The MMM craze has taken many by storm, its promise to offer a 30% monthly increase is one that many could not refuse. Many alike from all walks of life, status, religion and creed have thrown caution into the wind in quest for quick money. Is MMM real and genuine? This is a 10 kobo question, the answer in my opinion it that it is Yet Another Ponzi Scheme (YAPS).
What does MMM stand for you may ask? MMM is taken from the letter of the surnames of the founders Sergey Mavrodi, Vyacheslav Mavrodi and Olga Melnikova. It was initially started in 1989 but resurfaced in 2011. There has been so much hype about it being a genuine social funding network and not a ponzi scheme. Well, I took out time to research and came to the conclusion that it is YAPS. I’ll encourage you to do likewise and make an informed opinion and not necessarily rely on what you’re being fed with by members just seeking an increase in return by co-opting you.
The validity of MMM has generated heated intellectual and controversial debates on social media channels with people from opposing camps holding strong convictions. Some of the reasons given in support of MMM include:
- There is no central account involved hence the likelihood of it failing is remote.
- Payments are transferred directly to personal bank account thereby giving control to its members.
- They have alerts as proof of receiving the increase hence it is genuine.
- They believe the scheme’s objective is a just way of circumventing established financial institutions to help the less privileged.
- The government of the day hasn’t done much to help the financial situations of the masses so MMM is a welcomed development and an additional source of income.
It can be a challenge trying to talk people out of MMM in the current recession in Nigeria, a scheme that promises quick money for doing little or nothing is too attractive to ignore, they say. Besides, what is there to lose, what can be worse than their current predicament? Well, haven examined the scheme, these are the reasons why I’ve formed the opinion that MMM isn’t worth its letters:
- First impression matters. Unprofessional and disorganised website speaks volumes.
- Despite it being a pyramid scheme, it does not acknowledge or state it
- References to previous criminal proceedings in which Russians were defrauded running the same scheme is conspicuously absent.
- No payment guarantees or insurance for members in event of loss.
- No regards to financial regulations in the nations in which the scheme is run.
- Takes advantage of the situations of the less privileged.
- Repeated warnings from organisations and regulatory bodies not to get involved in the scheme
- Fraudulent financial dealings of its originator Sergey Mavrodi who spent time in prison for defrauding Russians of billions of dollars.
- Money put into the scheme stays in the scheme, there is no investment. Returns given to members come from new members joining.
- Crowd funding approach is unsustainable. The scheme tries to solve this problem by offering greater returns if members perform online and offline task which basically requires them to spread the deception so others can join the scheme.
- The practice is general is unethical eventually causing pain, sorrow and distress to those at the bottom of the pyramid.
- Its tactics involves use of the power of persuasion and deception and tries to mimic truth and honesty as its purpose rather than sound financial model with securities.
While there are those that are adamant that MMM Isn’t a ponzi scheme, a few have privately acknowledged and know it is a scam. Armed with this knowledge, they’ve decided to get involved and take advantage of its benefits and the gullibility of others while it lasts by:
- Putting in only disposable funds
- Recruiting as manner gullible individuals as quickly as they can to increase their yields
- Carefully monitoring the situations and be prepared to exit on time when they suspect the end is near
- Hide behind the belief that they are helping someone which is a noble act
- Purport the view that life itself is a risk and being in MMM is just another risk of life
- People all over the world are suffering so why should they be concerned about anyone that loses money
Good morals and personal virtues go a long way in protecting oneself from being victims to schemes like this, for instance:
- There is dignity in labour
- Rome wasn’t built in a day
- Little drops of water makes an ocean
- Love your neighbour as your self
- The law of karma or retribution of justice
- He who aims to get rich quick will not go unpunished
- Uneven scales the Lord despises.
- Flee from all appearances of evil.
- Godliness with contentment is great gain
- A good name is better than riches
Ones financial situation or quest for quick wealth shouldn’t be the prime mover to get involved in scheme like MMM, throwing caution into the wind thereby searing ones conscience, morals, beliefs and faith in the process. There are tales of woes, sorrows, regrets, pain and sufferings of people, businesses and families that have been ripped off by Ponzi schemes. The experiences of these victims are devastating and many never recover financially, emotionally or mentally. If we pause and think about it and be our brothers keeper, schemes like this would not flourish.
After listening to either side of the argument and researching, the conclusion of the matter is that the prime mover for those joining the scheme centers on greed. No one joins the scheme to help others, they are driven by their quest to get rich quick for themselves. The sad reality is that there will always be people that will fall for it with many being led into it by close friends and relatives they trust. Also, those that actively campaign and recruit others are silenced in shame when they eventually lose out leaving only the voices of those that have gained heard.
Genuine as it may seem, all that glitters is not gold. Be wise think carefully, search your conscience and if still convinced, the ball is in your court and you walk in with your eyes open.
… our attitude to con artists is ambivalent and uncertain perhaps because their behaviour is so close to the behaviours of honest people; or perhaps because they act like the social leaders with whom they are likely to mingle, or perhaps their actions are necessary to shake up a complacent society.
… self-protection from charming, dangerous con artists must involve self-examination: once we recognise our own tendencies we can better protect ourselves from their toxic attraction
– Tamar Frankel