to speak wasn’t successful.
Meanwhile, many students are losing their school pocket money to the new online fraudsters known as “CEOs and Board of Directors” in the affiliate marketing trading.