EBayShop Online Recruitment scam

EBayShop Online Recruitment scam

By fijivillage
Monday 25/09/2023

The Consumer Council of Fiji has issued a public alert about a group of individuals running a deceptive pyramid scheme known as “EbayShop Online Recruitment.”


EbayShop recruitment scam - 1700 complaints valued at around $3.6 million received so far

By Vijay Narayan
Wednesday 27/09/2023
Image: File

The total number of complaints received regarding the EbayShop recruitment scam by the Consumer Council of Fiji, Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission and Fiji Police is now approximately 1700 valued at around $3.6 million.

The Scam Taskforce is holding its meeting with relevant stakeholders including the Ministry of Trade Co-operatives Micro Small Medium Enterprises and Communications, Reserve Bank of Fiji, Fiji Police Force, Consumer Council of Fiji and FCCC.

The Taskforce has also co-opted Vodafone (Fiji) Limited and Digicel (Fiji) Limited.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade Co-operatives Micro Small Medium Enterprises and Communications, Manoa Kamikamica told the taskforce that there is a need to meet regularly, coordinate with all stakeholders and disseminate accurate and timely information to find solutions to avoid repeat of such scams.

Kamikamica says they are thankful that people are now made aware of the scam and have come forward to lodge their complaints with the relevant authorities.

He says as a taskforce, they need to explore in strengthening our legislations, in an effort to avoid future scams and also charge the perpetrators.

Consumer Council CEO Seema Shandil highlighted that as a consumer protection agency she expects the number of complaints to increase.

She hopes more people come forward to lodge complaints.

They have collated the list of complaints received and forwarded it to the Police.

Shandil says as a consumer protection agency, they continue to advise the people of Fiji to stop participating in such schemes.

Investigations into the EbayShop Online recruitment scam have also commenced by the Police who also have established special teams in the Central, Western and Northern divisions.

The FCCC is also collaborating closely with the Police to provide prompt information regarding complaints and is facilitating timely referral of the complaints received to the Fiji Police Force.

Vinitesh Kumar, General Manager of FCCC, has indicated that they are actively progressing towards the establishment of a "ScamWatch" section.

This initiative aims to benefit everyone in a collective effort and assist the Fijian community in recognising and reporting fraudulent activities such as scams in future.

RBF Governor, Ariff Ali mentioned that the central bank wants to better understand how the scheme works by better understanding and exchanging information with stakeholders like the FRCS, Vodafone and Digicel.

RBF in partnership with FIU, FRCS and the telecos has commenced investigations into Ebay Shop and other fraudulent online activity by analysing its data to determine if money has gone out of the country and if breaches of the Exchange Control Act was committed.

Ali says once RBF establishes the facts surrounding where the money is being circulated to whether it’s offshore or in different wallets, they would be in a better position to advise the way.

Vodafone Fiji and Digicel Fiji have reaffirmed their support and desire to working with Taskforce.

The Scam Taskforce will continue to meet on a regular basis to monitor and address the online scams and also work towards legislative review.



Beware of a group of individuals running a deceptive pyramid scheme known as EbayShop Online Recruitment – Consumer Council

By Vijay Narayan
Wednesday 19/07/2023
Consumer Council CEO, Seema Shandil

The Consumer Council of Fiji has issued a public alert about a group of individuals running a deceptive pyramid scheme known as “EbayShop Online Recruitment.”

The council says it has received numerous queries from consumers regarding the authenticity of this recruitment, prompting an extensive investigation.

The recruitment scheme operates by luring unsuspecting individuals through referrals to download the messaging app 'Telegram' for communication purposes.

Upon joining, participants receive a link to a website created by the operators of this scheme.

The council says the website offers an enticing free trial, wherein users are presented with five online orders to process by clicking 'confirm order.'

Participants are then promised a payment of $1 per order, meaning they will receive a total of $5 during the free trial period.

However, the council says when they attempt to withdraw their earnings, they discover that the minimum withdrawal amount is set at $6, leaving them unable to access the funds.

