I first heard of Swissfranc.com on June 5. This week, I realized the gravity of the scam: 1 Billion Pesos lost by innocent Filipino investors! In this article, I describe how some financial common sense, some use of technology sleuthing and some Internet research could help people make a more informed decision about investments.
My first encounter with Swissfranc.com was an email forwarded to me by my friend Queenie (more details on eOFW):
Sino nga ba sa inyo naghahanap ng investment?
Kung may 1K USD kayo, kesa matulog, invest nyo na
sa www.francswiss.us. 4.5% daily and in 23 days bawi.
Kung interested kayo, please tell me.
Thanks and best regards,
Jhoy L. Inasal
Manager, Innovator, AB BU QC STD
Tip number 1: If it’s too good to be true, it’s probably not true.
Tip number 2: Find out: “œWhere is the wealth coming from?”
Tip number 3: Who/what companies are behind this unbelievable investment?
This is where the technology sleuthing comes into play.
I investigated the website indicated in the e-mail. I was looking for the identities behind the website, looking for endorsements from finance establishments / banks. I was looking for a track record.
From their website, I didn’t find any of the above. When I didn’t find any realistic contact info, I stopped and concluded that it was a scam.
But to dig further, here’s another trick that anyone can do with some web savvy: Whois (www.networksolutions.com/whois/) .
To own a domain name, people are required to submit business or personal information. These are public records, public information that can be found on the internet. Here’s the result of a Whois search for www.francswiss.us:
GoDaddy is a domain name re-seller, and their contact info was used to registered website. Basically, the real owners of francswiss.us DO NOT want the public to know who they are. How can you trust an investment company which is hiding their identity?
Those are some tech tips to help people verify the legitimacy of an internet investment.
What else does it take for Filipinos to be less suceptible to scams like this?
More on the francswiss internet scam.