Drumheller RCMP are warning the public about a recent increase in local women being invited to attend 'gifting cloud' or 'pay-it-forward cloud' events, also known as 'gifting circles'.
The concept re-emerges every few years, frequently changing names due to the stigmas that are associated to the previous scheme.
The clouds essentially promise that if you invest a sum of $5000 and recruit two to six more people who are willing to invest, you will receive a 'gift' of $40000 somewhere between 4 month and 1 year later. The language used is designed to make the women (and occasionally men) believe that it's a 'community' which helps people be financially independent and/or contribute to society in a positive way, they will be made to feel important, being told that it is an anonymous, invite only event.
Despite the positive terminology used, the clouds are by definition, Pyramid schemes and are illegal in Canada. The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre defines a pyramid scheme as "frauds that are based on recruiting an ever-increasing number of investors" and police want to make it clear that it is illegal to promote a pyramid scheme or even to participate.
If you are being recruited or enticed by one of these events, it’s recommended that you do the research associated to Pyramid schemes and learn why the model is not sustainable and why it is illegal.
Contact Drumheller RCMP if you require more information, or report occurrences to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501.