I landed my first job as a content creator cum translator after graduation but quit after 6 months. It turns out the company was a fraud.
I started job hunting 3 months before graduation and stumbled upon this ad on Jobstreet. I was a part-timer working on a freelance basis, as I still had three months until my graduation. This company would send me articles to translate occasionally from Chinese to English, and then English to Chinese.
As a university student, it was great because there wasn’t much work and I got paid bi-weekly. Also, I worked from home, so I didn’t know how the company operated because I wasn’t in office.
Eventually, I was hired full-time in June. That’s when I noticed something was wrong.
They claimed that they were marketing certain products but it turns out there were none. They were part of an international cryptocurrency pyramid scheme.
Their entire company was a fraud and everything is operating on a lie
A few days ago, I went back to the Jobstreet to look at their hiring ad and found out that they had changed their company overview and job scope. It was not the one that I previously saw and still, it did not highlight what they actually did.
The company said that they are in the computer/information technology industry and that they design websites, but that’s far from what they really are.
What they really were is the back end of a pyramid scheme operating in China, or more specifically, a digital currency pyramid scheme.
In China, pyramid schemes are not allowed and in some jurisdictions illegal. Therefore, they have to lie to their ‘investors’ (or what they cleverly called as ‘members’).
This wasn’t an investment at all. In China, only banks are allowed to use the word ‘investments’, and if non-banking organisations use the word ‘investment’ for their business, they might get in trouble.
So instead of being an employee, what happens is that you pay a ‘fee’ to ‘participate’ in this ‘programme’ or ‘project’. Then at the end of the day, you get ‘rewards’ in the form of money. In order to maximize your ‘reward’, you have to ask more people to ‘participate’ in these ‘programmes’.
Does that not sound like a pyramid scheme to you?
Scam after scam after scam
One day I was asked to do research on big scale 3D printing i.e. 3D printed houses, 3D printed cars and so on. And since I love researching, I did.
I came out with a thorough essay which was detailed and had all the information about it. And when I showed my boss, he told me I did a great job.
The next step he said, was to change the company names and make it look like our company created all those things instead.
This was ridiculous on so many levels, because our company definitely did not come up with all those. Most importantly, the company definitely did not have the technology and the capacity to build something like that!
So it was all a straight up lie.
He told me, “We have to say it like we are going to invest in all those things and now we need funds from the members so that we are able to do it.”
Around May they had this company dinner and I was invited to go, even though I was just a part-timer. We went to this fancy 4-star restaurant in KL and it was a good dining experience. While I was there, I was told that I would be joining them on the company trip to Beijing.
I was surprised because I didn’t really contribute to the growth of the company. But it’s an all-expense paid trip, and I was going to get RMB700 as pocket money while I was there, so why not?
So I went on the company trip despite only having started officially for one day. I was told that we had to work during the trip so I was prepared.
But it wasn’t like that.
There is this convention that we had to attend, and it was supposed to be about the latest technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the latest unmanned convenience stores. Since I was a content creator and in charge of the social media, I had to constantly update the followers about what was going on during the convention.
It turns out, the convention was horrible and it had nothing to do with the things that they said it was about.
They said that there will be 4 celebrities attending, and only 2 were present. They said that it will start at about 9 and end at 4, but it ended (or more accurately, cancelled) after the lunch break and only informed the people that attended 2 hours later.
According to schedule, after this convention, we should be having a grand dinner at this prestigious centre that only hosted the social elites and we were told by the tour guide (who is a local), that the centre is only accessible by the government officials like the president or ministers. We were even given a list of rules that were about 2 pages long to follow if we were to attend that dinner.
But at about 2pm after they cancelled the convention, we were told that the dinner was cancelled as well.
Imagine this, if you were a member of this ‘company’, who spent maybe thousands to attend this convention + dinner and flew in from different states just for this, how would you feel?
I didn’t spend a single cent and yet I was pissed.
It was at that moment I lost respect and hope for the company.
Of course, the paying members were mad about this, and you know what the company did to rectify this mistake?
