Despite repeated warnings from the regulator as well as from Moneylife, the gullible investor continues to fall prey to get-rich-quick frauds. The latest to join the long-long list of such Ponzi or money circulation schemes is Oksome.in, promoted by one Omnicom group that operates its scheme under the name of 'Super like'. This is the new, modified avatar of an old scam called SpeakAsia, exposed by Moneylife way back in 2010. (Read: Another MLM scam in the happening, this time under the pretext of an online survey)
However, what separates Oksome from SpeakAsia is complete anonymity of its promoters. In SpeakAsia, there were at least some people, who came out in the open after our exposure, only to vanish afterwards. In the case of Oksome, there simply is no information available about the people behind it, except some bank accounts operated (to collect money) through the digital mode. These people were also very much active on Telegram with several groups named like Super Like 22, Super Like 66 Or Super Like 22.
Some people, who invested in this scheme say Oksome has stopped payments under one or the other pretext. A message shared by one Steve in Super Like 33 Telegram group talks about change in the partner bank and asks all members to 'deposit 50% (of membership fee) to verify the authenticity of the member'! "At the same time, the bank will also establish a protection fund system. If your funds are embezzled by others, the bank will pay compensation," it says.
Funnily, this message mentions the name of their bank as National Bank of India, which is non-existent.
Oksome collects money from people under the pretext of liking videos and messages posted on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram by 'countless internet celebrities'. It claims, "...they will spend money on the platform to increase their popularity regularly every month, so we don’t need to worry about what to do if we don’t have a task. The platform implements the membership system for the long-term stability of a group of users to help complete the platform tasks, and the business partners who cooperate with us are also assured of placing advertisements on our platform."
Interestingly one handle on Facebook, Namaste London, shares some ‘self-made’ type certificates to show affiliation of this MLM (multi-level marketing) scheme with YouTube, Facebook and social media. Do check the images below.
It asks people to invest Rs10,000 to Rs30,000 to buy VIP passes for conducing tasks (to like videos or messages) and earn Rs2 lakh to Rs6 lakh as income. For example, for VIP 3 pass, the commission paid is 15% (task volume as they call it) per task and the member-investor is assigned 17 tasks every day. So, the member can earn 17x15=Rs255 per day or Rs7,650 in a month or Rs91,800 in a year. Similarly, a VIP 5 member can earn a monthly income of Rs43,200 (20% per task and 72 tasks a day) or Rs5.18 lakh in a year!
Oksome seems to understand that this 'bonanza' may not be good enough for some investors to put their hard-earned money into it. For such investors, they offer registration of multiple accounts as well as referral income, which is used in every Ponzi or MLM schemes.
Under the referral of inviting friends reward scheme, Oksome assures three-level distribution reward ranging from 15% to 3%. It says, "If you recommend a user to upgrade membership, you can get a 15% recommendation reward for user A. If user A recommends user B to upgrade membership, you can get 5% recommendation for user B. If use B recommends user C to upgrade, you can get 3% recommendation reward for user C."
It also promises rewards for levels lower than you completing their tasks. "3% of directly lower level 1 reward tasks, direct lower 2 rewards 2% and direct lower level 3 rewards 1%," it says.
The website of Oksome.in is not functioning. However, there are several videos uploaded by many describing schemes offered by the MLM. Further, some of its groups in Telegram are very much active and continue to lure gullible investors.
According to comments posted on Trustpilot.com () by someone who was a member of Oksome, "this company don’t have any identity also they don’t have any help line number which shows company can solve any issue or company running from where. They say company is owned by Omni group but in Omni group you never see they have company call Super Like or Oksome. If any problem comes company say to contact your direct agent and those agents only work on WhatsApp and do not have any working number, which shows who owns that number all numbers are switched off mode so you cannot talk with them (unedited)."
This member also claims that Oksome have stopped all payments and is imposing freeze on member accounts under the pretext of violation. He says, "...the reason what they are giving to whole team is 'someone from your team violated rules and made multi accounts so company is freezing whole team'. The solution, which they are giving (to unfreeze account) is to upgrade all multi-account to VIP level to 5 and above or say your team to upgrade there level above the VIP5 (unedited)."
In short, stay away from Oksome or Super Like for investing your hard-earned money. In case you have already invested money, then reach your nearest police station and file a complaint against the company and all of your upper lines who got you involved in this.
As far as SpeakAsia Online Pte Ltd, the Singapore-based MLM company, is concerned, the investigations and litigations are still on. SpeakAsia used to ask new customers or subscribers to pay $120 (standard) or $220 (premium) for becoming a panellist for one year. However, it says the fee is for its e-bulletin for one year. It was promising Rs500 a week for just filing online surveys.
In February 2015, the Mumbai Police had arrested six persons including the country head (sales) of the accused firm, SpeakAsia, in the Rs2,276 crore cheating case. The arrested individuals included Hemant Suryavanshi, Hemant Chavan, Sudhanshu Tripathy, Virendra Singh and Hasmukh Patel. Suryavanshi, Chavan, Tripathy and Singh were SpeakAsia's franchise holders while Patel, arrested from Ahmedabad, ran Patel Communication franchise. It was a Chhattisgarh resident, a Singh, with whom Navneet Khosla, the complainant, had deposited his money as investment.
In July 2011, Mr Khosla, a Mumbai resident, had filed a police complaint stating that the firm had promised a return of Rs52,000 on his investment of Rs11,000.