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HYIP Ponzi Schemers: How to Spot Them

I'm sure some of you have been to websites like skyhyip.com, and have squandered your crypto on some super-high-yield investment promise. I'm ashamed to say I've been taken by three so far: Sodisfund, BitcoFinancial, and GetYouMillion. I was, as many would be, intoxicated by the promises made by these websites. Don't be fooled.

To assist others (and to get back a little of my money; thankfully it was only earnings from Devtome I lost!), I am making this short guide to give you tips to spot scams. They are posted in no particular order, but they are all important to remember.

If you frequent cryptocurrency forums, feel free to post a link to this page. Don't post anything on the HYIP monitors; I suspect that they may in fact be run by the same people who run the scam websites.

Know what a Ponzi scheme actually is

See this page written by another user on Devtome: Beware of Ponzi schemes and cycling programs

Know the legality of cryptocurrency in your country and others

We cryptoheads are, at the time of writing, financial revolutionaries. We recognise the potential of cryptocurrencies, and it has not yet gone mainstream. The world of cryptocurrency is both exciting and dangerous, and most governments around the world consider our activities to be neither criminal nor legitimate. Therefore, if somebody scams you out of your crypto, you have no legal avenues to pursue prosecution (with the exception of a few countries, such as France).

Check and verify who owns the investment service

Even if you are in Switzerland or Antigua or some other tax haven, you need to know who the owner of your financial service provider is. HYIP Ponzi schemers don't generally give out physical business addresses, or the name of their actual company. That's because it's not a genuine or legitimate business. If they do list an umbrella corporation or other firm as their owner, research and verify that this company actually exists. It may or may not be publicly listed on a stock exchange. If it is a genuine business, verify that this company is the real owner; you may see a landscape through the window, but it might be just a matte painting.

Find the names of the people actually running the investment service

Many HYIP Ponzi scheme websites will not list names of actual staff. By denying you their names, they're denying you their accountability and trust. Why would you give your money to a nameless person? Even if names are in fact listed, research the names on the Internet to confirm from multiple sources that the named person is in fact employed by the investment service.

A professional-looking website is not necessarily run by investment professionals

In today's day and age, it is not difficult to make a professional-looking website. Sharp stock photos of nameless businesspeople and customer service representatives indicate quality photography, not quality financial services.

Customer service should be professional

In English, there is a wide gulf between collaquial speech and professional speech. Beware of unprofessional language from customer service representatives. Quality businesses hold their customer service representatives to high standards.

Grammar, spelling, and vocabulary choice should be high-standard

I notice a fair amount of spelling mistakes today - in books, mostly. Those mistakes are somewhat forgiveable, when they are hidden amongst thousands upon thousands of words. An investment service website does not have that many words, and if the grammar, spelling, or choice of words sounds “off”, it is a strong indicator of a lack of professionalism.

Phony or pointless business licenses

A HYIP Ponzi scheme website may try to convince takers of their legitimacy by putting a scanned copy of their business license (or supposed license) on their website. Not only could it be forged, but it also may have no meaning; as noted in an above tip, cryptocurrencies are not legally-recognised currencies in most countries at the time of writing - so knowing the business license of a company is no legal avenue to prosecution.

A reused disclaimer of Terms of Service agreement

On skyhyip.com, I examined the Terms of Service agreements users had to sign on to on several different HYIPs. Many of them were exactly the same, down to the letter. A professional investment service would not copy and paste a disclaimer from another website.

Phony social media presence

Some HYIP Ponzi scheme websites have accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and what have you. A presence on popular social media websites is no guarantee whatsoever of the legitimacy of the business. Anybody can open a dummy account on such websites.

Does the company exist outside of its own website?

It is unlikely that a HYIP you are considering investing in has passed all of the above scrutiny. If by some remote chance it has, then check around elsewhere on the Internet. (And when I say “elsewhere”, I don't mean on HYIP monitors, which are notoriously unreliable) A legitimate and reliable investment service can be found written about on other websites - media firms, brokers, financial advice magazines, and so on - and can give you a clear idea of what the investment firm is really all about.

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