UPDATED 4:06 P.M. EDT (U.S.A.) It happened after the collapse of AdSurfDaily in 2008 — and it’s happening now in the aftermath of the collapse of Zeek Rewards amid spectacular allegations by the SEC Friday of Ponzi and pyramid fraud.
The office of North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper issued a warning minutes ago about “reload scams” aimed at taking advantage of Zeek victims.
Here is the warning in its entirety (italics added):
Reload scams hit consumers when they’re down, offering to help them make back money they lost to a previous scam or bad business decision. These scams have been popular for years with telemarketing fraud rings but can also follow other types of fraud.
We’re now seeing reload scams seeking to recruit consumers who were members of Zeekler, a penny auction website headquartered in North Carolina that shut its doors last week and entered into a settlement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC determined that Zeekler was a Ponzi scheme, using money from later investors to pay back earlier investors until the scheme started running out of money. The Attorney General’s Office is continuing to investigate Zeekler.
Blogs, news releases online, and individuals leaving comments in articles about the Zeekler shut down are already touting opportunities “for those that are looking for something that can help them replace the income they were receiving from Zeek Rewards.” If you’ve been a part of a scheme such as Zeekler that collapsed, or if you lost money to another recent scam, don’t fall for a reload scam. Better to cut your losses than lose even more.
The exact phrase quoted by Cooper’s office in the paragraph above appears in a news release for something called TheMayDayReport.
The SEC called Zeek a $600 million Ponzi- and pyramid scheme that had affected more than 1 million investors. Cooper’s office opened a probe into Zeek in July, and the U.S. Secret Service also is investigating Zeek.
Over the weekend, the PP Blog received multiple spams aimed at Zeek threads. Purportedly from “Briant,” those spams promoted a “program” called Ultimate Power Profits. Like Zeek, Ultimate Power Profits has a presence on well-known Ponzi scheme forums such as MoneyMakerGroup.
Zeek’s former head cheerleader at MoneyMakerGroup — “mmgcjm” — also is the head cheerleader for Ultimate Power Profits at the forum.
On Friday — the same day of the Zeek collapse — an MLM “program” known as Vi-Tel Wireless (Vi-Tel) issued a news release to announce it was sponsoring a “Zeek Rescue Program.” Affiliates busied themselves heralding the purported rescue program across the web.
Vi-Tel called itself a “safe refuge.” Vi-Tel affiliates aimed sales pitches at websites carrying information on Zeek, leading to questions about whether reps were circling like vultures. It was remarkably awful PR.
In other post-Zeek news, an auction “program” known as Bidify now is offine. The company says it is trying to retool itself in the aftermath of the Zeek collapse.
Like Zeek prior to the collapse, Bidify denies it is an investment program.
Zeek, Rex Venture Group LLC and operator Paul Burks were charged Friday with selling unregistered securities as investment contracts.