By Bombi Mavundza for Business Insider SA
Despite the name change, the ‘stokvel’ still has the same modus operandi. Members deposit R200 – and hope to make huge profits.
The National Stokvel Association of SA (Nasasa) has previously warned South Africans that WhatsApp stokvels are most likely to be pyramid schemes rather than genuine savings vehicles – and those who have joined them have probably been scammed.
Like most pyramid schemes, the first few to join received a pay-out, but those who followed often lost all their money.
Many victims who have joined such stokvels in the past have seen group administrators disappear after making payments into the stokvels.
According to Nasasa founder and chairperson of Nasasa, Andrew Lukhele, scammers were using the popularity of stokvels to create pyramid schemes and take advantage of people.
Traditional stokvels are based on trust where everyone in the stokvel knows each other, and the terms of payout have already been set.
The Whatsapp scams often involves anonymous people, so it is impossible to track or trace the money when it disappears.
A stokvel, derived from “stock fair”, is a savings scheme where a group of people come together to save or increasing invest together.