Saturday, October 7, 2017

Scam Tactics: Knowing the Differences among FDA Registered, FDA Certified, and FDA Approved

Recently, someone posted the following comment on BehindMLM

"Davie Watkins" claimed on 6-OCT-2017 that "FDA approved
Vida Divina's Coffee Line in October 2017"

Let's first examine, what did "Vida Divina" reps say about FDA? If you Google, you may find:

The search results says "FDA certified", or "FDA Approved". But what is the truth?
None of the actual results link to FDA, it's just announcements, and they can't even agree on the language. Some say "certified", some say "approved". What is the truth? As it turns out, it was NEITHER.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Scam Psychology: Why Scammed Victims Refused to Believe They've Been Scammed

As the #mlmskeptic, it is often sad to see how people turned absolutely illogical when it comes to money. We all like to believe we are rational creatures, capable of evaluating problems objectively. However, scientists have shown that our biases have far more hold on our processes than we think, and skepticism must be learned to combat those biases.

Let's take ZeekRewards for example. ZeekRewards is a convicted ponzi scheme that was closed in 2012 by US Secret Service and SEC.  You can learn more about Zeekrewards on Oz's website , or check my attempt to track the scam throughout 2012 until just as it closed.  But basically, even AFTER the scam was closed by the authories in October 2012, people CONTINUED to believe in the scam.  One of them even posted this note on the closed office window of Zeek:

"We forgive you / Please restructure and save our Dreams"
There are comments posted by conspiracy theorists who insisted that Zeek was closed for nefarious reasons, and Zeek cannot possibly be a Ponzi scheme.

Curt Miller: It was the SEC that slowed your growth, sorry. There were no victims until the government came around...
only 2 million happy affiliates. It was no ponzi and the program would NEVER have gone bankrupt. 
Basically, people are in denial. They refuse to believe they have been scammed. Instead, they behaved irrationally by spinning tales that fit their own biases.

Scientists have been studying this for a long time, and they now have more proof that we would rather believe in something that cost us $$$ rather than accept bad and unpleasant news.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

This looks familiar: SEC shuts down two ICOs (RECoin and DRC) for bogosity

Two days ago (September 29th, 2017) SEC shut down two companies ran by Maksim Zaslavskiy trying to promote ICOs, or initial coin offerings. Zaslavskiy claimed his cryptocurrencies are backed by Real Estate (REcoin) and Diamonds (DRC - Diamond Reserve Club/Coin). Turns out they are just bogus claims.

For those who track this sort of things, this is a virtually beat-for-beat clone of an earlier scam, Gemcoin, "backed by amber", shut down by SEC back in 2015.

Gemcoin was a fictional cryptocurrency released by USFIA based in Arcadia, California. Its head is Steve Chen (also known as Chen Li 陳力).  Chen ran 13 different entities that dabbled in MLM telecom, real estate, jewelry and gemstones, art imports, and so on, and also encouraged recruitment from inside China. In 2014, his latest scheme, American Mining 美洲礦業 collapsed in China leading to multiple arrests. American Mining also promised massive profits by investments in amber.

Steve Chen's final scheme, Gemcoin, is aimed at overseas Chinese ex-pats. It is supposedly a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin but backed by amber. It also claimed amber is very valuable and USFIA has exclusive mining rights and jewelry factory in the Dominican Republic. It had the backing of several local celebrities, including former mayor of Arcadia John Wuo. Steve Chen and his second, Leonard Johnson, ran investment seminars in multiple Chinatowns across North America, sometimes even dressing up his security guard, John Zhang, as a "jewelry appraiser".

When SEC finally shut down USFIA/Gemcoin in 2015, the scheme had taken in over 30 million dollars. John Wuo, who had endorsed Gemcoin, quickly resigned as city councilman "due to health reasons".  And the truth started coming out... The receiver who took over the company said there are no gem grade amber in storage, just regular 'souvenir' grade stuff. And the alleged contract for the mine doesn't exist either. It was all one huge hoax scam. 

When you go through the history of REcoin and DRC, you will find a familiar albeit accelerated pattern.