If it’s too good to be true…
Published by the Visayan Daily Star Publications, Inc.
|NINFA R. LEONARDIA|
Editor-in-Chief & President
NIDA A. BUENAFE
MAJA P. DELY
ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA|
Despite the notoriety of pyramid scams and the numerous warnings in the past for people to exercise due diligence and take extra caution with their money when presented with a deal that is too good to be true, at least 15,000 people in Mindanao and Visayas are reported to have been duped of an estimated P12 billion in a scam by a company that was founded only this year. The National Bureau of Investigation is investigating the growing number of complaints against Aman Futures Group Philippines Inc. that successfully lured investors by offering a 30 percent - 40 percent return on investment within eight days and a 50 percent – 80 percent profit in 18-20 days.
Among its victims were local politicians, police and military personnel, government workers, market vendors, farmers, drivers, retired employees and overseas Filipino workers. A retired school supervisor in Pagadian City is said to have committed suicide after he lost his entire retirement pay to the scam. Interior Secretary Mar Roxas is even looking into reports that local governments in Mindanao may have used their internal revenue allotment to invest in Aman Futures.
Many pyramid and Ponzi scams have already unraveled in the past and thousands of otherwise cautious or even business-savvy people have already lost billions to scams similar to the one that Aman Futures simply rehashed and yet it has proven that despite the advances in law enforcement and technology, there is still no guarantee that the same scam will not happen again. Aman was able to gain the trust of its victims was by duping local government officials who were not only greedy and naïve enough to fall for the scam but also irresponsible enough to give it much needed credibility by openly endorsing it by admitting to the public that they have invested in it. As a result, thousands have been scammed yet again, billions of pesos have been lost, and lives have been destroyed; all because the victims didn’t bother to perform due diligence before handing over their hard-earned money to a person or company with no track record or reputation to speak of.
They say that if it’s too good to be true, it probably is. We got a free lesson because the victims of Aman Futures paid for their very expensive lesson the hard way.*