Yet another scam
THE agitation by hundreds of people, allegedly swindled by a so-called online outsourcing company, in the capital Dhaka on Sunday points, yet again, to the failure of the regulatory authorities to take effective steps against scams in the name of multi-level marketing. According to a report published in New Age on Sunday, Dolancer, the ‘outsourcing company’, allegedly embezzled more than Tk 35 crore from more 3.5 lakh people between May 2011 and May 2012. The apparently deceived clients of the company, which is said to operate like a multi-level marketing firm, registered on a payment of $100 in the hope of earning $1 a day by merely clicking 25 times on its website, and have not been paid since June 1. The managing director of the company, according to an aggrieved client, promised over telephone from abroad that he would come to his house on Saturday and make the payments. As it turned out, he had seemingly taken the gullible lot for a ride.
The Dolancer scam comes hot on the heels of the controversy surrounding Destiny, another multi-level marketing company, which allegedly swindled a lot of money out of a lot of people. While the government has, of late, initiated a process to call Destiny to account, the unfolding Dolancer saga suggests that there seem to be regulatory loopholes galore for unscrupulous quarters to cheat unsuspecting people. For example, as the New Age report points out, Dolancer managed a licence from the office of the registrar of the joint stock companies as an outsourcing company and also a trade licence from the Dhaka City Corporation. Of course, these two institutions cannot be expected to read the minds of the licence/registration seekers and thus know for sure that Dolancer’s intent may not have the best of intentions in mind in the first place. Still, one expects the regulatory and licensing authorities to know better; after all, it is also their credibility that is at stake because of the scam.
In any case, the recent episodes of large-scale scams need to be treated as an eye-opener by the authorities concerned. Such incidents certainly call for a close scrutiny of regulations and regulatory mechanism overseeing the financial services sector. It is simply not acceptable that one company or the other would come up with one shady scheme after another to swindle people out of their hard-earned money. Of course, people need to be more cautious when investing their money in one shady project or the other. However, such awareness can only come about only if the authorities concerned take an initiative to warn people of the pitfalls and potholes that are there. Ultimately, the authorities need to take the people behind the dodgy schemes to task and set deterrent examples.
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