In 2016, a phenomenon called MMM swept through Nigeria, sucking people in with a promise of large returns (30%) within a very short period. All they had to do was put some money, any money, into the system.
Nigerians, our insatiable penchant for quick and easy money heightened by such a prospect, ploughed their hard-earned cash into the Ponzi scheme even though there was clearly neither good nor service to be invested in.
That combined folly lost Nigerians 18 billion naira according to the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Commission (NDIC). It also lost us a great deal of sense if development with more recent Ponzi schemes like Loom is anything to go by.
The Loom Boom
Despite copious warnings by the Central Bank (CBN), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and other reputable Nigerians, Loom Money Nigeria (Loom) still managed to attain something close to the kind of popularity MMM attained in 2016. Loom is however a more complicated platform which utilises WhatsApp chat groups for its operations. There are four hierarchies or levels in the Loom system – the Purple, Blue, Orange and Red. You advance from one level into the next higher one.
After joining a Loom WhatsApp group, you’ll be required to make an investment of between N1,000 and N13,000. Your returns will be 8 times your investment provided you invite at least one person to join the Loom. The maximum number of persons in a group at a time is 8. Once the 9th person comes along, the person(s) at the highest level of red cashes out on their investment and the group splits into two even as everyone gets promoted into the next level.
It could take as little as a few hours or as much as several weeks to complete a Loom depending on the marketing drive of the members. And the earlier the loom is completed, the earlier everyone can cash out.
It is complicated enough, even for me trying to explain it, but I’m sure it is a very simple process to the guys currently in the Loom. Problem is, that point would always come when less and less people are coming in and cash demand would outweigh supply and the system would crash.
It first happened with MMM and more recently with Loom. After MMM, Nigerians understood this but for many of them, the takeaway was: be among the early birds, do your business, get other people’s money as returns and get lost before it crashes.
While a lot of people continue to give testimonies about how they are making instant cash at the moment, a latter stage will almost always come when it would be all tears and regret. This post is for Nigerians wishing to avoid such a situation. Your best bet is to avoid Ponzi schemes all together. Thus, here are some currently active schemes you might want to avoid.
Twinkas was quite popular during its heyday. Founded in 2017, the quick money scheme quickly became a darling with its promise of 100% return on investment with absolutely no need for referrals, all in as short a time as 21 days. Twinkas boasts of four different packages, aligned with participants’ financial capacity.
First is the Classic Package which offers 10,000 for N5,000 investment. The second is the Professional Package which offers N20,000 for N10,000 input. Next is the Premium Package which offers 40,000 for an input of N20,000. Finally is the Ultimate Package in which you invest N50,000 to get N100,000.
While Twinkas describes itself as a scheme designed to provide humanitarian service to mankind, a participant, Aminat Alao Kareem thinks the only service the platform provides is a service of lies and deceit.
“Twinkas ate my 50k and 10k on the 2 packages I opened with them,” she says.
I got connected with someone who was referred to as an admin, he asked me to pay additional money for upgrade. When I’m not even sure my account still exists. Please you guys should stop taking us for fools.
Twinkas is still swinging.
MMM Cooperation Nigeria
While the real MMM might be dead and buried very much like its founder, Sergei Mavrodi, its name lives on. And nowhere else would you expect such a name to be more immortalised than in the ignoble business of Ponzi schemes itself. Thus, several such Ponzi schemes have emerged with that ‘hallowed’ first name, most popular and most active of them being the MMM Cooperation.
Founded in 2017, the cooperation describes itself as a community of ordinary people selflessly helping each other like the global fund of mutual aid. It further extols itself as a breath of fresh air in the “modern soulless and ruthless world of greed and hard cash”. It further explains that its goal is not the money but to “destroy the world’s unjust financial system”.
Its claims here are clearly bogus as is its promise of 50% return on investment in just a month. In this platform, the real MMM has found a worthy successor evidenced in how long it has lasted and how much people are rushing into it across the globe.
MMM Cooperation transacts strictly in cryptocurrencies especially Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and the rest. It also encourages members to engage in offline activities like distribution of flyers, arranging home visits etc.
Loopers (Millionaires) Club
Loopers Club describes itself as a multinational platform where members fund one another financially in their time of need. One user, however, describes them as “thieves” and “not sincere.” The reviewer, Beula Olaade, went on to explain that they “introduce priorities with ranking to steal people’s money.” The reason for such a negative review isn’t far-fetched.
