WhatsApp stokvel makes a comeback in 2020

Many people are struggling financially due to the effects of the recent pandemic, and so WhatsApp stokvels have made a comeback. These are still not operating within financial laws, however.

WhatsApp stokvel is back under a new name — WhatsApp gifting — and it’s all the buzz at the moment.

What is the WhatsApp stokvel?

People are forming groups inviting others to join the stokvel and contribute a certain amount of money. It starts with a promise that if you invest R200, you’re likely to receive a payout of up to R6000. But many think it’s nothing more than an elaborate pyramid scheme that will end in tears.

Members either know each other personally, or know each other through a mutual contact. Some people join as complete strangers, though.

The modus operandi is that people will be paid out by other members of the WhatsApp group when it is their turn on the list. However, oftentimes, people get scammed by dishonest members who run off after they have been paid, never to be heard from again and most often, are the group administrators.

Nasasa warns against scammers

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 payout, but those who followed often lost all of their money.

According to Nasasa founder and chairperson of Nasasa, Andrew Lukhele said, “Scammers were using the popularity of stokvels to create pyramid schemes and take advantage of people.”

Last year, Eyewitness News interviewed a few people who fell victim to such scammers. The stokvel victims expressed regret over losing money, no matter how small the amount.

The “revamped” version has the same model, but some stokvels are now working with bigger amounts such as R1,000 “investments” for a R6,000 payout.

Also read: Whatsapp scam: What you need to know about the new hijacking threat

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