It says subsequently, participants are coerced into 'buying-in' by spending their own money to get more orders.

The buy-in options range from a few hundred dollars, to upwards of a thousand dollars.

The council says the scammers have gone to extreme measures, including printing shirts and signage, which are prominently displayed on their Facebook page by their Marketing Manager, 'Jack Daniels.'

These orders appear to originate from popular shopping sites such as Alibaba, Shoppee, Amazon, eBay, Best Buys or Wish.

However, the Consumer Council says the orders are entirely fake and are generated by the scammers' website.

Upon conducting thorough investigations, the Consumer Council has received verifications of no association from eBay (the genuine online shopping site) and Best-Buys with Ebay Online Recruitment based in Nadi.

Council CEO, Seema Shandil says they are alerting consumers of the complex and deceptive nature of this scheme as some early participants may earn money, giving an illusion of legitimacy.

However, Shandil says these schemes ultimately collapse, causing a vast majority of participants to lose money.

She says no legitimate recruiter will ever ask individuals to pay money upfront in order to secure orders.

Shandil also says online shopping platforms such as Amazon, eBay, Alibaba, etc, do not re-route their transactions to a third-party website for processing.



EbayShop Online Recruitment is neither licensed nor registered with us - RBF

By Navitalai Naivalurua
Saturday 02/09/2023
[Photo: File]

The Reserve Bank of Fiji is aware of a scheme currently operating in the country known as “EbayShop Online Recruitment”, which is neither licensed nor registered with the RBF.

RBF is reminding the public to take strong precautions when engaging in schemes operated through unlicensed entities, as fraudulent schemes come in various forms, with sophisticated means to lure people into ‘investing’ their hard-earned savings.

They say all such schemes eventually collapse and should be avoided at all costs.

RBF adds the best way to protect people is to know how to tell a scam from a genuine offer.



No reports against the operations of EbayShop as yet - Police

We will refer the complaints to Police – Consumer Council
By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 12/09/2023

The Fiji Police Force says it is yet to receive any report against the operations of EbayShop, and when reports are received, investigations will be conducted accordingly.

Following statements made by the Consumer Council of Fiji to ensure the enforcement agencies take swift action in such cases, Police say reports of online scams are being received throughout the divisions, mainly perpetrated by offenders who are operating from abroad.

However, they say for local online scams, 21 cases have been investigated and the offenders have been charged with Obtaining Financial Advantage by Deception.

Police also say Cyber Crime is working with mobile service providers in tracing perpetrators through their records with regards to MPAISA scams.

They say with all businesses conducted online it is important to carry out due diligence and thorough checks made to verify information before payment of money is done. Police urge members of the public to verify messages received and messages sent, as once money is sent, it is very difficult to recover.

There are reports where bonds for rental cars or apartments have been paid without proper verification and onsite visits.

All online transactions from an unverified source or platform must always be approached with caution, or avoid engaging altogether.

When questioned by fijivillage News, the Consumer Council of Fiji confirms that they will also refer the complaints to Police.



Swift action required by enforcement agencies in the wake of the collapse of the EbayShop Online Recruitment scheme - Shandil

By Vijay Narayan
Wednesday 13/09/2023
Council CEO, Seema Shandil

The Consumer Council of Fiji is calling for swift action by authorities in the wake of the collapse of the EbayShop Online Recruitment scheme, which has left countless consumers grappling with the loss of their hard-earned money.

Council CEO, Seema Shandil is calling for the Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission (FCCC) and the Fiji Police Force to launch rigorous investigations into the individuals and organizations behind this fraudulent pyramid scheme.

Shandil confirms that the council has provided the complaints received by them to the Police and FCCC, and have also sent videos of those agents involved in the scheme.

The council’s call for action comes as consumers from all walks of life reel from the financial aftermath of their involvement in EbayShop Online Recruitment, a pyramid scheme that duped them into investing their precious savings, pushing many into the throes of debt and despair.

Whilst consumers ignored the multiple alarms sounded by the council over the course of last few months, Shandil says we must ensure that such schemes do not rear its ugly head in the future – by setting deterrence through enforcement action.

