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RCMP concerned about “gifting circle” scam targeting women

Grande Prairie RCMP are worried about residents being targeted by a new type of pyramid scheme. It typically targets groups of women, who are recruited by their friends or people they know.

Those involved pay their recruiter $5,000 as a “gift” and then are expected to recruit eight more people to end up getting $40,000 back. The women asked to join in are typically law-abiding, with no idea it’s illegal.

“Recruiters try to legitimize the buy-in payment by calling it a ‘birthday gift’, a ‘transaction’, or ‘a gifting circle’ and insisting that the payment is not taxable or illegal because it’s only a gift,” explains Constable Gabrielle Spencer.

While the Grande Prairie detachment hasn’t gotten any reports of residents falling victim to the scam yet, Spencer says other detachments have and they want to get the word out. She says anyone involved or with friends involved shouldn’t feel ashamed, and should talk to police or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

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A similar “gifting circle” scam has reportedly been going around the Grande Prairie region for several months.

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