An online Pyramid scheme is fleecing social media users of their hard-earned cash.
The Better Business Bureau says that they have received almost 70 calls reporting a social media group asking users to join a “Blessing Loom”.
The lure of the ‘Loom’ is that a message is sent most often through social media outlets like Instagram or Facebook from a friend, family member or stranger that invites the individual to a Blessing Loom – an opportunity to earn money while also “blessing others.”
With a small investment of about $100 paid through PayPal or another digital payment service, a person can spread the wealth and see a huge return on the money invested. The more people recruited, the more money the individual can make, as the circle widens and everyone makes loads of cash.
“The Blessing Loom is similar to the ‘Secret Sister’ pyramid scheme that makes its rounds during the holidays,” explained Karla Laird, Manager for Community and Public Relations at BBB serving Mainland BC. “It has also been called a ‘Money Board’, ‘Gifting Circle’ and ‘Sou-Sou’ (sometimes spelled ‘SuSu’).
The trouble is that this is a pyramid scheme that relies on recruiting new individuals to keep the scam afloat. Once people stop participating, the money supply stops as well. The reality is that participants rarely, if ever, get paid and usually end up losing their investment as well as having their personal information compromised.
The scam is particularly effective on those who are most vulnerable, because, on the surface, it seems like a quick and easy fix to their financial problems.
“Many of the consumer reports shared that the victims believed they were being invited to join a legitimate social media community for people trying to support those in financial crisis,” added Laird. “Always remember that while social media is a great place to connect with friends and family, it is also a place where scammers and con artists lurk. Always stay informed and exercise caution”.
How to avoid social media scams:
– Recognize Pyramid schemes and other promises of quick profits.
– Be skeptical and do your research before accepting any offer on social media.
– Monitor friend requests, and do not accept from people you don’t know or duplicates from those you are already friends with.
– Simply don’t join any business venture through social media.
– Check business rating and reviews on BBB.org.