Shandil says the council unequivocally condemns the unscrupulous individuals and entities responsible for promoting, acting as agents, and administering this fraudulent scheme, often resorting to coercion to recruit innocent victims.

Shandil has expressed her outrage and concern about the situation.

She says the collapse of EbayShop Online Recruitment is a stark reminder of the insidious nature of pyramid schemes and the devastating impact they have on the lives of ordinary consumers.

They urge the enforcement bodies to take swift and decisive action to bring those responsible to justice.

The council also raises a stern reminder to media organizations, who play a crucial role as the cornerstone of public confidence and information dissemination.

Shandil says while the freedom of the press is sacrosanct, it carries an equal responsibility to ensure that information shared with the public is accurate and does not harm or mislead.

She says unfortunately, one media organization, in its Breakfast Show, amplified the deceit by promoting EbayShop Online Recruitment, featuring consumer testimonials, and disseminating information that lent an aura of legitimacy to this illegal scheme.

Despite repeated warnings from the council that EbayShop Online Recruitment was a pyramid scheme, the media organization chose to ignore the facts, possibly causing more Fijians to invest, unwittingly walking into financial ruin.

scam-generic

The Consumer Council of Fiji urges media organizations to exercise utmost diligence and responsibility when disseminating information to the public, particularly in cases where the financial well-being of Fijian consumers is at stake.

If you or someone you know has fallen victim to the EbayShop Online Recruitment pyramid scheme, please contact the Consumer Council of Fiji on the toll-free line 155 or email complaints@consumersfiji.org immediately.

fijivillage News has been raising questions about the scheme with the Consumer Council of Fiji and the Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission.

We have sent questions to FCCC and Police, and are awaiting their response.



Police questioning a person while many coming forward with complaints regarding the EbayShop operations

By Vijay Narayan
Wednesday 13/09/2023
[Image: Fiji Police Force]

A person is currently being questioned by Police while many are coming forward with information regarding the EbayShop operations as they have started receiving reports.

Acting Assistant Commissioner of Police Crime, Mesake 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.


Taskforce to ensure the alleged masterminds of EbayShop Online Recruitment scam will be taken to task - Kamikamica

Was $14 million involved in the scam?
By Vijay Narayan
Wednesday 13/09/2023
Deputy Prime Minister, Manoa Kamikamica [Image: Parliament of the Republic of Fiji]

Deputy Prime Minister, Manoa Kamikamica says investigations into EbayShop Online Recruitment scheme have been underway by a Multi-Interagency Taskforce, and the alleged masterminds that have been manipulating the public will be taken to task.

Kamikamica says the relevant enforcement agencies, such as the FCCC, and the Fiji Police Force have been pursuing this matter, based on the complaints that have been received.

All complaints being received by the FCCC and Consumer Council are being referred to the Police, to assist them in their investigation.

The Ministry of Trade, Co-operatives, Small and Medium Enterprises and Communications is also issuing an urgent advisory to the people of Fiji regarding the increasing prevalence of fraudulent schemes in Fiji, and particularly alarming are the ongoing scams perpetrated by the notorious EbayShop Online Recruitment scheme.

Kamikamica says in response to these threats, the Ministry has taken proactive steps to safeguard Fijians’ financial wellbeing and security.

The Multi-Interagency Taskforce is chaired by the Permanent Secretary for Trade, Co-operatives, Small and Medium Enterprises and Communications, which comprises the FCCC; Consumer Council of Fiji; Reserve Bank of Fiji and Fiji Police Force. Kamikamica says the EbayShop Online Recruitment is a scam and such fraudulent activities must stop now.

He says we cannot allow the people of Fiji to continue to fall into the trap of these unscrupulous people and face financial turmoil.

Kamikamica says it is imperative that we learn from this unfortunate incident and work collectively to ensure that similar scams do not take place.

The Deputy Prime Minister says the Reserve Bank of Fiji had issued a warning to the public against such scams on 1st September 2023.

