The gift of being scammed

A new pyramid scheme is making the rounds in B.C.

Called a "gifting pyramid scheme," the latest variation of the scam has popped up in Coquitlam.

RCMP investigators are hoping to put a stop to the scheme, which targets law-abiding citizens who have no idea they are breaking the law.

“New members have to pay their recruiter a $5,000 ‘gift’ to join. In turn, each member is expected to recruit eight new people so everyone can end up with $40,000,” said Cpl. Michael McLaughlin. “Recruiters try to legitimize the buy-in payment by calling it a ‘birthday gift,’ a ‘transaction,’ or ‘a gifting circle’ and insisting that the payment is not taxable or illegal because it’s only a gift.

"We are finding people getting caught up in this pyramid scheme who have no idea that it’s illegal. One of our Coquitlam RCMP (members) was even asked if she wanted to join. The sad truth is, pyramid schemes always fall apart and the people at the bottom – your friends and family – lose their money.”

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