Duped

Nov 8, 2006 (AFP) – C. Sathishkumar was one of thousands of Sri Lankan youngsters who invested in an Internet promotion to evaluate products online in return for quick cash — and like the others, he lost all his money. Police said this week that the scam, allegedly run by two Indians from a firm named Seagull Softwares, netted more than five million dollars in the past year, making it the biggest Internet fraud case in the country’s history.

Seagull promised that anyone who paid 6,500 rupees (65 dollars) for a “slot” on their website would be able to earn 60 percent a month on their investment by simply evaluating consumer goods online in their spare time.

“I joined in February 2006 and reinvested the salary to buy more slots. Like that, I bought 101 slots. At the end of the day, I have nothing in my pocket. I lost my money which I had saved for my wedding,” said Sathishkumar.

Police Senior Superintendent Willie Abeynayake said about 14,000 people were believed to have fallen victim to the scam and the money siphoned out could be “anything over 500 million rupees (five million dollars).”

“This is the biggest scam of this nature using the Internet,” Abeynayake told AFP. “We have reported the matter to cou