JOHANNESBURG – MMM is now officially under Hawks investigation as more and more South African consumers are being exposed to quick return investment schemes.
The popular platform reached South African shores in 2015.
Owned and started by Russian convicted fraudster, Sergei Mavrodi, MMM promises a 30 percent return on investment after just one month.
The 30 percent return offered by MMM is above the 27 % maximum per annum, as stipulated the South African Consumer Protection Act.
The National Consumer Commission sent out a warning cautioning consumers not to allow themselves to be taken for a ride.
“If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is too good to be true and don’t invest,” said commissioner Ebrahim Mohamed.
Last year, the commission assessed several dodgy entities suspected of operating pyramid schemes, some of which are now also being investigated by the Hawks.
Mohamed has urged consumers to ask a few questions before joining similar ventures.
“So consumers should ask, are you a registered company, do you have a constitution, are you registered with the Financial Services Board, and what are we selling, how is money made?,” said Mohamed.
Money is definitely being made, with some triple M customers taking to social media to dismiss claims that it is a scam.
One user posted: “Admin you are lying, when will you post about lotto, soccer6 or power ball which have been eating people all these years? Stop telling lies about MMM. I’m no longer broke at varsity because of MMM,so shut up!”
While another defended it as a wise investment move: “Know it’s scary and there have been too many scams. But MMM is just like a stokvel. Rea chaelana. Good thing about it is we get interests. Let’s join MMM ppl.Yesterday’s story about MMM collapsing is not true but it’s for the brave, the risk takers that’s why thy get rich.”
The Hawks’ investigation into triple M could hit some potholes, as tracking down the perpetrators will be difficult. The scheme operates online with no direct business number and central bank account.
The commission has also warned consumers to be aware that taking part in pyramid or Ponzi schemes, is a criminal offence.