It’s A Fraud, Todd.

It’s a sell, Mel.

It’s a scam, Pam. Oops, sorry, I should have said ” it’s a scamela, Pamela “. Didn’t mean to be overly familiar.

That great business opportunity that you discovered with the other seminar delegates at the holiday resort? That guaranteed opportunity of a lifetime? That golden road to riches, health, and moral re-invigoration? That weekend and an extra day high on marketing?

It’s a con, Don.

Don’t feel bad that you responded as you did. The whole event was structured to make you do so – it was developed as a way to envelope you in a message and to never let you see outside of that indoctrination. You would have had to dive through a window and run away as fast as you could – abandoning dignity, luggage, and any sense of personal worth – to escape it. If they had you on a cruise ship, even that avenue of escape would have been denied.

Whatever money you have given over to the organisers is gone. It will never come back to you. Abandon it to them but do not give them any more – even if they say that you are obliged to do so. Ignore their threats – none of those threateners could stand in front of a magistrate and neither can their demands. Shred anything that you have of their literature and dump it in the compost bin – you may get some value in a few months if it packs down and rots.

Take heart – you have had a valuable lesson. One you need not repeat, but one that you are honour-bound not to inflict upon others. You may not defeat confidence tricksters  by yourself, but you must not strengthen their hand by inadvertently joining them.

 

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The Pyramids Of Geezer

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Pardon the bad pun. The jokes in the rest of this column are not going to get better. if you are the nervous sort you may want to go out and make a cup of tea while I type.

I am 68 years old …( devilishly handsome, and modest about it )… and in those 68 years I seem to have brushed up against the pyramid scheme, or its barely legal cousin, the multi-level marketing scheme, everywhere I go. Like kangaroo ticks and scrofula, it is probably endemic in the state.

Over that time I am happy to say that I have not been bitten, but have had the saddening experience of seeing friends succumb. Eight separate people have fallen foul of the scams, being conned into taking on schemes to make them rich. In some instances they have ended up with garages full of soap products, canned goods, junk jewellery, and face grease – in others they have ended up with nothing. In some cases thousands of dollars have been paid out for the schemes and nothing but a debt remains -a debt that has to be paid by future work.

I believe friendships and relationships have been sacrificed in the process.

In nearly all the cases I know of personally, the people who have been scammed are decent, kindly souls, and are quite intelligent. They are also people who need money – and the promoters of the schemes count upon this need to blind the victims to the basic signs of the con job. Each iteration of the game leaves a few poorer than before and the promoters go on to find fresh funds elsewhere.

Note: I am by no means a Bernard Baruch. I have been conned – and conned badly – in the 1970’s by a friend who borrowed money, dissipated it, and then laughed at efforts to recover it. A sad thing at the time. but in retrospect it might have been the financial equivalent of a smallpox vaccination – the bump came up, the scar formed, and I have never taken ill since. I might enjoy the sight of the chap in question being fed into a council mulcher, but he may actually have done me good.

So at the risk of being trite…” Pyramid/ Multi Level Schemes…Not Even Once ” would make a nice poster meme.