I know I have written already about pyramid scams and cited one case of Emgoldex, which is now under investigation, but since then, so many other clones of pyramid schemes have cropped up.
The latest one being investigated is OneDream Marketing headed by a certain Arnel Gacer who, as of this writing, could not be located by the authorities. Similar to previous pyramid schemes that SEC had warned about, One Dream people allegedly offered investment slots of PhP 888 with an exit or pay-out promise of PhP 1,300 after 4 days. A PhP 1,776 investment slot would result in a pay-out of PhP 2,517.60 and so on. Investors were also promised PhP 44 per investment slot for each recruit or direct referral they bring in.
I am alarmed because Facebook has become the social media site of choice to do recruitment activities. I have also seen Facebook friends singing praise to such investment schemes and talking about their pay-outs as well as encouraging others to join in. Apparently, they think that just because they got paid, the scheme must be legit. FAR FROM IT. Those early payouts are simply to legitimize an illegal activity and to encourage investors to plunk in even more. And sadly, those early payouts likely came from later recruits, possibly from their own family and friends’ investments.
Last July 4, on my Facebook account, I wrote this:
This is what people need to know about pyramid investment scams.
1. Some people will get paid as promised. These are the ones who are lucky to be on the TOP of the triangle. The scam will perpetuate because these very same people will be the ones to say the investment works. And their “proof” will unfortunately attract more people.
2. The investment scam will continue to be “viable” while people below are able to recruit as required (remember: 2 or more new recruits/investors for every investment is asked). Once people start breaking the recruitment chain or cannot recruit as required, the funds will slowly dry up. Those who won’t get paid as promised are the ones in the lower rungs of the triangle.
3. If you got paid, most likely your payment came from the investments of those recruited below you, not from company earnings from a legit business. This is the saddest part – earning from the hard-earned money of others.
4. What those on top need to watch for is this. Since you got your investment back, and more, you are likely to invest even more, thinking you will again get back a lot more. Those new investments put your funds at the lowest end of the triangle. Do you want to risk it?
Again, last July 22, I posted this on Facebook:
The SCAM is very clear and is repeated in similar forms by other firms (some named by SEC; others not yet named) and yet people keep believing it is the easy money way.
The scam works this way:
1. You invest by slots (amounts per slot may differ from one company to another)
2. For every investment slot, you have to recruit a certain no. of people
If anyone on my timeline has been offered such investment, please (if you value your hard-earned money), DO NOT INVEST!
If you are already invested, take it out asap and STOP RECRUITING! Whatever you have already received did not come from company income but from other recruits who are just as blinded because of the promise of huge earnings in just a few days. DON’T DRAG YOUR FAMILY & FRIENDS TO LOSE THEIR OWN MONEY.
Get-rich-quick schemes where the company has no known or viable way of earning what it promises to pay you is simply A SCAM. Stay away!
The way to protect yourself is NOT to wait for SEC to issue any advisory. Study the scheme of the company offering you investment opportunities and see if their business can indeed support the kind of earnings or payback they are offering you. If it is too good to be true, it usually is.
I will update the list below with the companies listed on the SEC website under their “SEC Advisories (Babala)” section as doing unauthorized investment-taking activities. (Caveat: This list may not be comprehensive and may not be updated on a real-time basis)