Stettler RCMP are warning residents about a Gift Cloud (Pyramid) Scheme.
According to Stettler RCMP Sgt. Phil Penny, people are invited to participate in a gift sharing group where each participant provides an amount of money they put in a ‘pot,’ which will be given to the person at the ‘top’ of the pyramid and who will be removed from the group.
Once this happens, the group splits into two with participants moving ‘up a level’ and those below are encouraged to recruit additional people to continue the cycle.
Some common themes involving this scheme are:
· Participants are often told to keep their involvement secret.
· The money is called a ‘gift.’
· Participants are told the ‘Gift Cloud’ is not illegal because the money involved is considered a gift.
· Participants are told their involvement is helping others in need.
· Names suggesting the group is for a greater good. Some names within AB have included ‘Prosperity’, ‘Women Empowering Women’ and ‘Gift Cloud.’
· Often target women, but there are indications that men’s groups are also in operation.
This type of activity is illegal in Canada under the Criminal Code and there have been cases of those involved being charged for a variety of offences.
If you find you’ve become involved in this type of situation, the Stettler RCMP would like to encourage you to all the police, Crimestoppers or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501.
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