FCCC CEO, Joel Abraham says investigations into EbayShop had started in July.

He says FCCC had commenced investigations into EbayShop had started months earlier and they are able to verify that EbayShop has no affiliation with the International Ebay organisation and neither was Ebay licensed by the Reserve Bank of Fiji.

Abraham says FCCC has actively gathered evidence from the outset, conducted interviews, and scrutinised the alleged activities associated with the scheme.

The first complaint was received on 11th September, and so far, 5 complaints and 6 enquiries have been received in total, collectively reporting losses totalling $33,640.00.

Abraham says now that they have received the first complaints on this scheme, they anticipate the emergence of further evidence and information that can aid in the ongoing investigation.

He says they will work with the Fiji Police Force to investigate and ensure that those responsible will be held accountable.

The taskforce is also aware of another scam that is happening through M-PAiSA fraudulent activities that is, misleading the public.

Kamikamica says in these fraudulent cases, individuals have received text messages notifying them of unauthorised withdrawals from their M-PAiSA accounts at supermarket outlets, all without the need for identification or the entry of the one-time password codes.

He is pleading to the people of Fiji to remain vigilant against these deceptive tactics, which can result in financial losses and personal distress.

Kamikamica is asking people to please take heed of the advice from the relevant agencies.

Council CEO, Seema Shandil has requested the members of the public to come forward to lodge an official complaint against EbayShop or any fraudulent activities to them.

Shandil says as the principal consumer advocacy organization, they had issued multiple warnings against this scam to the public over the last few months.

She is happy that an interagency taskforce has been established and swift investigations have already commenced.

Shandil says in order to systematically map out the structure of the EbayShop Online Recruitment scheme and identify the key orchestrators, they need consumers to step up and come forward with any details which they may have. If you or someone you know has fallen victim to the EbayShop Online Recruitment pyramid scheme or any other fraudulent activities or have any related information that will assist the enforcement agencies, please contact Consumer Council of Fiji on 155 or Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission on 8921991.

FCCC and Consumer Council are not commenting on whether an estimated $14 million was involved in the scam.



FCCC investigates EbayShop Online Recruitment scheme, complaints received

Swift action needed by authorities to take people to task - Shandil
By Vijay Narayan
Wednesday 13/09/2023
[Photo: File]

The Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission confirms that an investigation into the EbayShop Online Recruitment scheme has been ongoing since July, and they have now received complaints.

FCCC says it took steps to uncover as much information as there were no complaints filed earlier.

fijivillage News has been assured by Deputy Prime Minister, Manoa Kamikamica that they are looking into this issue and a statement will be issued soon.

Consumer Council of Fiji CEO, Seema Shandil is calling for FCCC and the Fiji Police Force to launch rigorous investigations into the individuals and organizations behind this fraudulent pyramid scheme.

Shandil confirms that the council has provided the complaints received by them to the Police and FCCC, and have also sent videos of those agents involved in the scheme.

The council’s call for action comes as consumers from all walks of life reel from the financial aftermath of their involvement in EbayShop Online Recruitment, a pyramid scheme that duped them into investing their precious savings, pushing many into the throes of debt and despair.

Whilst consumers ignored the multiple alarms sounded by the council over the course of last few months, Shandil says we must ensure that such schemes do not rear its ugly head in the future – by setting deterrence through enforcement action.

Shandil says the council condemns the unscrupulous individuals and entities responsible for promoting, acting as agents, and administering this fraudulent scheme, often resorting to coercion to recruit innocent victims.

Shandil has expressed her outrage and concern about the situation.

She says the collapse of EbayShop Online Recruitment is a stark reminder of the insidious nature of pyramid schemes and the devastating impact they have on the lives of ordinary consumers.

They urge the enforcement bodies to take swift and decisive action to bring those responsible to justice.

The council also raises a stern reminder to media organizations, who play a crucial role as the cornerstone of public confidence and information dissemination.

Shandil says while the freedom of the press is sacrosanct, it carries an equal responsibility to ensure that information shared with the public is accurate and does not harm or mislead.

