The past of famous Italian scammer, Wanna Marchi, is an inspiration for Ponzi schemes and crypto scams.
Wanna Marchi sparks interest among crypto scammers
Perhaps some younger people may not remember her, but a decade ago, infomercial programs, especially of magic potions and creams for health or wellness in general, were all the rage on television. Queen of this particular segment of the show, was without a shadow of a doubt Wanna Marchi, who became famous for her tone and voice bordering on arrogance, convincing thousands of customers to buy products that in fact had none of the beneficial effects for which they were marketed.
All this cost her and her daughter Stefania Nobile an arrest in 2002 for conspiracy to commit fraud. A charge that cost Wanna Marchi a sentence of more than nine years in prison. But after serving her sentence, she returned, following a brief period working in a bar, to television with some programs together with her daughter Nobile. In recent days, a TV series dedicated to her trial adventure was also released on Netflix.
The docufilm, which is titled Wanna, faithfully traces the television adventure of the queen of infomercials until the sad epilogue of the trial phase and the final sentence to almost ten years in prison. Her always over-the-top tone and that habit of insulting people in a direct manner created her character, also often invited to broadcasts on national networks and a constant presence in gossip newspapers.
Her style nowadays seems to have been an inspiration for the many scam projects created around the world of cryptocurrencies and digital assets.
The flaws in the crypto sector
Like a kind of modern-day Wanna Marchi in digital format, many cryptocurrency companies spring up out of nowhere, promising and securing very attractive gains at first, only to quickly disappear from circulation, leaving thousands of users holding the bag. And it is also for this reason that crypto operators are the ones who have long been asking institutions for clear and precise regulation on the sector, which instead continues to be lacking, if not completely absent.
The system has changed. Previously, it used to be call centers that were the driving force of scams, while the TV was the medium, now everything has become much smarter and more technological, and in some ways perhaps even easier for scammers. All it takes is a website, two or three influencers in the industry (often without their knowledge) and a more or less credible project and that’s it.
The data on scams in this area is worrying, with respect to the steadily growing trend in the numbers recorded for the current year. If in 2021 globally the scams ‘made’ their perpetrators about $6.2 billion, in the first 8 months of 2022, the value could be considerably higher, despite the big drop in the cryptocurrency market and prices.
According to reports in the Financial Times, in the UK alone, losses recorded by the Action Fraud observatory in the first 8 months of the year were 25% higher than in 2021. As for Italy, in 2021 there were 3,500 reports of suspicious transactions related to cryptocurrencies that reached the FIU, the Banca d’Italia’s Office of Financial Information. But the real number may be higher.
The schemes for scamming are many: from exploiting celebrities such as Elon Musk or Vitalik Buterin, to using famous television series such as the highly successful Squid Games. But the result in the end is always the same: trying to scam as many users as possible, then disappearing with the loot.