Is Zeniq legit or a scam?

We recently found Zeniq being promoted on several online forums, so our Intel team decided to look at it. On their website zeniq.com, Zeniq claims to be a “Blockchain ecosystem for finance and investments.” In essence, the Zeniq platform will supposedly allow you to exchange cryptocurrencies and to invest in different projects. In their FAQ section, they say: Everyone who has purchased the ZENIQ “HUB 01” will get the minting option to produce ZENIQ Coins. The earlier you buy your ZENIQ “HUB 01”, the earlier you start minting and therefore you get more ZENIQ Coins. The minting option does not apply to the ZENIQ HUB “02”.

To invest in this project the investor must buy the Zeniq Hub to mint Zeniq coins. So, when the coin appreciates in value the investor can then sell it or exchange it for another cryptocurrency and make money.

Appriasal of Zeniq

We begin the appraisal of Zeniq with the most critical factor, the Zeniq Coin. The Zeniq websites clearly states that the Zeniq Coin runs on the Zeniq Blockchain.

But all we found listed on their website is an address to an ERC 20 token in the Ethereum blockchain, and not the Zeniq Blockchain. So where is the Zeniq blockchain? The explanation given by Zeniq is this: The ZENIQ coin is on its own blockchain, but since it is not (yet) listed on other exchanges, we have wrapped the ZENIQ coin and made it an ERC20 token (https://etherscan.io/token/0x5b52bfb8062ce664d74bbcd4cd6dc7df53fd7233) so it can be traded on Uniswap (https://info.uniswap.org/#/tokens/0x5b52bfb8062ce664d74bbcd4cd6dc7df53fd7233), for example. As soon as the ZENIQ exchange is ready, the ZENIQ coin can be traded on it. If ZENIQ is listed directly on an external exchange, it can be traded earlier.

Since Zeniq claims that ” The ZENIQ coin is on its own blockchain,” we simply ask where is this blockchain? Where is the code? Bitcoin and Ethereum all have their code base publicly published where anyone can read it and check that it is what its founders claim it to be. Simply saying that Zeniq has its own blockchain is not enough, for all we know the Zeniq blockchain might be a pie in the sky.

Also, we noticed there is no whitepaper on the Zeniq website. A whitepaper is a document that lays out the background, goals, strategy, concerns, and timeline for implementation for the project. It should have accompanying resources such as financial models, legal concerns, SWOT analysis, and a roadmap for implementation. All we have on the Zeniq website is a list of milestones. This is a huge red flag.

The next thing we looked at was the company location and its license status. Zeniq claims in its website to be a “Limited Liability Company in DIFC Freezone.” This is true but looking at the details of the company on the DIFC website we found two red flags. The date of incorporation is listed as 24th May 2021 and the type of license is listed as Non Regulated.

non-regulated license simply means that the business is not regulated. Such licenses are given to firms providing non-financial goods and services, for example, consultancy services. Looking at the company overview we see consultancy services is listed.

Notice that its stated business activities have nothing to do with providing financial services, which is in line with the type of license given, but this is in variance with what Zeniq claims on its website.

The next red flag is the date of incorporation. The timeline on Zeniq website shows the Official Sale of the ZENIQ Hub as far back as August 2020.

Since the incorporation date is 24th May 2021, it means Zeniq was running an unlicensed and unregistered scheme for close to 9 months while making its customers and the public think otherwise.

A last point of concern is its CEO, Erwin Dokter. A search on the internet showed him as the CEO of another crypto project called JUWELIS Digital Systems AG.

A perusal of a past version of the website shows it has the same crypto services and offerings as Zeniq. For instance, below is a comparison of the fifth question of the FAQ from Juwelis Digital to that of Zeniq. Notice that both are identical.

Currently, the Juwelis Digital website is showing a coming soon banner, the above screenshots were from an earlier version of the website from the Internet archive’s way back machine.

From the foregoing, we can infer that Juwelis Digital was the first scheme propagated by Erwin Dokter, after it flopped, he quickly rebranded it to Zeniq. The is indeed a huge red flag for who is to say Zeniq will not become inactive tomorrow and when the dust settles gets rebranded as something else?

Putting it all together, we have a project with no whitepaper and blockchain, it started operation before it was incorporated, its license says it is unregulated and it is a copy of a past failed crypto project. Due to the afore mentioned reasons, we recommend that you do not put your money into Zeniq.

Avoiding Scholarship Scams

These are scams that target those seeking assistance with regard to higher education. Scholarship scammers set up agencies that claim to “specialize” in getting prospective students full or partial financial aid. Scammers use a variety of means to seek out their targets, from in-person seminars to targeted social media posts and advertisements. Such scammers use a variety of methods to fleece their victims, here are a few:

Scholarship Search Service. In this method, scammers promise to find the best-fit scholarship for a fee and if they do not, you are guaranteed a refund. But as soon as they receive the fee, they disappear. In other cases, they might send you a bogus list of matching scholarships, but their policy is stated in such a way that no one can get a refund.

