Pyramid Schemes Are Frauds

March 19, 2021

Any and all pyramid schemes inevitably collapses – and when they do, it will cause havoc on peoples finances as well as personal relationships. This has been echoed by the Consumer Council of Fiji after receiving reports and tip-offs from concerned Fijians on the increasing number of people participating in pyramid gifting schemes – something which is illegal in Fiji and most countries worldwide.

The Chief Executive of the Council Ms Seema Shandil has revealed that Fijians from all over the country are being approached or are already participating in these ‘get rich quick’ schemes.

“Pyramid schemes are pure fraud. The scammers are just taking advantage of the current crisis and preying on people who are desperate to make money fast. Their business is unsustainable as they promise payment for goods or services of dubious value. The hallmark of these schemes is the promise of sky-high returns in a short period of time, for doing nothing other than simply handing over your money to them, and getting others to do the same,” stated Ms Shandil.

The Consumer Watchdog has revealed that tip-offs received is also indicating that such pyramid schemes have even successfully targeted educated professionals, to gain legitimacy. Their modus operandi is simple-target people, pay them returns, then see their friends and relatives start investing.

Ms Shandil has resonated the Council’s previous warnings that such schemes will destroy the knitted-fabric of our society.

“A lot of people are convinced by such scams but will start to complain only when the highly enticing payback vanishes. Commonly, we trust friends and family, who introduce us to the scheme, and this is what enables pyramid schemes to grow – but people will end up blaming their loved ones if they lose out on their hard-earned cash once the pyramid collapses or vanishes.”

The Council has warned that extraordinary returns are nothing but a sign of desperation, and hence, Fijians should avoid such schemes as it is also illegal.

The Consumer body is also calling on all Fijians to educate their family and friends on the need to refrain on putting their hard-earned money in the hands of masked strangers as there is virtually zero guarantees of any return or redress in case of losses.

Fijians coming across such scams are encouraged to report it to the Council using the toll-free number 155 or lodge a complaint using the Consumer Council of Fiji mobile app.