State warns of pyramid schemes

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HARTFORD — Connecticut residents are being warned against falling for pyramid schemes proliferating on social media during the coronavirus pandemic.

A pyramid scheme is a fraudulent system of making money based on recruiting an ever-increasing number of paying participants who are promised a big payout in the end. The schemes often collapse when the pool of potential recruits dries up

Attorney General William Tong and Consumer Protection Commissioner Michelle H. Seagull issued a warning April 22 for state residents to avoid coronavirus scams popping up on social media, including one called “The Blessing Loom” that first surfaced in 2016.

Participants are asked to wire $100 to start at the outside of the “loom.” As more paying participants recruit others, players move closer to the center “payout.” The scam is spreading on social media, and participants have been asked to send money using online platforms like Venmo and PayPal.

To report a scam or instance of fraud, contact the Office of the Attorney General at 860-808-5318 or file a complaint with the office at www.dir.ct.gov/ag/complaint, or contact the Department of Consumer Protection by emailing dcp.complaintsct.gov at 860-713-6300 or file a complaint with the department at ct.gov/dcp/complaint.