Cryptocurrency investing has gained popularity in recent years, offering the potential for substantial gains. However, it also comes with risks, including the possibility of falling victim to scams.
One such notorious scam is OneCoin, a fraudulent cryptocurrency scheme that duped investors out of billions of dollars. In this article, we delve into the details of the OneCoin scam, examining its origins, modus operandi, and the lessons we can learn from this devastating fraud.
OneCoin, founded in 2014 by Ruja Ignatova, masqueraded as a cryptocurrency but was, in fact, a massive Ponzi scheme. The scam involved marketing and selling a fraudulent cryptocurrency called OneCoin through a global multi-level marketing (MLM) network.
Ignatova, self-styled as the “Cryptoqueen,” enticed millions of investors from 175 countries to purchase educational materials and OneCoin tokens, promising them riches and a part in a groundbreaking venture. However, it soon became clear that OneCoin was nothing more than an elaborate hoax.
Unlike genuine cryptocurrencies, OneCoin lacked a blockchain and operated solely on its own platform. Ignatova used MLM tactics to incentivize people to sell OneCoin packages to friends and family, creating a cult-like environment that dismissed any criticism as mere “haters.”
OneCoin’s fraudulent activities were exposed as authorities around the world began questioning its legitimacy. In 2017, as the net closed in on the scammers, Ignatova disappeared, and her brother took over as OneCoin CEO before being arrested. The scheme collapsed, leaving countless investors devastated.
The magnitude of the OneCoin scam is astonishing. It is estimated that victims invested over four billion dollars worldwide in this fraudulent cryptocurrency. To understand the inner workings of the scam, let’s explore the tactics employed by Ignatova and her cohorts.
From its inception, OneCoin was designed to defraud investors. Ignatova and her co-conspirators, including Karl Sebastian Greenwood, the co-founder of OneCoin, made deliberate misrepresentations to deceive unsuspecting victims.
OneCoin claimed to have a private blockchain and mining servers, but these were all smoke and mirrors. In reality, OneCoins were never mined, and the value of the cryptocurrency was artificially set by OneCoin itself. Ignatova and Greenwood even referred to OneCoin as “trashy coin” in their early email correspondences.
The scheme relied heavily on the MLM network structure, with Greenwood earning millions each month as the top MLM distributor. Ignatova, in her grandiose presentations, compared OneCoin to Bitcoin, misleading investors into believing that it would surpass the popular cryptocurrency.
The lack of regulation or the presence of poor regulation is a huge red flag. It means OneCoin is a scam and most likely, an illegal operation.
Companies offering investment services or opportunities without having a license can vanish without leaving a trace. Furthermore, the lack of a regulatory license allows them to get away with it and face no legal consequences.
That’s why it’s vital for you to always check a company’s regulation status as well as its license information. The presence of a license allows consumers to reach out to an authority if something goes wrong.
In the case of OneCoin, victims have nowhere to go due to the absence of a watchdog or license.
You should ask yourself the following questions when you come across a new investment firm or opportunity:
- Does the investment provider maintain transparency about its CEO?
- Do they have a license from a renowned regulatory authority?
- If the need arises, can I reach out to an authority to report this company as a scam?
OneCoin primarily accepted payments through its MLM structure, where investors would purchase cryptocurrency packages and earn commissions by recruiting others.
The company also allowed payments through traditional methods such as bank transfers and credit cards.
However, it is important to note that investing in OneCoin or any similar fraudulent scheme is highly discouraged, as it carries significant risks and potential financial losses.
However, it’s worth noting that many scammers disable their payment channels before shutting down their operations.
They might give you multiple reasons including:
- A technical error
- A glitch in their system
- Banking issues
- A “hacking attack”
And many others.
But in 9/10 cases, the scammers actually stop making payments and keep the money to themselves. Hence, the payment methods we discussed here might not work.
If you want to get your money back from a scammer, you’d need to file a chargeback.
OneCoin’s lack of transparency and disregard for its customers’ concerns is evident in its poor handling of complaints. The company failed to address grievances or provide satisfactory resolutions to those who voiced their concerns. Victims of the OneCoin scam were left feeling helpless and abandoned, with little hope of recovering their investments or obtaining justice
When it comes to scammers, you should only measure the quality of their customer service if they respond to your complaint.
In the beginning, scammers tend to remain very accessible.
This means their representatives will keep calling you until you invest with them. Furthermore, they will act friendly and make it seem as if you’re one of their most valuable consumers.
However, they do all this just to win your trust.
Scammers understand that in order to convince someone to give them a large sum, they will need to seem like a friend.
Nevertheless, when you have invested a considerable amount of money and need to get it back, their customer support will become inaccessible.
