As we look back in history there seems to be times when the pyramid ponzi schemes come and go as if they're a fad. Regardless of the era in which they are presented to the victim, pyramid ponzi schemes are fraudulent and only benefit the top few people who started the scam.
Just to clarify and end any confusion, a ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investment that does not rely on net revenues from legitimate businesses, but rather on promised returns from subsequent investors participating in the scheme. A pyramid, is similar to a ponzi scheme, but a pyramid promises money to those who have enrolled others.
You may have heard of people who refer to multi-level marketing as a pyramid, but pyramids and multi-level marketing are not one in the same. With multi-level marketing there is a product or service that is marketed in combination of rewards, bonuses or other monetary value for recruiting others into the program. Pyramids however, offer no product or service as they are only interested in collecting the money from those who were deceived by the money scam.
Pyramids and ponzi schemes gain participants by providing fraudulent misrepresentations about what the program or investment really is, and they therefore brings people in by an illusion. Generally they are promising a very high rate of return on your money. As the old saying goes, "It's too good to be true." is something to keep in mind when promised very high returns on your money.
If you're not sure about an investment being offered to you, do your homework and if you are in doubt value your gut instinct first and the opinion of authorities you may wish to contact before you surrender your money to anyone!
If you're not dealing with a reputable and regulated broker dealer, securities firm or bank, chances are you may be falling for a money illusion whose goal is to scam and fraudulently deceive you to collect your hard earned money for a pyramid or ponzi scheme!
One last point to be aware of is the fact that many ponzi schemes are offered as an offshore investment. One of the best examples to learn from is a ponzi scheme which occurred in Grenada where more than 170 million was collected from victims who were led to believe they would earn 250% on their money. Yes, again if it sounds too good to be true, pay attention to your gut instincts warning.