How The Modern Pyramid Scheme Stays Barely Legal

The modern pyramid scheme has undergone slight tweaks in order to stay just with the bounds of the law, and still keep the fun scam times going. When you strip away all the pretty foil and chocolate, though, a naked Ponzi sits in the center, laughing his ass off.

It all stems from the basic idea of pay me $5 and I’ll tell you how you can sign up five people to pay you $5 each. Instant riches! But see, U.S. law likes to see some sort of tangible product involved. So then we get a multi-level-marketing company supposedly built around diet pills, travel arrangements, energy resale, or lollipops, you know, “suckers.” It doesn’t really matter. Your recruiter fills your head with talk about salesmanship, relationship building, building up your team, and of course, all the fabulous amounts of easy money you can generate

But somewhere along the line you’re going to have to pay some fee. Often there’s an upfront “investment cost.” Or maybe there’s some fee that disproportionately large in comparison to the service or good it’s supposed to be covering, like could be $39.95 for them to put up and maintain a webpage for you, or $49.95 per month for some nebulous “support” the company provides. And right there, you’ve found what the company is really about.

That’s the juice that flows upwards through the ranks, the residual income that feeds your recruiter, and his recruiter, and your recruiter’s recruiter recruiter, and so forth. This fee can come in all different colors and names and variations, but at the end of the day, it’s all just the same old scam.

Or, you could just say no thanks to anything introduced as a “(insert positive adjective) business opportunity” and save yourself the hassle.