The Voice (Botswana)

More scam alerts

- Richard Harriman email: consumerwa­ • website:

Maybe it’s the time of year, I don’t know, but there’s a lot of scams around right now.

Last week, we warned readers of The Voice about a scam called Miracle Farm which is a replica of Ecoplexus. Luckily, a lot of people are more aware these days but people are still falling for it, depositing money into a local bank account that is being used to channel the money to the crooks running the scheme overseas.

But Miracle Fam isn’t the only scam going around. There are other, including Ace Car Rental, Ceptual Trade, Crystal Queens and Forzza Odds. They all operate primarily from Whatsapp groups full of promises of massive and quick profits. They all ask for relatively small amounts of money but if lots of people fall victim to them, they still make a lot of money. You can be sure that anyone who gives them a little will soon be encouraged to pay them a lot more.

So, how can you tell if something is a scam? Here are some ways to help you decide. Firstly, ask the person who invited you to join why they did so? Did they do it because they’re just a kind and charitable person? If they say, “Yes,” then you know it’s a scam.

Next, ask them if the scheme is a registered company. Hopefully, they’ll tell you that it’s registered somewhere but, if so, ask for proof. Then check if it’s true. If you don’t know how to check, ask us.

Ask them how money is generated by the scheme. People marketing a legitimate investment scheme will talk about share or commodity prices, dividends or the income a company can expect from selling products and services. People marketing a scam will be less specific. They’ll talk about cryptocurr­ency or forex trading, Bitcoin mining or they’ll say it’s a motshelo or ‘gifting’ scheme. If you ask them how profits are generated, they’ll do their best not to answer. Because they have no answers.

Those promoting a genuine investment will welcome questions. They’ll happily give you complete answers to every question you ask. However, scammers will very quickly become defensive and ask you why you’re asking so many questions. “Just trust me,” they’ll say. Anyone who says this is trying to scam you.

Above all, scammers will make incredible claims about how much money you can make from their scheme. They’ll tell you that small ‘investment­s’ can earn a great deal of money. They’ll also ask you to invest more and more money, encouragin­g you to ‘upgrade’ to higher levels with promises of even greater profits. That’s a sure sign of a scam.

A common trick they’ll try is to show you bank payment messages. These are almost always faked but a few will be genu

The Consumer’s Voice is brought to you by Consumer Watchdog. We’re here to help consumers stand up for themselves and also to help suppliers improve the services they deliver. It doesn’t cost you a thing so if you need our help you can reach us by email at, by post to Consumer Watchdog, P. O. Box 403026, Gaborone or by phone on 3904582. Read the Consumer Watchdog blog where you can comment, celebrate and complain at consumerwa­ Also join our Facebook group called “Consumer Watchdog Botswana”. ine because they do sometimes pay the victims a little money to make the scam seem legit. It’s not, it’s a criminal enterprise and the law makes it just as illegal to join a scam as it does to promote one.

Finally, remember this simple truth. Anyone who invites you to join their money-making scheme wants to make money FROM you, not WITH you.

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