308 complaints worth $709,000 received regarding eBay shop
Kamikamica warns agents that they know who they are

308 complaints worth $709,000 received regarding eBay shop

Kamikamica warns agents that they know who they are

By Rashika Kumar
Friday 15/09/2023
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Communications Manoa Kamikamica

308 complaints worth $709,000 have been received by Fijian authorities with regards to the EbayShop scam where on average each complainant had lost between $2,000 to $2,800.

This has been confirmed by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Communications Manoa Kamikamica who says their ability to recover the money will be difficult and next to impossible.

He says the Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission has received 126 complaints valued at about $352,000.

He says there was no business or entity registered as EbayShop, and the business was registered as Online Private Limited where the directors are Fijian and have offices in Suva, Nadi, Lautoka, Tavua, Labasa, Ba, Nausori and Sigatoka.

Kamikamica says there are 104 agents involved throughout Fiji and the Deputy Minister is warning them that they know who they are.

Kamikamica says he has heard of situations where people have borrowed from banks to contribute in these schemes and it is very unfortunate and disappointing that people have lost money by trading on this scheme.


2 people questioned in Suva, 41 reports received by Police regarding Ebay Shop operations

By Vijay Narayan
Friday 15/09/2023
[Photo: File]

A total of 41 reports have been received by Police regarding the Ebay Shop operations.

Acting Assistant Commissioner of Police Crime, Mesake Waqa says two people were taken in for questioning in Suva and released as investigations continue.

38 reports have been lodged in the Western Division, 2 in Labasa and 1 at the Criminal Investigations Department Headquarters in Toorak.

ACP Waqa says officers from the Criminal Investigations Department are working closely with the Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission and the Fiji Financial Intelligence Unit.

Two task forces have been set up in the Western and Central Divisions, and anyone who wishes to lodge a complaint is requested to lodge at either the Lautoka or Totogo Police Stations.

If you cannot make it to either of the two locations, you may call the respective Police stations on 9905 660 (Lautoka) and Totogo on 9905 834 and members of the task force will assist you with your report.


7 known “agents” of EbayShop scam under investigation, possible restraining and forfeiture of any tainted funds - FIU

By Vijay Narayan
Friday 15/09/2023
FIU Director Razim Buksh

The Fiji Financial Intelligence Unit has commenced investigations and profiling of seven known “agents” (managers/promoters) of ‘EbayShop Online Recruiting’, and FIU’s intelligence case reports will be disseminated to Police for further action including possible restraining and forfeiture of any tainted funds.

FIU Director, Razim Buksh says while only two cases were recently brought to the attention of the FIU involving the EbayShop Online cam, reports on social media indicate several thousand vulnerable Fijians have lost their money to the illegal pyramid scheme through local “agents”.

In the first case received, a female sales representative at a shop in Suva was brought to their attention who claimed to be an “agent” for the ‘EbayShop Online Recruiting’ scheme.

Their investigation showed that between July to August 2023, she made nine large cash deposits to her personal bank account totalling $33,600 and received 21 bank transfers totalling $51,500.

The bank transactions were made in reference to the desired “Ebay level and fee”.

The FIU noted that the woman conducted multiple cash and remittance transactions before making large cash withdrawals totalling $52,260 supposedly for her personal use to construct her house.

In the second case, another female, a self-employed lecturer received funds from various parties from January to August 2023 through multiple “wallets”. These wallets facilitated transactions of more than $300,000 during this period. One of these wallets was used to purchase cryptocurrency from at least three online exchanges through the use of an international debit card.

Buksh says despite repeated warnings, Fijians continue to fall victims of online scams primarily due to “get-rich-quick” mentality. The FIU reiterates its warning to members of the public to exercise extreme caution and not be fooled into engaging in any form of scams and schemes that offer quick profits and too good to be true incentives and offers.

He says the Ebay scam involved an illegal pyramid selling scheme that promised locals to “invest” money and get their money back within a short time, and thereafter receive large returns and profits.

online-scam-stock-getty-image

Buksh says the scam was marketed and offered on the social media network and people were fooled to give their money to the so-called “agents” of “EbayShop” that were operating an unlicensed and unregistered financial investment business in Fiji.

The FIU had warned members of the public that pyramid selling schemes and investments in cryptocurrency and foreign digital wallets are illegal in Fiji.

