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There they go plucked - Plate 20 from Los Caprichos, Goya 1799Multi-Level Marketing, Pyramid Schemes, Scams and Frauds

The illustration is "There they go plucked" - Plate 20 from Los Caprichos, Goya 1799

Get rich quick, just forget about things like mathematics, the population of the world, and how many friends you would like to still have at the end of the year. A pyramid scheme is a pyramid scheme, even if black-letter law pretends it is not. (You can see a collection of pyramid schemes at The Millenium Project.)

Pyramid schemes aren't the only way fraudsters try to empty wallets. The sites listed here explain the traps and the fraud of many methods of making you poorer.


Articles and other comments in The Millenium Project relevant to pyramid schemes and fraud:

Some articles by other people.

books relevant to pyramid schemes and frauds.

Books with reviews:

Books relating to other categories can be found here.


There are sites listed in this category.


The 10 Big Lies of Multi-Level Marketing (Robert L. FitzPatrick)

The 5 Red Flags (Jon M. Taylor)

Five causal and defining characteristics of product-based pyramid schemes, or recruiting MLMs

Amway : The Continuing Story (John Hoagland)

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission

The Bottom Line About Multi-Level Marketing Plans (US Federal Trade Commission)

Buying Stars and Star Names

Has someone offered to sell you naming rights to a star? Do you want to have a star named after you or as a memorial for a loved one? You can't.

Cult Awareness and Information Library

Fair Trading (NSW)

"NSW Fair Trading safeguards the rights of all consumers and advises business and traders on fair and ethical practice"

False Profits (Robert L. FitzPatrick)

Federal Trade Commission

The Fraud Files (Tracy Coenen)

Guide to Consumer Awareness

"The Consumer’s Voice! Complaints List is an interactive computer service where consumers and the general public can submit complaints, reviews, or reports about a company, business, or person that has mistreated them in any way. Visitors to our website that file complaints may have been the victims of theft, abuse, a scam, or a variety of other injustices"

Host Merchant Services

"The modern world of technology provides online users the opportunity to visit websites, communicate with others and shop without the need to leave your computer. However, with the conveniences comes common sense concerns that we all need to be aware of. With the increased usage of online sources, have come threats such as identity theft, credit card fraud and other online fraud. However, with common sense usage of online sources and preventive measures, you should be able to be safe online"

How to protect yourself against email fraud

How to Spot an Amway Distributor

International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network

Internet ScamBusters

The Little Black Book of Scams (Jef & Theo Clark)

A Consumer’s Guide to Scams, Swindles, Rorts and Rip Offs

Mail Fraud Schemes (United States Postal Inspection Service)

The Make Money Fast Hall of Humiliation

Merchants of Deception (Eric Scheibeler)

One man's battle with the Amway dream. Eric Scheibeler was a big pin in Amway and this book documents the way he and his wife were drawn into the cult by false promises, lies and psychological tricks - the same tactics used by all cults to gain control over members.

MLM - otherwise known as "Must Lose Money"

"The reason I put this site together is to provide a reference site for anyone who is thinking of joining a MLM company or for anyone who knows someone involved in MLM and is concerned for them"

MLM - The truth (Dr Jon Taylor)

This research and education regarding MLM* (multi-level or network marketing, consumer direct marketing, etc.) was prepared with the assistance of top experts over a period of ten years by Dr. Jon Taylor of the Consumer Awareness Institute.

The MLM File (Peter A Blood)

"The MLM File is all about quantifying what has happened in MLM over the years since Amway first opened its doors to distributors over 4 decades ago. The MLM File believes that the geometric progression recruiting model has contributed largely to the demise of millions of distributors. We believe that if it isn't currently illegal, it should be".

The MLM Survivors Club

The MLM Survivors Page

Information and Web Resources for Survivors of MLM Abuse and Deception

MLM watch (Stephen Barrett)

Accurate information about multilevel marketing is not easy to get. Few publishers, editors, and broadcasters are willing to examine this topic in depth. Most reports reaching the public express what the companies and individual distributors would like people to believe. Nearly all MLM companies selling health-related products exaggerate their value, and the vast majority of people who become distributors do not make significant income.

National Fraud Information Center

Pink Truth (Tracy Coenen)

Facts, opinions, and the real story behind Mary Kay Cosmetics (and other MLM schemes)

Public warning notice register (ACCC)

In certain circumstances the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission may issue to the public a written notice containing a warning under section 86DA of the Act.

Pyramid Scheme Alert

No more denial, shame or embarrassment. No more confusion. No more blaming the victim. No more resignation. And absolutely no more fear. Pyramid Scheme Alert is the first consumer organization to confront the abuses and trickery of pyramid scheme perpetrators.

Pyramid scheme laws

Information about laws relating to pyramid schems, chain letters, Ponzi schemes and other scams.

Pyramid Schemes (US Federal Trade Commission)

Quatloos! - Cyber-Museum of Scams and Frauds

Quatloos.com is a public educational website covering a wide variety of financial scams and frauds, including wacky “prime bank” frauds, exotic foreign currency scams, offshore investment frauds, tax scams, “Pure Trust” structures and more.

Quixtar Business Analysis (Scott Larsen)

"The Web's largest public collection of Quixtar and Amway information"

Scamwatch (Australian Competition & Consumer Commission)

Shaking the Money Tree (Ami Chen Mills)

"From Amway to Equinox, multilevel marketing schemes have won 7 million devotees on the promise of unlimited wealth and freedom. But when the numbers don't add up, distributors lose more than their dreams"

The Skeptic's Dictionary - Multi-Level Marketing (Robert T. Carroll)

Stay Away from MLM (Luke Setzer)

Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) companies like Amway and Nu Skin are notorious for hyping their "business opportunities" and promising riches to those who "work hard" at "building the business". However, a closer look reveals a very dark side to the MLM industry, as this web page will demonstrate.

The US Postal Service attitude to Chain Letters

The US Postal Service attitude to MLM

What's Wrong With Multi-Level Marketing? (Dean Van Druff)

Worldwide Dreambuilders and The Things They Will Say To Profit From Your Dreams

"A summary of what all that motivation lingo really means"



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