All these Schemes chasing the Paper.

‘Anopa mesorea

Ɛnyumre meko daa

Hoa na medwen hoa na medwen

Sika hoa na me dwen oo

Translation

‘In the morning when I wake up

In the night when I go to sleep

That’s all I think about 2x

Money is all I’m thinking about’

 

Akan – Me Sika Aduro

This happens to be the tail end of the hook from Akan’s Me Sika Aduro off his Onipa Akoma studio album. In this body of music, particularly this track, he proceeds to be honest about what he perceives money to be, his pursuit of money and the lengths he would go to get it. Heck, the title alone has scared a lot of people off listening to his music probably because of the connotation that comes with the mention of Sika Aduro which means Blood money or translated as Money Medicine.

Wolves in Sheep Clothing

I honestly appreciate Akan’s lyricism and creativity in the music he’s putting out, and the reason I used his song as a reference point to what I want to talk about is very simple; he’s honest about his quest for money and the possible lengths he might even go to get it. Although these may just be just song lyrics and words, they happen to be the reality of our generation these days. Forget get-rich-quick schemes, the term is even a bit archaic now. What is taking over slowly are the wolves that are scams disguised in their sheep clothing as Ponzi or Pyramid schemes. This isn’t a write up to bad mouth anyone or any organization at all, we’re just here to dialogue. What is wrong with our generation and why do these things capture many innocent if not ignorant people.

And our case study is one that has failed many very recently; BoostPal.

Charles Ponzi and Sarah Howe

The Ponzi scheme came into existence around the 1920s being named after Charles Ponzi, who became notorious and gained his fame in history for using the technique. The idea had however already been executed by Sarah Howe in Boston in the 1880s through the ‘Ladies Deposit’. Howe offered a solely female clientele an 8% monthly interest rate and then stole the money that the women had invested. Howe was eventually discovered and served three years in prison.

The scheme is basically defined as a form of fraud in which belief in the success of a nonexistent enterprise is fostered by the payment of quick returns to the first investors from money invested by later investors. The Pyramid scheme, however, is a business model that recruits members via a promise of payments or services for enrolling others into the scheme, rather than supplying investments or sale of products or services. Pyramid schemes have existed for at least a century in different guises and forms. The difference between a pyramid scheme and multi-level marketing is that multi-level marketing provides an actual product or service whereas pyramid schemes don’t and only funnel the money up from recruitment costs. These terms have come to light nowadays because most money-making ventures show a certain aspect of mutual features indicating red flags for people.

Ponzi Schemes in Africa

Again, just to remind ourselves that we aren’t bad mouthing anyone here but just stating facts; in Africa, precisely Ghana we know of the more prominent Max International and Priado Wealth Alliance who both possess the features of ‘signups’, ‘downlines’, ‘commission’,  and the like forming part of the 8 ball model.

In the areas, I found myself, however, the craze around these two had died down significantly, not that they had gone out of business. In their stead, other franchises like Super Life and Boostpal popped up.

Commending their Smartness

First off, I should say this, although I do not approve of fraudulent schemes and plots to gain people’s hard earned money, you have to commend the brains behind them. The fact that these schemers are able to identify the need and hunger for money, quick money for that matter and create a plan that would make culprits believe it is indeed legit is truly interesting. The conversation around getting people to join is what is most fascinating.

My story of Boostpal

Anyone would be put off with the signup fee, my former roommate demonstrated this reaction when he was first informed. What lured him in was the concept, precisely BoostPal’s concept,  earn money by watching videos, any video of your choice online for just about 30 seconds and voila!

Simple right?

You are then reeled in with an even more simply request – get more people in. Once these new folks watch videos or upgrade their package you earn a commission or percentage off them. With just Ghc 150 Ghanaian cedis you’re in.

The last knockout punch that leaves you at their mercy; the projection. By doing a couple of calculations based on a few to-do’s, at the end of the month you will be making a serious figure; a figure which tells you instantly that you will break even and start reaping profits – jackpot.

Technology is partially the Reason

What we don’t realize is that this has become largely possible because of technology that exists in our space. Schemes like this are a link away to spread like wildfire. Put up a post about making money on your WhatsApp status and you will be amazed at the number of people who end up sending you a message.

That’s how people get trapped. These schemers, realizing how much time majority of people spend on their devices, have managed to understand the tech behind advertising. They have mastered it so much so you’d be convinced when you see and test their platform. BoostPal pulled this off by even giving you a chance to test it out without paying any money.

Watch out for these

Technology didn’t come to be our downfall if that’s what you’re thinking. If you feel you’re venturing into a business and you’re not too sure, make sure the following aren’t features of the business model;

  • A guaranteed promise of high returns with little risk
  • Consistent flow of returns regardless of market conditions
  • Clients not allowed to view official paperwork for their investment
  • Clients facing difficulties removing their money

 My question through all this is, why are the values of hard work and effort being thrown away in such an era? An era where we have so much access to information and the possible ability to learn at the comfort of our phones?

It is now rather that people are looking for the quickest way to make money, disregarding the fact that these schemes in no way can validate your CV or don’t end up in you adding value to the society in any meaningful way. The issue of MenzGold is an entirely different section I wouldn’t even want to try and get into because in the end, we all see how they came crashing down. Hard work and effort, dedication and a strong pursuit in a field to add value to the life of men never really killed anyone. A whole lot of that and more ensured the world reach the stage it has reached today, and until we ourselves realize it, I am personally afraid for the future of our kids.

   For me the sad part about it isn’t the fact that people are losing their monies day in and day out, or that pursuing something with hard work and dedication to genuinely add value to people is being underrated but that these schemes just recycle themselves, putting on new suits and ties and would turn up at doors of these same people, and they won’t be able to resist it all. Mali Music said it best, ‘And the Cycle goes again…’

Submitted by: Kweku Diaw

Image: Fancycrave (@fancycrave)

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