I was not particularly enthusiastic about MMM and dismissed it as a Pyramid scheme when it was presented to me as an investment opportunity months ago. I was also swamped with work, sometimes working for 36-48 hours at a stretch. I hardly had time for other aspects of my life apart from work. A few months later, workers in my establishment embarked on a strike and so I took a much needed trip to visit a friend in Lagos.
On entering Lagos, I was immediately greeted by the hustle and bustle which came along with the infectious spirit of hustling, money making started hitting me left, right and centre, this economic milieu was miles apart from my town where life moves at a ‘snail’ pace. I got to know about investment opportunities I was previously unaware of such as über. I was also reminded of MMM, which I had previously waved off. I got interested when my friend’s pastor claimed to have made one million naira from the scheme. Now, I do not trust pastors, in fact I immensely dislike three professions, I call them the 3 Ps (Policemen, Pastors and Politicians). But this guy despite being a Pastor, was saying the truth. He had made money, real cash. So I did what every normal person would do, I went online and did a lot of research on MMM, Ponzi schemes and cons in general. Wikipedia was very helpful in this regard. But I still wasn’t convinced and didn’t even have any free cash to experiment with.
When I returned to my town, I discovered to my chagrin that my flat mates had already invested money in the scheme, one had pledged 180k and was due to receive 256k after thirty days. I also discovered the ‘pledged’ sum was still sitting in his account because he had not been paired, and this was the twentieth day. Evidently, a lot of people were seeking to provide help, way more than those receiving help. So, I came to the conclusion that this Ponzi scheme was still in it’s safe period.
So, now aware of the risks and benefits, I concluded that the benefits outweighed the risks and decided to invest. Of course, the lady who convinced me was delighted as ten percent of whatever sum I put in automatically became hers courtesy a ten percent referral bonus. I decided to invest 100k and then the long wait to getting paired began. I had to wait for 23 days, before I was paired to pay in the sum of 34k into one account and 66k into another account. Then, I developed cold feet, 100k is not so little. It took a call from the lady to convince me to transfer the money to the paired accounts. I even almost got into a bit of trouble and risked getting expelled from the system because I was having issues with the bank transfer for the second recipient. I called him to inform him about the difficulty, but he turned out to be an asshole and told me he wasn’t going to extend the 48 hour window. I guess he probably thought I was trying to play a fast one on him, anyway I had to transfer the cash to someone else’s account and that fellow helped me with the transfer.
I wasn’t under any tension particularly, since I had to wait for just one week to get my money and profits back. But two days into the waiting period, my sister sent me a link about MMM crashing in Zimbabwe. I had heard of the scheme having problems in Zimbabwe, but I didn’t know it had crashed. It occurred to me then that panic withdrawals could result in an instant crash and even those who had pledged to pay money wouldn’t honour their pledges resulting in a shutdown of the scheme. I hadn’t thought of this angle and this made me weak, but I summoned the little strength I had left and logged onto the website. I discovered the site was still up and that I already had 26k in addition to the 100k I deposited. So, I clicked the ‘Get help’ button to withdraw all my cash and to my relief I was immediately paired with someone who was to pay me the sum of 126k within 48 hours. For the first 36 hours, I was really bothered because I kept waiting for an alert that never came. When I discussed this with my referrer I discovered that I would have to call whoever I was paired with. So, I made the call and ‘voila’ in 2 hours I was paid 126k. I confirmed the payment on the site and that was the end of the transaction. I hadn’t felt so relieved in a long while, the feeling was akin to peeing after holding on to it for a long while. It felt good!
In retrospect, I believe I should have put in a smaller sum, say 50k. Also I regret not waiting, as I lost out on 14k in the process but I saved myself a lot of heartache. I am convinced the scheme is not for the faint hearted and it is not a means to double your life savings. I suggest anyone adventurous enough to get involved should only put in cash they can afford to lose. As far as Ponzi schemes go, this is the most organised I’ve come across. But some Nigerians as always are playing smart games and have turned it into a full time gig, operating multiple accounts, taking advantage of the long waiting time to triple or even quadruple their profits, this may lead to a premature crash. Also, organisations not benefitting could easily sponsor bloggers and social media promoters to promote negative news about it, thereby catalysing a crash. For now, I’ll just sit back, I have tested the waters, but I do not want to get hooked. I’ll stay off and find something less risky to invest spare cash in.