Who says old ways do not open new doors? The profits garnered by Multi-Level Marketing companies during the COVID-19 pandemic claiming to mitigate effects of “pink collar” recession just prove they do. Many MLM companies have registered double the ‘sign-ups’ (joining amounts paid to companies) to become distributors for nutraceuticals, weight loss drinks, cosmetics and other products which are a cover for Money Circulation Schemes under the guise of direct selling, ever since the outbreak of the pandemic that has negatively affected world economies. Claiming to develop meaningful relationships during tough conditions several firms have been targeting people who are already driven to the brink, to pay and enroll as distributors by selling them hopes of huge earnings working from home and merely using their network. “As people look for new flexible ways to earn, we are ready for a tidal wave of new sign-ups and hope the recruitment drive of our representatives help female entrepreneurs break through these difficult times” says an important functionary of a well-known cosmetic firm thriving on the direct selling model for several years now. The seemingly compassionate statements, relationship building, helping people grow their own business during tough times and all the glib talking to reap profits through recruitment are as genuine as a crocodile’s tears. Desperate, out of job men and women will only lose more money, sanity and relationships as they invest in pyramid schemes that are a mathematical impossibility benefitting only those at the top of the pyramid. The testimonials and profiles of success online are the bait that victims unfortunately never fail to bite.

An article in America’s famous “Time magazine” speaks about MLM frauds as pandemic schemes using every trick in the book to draw members into their network. Unfortunately, these “get rich quick schemes” that promise the best life in the shortest possible time further impoverish victims who often end up losing all their savings and run into debt. According to the article, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has sent letters to 16 MLM companies warning them against claims about coronavirus related health benefits of their products, the potential earnings of investors or both. Today’s MLM distributors are reaching out to millions of potential victims around the world through Facebook, Instagram and other social networks.  Students, unemployed youth, software professionals and homemakers receive private messages about lucrative schemes that most regulatory agencies around the world cannot monitor.  Kati Daffan, FTC’s assistant director for marketing practices has warned that social media can be a laboratory of deception where MLM representatives compete with each other to deceive more people. Celebrity endorsements are used to trap many gullible people mostly women tempted by proposals of being “Independent Business Owners”.  Remember that overnight riches through schemes that are ‘too good to be true’ are just that. They are dreams that never materialize.  Trace, Track and Isolate to break the chain of fraud just as in the case of the novel coronavirus. Awareness is the vaccine and there is no waiting here.