viernes, 8 de febrero de 2019

El canto de los quetzales en antología educativa

Me es grato comunicar que El canto de los quetzales fue incluido en la antología educativa "Abrepalabras. Comunicación y comprensión lectora para sétimo año" Clase editorial (Grupo Eduvisión)

domingo, 11 de noviembre de 2018

The big Korean scam: the multilevel company Good Time Life and the cryptocoins Utacoin and Utacash


This is not one of those mellow Korean dramas so popular nowdays, it's a nightmare for the investors who were duped by this scam, especially for those who recommended this project to other people and now are threatened, receiving even death threats, requiring them to return the money this company robbed. Many thought they were participating in a legitimate business and in the end it only resulted in a big fraud.

May these words serve as a warning for those who are offered with a similar business, and when they recognize the same characteristics that will be described here, they avoid being scammed as it happened in this case. The actors and the stage may vary, but the plot usually still contain the same fraudulent elements that will be related here.




A MODERN HISTORY OF A SCAM


Throughout history, there have always been scams of all kinds, the only diffrence is that they evolve with time. This one is typical of our age.

Technological developments have brought radical changes in the way the people of this planet interact with each other. The introduction of computers and then the cell phones are some of those changes, but so drastic, that they have substantially changed the way we behave, live and do business.

Among these technological changes emerged the Bitcoin. I won't go into the details of its birth because its history is available in many websites  [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bitcoin]. I will only mention that it is a decentralized, independent, virtual currency, which is not controlled by any state, bank or financial institution.

At the time of its birth (2009), it did not have much boom or atention, but as time advanced, more and more people began to use it and understand its use. Obviously, when an instrument begins to be useful and therefore has the potential to gain money, it is when the competition arises. Often they are bad copies of the original or vulgar scams.



GOOD TIME LIFE: ALEX AND LINDA LEE HONG

It is in this moment that a multilevel company called GOOD TIME LIFE (GTL) was founded by two South Korean citizens, called Alex Lee and Linda Hong (if those are their real names). They also used the names of Mansik Lee and Juliana Hong.







Mr. Lee was promoted as a great businessman, which was never credited anywhere but in a magazine provided by himself, which gave no further detail of his experience. Information about Linda Hong is practically null.


 

They also were showed in interviews or receiving awards.  




People commented that before founding Good Time Life, Alex Lee was a security guard. There was nothing wrong with that, except for the hundreds of people he defrauded.

For its part, Good Time Life's official website [goodtime.life] held the following presentation and greetings (the website sometimes stops working):





Nice words, but false, as all that was offered (this greeting was in different languages).

The company began developing his project with an attractive business plan (as multilevel companies usually do) that revolved around a criptocurrency issued by the company that initially was called UTACOIN and then was changed to UTACASH (UTAC). But his hook or bait was based on a compensation system and revaluation of these virtual currencies, which was quite creative, but completely fraudulent.

PREPARATIONS FOR THE SCAM

The first step was to invite potential investors and business promoters at the opening of what would be a great company. For this they prepared a great reception in South Korea as it is shown in the following video:



It was there explained to them that people will have a chance to buy packages (as is done in all multilevel companies) and the coins they would receive for those packages would come to have great market value as the business develops.


COMPENSATION PLAN:

For example, they offered a package of US $ 250 and the person who purchased it would receive 2,500 coins, called UTACOIN. In other words, they would sell the the coins at a value of 0.10 cents and if the currency called UTACOIN came to be worth US $ 1 of the United States of America, the person will win US $ 2,500 (it was not a bad deal, except it wasn't true). With the package of $ 500, the investor would receive 5,000 coins, but, for this amount, an extra bonus would be granted, which for this particular package consisted of 10% (500 coins). Then the investor would acquire a total of 5,500 coins. So, if the coin came to be worth US $ 1, the investor will win US $ 5,500. With the $ 1,000 package would receive 10,000 coins, plus a bonus of 15%, for a total of 11,500 UTACOINS. Thus reaching worth of $ 1, They would win US $ 11,500. Packages continued to increase in value as bonuses, up to $ 30,000.


