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Pyramid Schemes

This scheme promises large gifts or payments in exchange for recruiting and enrolling others.

How it works

Pyramid schemes come in many shapes and sizes and may try to downplay their pyramid nature by disguising themselves as gifting circles or charitable projects, games, chain letters, buying clubs, motivational companies, mail order operations, or investment organizations. All promise you profits or gifts if you recruit others to participate after you, however, most participants will lose some or all of their money participating in these illegal schemes. Any money made is on the backs of others in the pyramid, and the income or products received could be considered proceeds of crime, making them taxable and seizable.

How to protect yourself

If you have to pay to join, and making money is based mainly on how many people you can recruit, it’s a pyramid scheme. Walk away.

How to report it

If you suspect you're a victim of a pyramid scheme, or attempted pyramid scheme, complete the FCNB Submit a Complaint form, contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, and your local police or RCMP.

FCNB administers and enforces legislation in the mortgage brokers, payday lenders, real estate, securities, insurance, pensions, credit unions, trust and loan companies, cooperatives, and a wide range of other consumer legislation. If your complaint relates to an area outside of FCNB’s regulated areas, we may refer you to the appropriate reporting agency or organization.