All of a sudden, their numbers would either stop responding or become unavailable.
Still, they might remain accessible to convince you to invest further. Also, they might begin by making a few excuses regarding your payment.
However, in the end, the customer support won’t resolve your issues and become increasingly unavailable.
The impact of OneCoin’s scam on its victims cannot be understated. Victims invested over four billion dollars worldwide in the fraudulent cryptocurrency, hoping for financial gains and a better future.
These individuals, often ordinary people seeking to improve their lives, fell victim to the deception and false promises of OneCoin. The emotional and financial devastation caused by the scam serves as a painful reminder of the dangers lurking in the cryptocurrency industry.
The online landscape is filled with stories of individuals who fell victim to the OneCoin scam.
Many victims shared their experiences of investing their hard-earned money, only to realize later that OneCoin was a fraudulent scheme.
These stories serve as a stark reminder of the devastating consequences of falling prey to such scams. It is crucial for individuals to educate themselves about the risks associated with investing in cryptocurrencies and to seek reputable and regulated investment opportunities.
It’s worth noting that many scammers tend to purchase fake reviews. Buying fake reviews has become extremely easy and it’s a multi-million dollar industry.
Scammers like OneCoin tend to purchase fake reviews for their online profiles to make themselves seem more credible.
TIME Magazine investigated the fake review industry and estimated it to be worth more than $150 million. Certainly, there are a ton of scammers who want to seem legitimate and a bunch of fake reviews is the most effective way to do so.
That’s why you shouldn’t trust OneCoin reviews easily.
It’s easy to identify fake reviews as well. You should look out for 5-star reviews that are posted by temporary accounts (profiles which only posted 1 or 2 reviews on the platform). Also, you should see if the positive reviews share any detailed information about their experience with the firm or not.
In the case of OneCoin, chances are, you wouldn’t find many legitimate reviews.
Another prominent way scammers like OneCoin enhance their credibility is by burying negative reviews and complaints under a lot of fake reviews.
This way, when you’ll look up “OneCoinreviews”, you might not find many complaints. Or, you might find them buried within numerous reviews praising OneCoin.
You should always look out for consumer complaints. In the case of OneCoin, the most common complaints I found were about:
- Poor customer support
- Delays in payments
- High fees and charges
- Lack of transparency regarding their leadership team
- Aggressive sales staff
Do you have a similar complaint about OneCoin? You can share your complaint in the comment section or submit an anonymous tip.
OneCoin’s rise and fall shed light on the darker side of the cryptocurrency industry. The deceptive practices, false promises, and immense financial losses suffered by victims serve as a sobering reminder to exercise caution and skepticism when entering the world of cryptocurrencies.
As the industry continues to evolve, regulators, authorities, and consumers must remain vigilant, promoting transparency, accountability, and consumer protection to ensure the integrity and legitimacy of the cryptocurrency ecosystem.
OneCoin is an unregulated entity. Although they might fall under the jurisdiction of a watchdog, they don’t have the license to offer financial services to consumers.
The lack of a license means they are not answerable to any regulatory authority. As a result, the people behind OneCoin can run away with your money without any prior notice. You should be extremely cautious when dealing with an unregulated service provider.
The absence of a watchdog also means you cannot report to them to anyone.
Also, due to the absence of specific regulations, there is no provision protecting you from the insolvency of this entity. If they go bankrupt, you won’t be able to do anything about it.
Can You Trust OneCoin?
All the evidence suggests that OneCoin is a scam. If you have lost money to them, there is still a chance you can get it back.
To recover your funds, you’d need to file a chargeback.
Is OneCoin a scam?
Can I withdraw money from OneCoin?
Where is OneCoin Located?
How do I get my money back from OneCoin?
Launch a website/app with a generic name
A website or app with a generic name allows scammers to hide behind common Google search results. Marketing such names is easier as well.
Pay influencers & social media pages to promote the scheme
By getting influencers and social media pages to promote their brand, scammers make their shady company seem more legit than it actually is.
Send thousands of emails and make cold calls to potential victims
It’s common for scammers to buy the contact details of people and spam them through email, phone calls, social media messages and other means.
Make victims feel safe through “small wins”
Such small wins usually include a few payments transferred into the victim’s account. This makes them seem more legitimate.
Convince victims into investing large sums of money
Due to the small wins, the victim is now convinced that the company is legit. Now, the scammers try to manipulate the victim into giving them larger sums.
Disable withdrawals & take down the website/app
Once the scammers have recieved a signicant sum, they either stop responding or cite a technical error to freeze their victims’ funds.
Repeat the cycle
After making the money, the scam will shut down and the people running it will launch another and repeat the cycle.