 
Meanwhile, those who promoted the business and brought new investors to this "project" would receive bonusses to be paid through a binary system (also called two-legged), you must enter at least two people (one for each leg) in order to receive commissions, very usual for multilevel companies.


Once the person acquired a package the so called "company" gave them a username and password to access a section of the company's website called "My office". There, they receive the coins corresponding to the package purchased . If a person brought other investors (binary systemen) they will receive a commission that were paid as follows: a percentage of bitcoins, represented by the letter B (Green box); Forex points, represented by the letter F (blue box); points to buy (shopping points) represented by the letter S (red box).

At the bottom of the website you could see people entering in the business and their nationalities represented by the flags of their countries.



Here it is a part of a video (in spanish) explaining how the site works:




But how they intended to increase the value of the currency?

PLATFORMS TO INCREASE THE VALUE:

They promoted an "ecosystem" of what they called platforms, in which UTACOIN would increase its value. At the end, they were totally false. It was as follows:

1- 3D TVs technology

This was a masterstroke in the scam. GOOD TIME LIFE led to believe that it was the owner of 29% of a technology in 3D (three - dimensional TVs that do not need glasses), whose sales in the future would worth millions. To prove that they gave the following information: 




The also promoted that tecnology with the following video (in this case in Spanish):



  
They even invited potential investors and business promoters from various parts of the world to the opening of the company in Seoul, South Korea (2017), in which they showed that technology. People who were at the event say that they indeed saw that technology, as seen in the following video, although the third dimension it can not be appreciated, it shows that people who were there witnessed that technology and that it was real and that Good Time Life offered as its own: 


As I stated, this was one of the masterstroke of the scam: convincing people (investors and promoters of the business) that the company owned the technology, that they had large contracts signed, especially with China, and that when the sales of this tecnology started it would get rich all the investors. This gave a sense of security with the investment in Good Time Life. Obviously seeing this technology operate in the event of Seoul, South Korea suggested to the participants that it was indeed true.

How they managed to show that technology as owned by Good Time LIfe is a mystery yet to be solved.  


2-Business Center, residential and a hotel in Jacarta
 


They also talked about building a business center, a residential and a hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia, where you could buy only with the UTACOIN currency.   




  3- ATMs, Visa and Mastercard cards

They also promoted the idea that UTACOIN currency could be used at ATMs around the world. They claimed they had a signed contract, the first in the world, with Visa cards. Subsequently, they changed to Mastercard. At the end, there was none.






They even kept the charade producing a video issued in December 2017, in which they announced the approval of the card. 




4- Virtual Mall

Another platform offered was a supposed virtual mall called GOOD TIME MALL, in which people would buy famous brands items with UTACOIN. From the beginning, this was on the screen when people accessed the page [www.goodtimemall.org]
The site did not have any traffic, started dead and thus always followed.



5- Commercial buisnesses to use Utacoin

Another promise was that the Utacoins could be used in many business around the world. We can be certain there was none.



6- Forex

They also offered that the company would invest in FOREX (which is a decentralized world market for all the currencies that are operating in the world), which proved false, as all other platforms: 






They even gave talks on how to invest the money on this platform. Here's an excerpt from one of those talks:




7- Exchange houses and a virtual wallet

Another platform was a exchange house for the Utacoins that the investors had acquired. There they could sell them and get a juicy profit. The site was called [goodtimeuta.org], which also would have its own virtual wallet. 






In short, they promoted the company as if it were a conglomerate of services, which never really existed.










BEGINING OF THE SCAM 





Once they created all the infrastructure to sustain the deception, they decided to start placing the packages, which was how they obtained the money. To do this, one of their spokesmen, a man of Korean descent and Brazilian nationality named Philip Han, who was the GLOBAL MASTER (whatever that meant), began promoting the company in various countries, especially in Latin America. Here it is an example of the promotion:






He also appeared with Alex Lee and Linda Hong in several videos, one already shown above, another as follows (in Spanish): 





One of the promises they made to attract investors was that the first 100 people in each country who subscribed through a package that they offered would be considered a founding partner and this person would earn year after year an extra bonus, which consisted in, of the total earnings, 11% will be shared among all of these founding partners, as explained in Spanish by Philip Han in the following video. 





