If you thought after the fall of Destiny or Jubok that people would have learned their lessons about financial scams, you better think again. After a generation got ripped off in the analog world, today people are getting ripped off digitally.
Getting scammed not only results in the loss of hard-earned money, but it can often be very embarrassing, which is why many people don’t even report such scams until it’s too late.
I have met many deceived people who refuse to say how they lost their money. Why? Because scams, when exposed, turn out to be very attractive. As a result, “non-scammers” often scoff at the gullibility of scammers. Those who get scammed are even called “greedy” for wanting to make money so easily.
So even after losing a large chunk of your fortune, you will get little sympathy from the public. Getting your money back through government interference is also a long and arduous process.
A few months ago, while investigating a so-called e-commerce platform called Jeka Bazar in Rajbari district, a concerned government official revealed his annoyance to this reporter about people falling into a trap like earning money by watching advertisements. “Obviously you can’t make money like that. Do you get paid to watch a TV commercial?” asked the official.
According to some of the victims scammed by Jeka Bazar, after media coverage and government interference, the scammers changed their names and continue to pursue the same scam.
The end of a certain group or a certain brand does not necessarily ensure the end of this kind of scam. It is therefore very important to know the types and nature of different scams to avoid them.
If you want to know how digital and analog scams operate across the country and raise awareness about them, this article is for you.
Earn by watching ads
There are several groups like ringID, Reward Rupee or Jeka Bazar who pay to watch ads. Some of these companies, after media reports and government interference, ceased to operate, but some rebranded themselves with new names and continued to commit the same scams.
Thousands of people – despite being able to detect such traps with a single Google search – regularly fall into the trap.
Ads that watch scammers sell various packages to people.
For example, a package might require you to purchase 100 IDs for 130,000 Tk. If you watch a certain advertisement for 30 seconds from each of your IDs, you will be paid a certain amount of money. You can earn around 10,000 Tk per month with your 100 IDs.
In the first months, the payment will come very well. But soon you will see that your income per ID drops.
Unless the scammers plan to disappear soon, they will ask you to buy more IDs. Why? Because at the end of the day, you get paid with your own money. Watching advertisements does not bring in a penny.
So be aware of this digital scam. Even if you have been scammed before, do not spread it by inviting new people to join because the scammers will ask and lure you with various offers.
We’ve seen ardent Evaly fans castigate journalists and newspapers on social media for exposing the true nature of this ‘e-commerce’ company.
It’s hard to make some people believe that companies that offer 60% discounts or “cash backs” of up to 100% to 150% are making an unreal offer. After Evaly, many such companies emerged. For example, Dhamaka, Dalal Plus, Qcoom, etc.
There’s no doubt that saving 60% on an expensive fridge is a lucrative deal. But ask yourself, is this a realistic business model? For how long?
What they did, in the name of “e-commerce”, was to invest your money in something or store it in banks to earn interest. If you’re lucky and they haven’t already laundered all the money overseas, you could receive your product months after ordering it.
There are many reports of customers ordering a particular product and getting back nearly 100% of the money they spent on the product. Later, after eating biriyani (in the case of Evaly’s food section involved) with the money partially returned, their wait for the ordered product would never end.
So, is it wise to invest your hard-earned money in such risky deals?
Also, Evaly may be gone for now but the model remains; and you will come across many such groups with new names in the future. Maybe they can get bigger celebrity endorsements too, but learn to question their intent and be aware.
The “halal” scam
Do you remember the Ehsan group? An Islamic preacher named Hafizur Rahman said that anyone who speaks ill of the aforementioned group would be a ‘munafiq’ (fake Muslim).
The group claimed to provide a “halal” way to earn money.
The offer involved you giving them money which they would invest in an Islamic Sharia approved business and returning your money with a profit that would be ‘Islamic’, not like bank interest, which was ‘haram’.
To encourage people to give them money, the scammers would organize ‘waz mahfils’ to convince devout Muslims to give them their hard-earned money.
Last October, the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) arrested Ragib Ahsan, the group’s chairman, accused of embezzling more than a billion taka!
The group has embarked on various business ventures such as “Ehsan Multi-Purpose Cooperating Society” and “Ehsan Real Estate and Business Builders Limited” with money from their supporters. The crooks embezzled poor people’s money to make a fortune.
Ehsan Group is now under the radar, but the scam model is open; so be careful.
Unregistered online money lenders
At some point, everyone faces a situation where we need a small amount of money, but there is no one to help us. Banks don’t deal with the small loans that students mostly need at the end of the month.
While online microloans are not illegal per se and are in fact encouraged in some quarters to expand financial inclusion, some groups are taking advantage of this trend and creating apps without properly following regulations. Law enforcement recently arrested a group of people involved in the creation of applications such as Cashman, Tkala, Personal Loans Online, RapidCash- Quick Online eLoans App, AmarCash-Personal Loans Online, Cashkash-Fast Loans Online and CashCash .
Besides charging extremely high interest, they charge an unreal amount of late fees if you delay payment for a day or two.
To make sense of the numbers, some of these apps will charge up to Tk 250 for loans of Tk 2,000 for seven days. If you delay payment for a day or two, they may charge you an extra Tk 250 or more.
The higher the loan amount, the higher the interest and late payment charges.
The digital sphere has created immense ease and opportunity for consumers and businesses. As a result, the internet is teeming with various businesses and activities. In this context, opportunists and fraudsters seek to make quick money by deceiving people. Consumers should be aware of these scams, as what we have discussed here are just a few prime examples.