She says unfortunately, one media organization, in its Breakfast Show, amplified the deceit by promoting EbayShop Online Recruitment, featuring consumer testimonials, and disseminating information that lent an aura of legitimacy to this illegal scheme.

Despite repeated warnings from the council that EbayShop Online Recruitment was a pyramid scheme, the media organization chose to ignore the facts, possibly causing more Fijians to invest, unwittingly walking into financial ruin.

The Consumer Council of Fiji urges media organizations to exercise utmost diligence and responsibility when disseminating information to the public, particularly in cases where the financial well-being of Fijian consumers is at stake.

If you or someone you know has fallen victim to the EbayShop Online Recruitment pyramid scheme, please contact the Consumer Council of Fiji on the toll-free line 155 or email complaints@consumersfiji.org immediately.

fijivillage News has been raising questions about the scheme with the Consumer Council of Fiji and the Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission.

We have sent questions to Police as well, and are awaiting their response.



Notorious EbayShop Online Recruitment pyramid scheme crashes, many lose thousands of dollars – Consumer Council

Complaints pouring in, enforcement bodies acted far too late - Shandil
By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 12/09/2023
Consumer Council CEO Seema Shandil

In what is now arguably one of the biggest scams in Fiji's history, it is confirmed that the notorious EbayShop Online Recruitment pyramid scheme has left countless Fijians in financial turmoil.

fijivillage News has been raising questions about the scheme with the Consumer Council of Fiji and the Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission.

Complaints from concerned people is now pouring in at the Consumer Council, coinciding with a surge in individuals expressing their grievances through various social media platforms.

The council says hundreds of thousands of dollars have seemingly vanished into thin air overnight following the inevitable collapse of the EbayShop Online Recruitment scheme.

Consumer Council CEO, Seema Shandil says as forewarned by the council for months end, and as the dust settles on this devastating fraud, the council is urging consumers to report their losses.

Shandil says despite the council’s relentless efforts to raise awareness about such scams, it is anticipated that thousands of Fijians have fallen prey to this cunning operation, leaving them desperate to recover their hard-earned money.

She says the human toll of this scam is inconceivable, as ordinary Fijians have been manipulated and coerced into signing up for this fraudulent scheme.

One such victim, a humble bean seller from Nadi, reached out to the council in despair. She was duped into abandoning her small bean-selling business and is now left without an immediate source of income, traumatized by her ordeal.

The council investigations are revealing that many consumers also took loan from family and friends, banks and other financial institutions to invest in this now collapsed scheme.

Shandil says they sternly emphasize that there are no real winners in this fraudulent game.

She says those who may have profited did so at the expense of their fellow Fijians, who are now left with nothing but heartache and financial devastation.

Whilst calling for actions against the perpetrators and enablers of this scheme, Shandil says tthe local orchestrators of this scheme, including the alleged administrators, must face thorough investigation, and those who actively promoted and lured innocent people into this web of deceit should be held accountable for their actions through legal/enforcement action.

Shandil says in a glaring lapse, the enforcement bodies tasked with safeguarding the interests of consumers have acted far too late in addressing the EbayShop Online Recruitment Scheme.

She also says they tirelessly sounded the alarm on this issue for months, urging proactive measures to protect consumers from the clutches of this deceptive scheme.

Shandil says the delayed response from enforcement bodies inadvertently provided leeway for the scheme to operate and, in the eyes of some, seemingly legitimized its existence.

She says it is imperative that we learn from this unfortunate incident and work collectively to ensure that similar scams are nipped in the bud, rather than allowed to flourish to the detriment of consumers.

We have sent questions to FCCC and Police, and are awaiting their response.




87 complaints with a value of $181,829 received so far relating to EbayShop scam

By Vijay Narayan
Thursday 14/09/2023
Council CEO, Seema Shandil

The Consumer Council of Fiji has so far received 87 complaints against the EbayShop recruitment scam, amounting to a total monetary value of $181,829. Council CEO, Seema Shandil believes this is just the tip of the iceberg, as they anticipate more complaints will come forward in the coming days, and a large number of consumers may be hesitant to come forward due to the fear of being ridiculed.

