A company claiming to be Jiangsu Longliqi Bio-Science Co. Ltd, commonly known as Longrich, has attracted the attention of many in South Africa, with some asking if it is a legitimate company or a scam.

The first red flag is the lack of complete contact and address details. On what claims to be the Longrich Bioscience international website, which is registered with a Malaysian address, the company offers no email address, no landline contact number and no physical address. When one searches for Longrich South Africa, two websites pop up. On the first website, which was registered by Selby Sekgobela on 13 February 2018, is an email address and a mobile number used for WhatsApp. On the second website, which was registered by Simphiwe Mbeki on 15 October 2017, and is provided on what seems to be the official Longrich South Africa Twitter page, there are no contact details at all. The Twitter page also claims the business has their Head Office in Randburg, Johannesburg but no address is provided.

Prior to setting up shop in South Africa, Longrich was operating in Botswana, but left a sour taste in many Batswana’s mouths. Mmegi Online, a Botswana publication, reported on a large number of Batswana robbed of millions of Pula through the Longrich business. The report alleges that a lady by the name of Elinah Tai, a Botswana consultant, ran a car promotion where she promised that those who joined Longrich with P20,000 (the equivalent of R26,109) and recruited three people, would automatically win a Hyundai Elantra.

In South Africa, Longrich leaders have been reportedly asking people on social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp to join the business with R5,000, claiming they would earn guaranteed amounts of up to R50,000 a week. A situation that has prompted many South Africans to ask: If this business is legitimate and makes its profits off the products they sell, then why are there recruitments and joining fees? Why are business seminars exclusively held on WhatsApp?

South Africa is a poverty-stricken country, with six million facing unemployment, and as a result many South Africans often fall victim to scams, pyramid schemes and promises of overnight success and riches. In the past decade, the country has seen the growth and collapse of many scams and pyramid schemes including MMM South Africa, My Life Change 247, and Pipcoin, among many others.

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