We’ve written previously that members of an autosurf known as MegaLido had reported their support requests had been ignored and they they were seeking refunds from AlertPay and SolidTrustPay.
MegaLido members now say the site itself has gone offline.Â The paid-to-surf site rose to prominence in the weeks after the government seizure of AdSurfDaily’s assets, with some ASD members touting MegaLido as a safe, offshore alternative. Reports suggest as many as 27,000 people joined MegaLido, whose promoters clearly traded off ASD’s miseries.
One forum poster said today that all 10 autosurfs in which he was a participant were encountering various problems, meaning they were failing or perhaps on the verge of doing so.
Here’s the thing about autosurfs:
- It is a virtual certainty they are operating as Ponzi schemes, a cousin to the type of alleged fraud pulled off by Bernard Madoff.
- They are virtually impossible to police.
- The SEC has a history of shutting them down. The Justice Department also is involved in the autosurf fray these days. Witness the civil forfeiture complaint against the assets of AdSurfDaily, including the seizure tens of millions of dollars.
- You don’t know if your fellow autosurfer is a criminal or terrorist.
- You don’t know if the autosurf operator is a criminal or terrorist. It is likely that the U.S. government, at least, would view him as a criminal if he is using the Andy Bowdoin/ASD playbook.
- It is impossible to perform due diligence.
- Virtually all autosurfs engage in the sale of unregistered securities, calling themselves “advertising companies” that offer “rebates.” Equivalent words also are used, all to avoid regulatory scrutiny.
- There is nothing to prevent an autosurf operator from gathering a planned amount of funds and then running off with the money. Early “pay-outs” may be designed just to create buzz and keep money flowing into the system.
- Receivers have a history of suing autosurf participants to force the return of illegal profits. Madoff wasn’t operating an autosurf, of course. But attorneys are lining up to sue institutions and people and who received redemptions from Madoff on the theory of ill-gotten gains.
- Participating in an autosurf puts you at risk of losing money, being sued or even arrested.