Shandil says the council also welcomes the decisive action taken by Deputy Prime Minister, Manoa Kamikamica in addressing the alarming repercussions of the EbayShop scam.

She says the establishment of this Multi-Interagency Taskforce demonstrates a commitment to protecting the financial wellbeing and security of Fijians.

She again encourages the public to continue to lodge reports and cooperate with the agencies in their investigations.



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.





Certain agents are actively discouraging people from reporting their complaints - Shandil

Unsuspecting consumers invested between $160 to $12,800
By Vijay Narayan
Friday 15/09/2023
Consumer Council of Fiji CEO Seema Shandil

The Consumer Council of Fiji says reports received by the Council earlier today indicate that certain agents involved in the scheme are actively discouraging consumers from reporting their complaints.

The council has registered a total of 250 complaints associated with the EbayShop Recruitment scheme, amounting to a monetary value of $447,682.75, whereby unsuspecting consumers invested between $160 to $12,800.

Council CEO, Seema Shandil says in some instances, agents have gone as far as suggesting that consumers may face legal consequences if they come forward, while promising reimbursement.

Shandil has expressed her concern and states that they urge all consumers to take heed of this situation and contribute to the efforts by coming forward and lodging complaints.

She says it is imperative that we learn from this ordeal and work together to map the scope of the scheme.

The council also suspects that other agents participating in this scheme may also be employing similar tactics to intimidate consumers and deter them from seeking redress.

Shandil says such actions have the potential to hinder ongoing investigations aimed at unraveling the full extent of this scheme.

Shandil emphasizes the importance of consumers sharing their experiences with the Council.

She says their testimonies may contain crucial information that could significantly aid the investigative efforts of the Multi-Interagency Taskforce chaired by the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Trade, Cooperatives, SMEs and Communications.

Complaints registered earlier today has also revealed that certain consumers took loans from financial institutions to invest in this scheme; which is now causing financial havoc for them.

Consumers who believe they may have fallen victim to the EbayShop Online Recruitment pyramid scheme are encouraged to contact the Council immediately through the national consumer helpline at 155 or via email at complaints@consumersfiji.org.



Number of complainants in EbayShop scam expected to grow - Kamikamica

By Rashika Kumar
Sunday 17/09/2023
Deputy Prime Minister Manoa Kamikamica

As 308 complaints worth $709,000 have been received by Fijian authorities with regards to the EbayShop scam until Friday, Deputy Prime Minister Manoa Kamikamica says they expect the number of complainants to grow.

He says the FCCC, Consumer Council and the Reserve Bank of Fiji have been putting out warnings and despite this, there are still active people trying to be caught onto the scam.

When questioned on what happens to those who had invested in the scheme, Kamikamica says they will see how things in the investigation evolve but they want to shut it down, go after the originators and try to get to them as quickly as possible and see if they can recover the money.

He says they are trying to encourage people to get away from this or any other scheme and be careful with their hard earned money.

He further says the taskforce is trying to get justice for those that are aggrieved and the police have been cooperative from when they called for the meeting.

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Kamikamica adds because they are still investigating, they do not know what will happen to the proceeds of the crime.

Reserve Bank of Fiji Deputy Governor, Esala Masitabua says every person who has benefitted from this has received someone else's money and whatever they had purchased has gone.

To lodge a complaint, you can call the Consumer Council of Fiji toll free helpline on 155 or at the Lautoka or Totogo Police Stations.

If you cannot make it to either of the two locations, you call Lautoka Police Stations on 9905660 and Totogo on 9905834 and members of the task force will assist you with your report.



$666,111.75 worth of complaints regarding the EbayShop scam received by Consumer Council so far

By Vijay Narayan
Sunday 17/09/2023
Consumer Council CEO Seema Shandil

422 complaints with a total value of $666,111.75 have been received regarding the EbayShop scam by the Consumer Council of Fiji so far.

