Friday, November 06, 2015

'Tis the season ... for scams

About a year ago, I stopped in a little gift shop nearby to look around.  The owner gave me her card, and said that if I'd "friend" her on Facebook, she's send me posts about upcoming sales.  So I friended her, and every once in a while something from her would appear in my Facebook feed, and whatevs.

I was on Facebook the other day, and this post from her popped up:

"I need 6 ladies to participate.....this is going to be fun!
Are you interested in a Holiday Gift exchange?
It doesn't matter where you live - you are welcome to join. This includes ladies of any age to participate in a secret sister gift exchange. You only have to buy ONE gift valued at $10 or more and send it to one secret sister and you will receive 6-36 in return! Let me know if you are interested and I will send you the information! Please don't ask to participate if you are not willing to spend the $10. TIS THE SEASON! and its getting closer. COMMENT if You're in! 

For those of you who don't take the time to nurture your soul..... Here's the opportunity to do something for yourself and someone else!❤❤❤"

Hmmm, I thought.  You buy ONE gift, and you get 6 - 36 in return!  Sounds legit ... hahaha NOT.

A couple of people had already replied saying they were in, and so *I* commented with a link to the Snopes post about this scam ...

... which explains how these types of deals are chain letters/pyramid schemes and are, therefore, illegal.

(Not to mention impossible ... How on earth is it possible to mail out ONE gift and get back between SIX and THIRTY-SIX?  It ain't ... unless you're on top of the pyramid, of course.)

I try to think the best of people.  I really do.  I assumed that she hadn't realized that she was promoting a shady-ass scam.  I figured she'd issue an embarrassed apology and pull the post.  

 Do you know what she did instead?  The dear woman DOUBLED DOWN.  OH YES SHE DID.

"Anyone that signs up to do this will receive a gift from me! Random Acts of Kindness!!!"

So NOW she was BRIBING people to enter into a pyramid scheme.  Somehow I don't think they teach this in Small Business 101 at the local community college.

So *I* replied:

"Chain letters and pyramid schemes are illegal. Only participate in this if you want to be gifted with a little jail time for Christmas."

 hahaha.  Here's the thing:  There was a time when I wouldn't have touched something like this with a ten-foot pole.  Shit-stirring really ain't my bag, honest.  But this woman was a local BUSINESS OWNER who was preying on her clientele, and it pissed me off.

and then she replied thusly:
"Thanks for negating the fun!"

Oh, honey, you are welcome.  YOU ARE SO WELCOME.


~~Silk said...

Those chain letter things were popular when I was in high school, but it was usually a penny, or a postcard, or a stamp, or even once a lace handkerchief. I really truly did send out the item every time. I was honest. But I never once received anything in return.

Adults who do things like this are, uh, not very bright.

~~Silk said...

P.S. Your link to snopes is textually correct, but the hypertext goes to a Facebook page that no longer exists. The warning about the scam is currently on Snopes' home page.

Anonymous said...

Ok, you just make a mistake about one thing without checking's not whoever is the top of the pyramid gets the most. Everyone has to refer six friends. It's a chain which could go on indefintely. There is no "top"
I have the message to show:

1) Send at least one gift valued at at least $10 to the secret sister who is place NUMBER ONE BELOW.
2) Remove secret sister's name from #1, and then move secret sister #2 to that #1 spot.
3) Add your name to #2 with your info. Be sure to include some information about yourself, including your favorites!
4) Send this info to six other ladies with the updated name info that was completed in steps 2 and 3.
5) Copy this measage onto your wall

#1 eg Mary B
131 maple road
nowehere, il
I like candles, knitting, books

#2 linda m
13 main avenue
nowwhere, mn
Huge fan of fantasy books, the color green, and I love science

if you refer six people and they refer six, THOSE people will buy you gifts. Does it matter what number you were (6, 600?) nope. it would all depend on how many your recruits get to sign up. Draw it if you need help.

~~Silk said...

We're talking about powers of six here. With only 2 names on the list, the first name would get 6 gifts, and the second name and every name thereafter would get 36 gifts, IF everyone does exactly as they are supposed to do.

The first iteration is 6 to the power of 1, or 6 people getting new letters.

The second iteration is 6 to the power of 2, or 36 people getting new letters.

The third iteration is 6 to the power of 3, or 216 people getting new letters.
... Note that 6+36+216=258 people have been contacted so far ...
... And it keeps growing exponentially ...

By the tenth iteration, 6 to the power of 10, or 60,466,176 new letters will be sent out,
and so far a total of 72,559,410 people have been contacted. Note that that's about the total adult population of the US.

The eleventh iteration sees 362,797,056 new letters sent out. Note that's NEW letters, not including folks who had already been contacted earlier, which is more than every man, woman, and child in the US. The US population as of 2014 is about 319,000,000.

This is why it's called a pyramid scheme. Even if everyone does exactly as they are supposed to, it will break down under its own weight, probably by the seventh iteration if not sooner. When you receive a letter, you are given no information as to how many layers deep it has already gone, or how many people are already sick of getting repeated letters, so it's a crap shoot.

And I believe craps are illegal, too.

The only people who stand any chance of getting anything out of this are the folks who get in early.

Anonymous said...

Ok I admit that all mostly makes sense, but you're assuming WAY more people will be participating than there will be. esp given now that media is debunking it.

Also you're saying ppl only receive if they get in early....hmm well the rule is if you cannot refer anyone within a week you need to inform the one who invited you. So if I post and say "hey join!" and everyone shouts, "Ive already been invited by someone else," now they wont be given the info. Yes I can't participate now because all my friends are already referred, but I can be mean and just not buy #1 their gift, so I haven't lost anything. I've missed free sample offers from companies too because I wasn't "early" enough, but I didn't write an article about it. So it's either no one accepts my invite, or if they do but THEY can't get anyone they have to tell me. I won't be surprised by lack of gifts. Yes I might have already sent my $10 but it was to a friend or the friend of a friend, do you have such an issue giving them with nothing in return?

also, when you say "the first name only gets 6 gifts" you mean the very first person to start this? I don't think anyone knows who that is. I was invited by "Mary" who invited 3 others. Say for instance I get 6 people (ALSO NO ONE EVER CLAIMED YOU WILL BE GETTING ALL 36, all people I know doing it do not expect that), and the three others each get 6. So "Mary" will get 24 gifts. She might get 12. It's quite irregular.

As a side note, I don't have FB but if I did I wouldn't be posting this on my wall for fear ppl are sick of seeing it. I'd probably make it quick, "do you want to join this? Explanation at this link".

Anonymous said...

anyway I understand if you hate the idea of spending money (that is fair) and get nothing, but if someone else wants to take the risk it is none of your business.

fmcgmccllc said...

I delete everyone of them, period. Even the prayer ones from my mother.

rockygrace said...

Anonymous, don't tell me, let me guess ... you're currently waiting for your 6 - 36 gifts to arrive. Let me know when they get there!

~~Silk, those numbers are fascinating. "Do the math", indeed!

and fmcetc., do you get a lot of them? Just curious.

~~Silk said...

Hey! I have a wonderful idea, an it's not a pyramid scheme, so it's not illegal, and everyone gets 10 gifts!

Select 10 friends, and send each of them a letter in which you ask each of them to send you a $10 gift, and then tell them to select 10 other friends to ask for gifts for themselves, and so on.

I wonder how long it will take before you have received 100 requests for gifts from (former) friends.

~~Silk said...

(Hard to believe, but I guarantee there are people out there who will say, this is different, because there are two names on our letter! No, it's the same, just smaller.)

rockygrace said...

~~Silk, I like the way you think. :)