They are called Omega Pro, Pepperdyne or FinariaFX and with the rise of cryptocurrency, they are swarming the net, promising mountains and wonders. Polynesia is not spared. The Financial Markets Authority even issued a warning, pointing the finger “the existence of proactive canvassing by the company Omega Pro Ltd on Polynesian territory“.
If these organizations deny making pyramid selling, their modus operandi “akin to the aggressive practices of network marketing (MLM) companies” adds the AMF.
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MLM, or multilevel marketing, consists of training salespeople who will in turn train newcomers, in order to earn commissions on the sales made by their referrals. But behind this name, the system is sometimes similar to a real Ponzi scheme and with the sole aim of recruiting new members to remunerate the old ones. And when the recruiting chain stops, the pyramid collapses. Result: only a handful of individuals at the top got rich.
Since the alert from the national financial policeman, these activities have been closely monitored by cybercrime investigators from the gendarmerie. “We will check if this company had a particular authorization in what it proposed. If it’s traditional trading and cryptocurrency trading, did she have permission? If she doesn’t have permission, it’s already complicatedexplains Pascal Aznar, cybercrime investigator. We will inform the person filing the complaint by saying that this company did not have authorization on the financial markets. And that person will be told that they injected money into a company that is not legal.”
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And when these companies go out of business, the victims are left to their fate. “It can exceed hundreds of thousands of francs. And in my case, it was even more than a million, underlines Me Adrien Huguet. The fact is that scammers, once convicted, usually find themselves ordered to pay millions in damages. But they are insolvent. They have nothing of their own. They often squandered everything.”
And to avoid being fooled, the AMF suggests applying a few rules of vigilance. “When you have companies that mix a bit of everything: traditional trading, the stock market and cryptocurrencies that are much harder to explain. It can’t be improvised. you have to have a minimum of knowledge” says Pascal Aznar. “Beware of promises of quick and unrequited gains. There is no high return without high risk. It’s easy to say ‘you will earn 1000 euros if you inject only 1500’. It’s wrong. Might as well play the Lotto and try to win one day in your life.”
For the editor of the Journal du coin, Hellmouth Banner, the simple association of cryptocurrency and network marketing should put a flea in the ear… “The mixture of network marketing and cryptocurrency, in all universes, existing or future, is systematically synonymous, at the very least, with loss of money for most players, and in many cases, with strict and pure scam. Network marketing, in a whole bunch of economic mechanics, is very relevant. Network marketing plus crypto – and in fact there is very rarely any crypto behind these systems – is always something dodgy.”