SwissGold Market (sg.market)
Network Marketing Company for Gold Investment Bars
Is SwissGold Market Fake or Real?
Why is SwissGold Market Likely Fake?
SwissGold Market is a website which claims to be an online store for buying and selling investment gold bars. It follows a network marketing model as you cannot actually buy or sell their products unless you enter the code of a ‘sponsor’ and there are convoluted matrices which determine the members’ payouts based on the number of people they bring into the program.
As you can see in the fourth image above, they state that ‘the client has the right to buy investment gold bars without participating in the marketing program’. However, there is no way to buy the products without an invitation in the form of a sponsor code. This is not an outright contradiction, but it certainly smells of a pyramid scheme as the focus of the website seems to be on earning through recruiting more clients.
The Contact Us section of the website says that their office is located in Belize, but this is most likely a shell incorporation for taking advantage of Belize’s lenient tax laws. A domain name lookup shows that the website was registered in Russia on 18th June, 2018. The phone number provided uses a +44 country code which is the dialling code for the United Kingdom. I have not even gone past the home page and already things are starting to get confusing.
They have an online presence across various social media sites including YouTube, Facebook and Instagram. They have also given a link for a Twitter handle named ‘SGinfo’ but the account seems to have been deleted.
The YouTube account has the name ‘infoswissgolden’ in the URL, which led me to do a google search for ‘swissgolden’. Multiple negative articles came up about a multi-level marketing company named SwissGolden as well as a Nigerian blog article extolling the wonderful earning opportunity that SwissGolden provides.
However, it seems that the negative reviews were correct and SwissGolden has been shut down after three people – two Russians and a Nigerian – were implicated for running a Ponzi scheme. Given below is an excerpt from an article covering the story:
Following the filing of a petition by thousands of SwissGolden victims, who claim to have lost over $2.7 million, Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission launched an investigation.
The investigation lead to the arrest of Maxim Lobaty, a Russian national and Austin Emenike and Dickson Nonso Onuchukwu, two Nigerians.
N216 million is about $601,600 USD, well short of the $2.7 million allegedly lost. But at least it’s something.
Alexa traffic estimates show a boom in activity on the SwissGolden website from late 2016 into 2017 – fueled by Nigeria
In July 2017, SwissGolden showed signs of collapse. Activity on the SwissGolden website went into decline continuing into 2018.
Authorities have pegged total losses of around 7,000 SwissGolden Nigerian investors at over N3 billion ($8.3 million USD).“SwissGolden scammers arrested in Nigeria, $601,600 recovered”, Behind MLM
To confirm that there is a connection between SwissGold Market and Swissgolden, I tried visiting swissgolden.com, but found that the site was down. However, I was able to get a snapshot of the page before it got taken down, thanks to the Wayback Machine. There are uncanny similarities between sg.market and swissgolden.com which lead me to believe that SwissGold Market is simply a rebranding of Swissgolden.
First, let’s compare the two homepages. Both the sites are using similar taglines.
Second, both the websites have identical content for the numbers and features. Could you guess which screenshot is from which website if the names were obscured? It’s a bit difficult to tell them apart.
Third, both websites link to the same Youtube page with the URL name of infoswissgolden.
Fourth, both websites provide the same phone number.
These four points, combined with the fact that both companies originate in Russia, leaves me with no doubt in my mind that SwissGold Market and Swissgolden are the same company. By this point, it has already been established that Swissgolden was a massive fraud, making SwissGold Market look extremely shady.
Looking at SwissGold Market’s Facebook page, it mirrors the typical page for a Ponzi scheme, where most of the people are optimistic and enthusiastic about the company, while others are lamenting that they have lost their investments. It does not surprise me that reviewers have given their Facebook page a rating of 4.5/5, as the people indoctrinated within MLM schemes are often deluded into thinking that they are part of a legitimate operation. Unfortunately, when the scam unravels and the company is shut down, only a lucky few who got in early are left with any profit. The extremely unlucky ones who join at the later stages lose all their investment.
MLM schemes have destroyed homes because people trust the person who encourages them to sign up and ‘invest’ as much money as possible. This is because there is a payment to be made for enrolling in the subscription program and once you pay the ‘subscription fees’, you are eligible to earn commissions which get better as you rope in more people.
The members of MLMs will often exaggerate their profits in order to lure others into the program. Though SwissGold Market claims that membership in the partner program is optional and secondary, it’s clear from the reviews that the users giving positive reviews are doing so because of the profits which they have earned through this program. Among the glowing reviews are also frustrated investors who have lost their money.
It seems to be pretty clear that SwissGold Market is not a trustworthy website. There are multiple connections between SwissGold Market and Swissgolden which cannot be ignored. This points to the possibility that SwissGold Market itself might be shut down soon for operating a Ponzi scheme, just like Swissgolden was not long back.
The major earning opportunity of the company is the partner program wherein you have to attract others to invest in the company’s gold products. The ugly truth is that neither you nor them may end up recovering your investments. Unlike most MLMs, SwissGold Market doesn’t have any faces or names associated with the company, so no one making payments actually knows where their money is going. It would be wise to avoid joining the organization as a partner, as it has clear links to an exposed scam.
Remember: If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
If you have been a victim of an investment scam, you can take the following steps:
- Lodge a complaint at the National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal
- File a complaint with the payment portal and ask whether the payment can be reversed.
- File a complaint with the Consumer Complaints Forum
- Leave a negative review on review portals such as ScamAdvisor and TrustPilot
- Report the website to Google using the Suspicious Site Reporter extension for Chrome
- Give a low rating to the website on Web of Trust. You can also install their extension for the same.
- If the company has a listing on Google My Business or Google Maps, file a complaint using the Business Redressal Complaint Form. Also, leave a negative review explaining what kind of experience you had.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are presented as an educated opinion based on facts and evidence. There is no malicious intent or attempt to defame any individual/s or organization/s. If you are a website owner and would like to provide clarifications regarding your business and/or website, please get in touch on email@example.com