A major scandal has erupted in Guinea, with almost 2,000 individuals claiming to have fallen victim to the platforms RichVIP and SVIP. These platforms enticed people to invest money online, promising quick and substantial returns. However, investors allege that they cannot access either their profits or the initial investments, which in some cases amount to thousands of euros.
RichVIP and SVIP emerged in Guinea in June 2023. These platforms, presenting themselves as partners of Amazon, propose a straightforward concept: investors deposit a sum of money, promote the products sold by the American company online, and generate profits within a few days, even more, if they refer a friend. This well-known scam, commonly referred to as a Ponzi scheme, has been around for a century.
Both platforms fine-tuned their communication through television advertisements, and investments were channeled through Orange’s payment services, which initially reassured the citizen investors. However, when they attempted to withdraw their money, the operation turned out to be impossible.
Ibrahima Sory Barry, a young professional, serves as the President of the Victims’ Collective, which currently comprises 1,945 individuals. He explains, speaking to Sidy Yansané, “There are heads of families who invited their wives, children, and colleagues. Many of these people sincerely regret it. They (the individuals behind RichVIP and SVIP) have disrupted the lives of Guineans, fathers and mothers, and senior executives… Some are hesitant to admit their participation because others believe we were naive.”
“It’s not a matter of naivety. Certain factors genuinely deceived us, such as the media. They used our relatives to trap us. They utilized Orange’s services. They even went as far as Orange Guinea. Orange has all the information related to transactions carried out with these individuals, reaching their databases,” he continues.
According to Ibrahima Sory Barry, the victims have collectively lost at least 880,000 euros. They have filed a joint complaint and have been demanding the return of their money for over a month. This case underscores the importance of vigilance in online investments and the need for regulatory measures to prevent such scams in the future.