Primer on Pyamid Schemes (6-minute animated video)
Among the most common questions received by Pyramid Scheme Alert are “how can I recognize a pyramid scheme?” and “what about this one?”, referring to a particular MLM. Some people also say they don’t understand what a pyramid scheme is.
Spotting a MLM pyramid scheme is simple, but often made to seem “complex”. Just ask this question: Could you make a sustainable profit without having to recruit other salespeople? If the only ones in the MLM that claim to make money have “downlines” (recruits they make money off of), the MLM is an “endless chain”, a pyramid scheme.
But now comes a powerful and illuminating little video (6 minutes) that uses animation to answer the questions and to explain what a pyramid scheme is. Produced by Pershing Square Capital, which has taken a “short” position against the stock of Herbalife and will profit if the stock goes down, the video applies information and analyses developed by attorneys, economists, academics and other writers. Most important, it applies common sense!
Warning: After asking the one key question noted above and watching the video, you may conclude that “MLM” and “pyramid scheme” are one and same.
South African Radio Interview on Pyramid Schemes Jan. 19, 2015, (18 minutes)
Robert FitzPatrick is interviewed on KAYA, South Africa’s largest FM station on pyramid schemes. The interviewer states that South Africa is “inundated” with pyramid schemes, mentioning Amway in particular. The 18-minute interview addresses key issues of pyramid fraud, cult persuasion and the disguise of products and “direct selling.”
A wide-ranging interview exploring the pitfalls, deceptions and entrapments of MLM schemes. Published by ListenMoney Matters who described the PodCast, “Ever had someone try to sell you Amway, or worse, try to recruit you to sell Amway? Today we discuss pyramid schemes and how to protect yourself from them. Robert Fitzpatrick joins us to discuss money making schemes. They pre-date the internet but have exploded in number since the advent of the net. Find out how to spot and avoid them.” Downloadable Podcast, 56 Minutes. Hear the Interview.
In a new, hour-long interview Jordan Harbinger (The Art of Charm) asked PSA President, Robert FitzPatrick to explore the deepest, darkest elements of MLM. The interview examines how MLMs capture people’s dreams, take over their lives, and insinuate into families and communities. Harbinger’s interest sprang from his work to aid men in discovering their own power in being more attractive socially as well as projecting their power effectively in the workplace for greater achievement. He has observed many people who believe multi-level marketing to be a pathway or a short-cut to total success and freedom. He witnessed some abandoning education, jobs, and relationships in their belief in MLM. He also saw virtually universal failure rates in the MLM quests. Harbinger asked what is MLM’s strange power, why virtually all who sign up fail to reach its promised goals, and why so many people will not examine MLM critically, using normal business and personal judgment. Hear the interview.
PSA President, Robert FitzPatrick, is interviewed as expert on MLM in this in-depth exposé of the MLM, Herbalife, by CNBC correspondent and financial analyst, Herb Greenberg. The 15 mintue documentary is entitled, “Selling the American Dream.”
Ponzis and Pyramids is a consumer education audio series examining multi-level marketing and revealing the similarities between Wall Street Ponzis and Main Street Pyramids. Ponzis and Pyramids is sponsored by Pyramid Scheme Alert and supported by donations from dedicated consumer activists, attorneys, and authors. Each show is 60 minutes in length, features interviews with prominent consumer activists, attorneys and authors and is hosted by Pyramid Scheme Alert President, Robert FitzPatrick. All shows are MP3s, downloadable to iPods and MP3 players.
Cult expert Steve Hassan of the Freedom of Mind Center leads a wide ranging discussion on multi-level marketing with MLM expert Robert L. FitzPatrick, president of Pyramid Scheme Alert, and Attorney Douglas M. Brooks, expert on franchising, MLMs and business opportunity solicitations. The discussion covers MLM “endless chain” pay plans, the realities of consumer losses in MLMs, the persuasion and mind control techniques used by some MLMs, and more. An excellent overview. Video, approx. 33 minutes.
In 1999, the national news show, CBS 60 Minutes focused on one of America’s fastest growing multi-level marketing schemes, International Heritage Inc. (IHI) was based in North Carolina. It was one of the last large MLMs to be prosecuted by the federal government before the FTC and SEC stopped law enforcement due to insider lobbying and political campaign contributions by the MLM industry. This short video documentary shows how IHI operated exactly in the same manner as hundreds of others do today that are not being prosecuted. PSA President, Robert FitzPatrick was interviewed by CBS Correspondent Mike Wallace. Video, about 10 minutes in length.
On December, 4, 2006, Robert FitzPatrick, Co-author of the book, False Profits, and the founder of Pyramid Scheme Alert, was interviewed on public radio, WFAE, Charlotte, NC. The 55-minute interview covers many aspects of multi-level marketing. For consumers interested in an overview of the scams, tricks and myths surrounding multi-level marketing, this interview provides a good primer course. MP3 Recording
MLM, Most Pervasive, but Least Understood Consumer Fraud. A Speech to Government Regulators and Private Investigators Speech by Robert FitzPatrick
In 2006, Robert L. FitzPatrick, President of Pyramid Scheme Alert and author of False Profits, was a featured speaker at the annual meeting of the Association of Certified Fraud Specialists in San Francisco. The presentation is 50 minutes in length. MP3
Pyramid Schemes, Frauds and Hoaxes Explained, An Interview with Robert L. FitzPatrick
The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe is a weekly Podcast talkshow produced by the New England Skeptical Society, The Feb. 20, 2008 show featured a full length interview with PSA President, Robert L. FitzPatrick. Scroll down to Feb. 20, 2008 show, then go to the middle of the show for the start of the interview. Approx. 25 minutes.
On Feb. 6, 2009, Marketplace aired an exposé of an MLM that is aggressively recruiting Canadians. All the elements of a typical MLM scam were revealed – overpriced products and of dubious value, no retailing (products only purchased by salespeople); pyramid pay plan that sends money to the top; requirement for continuous recruiting; pyramid model permanently places great majority of all participants at bottom levels where they must lose; deceptive marketing; complicit government that does not enforce anti-fraud laws. The show is 30 minutes, very entertaining, on-line video on the Marketplace website.
Voice America, the world’s premiere web radio network, announces the appearance of international fraud expert Robert L. Fitzpatrick, exclusively on the highly acclaimed ZenBiz Radio Show on Wednesday Feb. 18th, 2009. The interview explores how pyramid scams work, why we fall for them and why they are spreading now. Approx. 60 minutes