Ponzi Schemes

WORK FROM HOME!!! (yep, it’s yet another scam)

Anyone online or offline has seen the ads by now –

Money Motivated Pros | Team Leaders Needed | Looking for Recruiters | Professionals Needed | Remote Agents Needed | Top Guns Only | Business Development | Marketing Reps | Senior Account Executives |
Promotional Managers | Looking for Talent | Junior Account Executive | Marketing and Sales | We Need Strong Phone Associates – Incoming Calls | Seasoned Reps /Team Leaders | Looking for Experienced Team Builders | Inbound Phone Associates |Sales Openers and Closers Needed Now – All Inbound | Confident Strong Reps for Easy Phone Work | Inbound Sales/Marketing Representatives | Phone Based Sales | Team Leaders Needed – All Calls Incoming

Whether it’s spam, popups, ads on your favorite website, flyers stuffed in your letterbox or even personal solicitation – it’s everywhere and there is a very good reason.

I’m talking about the ‘Free Cash Machine’ or ‘Daily Income Career Network’  (aka hundreds of other names which change daily).

It’s an operation which while technically isn’t a scam, it sails as close to the ‘S’ word as possible and uses every unethical and questionably moral trick in the very same book that scammers use.

How it works
Daily Income Network Video – How it all works (according to them)

This is a very sophisticated operation that strings together every tried and trusted technique (Ponzi, MLM, Affiliate Marketing, Spam, Deceptive Advertizing) into one large funnel, with your money at one end and their bank account at the other.

Their advertising is very keen to make out that it costs you nothing (to get started). This alone helps them get past one hurdle, the on-line job websites will not accept any vacancy that carried an up-front fee. So that means that CareerBuilder, Craigslist, Your-Local-Classifieds and more will be full of the same ad in a different cloak.

Scam Job Listing on CareerBuilder

Part 1 – Trainee
After looking through their training materials, it first appears that the ‘job’ is signing up for trial periods with web-based companies (such as Free Credit Reports, ID Protection, Satellite Dishes etc.). After doing this, the job is to get as many other people to do the same thing. This generates affiliate income which is where all the $20 bills start appearing. Spam more of the people you know into signing up for dodgy services and the more money you make. (more…)

Online Trading – A Warning!

Avoiding the Pitfalls of Online Trading, a guide by US-CERT

Online trading can be an easy, cost-effective way to manage investments. However, online investors are often targets of scams, so take precautions to ensure that you do not become a victim.

What is online trading?

Online trading allows you to conduct investment transactions over the internet. The accessibility of the internet makes it possible for you to research and invest in opportunities from any location at any time. It also reduces the amount of resources (time, effort, and money) you have to devote to managing these accounts and transactions.

What are the risks?

Recognizing the importance of safeguarding your money, legitimate brokerages take steps to ensure that their transactions are secure. However, online brokerages and the investors who use them are appealing targets for attackers. The amount of financial information in a brokerage’s database makes it valuable; this information can be traded or sold for personal
profit. Also, because money is regularly transferred through these accounts, malicious activity may not be noticed immediately. To gain access to these databases, attackers may use Trojan horses or other types of malicious code.

Attackers may also attempt to collect financial information by targeting the current or potential investors directly. These attempts may take the form of social engineering or phishing attacks (see Avoiding Social Engineering and Phishing Attacks for more information). With methods that include setting up fraudulent investment opportunities or redirecting users to malicious sites that appear to be legitimate, attackers try to convince you to provide them with financial information that they can then use or sell. If you have been victimized, both your money and your identity may be at risk.

How can you protect yourself?

  • Research your investment opportunities – Take advantage of resources such as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s EDGAR database and your state’s securities commission (found through the North American Securities (more…)

Hippy-eye-ay – WTF is a HYIP?

According to Wikipedia, a High Yield Investment Program (aka HYIP) is …

A high-yield investment program (HYIP) is a type of Ponzi scheme, which is an investment scam that promises an unsustainably high return on investment by paying previous investors with the money invested by newcomers.

Ok, yet another scam – so what?

Well, there’s a few spam emails going about currently that sounds like a big one. People will get hurt so it’s my duty to warn you all!

Spam like this one:


I would like to introduce the Investment Committee.
I represent Prosperity Organization that is committed to provide with life changing returns and services. Investment programs can bring you no risk
interest to pay of your mortgage

If you are interested, please visit: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/bevetutabykax90/message/1

[OR: Ed.]  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/lohywejyfolyd12/message/1

[OR EVEN: Ed.] http://groups.yahoo.com/group/fujuxoryfymyg58/message/1



One thing they all have in common is a Yahoo Groups Page as a jump point to the real scammer’s page http://sdhfiweof.com/.

One thing about working in the IT industry for so long (especially working with email systems) has taught me is NEVER BUY PRODUCTS/SERVICES MARKETED BY SPAM, especially if

  1. you get several copies of the same spam
  2. especially if they mention ‘God’
  3. especially if the website owner claims to be from your town, but the domain name/website is registered/hosted in Hong Kong
  4. ESPECIALLY if the website offers an ‘Affiliate Program’ (ie, they let you do the spamming for them!).

These jokers fit all of the above. Here’s a Pic of their site:hyip-self-made-millionare

Now, I’m sure that there is a God-fearing lady called Marta, and there may even be one in Baltimore with two kids, but I’m absolutely certain that this isn’t her. It’s much more likely to be  Fred Milto (FredMilto@gmail.com), a "Private Person" in New York, 10017 - at least that's who the domain name is registered to.

Of course, Fred (Aka Marta) may not be the owner of this mess – they’re likely to be affiliates and the real scammers ground zero are CherryShares.com

Anyway, I don’t have the time or the resources to investigate this one further, but if anyone knows more or has tried this particular scam, let me know.

The FTC and others have been issuing warnings for years about this scam – here’s one just in case you still don’t believe me From the SEC

and here’s a snippet

Signs of Banking-Related Investment Fraud

Below are warning signs of prime bank or other fraudulent bank-related investment schemes.

Excessive Guaranteed Returns

These fraudulent investment pitches typically offer or guarantee spectacular returns of 20 to 200 percent monthly, absolutely risk free. Promises of unrealistic returns at no risk are hallmarks of prime bank fraud.

I was alerted to a website called HYIPExplorer (http://www.hyipexplorer.com), who acknowledge that HYIPs are high risk investments but with high potential returns. They know there are a lot of scammers out there and provide a forum for people to rate and investigate these notoriously mercurial entities. If you are ever convinced to try HYIPs, please visit them and do A LOT OF RESEARCH BEFORE SENDING ANYONE ANY MONEY!!!

HYIPexplorer - High Yield Investment Program - HYIP Rating - The premier HYIP monitoring service!