Editorial – of Network scams and Manipuris

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Leader Writer : Paojel Chaoba

The recent publication in IFP exposing the scam of internet based network schemes related to FOREX achievements and Visarev have left investors of the state worried whether their investments will be recouped or not. The news report carried by IFP was published after thoroughly investigating the network and their modus operandi and simply stated the bare facts. The Visarev company which allegedly deals in gold bullion as per advertisement on their web site should be a reputable company as they deal in the most precious metal and such a company’s transactions should be in terms of not only in billions but in trillions, the company allegedly invest in the stock market in gold after roping in the interested investors. Such a blue chip company has still failed to pay investors of the state as of yet. If such a company is charged by a firm doubting their authenticity, then it is formal procedure for the alleged company to clarify with proper authentication to the charge leveled against them. It remains a surprising fact that no proper authorities have not presented themselves demanding clarification that the report is false in order to substantiate the company’s claim that their investors will get their due payments. It would be a big relief for the investors of the state, if any Visarev official would come forward and demand clarification stating that the network will not collapse and IFP will be more than obliged to print the clarification in black and white. An advertisement did come out in two newspapers stating that Visarev will pay their investors within December. The advertisement were published on grounds of pure monitory benefits by the said newspapers without authenticating the said claim and with disregard to journalistic ethics. It can be mentioned that the ad carried no signature, address, contact number and was unofficial in nature. The ad was more of a press clarification then an advertisement published in contradiction to IFP news report on the Visarev scam by persons without proper authority and which was highlighted in this newspaper report made recently, this is also a sad state of affairs that some newspapers will publish anything on motives which are monitory in nature and in complete disregard to the norms laid down by the All Manipur Working Journalist’s Association (AMWJU).

The objective of the news report in regard to the network scams was printed so that the public may be informed of the pyramid scams operating in the state through the internet, and that the public should remain wary and caution themselves before investing in such fraudulent scams. It is the duty of the media to investigate such scams and disseminate the accumulated information for the welfare of the general population. Such cyber crimes should also be checked by the state cyber crime department and the agents should be made answerable to legal procedures.

Crores were lost by the public by investing in TVI (Travel Ventures International), Jainex, another internet pyramid scam which stole crores from the gambling and imprudent investors, FOREX achievements which turned out to be yet another scam and finally in a likewise manner, Visarev which still fails to pay investors. The innocent public ignorant of the internet scams queues up eager to invest money without determining the credibility of the company. Visarev, an alleged bullion trading company based at Malaysia pays investors after they buy gold bullion and trading in the international stock market from the profits made, what is the reason for the hold up of due payments? different clarifications are given by the ‘leaders’ to their downlines in question, reasons as unreasonable as, dollars cannot be converted to rupees, that Visarev is conducting an audit, that RBI norms have slowed down transactions. Anyone with a slight education on international trade and anyone with a logical head can discern that the company is trying to fool the investors and biding time to save themselves. How can a company pay 100% returns in a span of six months by investing in gold bullion? If such a business opportunity was there for the taking then, why would not the premier business houses of India namely Birla, Tata, Hindujas, Goenkas, Godrej etc. make their foray to this opportunity. Why? a company from Malaysia and their interest in a poor state like Manipur.

How can a Manipuri who invested a certain amount go to Malaysia to demand their returns when the company defaults? Where can one lodge a complaint against Visarev if money of investors are lost? Why is there no offices of Visarev in India or in Manipur where they get a maximum of investors investing crores? Such pyramid schemes are intent on exploiting people with limited means and knowledge of business such as individuals with little experience in direct sales, distributorship, franchise or have limited money or credit with which to establish their own business. The con man rely on ignorance of basic mathematics. Investors are promised large rewards for putting up a certain amount of money and then recruiting the next level of members. But these schemes always collapse because the supply of potential investors quickly runs out, making many investors or ‘uplines’ or ‘downlines’ both victims and perpetrators. The victims of Jainex and FOREX achievements, TVI are ample proof that nothing can be done by the investors except to cry over spilt milk. Many victims of these scams sell first to their friends and relatives. But, when the supposed money making opportunity goes belly up and collapse and when later recruits don’t sign on in numbers large enough to pay off the earlier recruits, most lose not only their money – but also their friends and their trust which one cannot buy back.

Pyramid promoters are also masters at group psychology. At meetings and while trying to recruit a potential investor, they create a frenzied enthusiastic atmosphere where group pressure and promises of easy money play upon people’s greed and fear of missing out on a good deal. It is difficult to resist this kind of appeal unless you recognize that the scheme is rigged against you. This practice is common today and carried out by persons who has joined the network earlier and have got cash incentives, intoxicated by the easy means of earning cash, networkers try to rope in as many investors as possible. The con artist at the top views each investor as a predicable set of revenues and expenses, with the revenues flowing directly to him. He happily pays out commission for the recruitment efforts of others.

Pyramid schemes are inherently injurious to consumers because as a mathematical certainty, they are bound to collapse and only the people at the very top make any money.

The only way anyone can make any money through a pyramid scheme is if participants in levels below them are defrauded into giving money based on a rapidly diminishing promise of eventually getting something in return. Those at the bottom of the pyramid, the vast majority of the participants, lose money.

As the losers rarely advertise the truth of their folly, the myth of the network scams resurfaces with each new outbreak. It is high time for the Manipuri investors to wake up to the truth instead of being fooled by a non Manipuri scamster and we all are left in the lurch quarreling amongst ourselves.

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