Police warn about gifting pyramid scheme

The Prince George RCMP are warning the public about a pyramid scheme that has cropped up in the city.

The gifting pyramid scheme, commonly referred to as a “gifting circle”, targets groups of citizens, who are convinced to recruit friends and acquaintances. New members must pay their recruiter a $5,000 “gift” to join. Each member is then expected to recruit eight new people, so everyone would eventually end up with $40,000. Recruiters attempt to legitimize the buy-in payment by insisting that it is not taxable or illegal because it is only a gift. Often the victims involved in the pyramid scheme do not realize that they are doing anything illegal. The Prince George RCMP would like to remind citizens to be leery of “get rich quick” ventures.

The illegal pyramid scheme has been reported in a number of western Canadian cities, and in July of 2018, two women in Maple Ridge were formally charged for running a gifting pyramid scheme.

For more information on common frauds in Canada, go to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre website or click http://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/fraud-escroquerie/index-eng.htm.

If you have any information about fraud offences in Prince George, please contact the Prince George RCMP at (250)561-3300.