Sunday, March 30, 2008

High-Yield Investment Programs: Have You Been Ponzied?

Since I have been a member of Numenmail, a Get Paid to Read Emails website which I am still trying to find out whether they are an honest site or a scam, I have come across a few High-Yield Investment Program websites promising huge interest rates for money invested with them.

When I saw a website offering me to invest as little as $1 to earn 100% daily interest (this is just an example, I saw one offering a 5000% daily interest rate for a longer term investment), I was very tempted to invest just $1 and see what happened, but I had a better idea: I did a bit of Google research instead.

These High-Yield Investment Program websites often state that their investments are ideal for people with no experience about stock trading or no investment knowledge: yeah, right, of course they pick on the "newbies" because these are the less likely to have Googled High-Yield Investment Programs (HYIPs) and therefore are much less likely to know that most of these are in fact illegal!

Although not all High-Yield Investment Programs are scams, the ones that promise you a much higher return than average are likely to be Ponzi Schemes, and might even land you in jail if you start promoting them. I guess this is the reason why I haven't seen any using Adwords!

Ponzi schemes rely on their investors to recruit new members (sounds a bit like MLM to me). Instead of using legitimate investment schemes to earn interest for their members as they lead them to believe, the scammers use their latest recruits' investments to add to their funds. When investors ask for payment, they usually get a proposal to invest their money in an even higher-return investment and when too many people ask for their money, the scammers just runaway with the money, never to be heard of again (until the authorities catch up with them).

I can't help myself thinking that if Tony Soprano tried to make money online, he would be very successful running a High-Yield Investment Program website. To end this on a more serious note, the fact that Numenmail allows HYIPs to advertise with them only helps reinforcing my belief that it may be a scam.

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