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Monday, June 14, 2021

Original Report: “Shopping Mall” Pyramid Scheme Comes to an End

The scheme unraveled on February 8th.

When: February 9th, 2021

Where: Thailand

Perpetrator: Shopping Mall App

Victims: 100’s of thousands in Thailand and abroad

What: A few weeks back one of True Crime Thailand’s readers alerted us to a massive pyramid scheme operating under the name Shopping Mall.

You may or may not have heard of it, but hundreds of thousands of people across Thailand and even other countries were involved by infusing their hard earned money into the scheme.

I have one source who chose to remain anonymous and I respect their wishes. They were able to provide valuable information about how the pyramid scheme worked.

Shopping Mall launched late last year and took Thailand by storm. People were investing anywhere between a few thousand baht to millions of baht into the scheme.

For awhile it was paying off. My source told me they were able to profit from Shopping Mall when they put 20,000 baht into the platform in December and withdrew 70,000 soon after. They never put any more money in, however, and walked away with their gains.

The Shopping Mall scheme worked like most other pyramid schemes. Big returns are promised and often realized by those who are early, and the gains are funded by those who come in later, often when it’s too late. There’s a critical mass that’s reached where the payouts slow down due to lack of growth in users or capital, and the infusion of cash that funded the high return payouts of early users dries up.

Of course, those who came in late, whose capital funded the payouts of earlier participants, are left holding worthless shares or placeholders in a queue that promise future returns.

The app became very popular in Thailand. While shopping at your local Big C you may have heard the “ching ching ching” of the app giving users notifications of their gains. There’s no actual estimate published yet as to how many were involved in the scheme, but when it’s all said and done, based on figures provided to me and fair estimates, I’d reckon that hundreds of millions of baht will have been squandered when it’s all accounted for — maybe even more.

And it wasn’t just Thais hoping to win a quick baht. One British man put in over 600,000 baht. There are stories on Line groups, which is where the schemes were organized, where people lost millions of baht and are unable to withdraw their money.

Hundreds of Line groups were abandoned over night by the admins when the scheme started to fall apart as of yesterday. Users and other participants on the groups are sharing their stories of the money they lost and details about how they got involved.

Police stations across Thailand, from Phuket to Koh Samui and Bangkok, were flooded by people filing complaints about Shopping Mall. Expect official news from police and the press in the coming days and weeks that account for how many were taken by this scheme and the financial toll tallied.

Our contact was also able to do a bit of legwork in investigating the source code of the app. It’s open source code that was published on a Chinese language website.

The app itself also supported Chinese, Thai, and English.

I’ll go out on a limb with this and say that I’d reckon that Chinese profiteers were involved with promoting the app in Thailand, but that’s yet to be seen — it’s only our speculation.

There are other apps and pyramid schemes that have been running concurrently with Shopping Mall.

One is called Tesco App. Another contact of True Crime Thailand informed us of its existence and popularity.

It works the same as Shopping Mall and is currently running just fine with deposits and withdrawals going smoothly. Of course, there’s never a problem until there is. Any of these apps and schemes should be avoided at all costs. If you do decide to put money in with the hope of short term large returns, then only risk what you are comfortable with losing, as you may wake up without the ability to get your funds out.

As details come out about the situation with Shopping Mall and relates schemes, True Crime Thailand will update our audience.

We’d like to thank two friends of the group who gave us inside details of the situation.

True Crime Thailand would like to do more original stories like this that can help our readers and the broader expat community and others in Thailand stay safe and avoid harm from scams and other crimes.

Video of a man going to police station in Phuket:

Links:

Source code of the app: http://mayuanzhan.com/198.html

Tutorial on how to install the code: https://www.programmersought.com/article/61364854133/

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