Look up. Look waaaaaayyyy up. This is the graphic representation of a pyramid
scheme… an illegal scheme in which you (and often
your friends and family) become involved as the building blocks of something that is
supposed to make you a fortune… by getting you to commit your hard-earned
cash for the promise of a big return. And not only do you have to commit your money…
you are expected – actually, you are expected to recruit the people around you as well,
getting them to put money into the scheme. Pyramid schemes, and their cousin, the Ponzi
Scheme, have been around for along time, and they’re
usually designed to look pretty slick. But there’s a problem. They’re built on
lies, deception and… well, a lot of hot air.
The scammers make their money by taking money from people they recruit…
people like you, and your cousin Elmo… and they don’t care when the pyramid falls
down, because… they’re history. Pyramid schemes and Ponzi schemes are illegal.
Protect yourself by asking the tough questions: If I’m not selling a genuine product or
service, is participation in this activity legitmate and legal?
If you do have to buy something in order to join a plan,
if you have to buy very large quantities of products, or if you can't return them,
you may be dealing with an illegal pyramid scheme.
Investing and being part of small businesses is perfectly fine, but you MUST do your research,
and you MUST stay away from high-pressure sales tactics, especially at meetings and
seminars. What goes up… is almost certainly going
to come tumbling down. A message from the Competition Bureau of Canada…
and the Little Black Book of Scams.