DEAF - L:  Deaf Watch Newsletter (Pyramid Scams)
Key words:  Deaf Education Information, deaf related issues, deaf culture and history

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From: Richard Roehm III <deaf@ACTIVIST.COM>
Subject:      From August 98 Deaf Watch Newsletter (On Pyramid Scams)
Return-Path: owner-deaf-l@SIU.EDU

I feel it's a good time to pass this around once again.

Richard Roehm



There is a high unemployment rate among the Deaf communities.  Since
a large section of the Deaf community has poor command of the English
language and lack the resources to investigate, they easily fall prey
to sophisticated fraud systems operated by Deaf individuals usually
promising instant wealth, luxury cars, and happiness.  Deaf scammers
are doing these things using hopes, dreams, and emotional ploys.  These
scammers don't give out all the information a consumer needs to make an
objective decision.  It'll be bad for their business if they do and
that's why they leave out a lot of facts relating to certain MLM or
business opportunities.

The following business are NOT RECOMMENDED for exploration by Deaf
individuals seeking MLM or entrepreneurship opportunities.

The Mentor Network, Inc - Credit Development International
Drivers Seat Network - ValueFax - Fortuna Alliance - Webco
Pentagono - FutureNet - AIM ministries - VIP-CLUB - STS
Global Assistance Network for Charities - Future Strategies

Tips from the Federal Trade Commission:

1.Avoid any plan that includes commissions for recruiting additional

2.Beware of plans that ask new distributors to purchase expensive
  inventory. These plans can collapse quickly -- and also may be
  thinly-disguised pyramids.

3.Be cautious of plans that claim you will make money through continued
  growth of your "downline" -- the commissions on sales made by new
  distributors you recruit -- rather than through sales of products you
  make yourself.

4.Beware of plans that claim to sell miracle products or promise
  enormous earnings. Just because a promoter of a plan makes a claim
  doesn't mean it's true! Ask the promoter of the plan to substantiate
  claims with hard evidence.

5.Beware of shills -- "decoy" references paid by a plan's promoter to
  describe their fictional success in earning money through the plan.

6.Don't pay or sign any contracts in an "opportunity meeting" or any
  other high-pressure situation. Insist on taking your time to think over
  a decision to join. Talk it over with your spouse, a knowledgeable
  friend, an accountant or lawyer.

7.Do your homework! Check with your local Better Business Bureau and
  state Attorney General about any plan you're considering -- especially
  when the claims about the product or your potential earnings seem too
  good to be true.

Deaf Watch Newsletter wants to caution people being asked send money to
offshore or any foreign business using any means other than U.S. postal
mail.  For example they will take funds only through Western Union, Fed Ex
and other private couriers.  In most cases scammers will not accept payment
from you by way of the U.S. postal service.  Why?  Because they would be
quickly hit with U.S. mail fraud charges.

Pyramids don't pay. Deaf Watch Newsletter and the Federal Trade Commission
caution consumers about clubs or programs that promise quick money for
recruiting new members. Don't bank on the pyramid promise that someone
else will pay you. For more information on get-rich-quick schemes, visit
the FTC at

Pyramid schemes are illegal in all states. If you wish to report a
pyramid that spams you, or that you find anywhere online, call the
National Fraud Information Center at 1-800-876-7060 V, or e-mail the FTC
at  Or just forward the email to and and they'll take care of the rest.

Another scam hitting Deaf consumers are the so called work-at-home /
stuffing envelopes schemes.  They say you can make hundreds a week
stuffing envelopes.  They always try to make themselves appear legitimate
by including postal regulations printed on official looking letters.  These
work-at-home / stuffing envelopes schemes are also being circulated
over the internet.

When answering such ads, you may not receive the expected envelopes for
stuffing, but instead get promotional material asking for cash just for
details on money-making plans. The details usually turn out to be
instructions on how to go into the business of placing the same kind of
ad the solicitor ran in the first place.  Pursuing the plans require
spending several hundred dollars more for advertising, postage, envelopes,
and printing. This system feeds on continuous recruitment of people to
offer the same plan. There are several variations on this type of scheme,
all of which require the customer to spend money on advertising and materials.

Also be ready to meet a few Deaf people who are obsessive in trying to help
you.  Remember that some Deaf people may try to use your money problems to
gain attention for themselves. Protect yourself from Deaf people who might
be too crazy over helping you out with ideas on how you can solve your
money problems or who prey on victims through scams or by offering false
hopes and expectations.

Don't believe it just because you saw it on the Internet. Claims of fast
money and "guaranteed" returns on your computer screen are no more
reliable than classic chain letters and other "get rich quick" schemes.

"If it sounds too good to be true - it almost certainly is!"

To help people investigate any suspicious MLM or business opportunities,
I have gathered a list of links to sites that have information on scams.

Internet ScamBusters

Better Business Bureau Alerts and News

Get-Rich-Quick and Self-Employment Schemes

Cagey Consumer

Welcome to The Wonderful World of Scams

The Con Artist Page

National Fraud Information Center

Scam Alerts

Scams on the Net

Fraud and Scam Alerts

Scam Alerts and Information

It is very important to get full information on any MLM, investment, or
business opportunities before you participate in them no matter how much
money is involved.

Consumer Agencies

Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

The Federal Trade Commission enforces a variety of federal antitrust and
consumer protection laws. The Commission seeks to ensure that the
nation's markets function competitively, and are vigorous, efficient,
and free of undue restrictions.

---Online complaint form

Federal Trade Commission
Washington, D.C. 20580

202-FTC-HELP (202-382-4357) V
Better Business Bureau (BBB)

BBB provides reports on businesses and charities to help consumers and
donors make informed decisions, helps resolve consumer complaints and
promotes ethics in business.

---Locate a BBB

---BBB Dispute Resolution Services (has online complaint form)
Federal Reserve Bank of Philadephia

Produces and distributes flyers, pamphlets, brochures on consumer advocacy
including fraud and scams.  Ideal for you to distribute to your friends that
do not have internet access.

For copies of the 'FRAUD AND SCAMS' pamphlet contact:

Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia
Public Information/Publications
P.O. Box 66
Philadelphia, PA 19105-0066
(215) 574-6115 V


Deaf individuals seeking legal MLM, investment, business opportunities, or
advisement on money related matters should check the sites below for
reliable information:

Deaf Business Center

Merrill Lynch's Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing Services

Schwarz Financial Concepts