A Ponzi-style fraud that was masquerading as an Internet based outsourcing company, shut up shop Wednesday (25-10-2006), leaving thousands of Sri Lankans defrauded of millions of rupees. Two Indian nationals (we all know Indians are ever famous for their chit-cheat fund schemes) who were king pins of the scheme are now believed to have fled the country. A Ponzi is a variation of a pyramid scam where the people who joined first is rewarded with the money taken from those who join later. They are named after Charles Ponzi an Italian immigrant in the United States who offered high returns for investing in a business which in traded postal coupons.
Mount Lavinia police stated that the operators who ran the scheme have fled the office and they had no idea how many people had joined the scheme. The operators claimed it was a BPO operation. The firm had offices in several other locations in Sri Lanka.
SeagullSoftwares.com, which claimed to offer Internet based data entry work for a monthly payment first asked people who joined the scheme, to make a deposit of LKR6,500(~US$65) to purchase what was called a ‘slot‘ before this easy ‘work from home’ job begins. At the end of the month each user gets a paycheck of LKR4,000(~US$40). Basically, the user can cover the amount he or she spent on the registration with the second paycheck.
Also each user was allowed to have unlimited accounts with SeagullSoftwares.com, depending how much time the user can spare sitting in front of the PC everyday, and many of the ‘scheme members’ had more than one ‘slot’, some even up to hundreds. The scam started 9 months back has attracted many people around the Colombo areas. There were so many people from the government universities and other private colleges joined this scheme. Some net-cafes in Wellawatte area were dedicated to SegullMembers, and even they had SeagullExel classes. There were even some people who did it as a full time ‘job’.
Several members of the SeagullSoftwares.com are believed to have developed a website to discuss the issue at www.seagullmembers.com. They invite all who lost to register into this site.
Now its past. The Sri Lankan and Indian police are ‘very’ famous in catching frauds. Also there is no workable solution to refund those who lost. I warned all my friends who were in to this and I even showed them how this can be worked out as a fraud scheme. Work hard to earn money. Donâ€™t fall for schemes like this in future…