They decided to sell their members a necklace. It was a normal necklace you could just buy at any pasar malam, but they sold them at a discounted price rather than the original price. They believed it was enough to make up for their members’ money and time which was lost.
The even more ridiculous thing was that they priced the ‘discounted’ necklace at RMB488 (about RM290) and there were members who actually bought them.
I hated how they refused to just apologise to the members about their failure at the convention and the dinner, after I suggested that it was the right thing to do.
This other time, there was a “project” that failed.
I won’t go into details about it since it happened before I joined the company, so I didn’t know a lot about it. But basically it got a lot of people to invest in this ‘project’, and then they just announced it as a failed project one day out of the blue and had to cancel the whole thing.
In any normal circumstances, the right thing to do was to tell the ‘investors’ the truth and return the money invested and issue an official apology on their website.
However, they decided the best thing to do was to lie to everyone and found a scapegoat for this mess. Thus, everyone who invested in this ‘project’ put all the blame to this couple who may or may not be at fault.
Since the project allegedly ‘failed’ (what caused this failure, no one knew, it just ‘failed’ suddenly, even my boss wasn’t sure how it happened) the members asked for the project to return the money that they invested. It’s the logical thing to do, right?
To this, the company decided that, in order for the members to get back the money that they invested, they should bring in more people, and tell them to invest in other ‘projects’. Only then they can get their money back.
Which is a load of bull.
Below are some of the comments that I managed to screenshot while I was working there. All of the comments were left by the members who lost their money and filed complaints through customer service or leaving comments on the website.
‘If this goes on, it’s no different from those typical pyramid schemes and financial fraud, and should be subjected to law sanctions! We just want our capital back and not cause harm to others.’
‘This is not ethical at all, who would want to harm others?’
‘Do you not know that you have already broken the law?’
Some of the members felt something was not right after a few days and decided to call them out. And what did the company do?
They blocked and deleted all of the negative comments and the accounts of the members who called them out. They would only unblock their accounts if they came and apologise profusely.
By the way, they have their own cryptocurrency.
First, they had one that was called ‘Pcoin’ (Name changed), which was worth about RM10 each. When things went bad, they decided to split that one coin into many other coins, so Pcoin would not be worth RM10 anymore. They decided to split it into three different smaller coins because they didn’t want people to take so much out of Pcoin.
I do not know whether Pcoin was a legit currency or not because I was not familiar with the whole cryptocurrency market.
After my resignation, I talked to my friends about this. He used to work in a financial company in New York City. He told me that if a cryptocurrency is not backed up by the central bank, then it is not legit. You can say all you want about how much it is worth, but it is all just talk. I also did some researches on this Pcoin and there were numerous articles saying that this was just a scam and this coin has no value at all.
Not my job scope at all
When I was there, I was asked to do things which I had no experience for.
Initially, I just had to churn out content for the website, which was fine to me. But after that entire thing went down, I was asked to write investment plans, draft agreements and even contracts.
They never mentioned that I had to do all that in my employment contract. Maybe they thought this is what a content creator does, but I’m sorry, it’s not.
I told them that I have no idea how to do all of those, and they told me to ‘google and copy other people’s stuff’, which means going to, for example, Apple or Samsung’s terms and conditions and basically copy and paste everything and changing some terms from it.
This was plain plagiarism.
As for the contract, they asked me to draft a contract after the cancelled project, and I quote ‘write it in English so that the people in China would not understand and tell them that they had agreed to this contract upon investing in the project and if anything bad were to happen, they would lose their money and no refund would be given’.
But in the end I didn’t do it because I just couldn’t bring myself to do something as horrible as this. My job was to lie to the members everyday by drafting fake contracts and fake agreements to further scam them into losing more money, I just couldn’t take it.
In the end, I left the company.
I couldn’t see the company’s future. When I left, I saw that some of the people who lost their money saying that they wanted to sue the company and bring this issue to court.
I am lucky to have left the company now, who knows what kind of trouble they have gotten themselves at this moment.
For more articles on scams, read I Was Abducted and Held at a Drug Rehab Facility. Here’s My Story, and Worst Dates Series: Horror Date in Thailand.