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More than 200 Moroccans fall for a trading and cryptocurrency «Russian» fraud

A group of Moroccans has fallen for an organized gang's scheme that pushed them to invest thousands of dirhams in a «Russian» platform for trading and cryptocurrencies before disappearing.

DR
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Invest your money and get guaranteed monthly earnings. This was the tempting promise offered by profitinvest.org, a platform that had more than 200 Moroccans waste their savings.

It all started when three Moroccans, namely Abdelaziz H., Larbi S. and Issam S. tried to attract people to the project, starting with their friends and acquaintances. «He was a friend who worked with me before. I never imaged that he could do this to me and therefore I trusted him and not the platform», Zakaria, one of the victims of the scam, told Yabiladi.

«I personally knew one of them who worked with me. He also approached me telling me about this Russian site which brings guaranteed profit», Anass, a second victim, told Yabiladi.

You've been scammed!

Profitinvest.org introduces itself as a platform for those looking for «a reliable and profitable investment». «The funds are invested in trading and cryptocurrencies (which are prohibited in Morocco) in order to obtain guaranteed profits on a monthly basis, with a percentage that depends on the amount invested», the platform promised.

It also indicates that it has an «experienced negotiation team», «solid DDoS protection», «secure transaction» and above all a «24/7 support». These promises come as the platform had not created a domain name until last September 13th.

On his mishap, Zakaria says that «the platform required 600 dirhams ($ 60) minimum for a guaranteed profit at the end of each month». «It offers a daily gain with a profit at the end of each month. The larger the amount, the greater the profit would be by the end of the month», he explained.

During the first month, he had invested 1,500 dirhams to test the waters. «During that month I made 3,000 dirhams. I eventually understood that it was the best way to manipulate us so that we invest even more the following month», he regretted.

Thus, once he had withdrawn the money he made the first month, his «friend» invited him to put more money in. «I invested 10,000 dirhams, a sum which should have guaranteed me a net profit of 8,500 dirhams», he recalled.

Anass, on the other hand, was asked to first give 3,500 dirhams. «Then he suggested that I do not withdraw my profit and increase the amount, by investing an additional 5,000 dirhams to reach 10,000 dirhams, which I did», he said.

Promises ... made in Russia

It was only during the month of February that hundreds of Moroccans discovered that they were simply victims of a scam. «They built us castles in the sky. One of the scammers seemed to be good with computers, while the other two, including my 'friend', were responsible for attracting clients», he said.

«We discovered the scam when a message appeared on the platform, with profits on behalf of one of the three scammers. It rekindled suspicion and everyone wanted to withdraw their money, except that it was not possible».

Anass

In reality, Profitinvest has no attributes of a serious company (neither a postal address, nor an official company registry number). Moroccan scammers were earning money from the deposits of their victims. A scam akin to a Ponzi scheme.

The bitterness and the disappointment have pushed the victims to come together and think of a solution. «We are 200 people from different Moroccan cities», said Zakaria and Anass. «A woman in Meknes put 90,000 dirhams into the platform, while a Casablanca victim lost 50,000 dirhams», Zakaria reported.

What about the scammers? «Their phones are turned off and they don’t respond to our messages and reminders», he said. «We even went to their homes. But they fled, according to their families», Anass said.

On Wednesday, several Casablanca victims filed a complaint before the public prosecutor at the court of first instance in Ain Sebaa. Fearing that the three suspects could leave the territory, they opted for an urgent complaint.

«We must return to the Casablanca Police HQ on Friday to speed things up», said one of the victims, who will try to file collective complaints in each city of the Kingdom.

«Even if my money is lost, I will be happy to see them arrested by the authorities», said Zakaria, hoping that his three scammers would pay for their misdeeds.

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