In turn of the century Boston, an Italian Immigrant named Carlo "Charles" Ponzi established the Securities Exchange Company. Ponzi offered investors a choice between a fifty percent return on a 45 day investment and a 100% return on a 90 day investment. Ponzi claimed that this return on investment was possible due to his unique understanding of the international postal reply coupon system; by international agreement, postal reply coupons were recognized by all countries but the cost of these coupons varied dramatically from country to country depending upon their economy.
Although true in principal (an IPRC that cost a penny in Germany cost a nickel in the US), Ponzi was fully aware that the scheme did not work in actual practice because of importation restrictions. Nevertheless, the story sounded good.
Ponzi schemes are fraudulent investment operations that work in a similar way to pyramid schemes. The Ponzi scheme usually entices new and well-to-do investors by offering higher returns than other investments in the form of short-term returns that are either abnormally high or unusually consistent. The schemer usually interacts with all the investors directly, often persuading most of the existing participants to reinvest their money, thereby minimizing the need to bring in new participants as a pyramid scheme will do.
With little or no legitimate earnings, Ponzi schemes require a consistent flow of money from new investors to continue. Ponzi schemes tend to collapse when it becomes difficult to recruit new investors or when a large number of investors ask to cash out.
Be cautious, but do not be discouraged from carefully researching business opportunities based on commissions. There are many legitimate multi-level marketing opportunities where you can legally earn an income from selling genuine products or services.
- Pyramid and Ponzi schemes may be sent to you from family members and people you trust - they might not know that they could be illegal or that they are involved in a scam.
- Never commit to anything at high - pressure meetings or seminars.
- Don’t make any decisions without doing your homework - research the offer being made and seek independent advice before making a decision.
- Do some research on all business opportunities that interest you.
- If I am not selling a genuine product or service, is participation in this activity legal?
More information about Ponzi schemes: