FCCC warns of potential pyramid scheme
Deputy PM cautions against the lure of quick profits

FCCC warns of potential pyramid scheme

Deputy PM cautions against the lure of quick profits

By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 20/02/2024
FCCC CEO Joel Abraham and Deputy PM Manoa Kamikamica

The Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission is working with the anti-scam taskforce, spearheaded by the Ministry of Trade, Cooperatives, SMEs and Communications, and monitoring a group called the “Elite Society’ which is recruiting members of the public on social media, primarily Facebook.

FCCC says the scheme presented has many of the markers of a “pyramid scheme”, specifically in the guise of multi-level marketing.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade, Co-operatives, SMEs and Communications, Manoa Kamikamica, has called for vigilance and cautioned against the lure of quick profits.

FCCC warns members of the public against the new potential scam, similar to last year’s infamous EbayShop Scam which resulted in considerable financial losses for many Fijians.

Kamikamica says last year's EbayShop scam is a stark reminder of the consequences of ignoring warnings from regulatory bodies.

The Deputy Prime Minister's message is - take this as a warning, we do not want you to lose your hard earned money through such scams.

Kamikamica says that is the most dangerous aspect of these scams – scammers are adept at persuasion, leading victims to a false sense of security before vanishing with their investments. He strongly advises against participation in these schemes and encourages those seeking advice to contact the authorities.

Kamikamica says the Anti-Scam Taskforce has been made aware of this latest scheme and have swiftly started its due diligence.

FCCC CEO, Joel Abraham, says healthy skepticism is the best form of defence against such schemes and for Fijians to be vigilant.

He calls on people to be critical and inquisitive.

Abraham says the most insidious aspect of such schemes is that initially it will seem legitimate and people stay with the scheme until it is too late.

He says the core of such operations is often masked as a legitimate business however a closer inspection reveals red flags such as a business model overly dependent on recruiting new members more than selling a product or service, promises of high returns with low risk, and a lack of transparency in operations.

Abraham says it can be challenging to verify the legitimacy of such schemes at times due to the sophisticated nature of these operations, so they urge you to seek advice from FCCC, law enforcement, or other competent authorities.

He says these schemes disproportionately target the most vulnerable segments of our community, such as the elderly, those with limited education, or people facing financial difficulties who are desperate. Abraham adds that pyramid schemes are, by their nature, unsustainable.

He says while some early participants may seem to profit, the majority will ultimately lose their investment.

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