Ah Liki Wholesale warns of fake pages

The Ah Liki wholesale management has cautioned members of the public to be wary of fake pages and accounts which try to entice people to join illegal pyramid or gift-giving schemes.

The warning was highlighted in a public notice issued by the Management of Ah Liki Wholesale on Saturday.

The company said the existence of a Facebook page and a website has been brought to their attention, which has their name and contents and asks people for their credit card details to register in the shop’s promos.

“These accounts have also been enticing people to join in an illegal pyramid/gifting scheme to earn money, thus creating confusion among the public,” read the statement. “We hereby inform all our loyal customers and partners to be cautious and aware of these fake pages and accounts.

“And to be advised that we would never ask for your personal information and credit card details through Facebook, or any other social media platforms.

“We apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused.”

The warning by the local firm comes on the back of similar warnings issued by the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Labour (M.C.I.L.) as well as the Central Bank of Samoa.

The Ministry and the banking regulator have received reports of the existence of several pyramid schemes operating in Samoa.

In a media statement issued by the M.C.I.L. last Tuesday, the Ministry clarified that some of the schemes include gifting-giving of money and includes the recruitment of participants in order to get financial rewards.

“Pyramid selling and similar schemes are illegal ‘get rich quick’ scams that can end up costing your friends and family their hard-earned tala,” read the statement.

The Ministry’s statement further clarified that pyramid selling and similar schemes promise financial returns to participants, should they add more members to the scheme. However, new participants must register with high upfront membership fees. 

Additionally participants were promised that they would earn from the operation of these schemes high financial returns rapidly. 

The M.C.I.L. statement then emphasised that pyramid selling and similar schemes are prohibited in Samoa under Section 65 of the Competition and Consumer Act (“CCA”) 2016 administered by the Ministry.

Section 65 of the CCA 2016 makes it illegal to promote and participate in pyramid selling and similar schemes where it says that: a person must not promote or operate a scheme for the supply of goods or services for reward if: 

  • To many participants in the scheme, the scheme constitutes primarily an opportunity to buy or sell an investment opportunity, whether personally or through an agent, rather than an opportunity to buy or supply goods or services; and 

  • The scheme is or is likely to be unfair to many of the participants in the scheme in that - (i) the financial rewards for many of those participants are dependent on the recruitment of additional participants (whether or not at successively lower levels); and (ii) the number of additional participants in the scheme that must be recruited to produce reasonable financial rewards to participants in the scheme is not attainable or is not likely to be attainable by many of the participants.

Furthermore, the Ministry stated that it is important to be careful with these types of offers, because often they are too good to be true and will just end up costing the member of the public money.

“Don’t let family lose big in pyramid scheme scams.”

The CBS also cautioned members of the public in a media release to be very aware of such schemes and not to fall victim to them.

The banking sector regulator also advised the public not to engage or invest in such a scheme as they will lose their hard earned money.

“The Financial Intelligence Unit of the C.B.S. is currently looking into these schemes, once this is completed then this will be referred to the Samoa Police Service and other appropriate Ministries for investigation and charges to be filed against those who run these schemes.”

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