As I delved deeper into Craigslist for job opportunities, another ad caught my eye: “Find Financial Freedom through Wise Investing,” titled “Earn 10% – 30% ROI passively (New York)” – an example of Online Investment Scams. (archive).
At first glance, it was very interesting, offering a free webinar link that was scheduled for the same day and the upcoming days ahead. What did I have to lose?
It seemed amazing that they were going to teach me how to make a profit that I could withdraw and use daily. So, I opened the link and was directed to a site which required nothing from me but a simple registration for the free webinar. All seemed well, but as I’m now very skeptical about every detail, I decided to look deeper into this site. (archive)
The first red flag I noticed was right in front of me: my browser alerted me that the domain was unprotected by SSL. The site lacked an encrypted connection with me, which could potentially lead to the theft of information I might provide to them , such as my card details, personal information, address, etc .
This was a significant red flag at the beginning of my investigation.
As I scrolled through the website, I saw two names that were supposed to be the hosts of the webinar and our speakers: Mike Lucas and Mike Donaldson. They both seemed acceptable, but their pictures appeared a little suspicious to me.
Why would these two nice guys run an unprotected website?
So, I searched for the images and found that their pictures were stolen from other sites, and they were associated with a real person whose image had been uploaded back in 2014.
Well, they were fake .
Now it’s time to dig deeper into understanding what this is and why they’re advertising such an event online. I’ve searched the website they provided on Google and noticed it referenced in a few YouTube videos as previously operated webinars and live Zoom meetings, which were uploaded on YouTube to attract others. In the description of one video, I found a website where they’re talking about. (archive)
So, I finally got the source of the promised profits that they were discussing in their online webinar.
Because of referral programs, sites like these encourage people to share their referral link with others, allowing them to earn a share from others’ investments.
In this video, he did the same and shared his referral link in the video’s details. Now we have the main site; let’s see what it is and why it offers significant profits to investors.
I created an account with the link I’ve found. On this specific site, I could only create an account with a referrer, and if I couldn’t find one or if someone hadn’t provided me with one, I couldn’t sign up. Fortunately, the profit-seeking guy on YouTube gave me a key to access the website.
Now I’m in, and I see its dashboard. The very first thing you can learn about this site from the FAQ is that they’re working with USDT and cryptocurrencies. This choice makes it obvious that you can’t easily sue them later if you send them crypto.
In the packages section, I can see four packages with a minimum investment value that returns daily profits for me.
So, the only thing I need to do is send them money to receive profits.
It’s clear that we’re witnessing a Ponzi scheme with a fixed rate of return.
Let me break this down for you, a Ponzi scheme is something like a circle where your investment returns actually come from new people joining the circle and investing after you.
The circle keeps going as long as new people keep getting fooled and investing money. But eventually it falls apart when there aren’t enough new people to pay the earlier investors. When that happens, new investors are going to lose all their money.
Let’s make a final look to see who’s really behind this project and complete our investigation.
The “About Us” section of their site shows a guy named Jensen Robles introduced as CEO and the guy behind all this operation.
However, as we saw earlier they are using fake names and people im suspicious that they hired an actor or the guy has a fake name and identity over the internet.
In their FAQ, they claim they’re a registered UK company with the company number 14126322. And yep, Jensen’s name pops up again.
Upon researching the address, I discovered that the UK address they give just goes to one of those shared office rental spaces and desks. I looked it up and they probably just paid for a virtual office desk online. Nobody really associated with the company at that address.
Additionally, more than 50 companies are registered at this same office address.
They also had another ad in craigslist titled “Crypto Investment done for you”
(archive) which i emailed and asked them for more info and they sent me another invite link.
Seems like they get ads with different titles and contents for other cities as well.
While I found nothing true about them as they are professional fraudsters. I checked some of their youtube videos about their celebrations and openings in Dubai and Turkey. Most of the project leaders and top of this Ponzi pyramid are there in videos and likely being Indians.
Luckily, spotting these schemes isn’t too difficult if you know what to look for when you see one. Be careful of any investments that come to you which promise steady, huge returns with little or no risk at all, that’s a major red flag.
Remember: The scammers running such things are usually clever and super charming too, so don’t let them win you over. Keep that in mind that always double check that the investment has transparent records and is properly licensed in your country. verify everything. And remember, if it sounds way too good to be true, run away!
By understanding the basics on how Ponzi scams work and keeping your mind sharpened, you can avoid being tricked by these shady traps.