Many people, especially low-income, believed in the project. People from America, Africa, Asia, Europe, India, made videos on Facebook and Youtube promoting the company in meetings and promising what they were promised: that they will get rich with this company. In fact, the company itself claimed that people from 90 countries around de world had already invested , which is highly likely to be so, because the scam was very well designed.





People contacted family, friends, co-workers and everyone they could to show this wonderful multilevel business that offered something new.

The company also urged people to buy UTACOIN currency in exchanges houses (Example: CCEX), so the criptocurrency could begin to revaluate itself.  


END OF LIES: FROM UTACOIN TO UTACASH

The deception began to be exposed gradually. There were small details such as miscommunications, inconsistencies, delays, informal meetings with lousy translators. Projects were not advancing and people began to ask questions without answers. In that moment happened the first major setback that would be the beginning of the fall.

GOOD TIME LIFE announced (of course they didn't do it through its official website, because communication was always bad or zero) by the Global Master Philip Han, that all people would lose over 90% of the coins they had bought, due a conversion of coins from UTACOIN to UTACASH (UTAC).

This major shift in the investments was explained with a video and a paper. That's right, it was not made through an official company statement. This important information was delivered by Mr. Han using a piece of paper. Of course, they never explained the reasons for such change. 



In case someone doubts it was communicated this way here is an extract of the video where the explanation was given, in this case in Spanish:




Those who had 2,500 coins will have now 227, those who had 5,500 will have now 500, those who had 11,500 now will have 1,045 and thus proportionately. Moreover, people who had bought UTACOINS in exchanges houses where they they were urged to acquire them, will lose their purchases, as the company would not recognize them. Something like buying a red car that later would have no warranty, because the company now would only guarantee blue vehicles.

This made people realize the scam they suffered.

It addition to this, in this part of the plot, Philip Han disappeared. The company announced in one of the informal meetings occasionally performed, that Mr. Han will no longer be the Global Master. That did nothing but exacerbate the doubts and confirm the fear and widespread that everything was a lie.

COINSWORKS

Obviously other platforms were also ineffective. For example, the exchange house [goodtimeuta.org] did not work either. It was a website with many flaws. They changed it with a new one called COINSWORKS. 











Needless to say this place did not work either. 


GTL WINNERS 


In its eagerness to continue with their lies, the company changed the platforms. 3D TV's Tecnology, Jacarta, the virtual mall, ATMs, the exchange house, Visa or Mastercard cards and Forex no longer existed. 


In one of the virtual and informal meetings conducted with lousy translators, the founders asked for more time to investors. They said that now the currency would be used in virtual casinos instead. That is, the currency ceased to be the battle horse that would defeat the Bitcoin to become simply an old and useless donkey, a casino chip. 


To sustain the later, photos were taken allegedly signing agreements that guaranteed their say about the casinos.









With no other possibility to recover their money, hopeless people gave these lousy founders more time, hoping that everything will be solved. Also they came out with photographs showing the places in which the casinos would be working.

 




But like all scams, this came to an end. The website [goodtime.life] sometimes works but they stopped answering emails.

The testimonies of people who recommended the business and now were receiving death threats to return money they didn't have, were frightening, because what started as a great business opportunity, became overnight a terrible nightmare.

Many people lost family, friends, coworkers, other people's confidence and their reputation. The founders (Alex Lee and Linda Hong) disappeared, but there are people trying to obtain justice and perhaps telling this story will help. If you wish to contact other people who were affected, you can do so following this link to Facebook:







That said, this does not mean that all multilevel or cryptocurrency businesses are fraudulent, but this story must teach you that you should not be blinded by ambition, otherwise this will prevent you from recognizing a great opportunity from a common scam.

As a final recommendation, if you are going to get into a business like this, do it with your own money (an amount that you can lose without cause you any problems) and do not recommend it to anyone else. It will always be less painful and troublesome to lose your own than other people's money.




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Otros títulos de Victor Roswell



















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