Buksh has also made it clear that anyone promoting or operating a pyramid selling scheme, such as, the ‘EbayShop Online Recruiting’, would commit an offence under section 87A of the Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission Act 2010.

Members of the public are advised to be vigilant when receiving offers for investments, loans and employment on any online or social media platform.

Buksh says the FIU has previously warned members of the public of cryptocurrency, illegal pyramid selling schemes and online scam in February 2021 and September 2022.

He says the main focus of any pyramid selling scheme is to recruit or increase the number of subscribed users, members or customers rather than the quality and usefulness of products, activities, tasks, action, and services offered. Funds that are collected from the large number of new members and recruits at the bottom of the pyramid is circulated within the organisation until it fails and the agents and founders flee with a large amount of funds.

The FIU has implemented anti-money laundering regulatory controls and preventative measures so that suspected scam transactions are detected and reported to the FIU by commercial banks, money remittance service providers and other financial institutions in Fiji.




Why swift action was not taken in relation to EbayShop pyramid scam when it was unlicensed and unregistered?

No due diligence were done when giving business license to eBay Shop - Kamikamica
By Vijay Narayan, Rashika Kumar
Friday 15/09/2023
Photo:Supplied

Urgent calls are being made by many people to hold those agencies accountable who did not act swiftly in relation to the EbayShop recruitment scam, which resulted in the fraudsters setting up outlets in different parts of the country and local agents duping many people of millions of dollars.

They are also calling for swift action in relation to the recovery of the funds as these proceeds of crime have either been used to buy assets, are in some people’s bank accounts or large amounts of hard cash is stored in places to avoid any traces through the registered financial institutions.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Communications Manoa Kamikamica says no due diligence was done when giving the business license and that is how the EbayShop scheme started in Fiji.

Kamikamica says when companies are registered, it is not a heavily scrutinised process and that is why the inter-agency taskforce is having a discussion now where certain types of businesses need to be put under laser focus and maybe have an authority that identifies them as a legitimate operation before they are allowed to trade.

The Deputy Prime Minister says the regulators cannot act unless someone complains and that is why there was a long period of non-intervention. He says hopefully going forward, at least one regulator can declare a business as a scam and it can be stopped before the bleeding becomes bad.

The Fiji Financial Intelligence Unit has commenced investigations and profiling of seven known “agents” (managers/promoters) of ‘EbayShop Online Recruiting’, and FIU’s intelligence case reports will be disseminated to Police for further action including possible restraining and forfeiture of any tainted funds.

FIU Director, Razim Buksh says while only two cases were recently brought to the attention of the FIU involving the EbayShop Online cam, reports on social media indicate several thousand vulnerable Fijians have lost their money to the illegal pyramid scheme through local “agents”.

In one case, a female, a self-employed lecturer received funds from various parties from January to August 2023 through multiple “wallets”. These wallets facilitated transactions of more than $300,000 during this period. One of these wallets was used to purchase cryptocurrency from at least three online exchanges through the use of an international debit card.

He says the scam was marketed and offered on the social media network and people were fooled to give their money to the so-called “agents” of “EbayShop” that were operating an unlicensed and unregistered financial investment business in Fiji.

The FIU had warned members of the public that pyramid selling schemes and investments in cryptocurrency and foreign digital wallets are illegal in Fiji.

Buksh has also made it clear that anyone promoting or operating a pyramid selling scheme, such as, the ‘EbayShop Online Recruiting’, would commit an offence under section 87A of the Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission Act 2010.

After the statement by FIU and the concerns being raised, we have sent questions to the FCCC CEO, Joel Abraham and asked why didn’t the FCCC act quickly and with urgency knowing that EbayShop was unregistered and unlicensed, why action was not taken under the Act as it was a pyramid scheme, and what is being done to ensure this is not repeated and left for months with outlets in different parts of the country duping the people of the country. He has not responded however it was earlier said that FCCC was investigating the operation since July and gathering evidence as there was no complaint.

We also sent the same questions to the Police regarding this issue.

Acting Assistant Commissioner of Police Crime, Mesake Waqa says Police act once the matter is reported to them or referred from FCCC.

When asked on what Police are doing to ensure that those officers who may have been involved in the scam are not involved in investigating the matter, ACP Waqa says cases involving police officers would be treated as normal whether they are victims or suspects.




Click here for more Ebay Shop scam stories



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