Scammers register the platform and convince the first round of customers to invest in the company, also known as “a sure thing”;
Definition of Ponzi Scheme and the Most Notorious Cases
- 1 What is a Ponzi scheme? Definition
- 2 Ponzi Schemes: How Do They Work?
- 3 Ponzi Scheme vs Pyramid Scheme
- 4 Famous examples of Ponzi scheme
- 5 What are the risks of a Ponzi scheme
- 6 Is the Ponzi scheme a scam?
- 7 Can I make a profit by joining a Ponzi scheme?
- 8 Ponzi Scheme FAQ
Unfortunately, financial market fraud is very common. Trading volumes are constantly growing, new brokers appear and old ones are constantly increasing their customer base. The more money that flows through global financial markets, the greater the interest of fraudsters and cybercriminals.
One of the most popular fraudulent ploys ever perpetrated against those interested in making money is the old Ponzi scheme. The scheme only works if you allow yourself to be influenced by the fraudster.
Critical thinking, vigilance, and your own prudence are your main defenses. Next, we'll look at some well-documented examples of this terrible plot, and finally, we'll examine how you can best protect yourself.
The Ponzi scheme usually follows this list:
A fraudulent company works as long as it manages to maintain the illusion of a sustainable business. As soon as clients stop investing, scammers take the money that has already been invested in the platform and register a new project. The old organization is liquidated and it is almost impossible to get a refund.
Ponzi Scheme vs Pyramid Scheme
It is important to note the differences between these two paradigms. Both involve the common thread of payments made to previous investors at the expense of subsequent investors. But the main difference is the principle of customer attraction.
The pyramid scheme works in such a way that the users themselves attract new investors. There is a profitable affiliate program, bonuses for people who attract more investors, etc.
Therefore, the main feature of pyramid scheme is decentralization.
The Ponzi scheme is centralized. Representatives of the brokerage or investment platform are committed to attracting clients. The Ponzi scheme is characterized by “aggressive marketing” and such brokers may not have an affiliate program.
Famous examples of Ponzi scheme
The Ponzi scheme is widely used by stockbrokers. fraud. There have even been high-level examples of world practice, where…
Bernie Madoff's Ponzi Scheme
Its founder, Bernard Madoff, was one of the leading American financiers of the mid-XNUMXth century. He was able to defraud large funds like Fairfield Sentry Ltd, Kingate Global Fund Ltd, banks — Santander, HSBC, BNP Paribas and the Royal Bank of Scotland, etc.
A major charity, the Robert I. Lappin Charitable Foundation, after the collapse the coup failed.
In the 1960s, Bernie started his own investment company, Madoff Investment Securities, LLC, which offered clients investment services in stocks and other bonds.
Company representatives called potential customers and offered investments at an attractive interest rate of 12 – 13% per annum.
Madoff was trusted because his company paid consistently and he himself was a co-founder of Nasdaq and held a position on the board of founders.
Representatives of the investment firm assured investors that Madoff Investment Securities LLC's success was due to the use of inside information (Bernie held a high position and had access to non-public trading information).
However, in 2008, the scam was revealed, but only after the entire global economy collapsed. After the global financial crisis broke out, big investors turned to Madoff to return their investments prematurely.
However, Bernie had nothing to pay. The investigation established that, since 1995, Madoff Investments Securities had not conducted any investment activities and paid money only when attracting new clients.
Madoff pleaded guilty to 11 counts, including fraud and money laundering. On June 29, 2009, Bernie was sentenced to 150 years in prison. The total damage caused by Bernie Madoff's ponzi scheme was $64,8 billion, of which only $18 billion was reimbursed to investors. Bernie recently died of natural causes on April 14, 2021 while in prison.
Allen Stanford Ponzi Scheme
Texas financier Allen Stanford became the creator of another well-known Ponzi scheme in the United States and managed to make a fortune of $2,2 billion from the plot. Stanford managed to defraud over 30.000 investors from around the world.
In 1993, the Stanford Financial Group was established, which positioned itself as an investment fund. Seven years earlier, in 1986, Allen Stanford had founded Stanford International Bank, which had earned a good reputation.
The scheme was classic. Stanford and its employees contacted clients offering the services of their investment firm. All payments to your customers were made on time.
Stanford became so famous that the official publication World Finance in 2008 awarded it the title of “Person of the Year”. After that, the company existed for less than a year.
In 2008, Stanford Financial Group's reputation was hit by two financiers who pulled out of the fund. They filed lawsuits against the company, noting that the organization was involved in fraudulent activities.
In the midst of Bernie Madoff's then collapsing scheme, the Allen Stanford story caused quite a stir and the Stanford Financial Group released a statement that had nothing to do with such activities.
However, in February 2009, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) began an audit of the Stanford company, after which charges were brought against Stanford for fraud and violations of United States financial laws.
In 2012, Allen Stanford was sentenced to 110 years in prison. At the time of the Ponzi scheme collapse, the company managed assets worth $50 billion. The total value of damages was $9,2 billion.
Is the Ponzi scheme a scam?
In theory, companies with a Ponzi scheme can be legal. For example, the organizations we reviewed above paid customers their profits honestly. Some companies may officially operate using this scheme — they receive licenses, pay revenues and pay taxes, etc.
However, in most cases, the Ponzi scheme is used by fraudsters to illegally obtain funds. The goal of scammers is to raise as much money as possible and liquidate the company.
It is not uncommon for websites to post false information that can be easily verified. For example, if the scammers claim that the company has been operating for 15 years, but there is not a single review on the network, you should be very careful with their promises. So this is a new company. And if you provide false information, you are a scammer.
Can I make a profit by joining a Ponzi scheme?
If you have any reason to believe that this is a Ponzi scheme, you should never cooperate with this company. Yes, these organizations can indeed generate profits for customers, at least at the beginning of the maneuver.
However, there is no guarantee that scammers will allow you to withdraw your money. Often, attackers persuade investors to reinvest funds and, in case of refusal, they “buy time”, claiming that delays are related to “banking problems”, “technical reasons”, etc.
Also, it is important to understand that profits in the Ponzi scheme are generated by new members. As soon as the influx of investments ends, the company will collapse.
It is impossible to predict exactly when the collapse will occur. Therefore, the risks of losing money are much greater than the potential profit.
Top 5 trusted brokers to consider
It is only possible to make money by trading or investing with a reliable broker. We select brokers and assess all security requirements and offer good trading opportunities.
- Large selection of trading instruments
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- Regulated and safe forex broker
- real ECN trading
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- tight margins
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- Lots of educational material
- Regulated Broker
- Social Trading
- Friendly Interface
The Ponzi scheme can work in cases where the scammer has good persuasion skills, so aggressive marketing is a feature of this type of scheme.
To protect yourself from the Ponzi scheme, it is recommended to ask questions. There must be a lot of questions for the manager who may be able to contact you. Ask absolutely anything that interests him and pay attention to his reaction.
If he can't answer how the company's profit will increase, how the managers work, if the company's portfolio is available for you to review, etc.
You must get a clear and specific answer to all questions. In addition, it is important to check the licensing of such an organization, because if there is no authorization for financial activities, the company is operating illegally. Always cooperate only with trusted and trusted organizations.
Ponzi Scheme FAQ
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