Cagey Consumer

money games

A money game is any program which people participate in for the sole purpose of making a profit, where the only apparent source of such profit is from other participants in the program. This is generally accomplished by bringing in new participants, thus requiring impossibly-increasing numbers of participants, and therefore fitting the definition of a pyramid scheme. (Compare this to a Ponzi scheme in which the participants are typically told the profit is coming from some investment; it's only apparent to the promoter that all profits come from participants.)

Law enforcement agencies love money games, because the issues are usually very clear cut, and successful prosecutions are far more likely; when mlm's operate as pyramid schemes, on the other hand, it is necessary to demonstrate that any buying or selling of product is incidental to the operation of the program.

Here are a number of programs that appear to fit in this category:

For further information on money games, refer to the pyramid schemes, chain letters, & Ponzi schemes entry of the Skeptic's Dictionary.
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Updated October 5, 1998