If there's one thing guaranteed to pique someone's interest, it's the prospect of getting money for nothing. This is exactly what GreenZap claims to be offering. Sign up for the scheme and you're credited with $25 in your account. Even better, for each person you recommend you'll receive a further $5, plus a share in all their referrals. However, this starts alarm bells ringing.
The referral scheme looks suspiciously like a pyramid scheme, and GreenZap claimed it had 200,000 members
What exactly is GreenZap? It claims to be an online payment system that will eventually rival PayPal. Any monies you make from referrals will be deposited in your GreenZap account, which you can then use to make purchases. There's also a further incentive to sign up: GreenZap will be creating a GreenZap Gold account, which increases the money you receive for referrals so long as you put $100 in your account.
It all sounds too good to be true, and the sad fact is that in all likelihood, it will be. Even if the company honours the $25 commitment, you will be charged $2 to receive money, be unable to withdraw your Web cash, and have no fraud protection. PayPal charges you nothing to receive money, enables you to withdraw money to your bank account and offers both buyer and seller protection.
Watch and wait
The biggest worry about GreenZap is that if you try to find out more about the site itself and the people behind it, they prove surprisingly elusive.
First, the site itself has no security or encryption applied to it - even preregistering for the scheme is done on an insecure server. So what's happening to your personal details?
Next, visit www.sandiego.bbb.org/ and do a search for GreenZap. GreenZap's postal address is in California, but it hasn't registered as a corporation with the state. The company's official contact phone number is a mobile number; its mailing address is a box number in a grocery store.
Eventually, the trail points to a man called Damon Westmoreland, who has been associated with similar dubious schemes in the past. At least one of these - ThePayLine.com - was shut down in 2001. He is currently involved with Mazumah Inc, which can also be found on www.sandiego.bbb.org, and there are five complaints listed here, none of which have been resolved.
Finally, if you're still thinking of trying this site out, we recommend that you at least wait until the site is up and running and has been successfully trading for at least six months more. For now, PayPal seems much safer.
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