Is FrancSwiss a scam?

James Ryan Jonas

It seems the newest craze in town is not anymore Koreanovelas, Pinoy Big Brother, or celebrity video scandals, but an HYIP “pretending to be a genuine investment program” called FrancSwiss.

The buzz is that even actors like Raymart Santiago and Claudine Barretto and TV broadcaster Korina Sanchez have “invested” in the program. With a 4.5% promised return per day, who could resist this kind of offer?

Without a doubt, hundreds of investors have already made big profits during the past months. But would thousands cry and wail once the program is gone and has stopped paying?

First, let’s understand what an HYIP is. HYIP stands for High-Yield Investment Programs, supposed investment programs that offer high returns with a corresponding high level of risk. These programs promise a return so high even the best investment banking companies would not dare offer.

But HYIPs disappear so quickly and, in most cases, do so without a trace. One day the site’s up and the program’s paying, but the next day you get a “Page Not Displayed” error when accessing the site. Payments from the program would have also stopped by then. You cannot run after the program owners because, in the first place, you don’t know who they are or where they live. The names and addresses, if ever given, are usually fake.

HYIPs are not new. In 1919, Charles Ponzi started an “investment” program that paid investors 100% of their investment in just 3 months (1.11% return per day). What investors did not know, however, was that recent investments were used to pay off older investments.

When less and less people invested, newer cash were not anymore enough to pay off older investments. Consequently, the pyramid scheme collapsed and thousands of people lost money in the process. Charles Ponzi was jailed and from then on the name Ponzi stuck and became synonymous with pyramid scams.

In recent years, hundreds of HYIPs that are actually pyramid schemes have sprung up on the internet every day. There’s StudioTraffic, the so-called “big daddy” of autosurf programs, that paid 1% a day and was able to last for around 2 years. There’s PIPS, PhoenixSurf, 12DailyPro, and a plethora of other “investment” programs that paid consistently for a period of time but in the end also folded up and scammed thousands of people.

(For a list of online investment programs that are now considered scams, visit our Online Investment Scams page)

FrancSwiss, we believe, is no different from other online investment programs that flourished in the past. Regardless of the consistency of payments, SEC registration, or a brick-and-mortar office, these programs eventually end up as a non-paying scam.

So Is FrancSwiss a scam? Not yet, but it will be. Soon.

Don’t be a victim. Don’t fall for these scams.

Related Links:

Talk about FrancSwiss in the HYIP: FrancSwiss thread in the PMT Forum.

James Ryan Jonas teaches business management, investments, and entrepreneurship at the University of the Philippines (UP). He is also the Executive Director of UP Provident Fund Inc., managing and investing P3.2 Billion ($56.4 Million) worth of retirement funds on behalf of thousands of UP employees.