Fijians warned against pyramid schemes

Consumer Council of Fiji CEO Seema Shandil. Picture: FT FILE

The Consumer Council of Fiji has discovered that certain organised groups have been trying to lure Fijians into ‘get rich quick’ pyramid schemes by making enticing promises of high returns within a short period of time leaving consumers hundreds of dollars out of pocket.

According to the CCF, Fijian consumers are being targeted by notorious Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) companies in the midst of the devastating financial fall-outs from COVID 19.

The council said those scammers usually used social media platforms to reach people.

It added that it had also received reports of pocket meetings being organised by certain groups in their crooked efforts to lure Fijians.

“This is usually framed as a business opportunity where they claim the scheme is a quick way of making money. The offer may sound lucrative, however, consumers should be wary of those asking for cash upfront for these get rich quick schemes,” CCF chief executive officer Seema Shandil said.

Ms Shandil said “upfront payments and recruitment requirements are hallmark signs of a pyramid scheme”.

“Do not believe the pitch. Nearly every participant ends up losing their money. We know that in times of hardship, it can be tempting to give in to these offers, but we encourage Fijians to take a step back and recognise the signs of a scam.

“Unfortunately, in times like these, scammers will try to take advantage of our fears. Hence, it’s imperative to steer clear of such investments.”

Consumers who feel they are being lured into such schemes or would like to seek advice can call the National Consumer Helpline toll-free number on 155.

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