Friday, 3 August 2018

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Why have they blacklisted me?

I need your help with my old bank. I had a credit card with them that I owed P2,080 that I had paid fully in November 2017. I was shocked yesterday when I went to my new bank to get a loan to be told I have been listed at CRB by the old bank on 24 January 2018. I went to the bank livid and I was told they don’t know what really happened and they wrote a letter for me to take to my new bank to assure them that they erroneously listed me at CRB. Théy promised to solve my issue first thing tomorrow morning. I couldn’t sleep last night wondering what the implication of being listed at CRB means for my credit rating because of someone else’s carelessness in their job. I want to know the implications even if they promised to remove me on Monday morning?

Let’s start by explaining how credit reference bureaus operate. They don’t “blacklist” people, unlike what most people will say. In fact, they record everything, both good and bad. They record when we get a loan or buy something on hire purchase, they record when we repay these commitments properly and also when we fail to do so. The recent financial history they hold on us is then used by lenders to help them decide whether to lend more money to us. There’s nothing wrong with this because it helps them to take the right decisions. It helps them to lend money to the people most likely to repay it and to avoid lending to people with a recent history of not meeting their obligations.

However, mistakes are obviously sometimes made. From what you say, it seems like your old bank clearly made a serious mistake when they recorded that you still owed them money. If it’s true it’s the responsibility of the bank to fix this problem by correcting your record so that this alleged debt completely disappears and that their mistake doesn’t disadvantage you in any way.

We’ll also get in touch with them to encourage them to move more quickly!

Should I attend the presentation?

I received an invitation from someone in Tanzania to attend a presentation in Gaborone and training on something called Magellan International run by a company called CGi Limited. Do you think this is genuine?

I think it’s a genuine scam.

CGI Limited now call themselves CGI Global and on their web site they suggest that they have interests in “Mobile Technology”, “Online Shopping” and, guess what, “Cryptocurrency Mining”. They even claim to have their own cryptocurrency that they call Betchip. They say that this is “a new digital coin to the market” and that it “can be used within the CGi economy in selected stores and services online.” They go on to suggest that recruits can buy them at “$1 per coin* and that there will be “a huge profitable opportunity when the coin will go as high as $10,000 or more” and that “all you need to make the profit out of Betchips is to invest now while stock last.”

However, there’s no evidence that any of this is actually true. There’s no evidence that this “Betchip” currency really exists and it’s certainly bizarre to think that a currency that doesn’t even exist can increase in value by up to 10,000 times. Yet again, this is a scam is exploiting public ignorance about cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.

Even though their web site is registered in the USA earlier this year, it’s strange that their web site says that their services are “not available in certain countries and territories including United States of America”. Also, almost all of the advertising seems to be focussed on Africa. This obviously conflicts with a post on their Facebook page which suggests that 52% of their visitors are from the USA and that “These are now seeing what we don't see!!!” Many things don’t add up.

The facts are quite simple. Any scheme that claims it can convert a $1 investment into $10,000 is a scam, almost certainly a Ponzi scheme. Any scheme that claims you can make fortunes from “investing” in a cryptocurrency is certainly a deception. Please don’t waste your time, effort and money on what is clearly a scam.

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