Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Beware: New Scam "Green Tree Gifting Program"

Today I was called by an older woman I used to work with about a great "gifting" program. She was so excited about it since she has been out of work and short on cash. As she told me about how she "gifted" $25 and has been finding others to "gift" and in return she will get eight "gifts" of $25 I was alarmed. I told her to send me the information. I didn't have the heart to tell her my suspicions.

So, 15 minutes later I get a call from a strange number (650) 355 - 0315. I didn't answer. I did, however search for the phone number online and found it was registered to Linda XXXX. Four minutes later I get this email from a Pat Pastor with the same phone number. Attached to the email are a bunch of documents such as this and this. They even posted their website. Can you believe they even released a Press Release? It is a glorified pyramid scheme - taking money from the vulnerable. I hate things like this.

If you don't know how a pyramid scheme works, here is the idea: you "gift" $25, you find other people to gift $25, they find other people to gift $25 - with each "gift" you get closer to the top (or middle in this example because they call it a circle). Once you are at the top you get all the $25's that others are gifting. Once you collect your $400 you gift $50 to get on the next pyramid. This works the same way...but eventually there isn't anyone to find to "gift" $25 or the pyramid gets busted by the FBI and you lose all the money you invest. Generally, the people who dream up the scheme are the only people who make money. You'll notice they say you should ACT QUICK or that it is PRIVATE or INVITE ONLY - all because it is highly illegal and a federal offense!

What did I do about it? I called the FBI and reported it. Unfortunately they are bogged down right now with reports about various scams and by the time they get to mine a lot of people are going to be out a lot of money. The only thing I could think of doing to help was to blog about it. If you or anyone you know gets invited into this "Gifting Program" - run!

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