Whenever our economy gets
tougher, there is an upheaval in the amount of gifting clubs that
spring up. And spring up, they do!
Recently there has been a very
'spiritual' slant to these types of circles. It is a mix of new-age
philosophy and 'female-empowerment' or Goddess Gifting Circles.
These gifting pyramid schemes usually begin as a woman's gifting
circle. Then around comes a 'men's gifting group'. In the
mid-eighties this scam was called the 'Airplane Game'. A friend of
mine made lots of money on the Airplane Game. Even so, it was still
illegal. Many of these clubs and circles spend lots and lots of time
talking about how they are not illegal. It seems to me that
anything that spends so much time justifying itself is either going
to be difficult to market or have problems with the law. The third
possibility is that it is a destructive cult.
So the gifting circle concept is
BACK! Or maybe it never left. I recently had a good friend of mine
tell me he had an "amazing opportunity" to tell me about and that he
could not talk to me about it on the phone. My red flags immediately
went up. Matt Gagnon has always joked around about 'secret clubs'
and 'mystery money'. I want to tell you there is no such thing. If
there is, it is illegal. Gifting circles are illegal. That is why
they are secret. If you are going to be in one, do NOT justify it,
just do it at your own risk. Yes, you can end up in jail if somebody
gets really upset. Just be careful. I recommend not doing it.
Why are people attracted to these
types of scams?
It's pretty simple. These people
often have a low financial IQ. The attraction comes from a lack of
belonging and a lack of money. When you have a serious lack of
both, a gifting circle concept will be very attractive.
Another reason is that people are
seduced by the idea that it is for 'friends only'. It is a private
club. "You should offer it only to your intimate friends" they say.
The need to belong and feel supported is the deepest human need.
Just be careful of systems that capitalize on this need. Find ways
to make friends who have real business sense, or who will simply
loan you money outright! The gifting circle adds a completely other
meaning to using OPM or other people's money.
I have a female friend of mine
whom I love dearly. She is adamant about the spiritual value of such
a 'gifting circle'. Understand that I am not against wealth-building
communities. I love to share wealth building goals and effective
mentoring. I am a mentor. I have advisors and mentors. The only
problem I have is the 'musical chairs' games played in the gifting
community. One of the methods of a 'gifting circle' goes something
'Share the throne' versus
The 'theme' can be spiritual or
non-spiritual, but there is always a person at the top of the
pyramid. In the Airplane game it was 'the pilot' in the Goddess game
it may be 'the Queen' , 'the guru' or the 'elder'. It doesn't really
matter. The fact is that this person has a temporary seat of power.
Basically she is 'gifted' all of the cash from people who have
brought in other members in hopes of eventually finding themselves
in that wealthy 'seat of power'. This can bring in lots and lots of
cash. In the airplane game there was the 'pilot', the 'co-pilot' the
'stewards' and on and on ad nauseum. Many ideas are exchanged, or
may be. It depends on the type of the scam or the intent of the
director. There may be some sort of ideology that is exchanged- like
'finding the financial strength within' or 'money is an illusion' or
whatever. After giving a couple thousand dollars or more, you may
move up to the next level. With commitment, dedication and lots of
'secret' recruiting, you will eventially be in the 'Captain's' seat
and walk away with 10,000 or 20,000 bucks, right? Sounds like a
great idea! Everyone is getting more intimate, sharing the same
goals, learning from one another?
Wrong! What happens if the person
in the 'seat of power' runs away with all the money and all the
ideas. Morale bottoms out and the group breaks up. This is just like
a destructive cult. You see, the problem is that most people, and I
mean almost everyone who joins a gifting circle, never sees a dime.
They never receive any of the 'winnings' or the 'sharings' or the 'tithings'
or whatever the heck you wanna call it. It just doesn't happen for
most people. You are better off throwing your money in the donation
pan at church!
We give gifting circles two
thumbs way way down. Zero stars. Avoid this tactic and avoid this
strategy. Be careful.
Here is an e-mail I got in my
in-box today. Notice that the call is located in Las Vegas Nevada,
which is a red flag as a rule of thumb. This should show you that
'gifting circles' are still active: