Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Radio show notes - week beginning 25th June 2018

Source: Wikipedia
1. Tender scams

We've heard from several people who received invitations to supply goods apparently from various parts of the Government of Botswana or from parastatals such as BPC, Botswana Railways and PPADB. The most recent one seemed to come from MMEWR.

The documents attached are very professional looking with the right sort of language, often naming real people in the organisations and with authentic-looking signatures.

The documents then give a link to a supplier of the necessary goods in South Africa. This has a respectable-looking web site and what appear to be genuine contact details. When the victim contacts this apparent supplier they are asked to send a deposit to secure the relevant goods. That's what this is all about. It's actually an advance fee scam. The supplier is fake, the address either unknown or for someone else, the web site often created just a few days beforehand and the only number that works is a cellphone number.

So we've heard from victims before they sent the "deposit" but we heard of one victim who had sent P200,000 and was now desperately trying to get his bank to reverse the transaction. I suspect he's too late.

There are clues if you look carefully. This isn't actually how government or parastatals procure things. They don't approach total strangers giving them business. The web sites are too new. The only working numbers are cellphone numbers. In at least one case the email domain that sent the documents wasn't correct.

If you receive one fo these emails the first thing you should do is contact the Ministry or parastatal's procurement department (using the landline number in the phonebook, not the one given in the documents emailed to you) and ask them if it's true. But it won't be.

2. Nexus Global – another pyramid scheme (again)

Ads are appearing on Facebook for Nexus Global suggesting that if you attend their presentations at hotel in Mogoditshane every week you'll "Learn how to turn P800 into P13,000 every Monday".

They suggest that this is something to do with "Botswana Bitcoin Mining" but when I contacted some of the people shown in the advertisement the story was a little different.

I asked whether it's "really possible to make P13,000 from just P800 every week? How does it work?"

"Thato" responded by saying "Yes it's possible but you need to recruit people".

"Nelson" told me that "There is too much money to be made in recruiting people! We have the Binary system whereby you recruit and start earning 10% commission to your wallet immediately.”

Section 9 of our new Consumer Protection Act, 2018 defines a pyramid scheme as a scheme "where participants in the scheme receive compensation derived primarily from their respective recruitment of other persons as participants".

Nexus Global are a self-defined pyramid scheme.

3. Can this be true?

In comes a message:
"For the past two weeks I’ve been getting calls from a lady claiming to be in UK. She says I must deposit P3,500 pula and earn 200% through Forex. Is it a scam Richard Harriman? Their number isn't answered."
Section 9 of the the new Consumer Protection Act, 2018 says that:
"A person shall not directly or indirectly promote, or knowingly join, enter or participate, or cause any other person to promote, join, enter or participate in… a multiplication scheme."
A multiplication scheme is defined as:
“an arrangement, agreement, practice or scheme where a person offers, promises or guarantees to a participant an effective annual interest rate that is above the market rate”
The calls came from a company calling itself Finmarket and gave a phone number starting with +44 which suggests it's in the UK. However, the company is actually based in Cyprus where the numbers start with +357.

Finmarket's web site warns people that:
"Trading carries risk and could result in the loss of your entire capital. You should not risk more than you are prepared to lose."
Given the high pressure sales approach, the fact that forex trading is a VERY high risk pastime, I'd suggest you give Finmarket a miss.

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