In 2017, Loopers Club went into maintenance. When it returned, investor details had been wiped completely clean including amount invested and amount still in the system. Users were then asked to register and ‘loop’ or invest all over again within a few days or suffer a deleted account. While it left many investors reeling, the site is still up and in business as unsuspecting people are still flocking to it.
iCharity Club is another Ponzi Scheme that has raced to the consciousness of Nigerians. It describes itself as a smart and systematic peer-to-peer donation platform which enables members help each other. iCharity operates with levels and grades, the lowest being Grade 1. Grade 10 is the highest and the more donations you make, the higher up the spectrum you go until you hit the highest point. It also accepts donations in cash as well as cryptocurrency.
While iCharity is supposed to be a global platform, Nigerians have subdivided and brought it down to their own level. Called iCharity Nigeria, the registration/initial donation fee is N6,000 which must be paid not more than 2 days after registration. Payment automatically lands you in grade 1 and entitles you to five times your initial deposit, which is N30,000. But you can only get the cash after you bring in at least 3 other persons into the system.
Launched in 2017, Help Naija is a platform which takes advantage of the dire economic situation of the country to promise help for all Nigerians. Though not very popular, it nonetheless assures of 30% of your investment every 10 days of being paired with someone or some people. It also promises 10% fast transfer commission and 10% referral bonus on earnings made by people you bring in or the people they bring in.
Help Naija boasts of almost 40,000 users and operates on WhatsApp as well. It is attracting a lot of people looking to make easy money.
Paradise Payment Nigeria
Established in 2017, Paradise Payment Nigeria prides itself as a platform “developed by rich minded people’ to create legitimate means of generating wealth for everyone.
It is a strictly member to member donation platform and members make direct donations to other members without any third parties. It also offers ad credits for members to promote their businesses on the platform as well as commissions and a promise of ‘reputation and position within the community’ for referrals.
Joining, as with other schemes, is pretty easy. You can start with as low as 1,500 or as much as N10,000. Registration includes filling in several basic information like name, username, password, email, country etc. After joining, you will be required to login to your members area and then fill in bank details.
After that, you will be required to make a donation to become a Pro Member. This involves contacting the person you’re supposed to pay to and making the donation within 12 working hours (except on a weekend). When the person confirms receipt of your donation, you become a Pro Member and become eligible for advertising credits and referrals.
NNN Nigeria is another platform which derives its name, and probably its fame, from being a bastardisation of its mother, MMM. Its green colour also does a lot to attract Ponzi scheme enthusiasts to its platform.
NNN Nigeria describes itself as a harmless community where people help each other. It refers to itself as a technical platform which helps millions of participants worldwide to connect those who need help to those who are ready to provide help.
NNN works in as straightforward a way as its ancestor, MMM. Even the MMM term, Mavro, is reinvented as Navro. For starters, you have to register with basic information which includes bank details. Then you make a donation and wait for a week or thereabouts to be paired with another member who needs help. You then pay directly to the person’s account and display your proof of payment while the recipient confirms it.
After that, you become eligible for the sum you donated plus 35% interest, receivable only after 21 days, roughly the same MMM used to offer. NNN provides worst case scenarios which includes delay of payment, something the platform urges members to strive to avoid by working harder to bring more people in.
NNN Nigeria, very much like MMM Cooperation, is alive and well in Nigeria.
A recurring theme with Ponzi schemes is their claim of bringing people together to help each other, most of them directly. They operate smoothly for a while after their establishment until a glass ceiling is met and the operators suddenly shutdown, with billions of naira locked in the system. A lot of people being scammed won’t speak out for the shame of being scammed which leaves many more unsuspecting people vulnerable to these schemes.
But asides that, I discovered that many Nigerians are actively looking out for, and even advertising on behalf of new ponzi schemes. Which makes sense because most of them grow by referrals and the quicker you get more people into the system, the quicker you get paid. Nigerians themselves realise that get-money-quick schemes usually have very short life spans so they delve in, grab their share of quick cash in profits and dive right back out. The latecomers usually end up as victims.
A lot of these schemes move from domain to domain and page to page as part of their dubiousness. Thus it is typical to see them changing Facebook names, website domain names, domain upgrades and what have you. It is part of their modus operandi and Nigerians who don’t wish to be entangled with them should watch out for these signs. But then, as long as Nigerians will always be out for easy cash, Ponzi schemes will continue to thrive here.
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