Beware the lure of easy money

Simon Brown, founder and director of
Simon Brown, founder and director of

Readers may remember the two exposés on Ref Wayne and Pipcoin published in 2016. Touting Pipcoin as Africa’s first cryptocurrency, Ref Wayne sold units at R100, promising monthly returns of 35% while he was pocketing the money. (See and for articles on Pipcoin.)

It did eventually become a cryptocurrency called SAcoin, but the vast majority of investors never got their coins, losing 100% of the money they gave him. A few did get their cryptos, but its value has been trading at only a few cents.

Now Ref Wayne is back. He popped up on my Twitter stream punting a multi-level marketing (MLM) scam before being challenged about the Pipcoin failure, which prompted him to delete his account. This time, however, he is a mere foot soldier in a broader global scam which claims that we can all become rich from foreign exchange (FX) copy trading.

The promise is that the best FX traders in the world will give you signals that you can copy for a monthly fee of $145. You will then generate 11% returns per month. Now if somebody really can consistently do 11% a month and you can replicate those returns, it would be well worth the $145 a month. But no trader I know has ever managed those returns consistently. And, let’s be honest here, if I am making 11% a month, why would I bother with the hassle of selling my signals? Even starting with a modest-sized portfolio, I’d be insanely rich in just a few years.

But the FX signals are merely the hook. The scam here is the MLM aspect, and the real money is supposed to be in referral fees. If I sign up to pay my $145 a month, whoever recruited me gets $25 of that. Further, if I then recruit somebody, I get $25 and the person above me is also paid, based on various complex payment structures depending on the number of people you have signed up. This is a classic pyramid scheme.

This particular one is called Copy Profit Success Global, or CPS Global, and has been around since late 2017 with a “launch” scheduled for the end of June. Right now, they are encouraging people to sign up and get their friends and family signed on too. This is being done via the usual videos of supposedly successful FX traders punting the riches we’ll be making – especially if we get in early.

There was even a recent conference call which was a hard sell on how much money we can all make. But again, the FX copy part of the promise is not even touched on. Rather, the focus is 100% on recruiting other members and getting your “affiliate” numbers as high as possible.

They also claim they’ll have daily FX trading webcasts and offer a FX online university, but no details on either of these are available as yet. They also have no details on whose trades we’ll be copying, nor who these master FX traders are who consistently make 11% a month.

The reality is that we’d all like to be richer. Heck, even the rich want to be richer. But a scam such as this one will end in tears and will not make any of us rich. The only wealth being created will accrue to the founders. At the end of the day, we all can spot this as a scam immediately, but the lure of easy money sucks us in.

But don’t be fooled and don’t send your hard-earned money or recruit any of your friends to spend their hard-earned money either. It is possible for anyone to make profits trading FX, but it’ll take years to learn the skills. The good news is, you can learn how to do it on the internet – for free.

This article originally appeared in the 7 June edition of finweek. Buy and download the magazine here, or sign up for our weekly newsletter here.

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