E-Creator scam claims another victim in Zimbabwe
A Zimbabwean student has taken his own life after shooting himself with a gun over his involvement in the E-Creator scam, according to his close relative Tekina.
E-Creator was a company that claimed to help people make money by posting fake positive reviews on e-commerce sites globally. It was exposed as a scam in July 2023, when it shut down abruptly and allegedly fled with over US$1 million of its members’ money.
Tekina posted on social media that his cousin Ngoni, a 1.2 student, shot himself twice after being pressured by the people he made join E-Creator. “It’s a sad day for us, Ngoni a 1.2 student shot himself twice. Now he is dead. The people he made join E-CREATOR came too hard on him,” he wrote.
E-Creator was launched in April 2023 and claimed to be a Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) company that partnered with e-commerce platforms such as Amazon, Alibaba, and Jumia. It offered various packages that required members to pay a registration fee ranging from US$15 to US$300 and then post reviews on products sold on these platforms.
The members were promised to earn commissions based on the number of reviews they posted and the number of referrals they brought to the company. However, posting fake reviews is against the terms and conditions of these platforms and can result in account suspension or legal action.
E-Creator did not have any official website, email address, or physical office. It operated mainly through WhatsApp groups, Facebook pages, and YouTube videos. It did not have any affiliation or authorization from the e-commerce platforms it claimed to partner with. It also did not provide any receipts, invoices, or contracts to its members.
E-Creator collapsed in July 2023, after two months of operation. It announced on its Facebook page that it had closed down due to the disappearance of its founder, Zhao Jiaotong, who was a Chinese national. It claimed that Zhao had withdrawn all the company funds through EcoCash agents and was planning to leave Zimbabwe with over US$1 million. It urged its members to find him and recover their money.
However, this story was later debunked as a lie by Techzim, a local technology news site. Techzim pointed out several inconsistencies and impossibilities in the statement, such as the EcoCash transaction limits, the lack of evidence of Zhao’s existence or identity, and the implausibility of him carrying such a large amount of cash.
The death of Ngoni is a tragic reminder of the dangers of falling prey to online scams that promise quick and easy money. The authorities have warned the public to be vigilant and cautious when dealing with such schemes and to report any suspicious activities to the police.