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  • Attorneys David Meyer and Matthew Wilson have been selected to the list of Super Lawyers since 2011 and 2015 respectively.

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How to Spot a Pyramid Scam and What to Do About It

We talk a lot about Ponzi schemes and how to recognize them before you invest your cash, but we rarely talk about pyramid schemes. Any securities fraud attorney can tell you that, although the signs of a Ponzi scheme and the signs of a pyramid scheme can be similar, there are some specific things you should be watching for if you suspect a pyramid scheme. Although Ponzi schemes and pyramid schemes both try to keep up an air of legitimacy while paying off investors with new investors’ cash, the real difference is in how much work the investor is asked to do. Because of this, there are a few distinct differences in spotting these investment scams.

Here are some of the most common “red flags” of pyramid schemes:

  • You’re asked to pay for training. Very few legitimate investment enterprises would ever ask you to pay for training upfront; even the idea of paying for continuing training is suspicious.

  • You don’t understand the specifics of how the program is supposed to work. If you can’t make sense out of the investment techniques or descriptions of investment software, make sure you ask questions until you’re certain you understand how it works. Many fraudsters will rely on their clients not asking too many questions.

  • You’re asked to promote the program to your family and friends. You should never find yourself promoting investments to your family and friends for the referral benefits in an investment plan. This is one of the most classic signs of a pyramid scheme.

  • You hear a lot about why the program isn’t a pyramid scheme, but you don’t hear much else. If the only information you receive is about how well the program is performing and why it isn’t a pyramid scheme, you might want to start looking over your statements for some hard numbers, real results, and any suspicious activity.

Need More Information?

Investment misconduct can be complex and confusing. That’s why we’re here to help you. Visit our Common Questions page to find in depth answers directly from our attorneys. Get More Answers
Have You Been a Victim of Investment Fraud?

You trusted your financial advisor with your money, but now you're left wondering what went wrong. If you or a loved one suffered losses because of investment misconduct, Meyer Wilson can step in and fight to recover your losses. The team of investment fraud lawyers at the firm has been helping people like you since 1999 by winning judgments, settlements and verdicts worth hundreds of millions of dollars against brokerage firms, financial advisors and banks.

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