North Vancouver RCMP continues to receive reports of ‘gifting clouds’ operating in North Vancouver. A gifting cloud or gifting circle is a pyramid scheme. It is a fraud, it is illegal, and it is a criminal offence to even participate in one.
Participants are deceived into thinking that their investment is helping raise charity funds in their community. They are promised that their $5000 investment will make extra money for themselves. They are also instructed to recruit two more people to do the same – which is illegal.
“Despite what is told at recruitment meetings, it is illegal to promote and participate at any level of a ‘gifting cloud’,” said Cpl. Richard De Jong of the North Vancouver RCMP. “The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre defines pyramid schemes as ‘frauds that are based on recruiting an ever-increasing number of investors’.”
‘Gifting clouds’ promise that you will receive a sum of money larger than your initial investment. The person at the top of the receiving level is promised to receive $40,000. The pyramid then splits into two parts and the remaining members move up a level.
Why you should not participate:
- It is illegal.
- You will lose your money.
- You could be arrested and charged for any level of participation.
- By recruiting your friends and family you could also cause them to lose money and be criminally charged.
What you can do to help:
- Spread the word to your family and friends about this fraud.
- If someone tells you that they are thinking about participating, tell them that it is a scam and not to participate in any way.
These scams are reported to be in operation throughout western Canada. If you are invited to participate in a ‘gifting cloud’, do not participate in any way but instead obtain specific details and notify your local police. Residents of North Vancouver can contact the North Vancouver RCMP at 604-985-1311. Residents of Sooke can contact the Sooke RCMP at 250-642-5241.