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Beware of Facebook accounts impersonating failed Ponzi scheme endorsed by Nigerian celebrities

IN SHORT: Racksterli is a Ponzi scheme that impacted thousands of Nigerians. Facebook accounts are now impersonating the platform, which no longer exists, in an attempt to scam users.

There are various investment companies that Nigerians can go to in order to grow their money. But there are also scammers taking advantage of desperate users on Facebook.

A post by the Facebook page Racksteli investment reads: “WELCOME TO RACKSTERLI  ITS A PLATFORM WHERE YOU INVEST A CERTAIN AMOUNT OF MONEY AND YOU GET IT BACK IN DOUBLE TO YOUR ACCOUNT IN LESS THAN 45MINUTES.”

The post, dated 13 July 2023, says the platform is not a Ponzi scheme and there is no delay in paying investors.

In a Ponzi scheme, earlier investors are paid with funds from new ones. The company usually promises high returns with little to no risk.

The post also features a 59-second video of Nigerian singer, David Adeleke, popularly known as Davido. Adeleke calls on viewers to invest in the platform, with the assurance that they will get their money back in 24 hours.

The video has been viewed by more than 1,000 users. 

Like many similar schemes we’ve debunked before, this post also has a WhatsApp link for interested users. 

Similar posts can be found here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

So is this investment scheme legit? We checked.

Racksterli_Scam

Endorsed by popular figures in Nigeria

Africa Check found several media reports on Racksterli. Founded by Michael Oti, it was an investment platform offering to double investors' money within a short period of time.

The platform used celebrities to gain the trust of potential investors. Davido and Dino Melaye, a former Nigerian lawmaker, are the most popular celebrities who promoted the platform. 

Quam Adebola, a victim who spoke to financial news site Nairametrics in July 2022, said she was convinced to join the platform because of Davido's endorsement. Actors Nancy Isime and William Uchemba also promoted the scheme, alongside other celebrities, according to Nairametrics.

Over 400,000 people who put their money in the scheme were scammed. Most of them never received their initial investment back, nor the double payouts promised to them.

The investment platform crashed in June 2021, according to the Lagos-based Foundation for Investigative Journalism.

The signs are there

The poorly written post, riddled with grammatical errors, is the first sign that the page is a scam. A legitimate investment platform would be expected to publish well-written posts.

The page also has just seven followers. A low number of followers on any social media page claiming to be credible is a red flag.

Users could still be tricked with the promise of doubling their money in a short period of time. Hence it is important to approach such an offer with caution.

Racksterli and others flagged

Racksterli, MMM, Galaxy, and Brad Crash have all been identified by Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crime Commission as Ponzi schemes that deceived the public.

In a tweet in 2022, the commission cautioned the public to be wary of online investment programmes that promise quick and large returns.

Africa Check has debunked a similar Facebook account claiming to offer investment to Nigerians.

To help protect yourself against online scams, read our guide to Facebook scams and how to spot them.

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