We've all received the dreaded message: an old acquaintance from high school has slipped into our Facebook inbox to "catch up." At first it seems sweet, they want to know how we're doing, they think we look great, what a wholesome exchange! But alas, the exchange quickly goes south when they try to sell us leggings, or rope us into an age old pyramid scheme they sadly believe will make them rich.
Beyond ruining the quality of our social media inboxes, MLMs (multi-level marketing schemes) prey on people's hopes and financial vulnerabilities, and go on to ruin many lives. As with any cult, they pull people in with promises of a better life, before inundating members with necessary fees and a business model that only profits the founders.
Luckily, the internet makes it easier to spread the word about scams, and educate people on how to protect themselves from MLMs and similar financial predators. From the outside, it can be easy to judge those who fall down the rabbithole of MLMs, but they wouldn't continue to exist if the manipulation tactics and groupthink weren't thorough.