Analysis of "The Pyramid Scheme"
If you’ve spent any time on the internet, you’ve probably seen several advertisements or “Get Rich Quick” schemes floating about, claiming that you will get a large sum of money for just a simple $1 investment. It sounds harmless; you send $1 to five people on a list, then new members send you money in a couple of weeks, and so on. What could be wrong with that?
Let me explain how this process works. You receive an E-mail claiming that you can make thousands of dollars if you follow a few simple steps. Included in this E-mail is a mailing list of people currently participating in the investment. The letter will go into several rants and raves on how it made them millions, how they just want to share it with you, and how it will only work if you are honest about it. The basic idea of it is that you send the top 5 people in the list a dollar, take their names off of the list, and add your name to the bottom of the list. Then you are to send this list to five other people. The idea is that if these five people send it out and so on, then your name will eventually work its way to the top of the list, and by then, thousands of people will have already the list with your name on top. This is when
the money is supposed to be rolling in. The usual people who start these letters claim it will only work if everyone is “honest.” In fact, with the usual send-this-message-to-five-people schemes, it should only take 15 generations of letters before all of the world’s population would be involved.
Also, who is to say that this person is honest? How do you know that all these names and addresses on the mailing list isn’t just one person’s friends and family, or his other aliases. The fact is that not everyone you send it to will follow it themselves. You would be lucky if one of the five people you send it to will even do it. Chances are, you will just lose your money. Even if you come out ahead, it is at the expense of someone else. These schemes always cheat most of their participants. What’s so honest about that?
There are several consequences in posting, e-mailing, snail mailing (the post office), or continuing a pyramid scheme. If you e-mail or post it on the internet, your internet service can be pulled from you. Some of the people who are offended by your letter will send e-mail to postmaster@yourservice. com. Another consequence in doing a pyramid scheme is that it is illegal. Sometimes they claim that it is perfectly legal, claiming that they are a mailing list service, or recipe service. Titles 18, sections 1302, 1341, 1342 and 1343 of the Postal Lottery Law claim that pyramid schemes are illegal when they ask for money in return for more money. If you get a letter asking you to send money, you can report it to:
(Your City, Your State, Your Zip)
In Albania a couple of years ago, the country was reduced to chaos because of a pyramid scheme. One man brought the idea in to the country and everyone liked it and followed suit. Eventually, the whole country fell for it, and the one man made millions. Riots and violence broke out when the Albanians, who invested their life savings, did not get anything in return. He has been arrested, but Albanians want him released for hope that their investments will still work. After a few months though, the man gave back all their money.
Over all, pyramid schemes just aren’t worth the time and effort. You can get into lots of trouble, and you will most likely lose your money. So every time you see a pyramid scheme, just toss it. It can save you a lot in the long run.
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