Non-Existent Scholarships. Scammers will claim to have found a scholarship for you, but you need to send some money for application or processing. But, the scholarship does not exist, and in the end, they might claim that the scholarship was later canceled, or you did not qualify.

Financial Aid Lotteries. In essence, this is what these types of scholarships scams are, though the scammers never make this known. How this scam works is that the scammers through their dubious agency will advertise a scholarship of $2000. The take application and processing fees of $50 from say, one thousand applicants. The scammers would make $50,000 and give the scholarship to three candidates making a net profit of $44,000. The odds of winning in this scenario are like winning in a lottery.

The Scholarship Prize. You get an email or a message saying you have won a scholarship or have been approved for an educational grant. Of course, the catch here is you need to pay disbursement or redemption fees.

The Seminar Scam. Most legitimate scholarships do not require you to attend any physical event to apply in contrast to seminar scams which asks that you attend a seminar or information session. In the seminar you will receive a sales pitch from a trained sales consultant on why you need to pay for their service to take advantage of the scholarship opportunity they are presenting. Their aim is to take advantage of you.

Steps for Protection

  • Never pay money to apply or receive a scholarship. If you are being asked to pay for application or processing fees, know that you are dealing with a scam.
  • Never give out financial information like card and account numbers, if you are being asked for this, you are dealing with a scam.
  • If you have been invited to a scholarship seminar, make sure you do a thorough investigation about the agency or organization. Also, never pay money for anything at the venue of the seminar.
  • Keep track of the scholarships you have applied for, and if you receive a message that you have been selected for a scholarship you did not apply for, do not respond.
  • Scholarships are not hidden; with a little effort you can find out all the information you need on your own. This is better than letting agents or agencies handle things for you as they might turn out to be a scam.
  • Legitimate scholarships have eligibility criteria, any scholarship that is all encompassing with little, or no requirements is a scam.

To find out more about other types of scams and the ways you can protect yourself and your loved ones, read our book of scams.

Escaping Social Media Scams

Social media scams are scams that use a particular social media platform to defraud the users of that platform. Due to the almost universal use of social media, scammers have found it a helpful tool for scouting potential victims and for the propagation of their frauds. Also, scammers often use social media as the originating point for their schemes, this is done by paying for catchy ads and embedding them with links to the fraudulent schemes. Below are some common scams you are likely to come across on social media.

Money flipping scams from hijacked accounts. The scam starts with a scammer hijacking someone’s account. Once the account is under the full control of the scammer, the scammer does a post tagging most the friends of the hijacked account. The post is often about an investment such as forex or cryptocurrency that yields double of the capital invested.

Romance Scammers. Asides dating sites, social media is another tool for romance scammers. They create legitimate looking profiles to defraud those looking for love or relationships.

Influencer scam. Influencers are those on social media with a large following. Unfortunately, some of these individuals resort to less than worthy practices to monetize their followership. Influences have been caught promoting Ponzi scams and absconding with funds after asking their followers to invest in a business scheme.

Fake celebrity scam. A scammer impersonates a celebrity and does a post announcing a giveaway. The supposed “winners” are then contacted to redeem their prizes by paying a delivery fee for the item and supplying other information. Once the delivery fee is paid, the scammer blocks the victims, in some cases they sell the information pf the victims to other scammers. Another variant of this is when a scammer uses a fake celebrity profile to promote a Ponzi or investment fraud.

Fake Vendor scam. Scammers pose as vendors or service providers, once victims pay money for goods or services, they are blocked. Another variant of this is when a scammer impersonates a vendor or business on social media. Using the same logos and pictures as the legitimate vendors, they are able to defraud those who do a search on social media and land on the fake accounts.

Auction scams. Scammers impersonate government agencies and put-up posts about goods to be auctioned. A favorite for scammers is impersonating officers of the Nigeria Customs service. Often, you will come across profiles of Customs officials with posts about cars to be auctioned at prices way below their market value.

Steps For Protection

  • Regularly check and update the privacy settings of your social media account. Limit who can see your posts, pictures and the information displayed on your profile.
  • Be careful what you post about yourself and your activities, do not share personal information on social media.
  • Do not accept friend requests from people you do not know or have not met in person.
  • Use a strong password and set up two factor authentication.
  • Do not partake in social media challenges and quizzes, especially those that ask questions that are personal.
  • Always do a search using the profile or page name of the company on social media. If you see multiple accounts do not go ahead till you can figure out which, if any are genuine. Note that cybercriminals also seek out businesses that do not have a social media presence to impersonate, hence seeing only one account does not mean that it is genuine.
  • Always confirm the social media handles of a business or organization which you intend to interact with via its website.
  • Be wary of Investment offers being promoted on social media. Do not invest till you have sought advice from competent and certified investment professionals.

For more information on scams, download the NGFM Book of Scams.