Council CEO, Seema Shandil acknowledges the seriousness of this situation and anticipates a continued influx of complaints from affected consumers.

Shandil reaffirms the council's commitment to safeguarding consumer interests and urges affected individuals to come forward with their complaints.

She states that as the number of complaints continue to rise, it is vital for consumers to share their experiences with the Council.

Shandil says these complaints serve as essential pieces of the puzzle that will help them better understand the full extent of the problem and work towards finding solutions.

Shandil further revealed one heart-wrenching case that has come to their attention which involves a man suffering from a life-threatening illness who invested his hard-earned savings, only to lose them in this scheme.

She says his savings were meant to cover the cost of life-saving treatment, and his situation highlights the ruthless nature of these scams and the profound impact they have on the lives of innocent victims.

They have encountered numerous cases where members of the same families have drained their personal savings based on hearsay information, underlining the devastating ripple effect of this fraudulent activity.

The council also highlights its ongoing collaboration with the Multi-Interagency Taskforce chaired by the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Trade, Cooperatives, SMEs, and Communications, to ensure a comprehensive and effective response to this issue.

Consumers who have fallen victim to the EbayShop Online Scam are strongly encouraged to contact the council immediately through the national consumer helpline at 155 or via email at complaints@consumersfiji



Police investigate 44 reports regarding the operations of the EbayShop recruitment scheme

By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 19/09/2023

44 reports have been received so far by Police regarding the operations of the EbayShop recruitment scheme.

Acting Assistant Commissioner of Police – Crime, Mesake Waqa says the reports received are also from agents. 40 reports were lodged with the Western Division Task force, 3 in the North and 1 at CID Headquarters.

Acting ACP Waqa says of the 44 reports, one is a referral from the Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission.

He adds that majority of the victims had joined EbayShop in late August 2023 and were unable to make withdrawals.

The Assistant Commissioner Crime says due to the complex nature of cyber crimes, investigations are expected to take time, and the task force is working with the FCCC and the Fiji Financial Intelligence Unit.

fijivillage News has questioned Police on how many homes have been raided, whether a significant amount of cash has been found, how many people have been taken in for questioning, how will the money be recovered as there would also be proceeds of crime knowing some may also use the cash to buy assets.

They have not responded to the questions since last week.



$1 million worth of complaints regarding EbayShop scam - Shandil

Distressing case received of a man investing his entire life saving of $32,000
By Vijay Narayan
Wednesday 20/09/2023

608 complaints have now been filed with the Consumer Council of Fiji regarding the EbayShop recruitment scam with a combined monetary value of over $1 million.

The council received an additional 186 complaints related to the pyramid scheme, spanning from Monday to 4pm yesterday. The monetary value of these recent complaints amounts to a staggering $334,749.

Council CEO, Seema Shandil says one distressing case the council received involved an individual who invested his entire life savings, amounting to $32,000, into this deceitful scheme.

Shandil says this unfortunate situation has left the individual in great distress and financial uncertainty.

In another heart-wrenching case, a desperate mother motivated to gain money for her paraplegic son’s care, was coerced into ‘investing’ the little savings she had set aside. The promise of substantial earnings misled her into risking her hard-earned money, illustrating the insidious tactics employed by these fraudsters.

Shandil is reiterating the council's commitment to combat such fraudulent activities, saying, as more and more Fijians are coming forward with their stories, they are now able to get a clearer picture of the scale of this scheme.

She says these cases are revealing the kind of damage financial scams can cause, and they underscore the importance of collective action.

Shandil also stresses the importance of consumer education and awareness, stating, empowering consumers with knowledge and vigilance is the key.

The council is actively engaged with the Multi-Interagency Taskforce, led by the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Trade, Cooperatives, SMEs, and Communications.

Shandil says this collaboration aims to devise effective strategies and actions to address the EbayShop Online pyramid scheme and other similar scams and protect consumers from further harm.

Individuals who have fallen victim to the EbayShop Online Scam are urged to contact the council immediately through the national consumer helpline at 155 or via email at complaints@consumersfiji.org.



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