BBB WARNS OF PYRAMID SCHEME TARGETING WOMEN

  
     
August 15, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Vancouver, BC – It’s called a Gifting Circle. Several women have contacted BBB serving Mainland BC concerned about being invited to these events by their friends. These get-togethers often go by other endearing names like ‘Women’s Financial Circle,’ or ‘Women’s Financial Collective’ or ‘Women’s Wisdom Circle.’ No matter what you call it, it’s a scam.


A Gifting Circle is a classic pyramid scheme designed to lure women in with the promise of a 40 thousand dollar payout after they ‘invest’ five thousand dollars and recruit friends. These secret and fun meetings often allude to empowerment for women and claim to create abundance and spiritual healing for those involved. It may be under a pretense of helping another woman in need, or a family in a troubled part of the world. Really you’re just giving your money to the person at the top of the pyramid as you recruit others so the base of the pyramid stays stable. Once the bottom level is filled with new recruits, another woman at the top gets a 40 thousand payout, leaves the group and the cycle continues until it falls apart.


“It may take a couple of wine parties or two to entice women to part with their money,” says Evan Kelly, Senior Communications Advisor for BBB serving Mainland BC. “After all, a friend asked you to join, it couldn’t possibly be a scam, right? The buy-in is cost prohibitive to many, so those in a more affluent demographic are often the targets of these schemes. Like many effective scams, people simply believe what they are getting into is legit or meaningful.”


The Gifting Circle scam has been around for quite some time and seems to show itself every few years after being under the radar. Only recently has BBB received calls from a few concerned women asking questions about the validity after having been approached to take part.


“Other huge red flags are no written agreements or contracts and you likely don’t know the other women involved beyond the woman who invited you,” adds Kelly. “It’s all about recruitment and that’s the only place the money comes from, no products, no service, nothing. They usually collapse after a couple of payouts. Make no doubt about it, the person at the top knows exactly what they are doing.”


BBB offers these tips to avoid a pyramid scheme:


• Be wary of “opportunities” to invest in things where the success or failure relies on subsequent recruitment.
• Independently verify the legitimacy of any franchise or investment before you invest.
• If it seems too good to be true, it is.
• Investigate. Ask around. Search online. Be skeptical.
• If no product or service is being offered or sold, how does it make money?
• Invest your money with reputable investment professionals and firms with a track record.
• Be very wary of investments that promise low risk and high returns.
• Don’t let greed overcome good judgement.
• Getting involved could have a negative and lasting effect on friendships.
• If you have any concerns contact BBB serving Mainland BC. www.bbb.org/mbc
• Investment concerns can also be directed to the BC Securities Commission. www.bcsc.bc.ca

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Media Contacts:

Evan Kelly, Senior Communications Advisor
BBB Serving Mainland BC
Phone: 604-488-8702
Mobile: 604-505-2307
evan@mbc.bbb.org
404-788 Beatty Street
Vancouver, BC
V6B 2M1

About BBB:

For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses and brands they can trust. In 2015, people turned to BBB more than 165 million times for BBB Business Reviews, all available for free at bbb.org. BBB Serving Mainland B.C., founded in 1939 and serving the Lower Mainland, Thompson-Okanagan, Northern, Central and Southern Interior BC, and the Yukon, is one of 111 local, independent BBBs across North America. In 2015, consumers turned to BBB Serving Mainland B.C. more than 2 million times for Business Reviews and processed 7,500 complaints.