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如何识破一个金字塔骗局 – 译学馆
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如何识破一个金字塔骗局

How to spot a pyramid scheme - Stacie Bosley

谚语:“如果一件事好到不像是真的 那它很可能就不是真的”
2004年 一个叫维玛营养的新公司
In 2004, a new company called Vemma Nutrition
开始提供一个改变一生的机会
started offering a life-changingopportunity
人们仅靠做兼职就能获得全职收入
to earn full time incomefor part time work.
维玛公司提供的这个机会面向所有人
Vemma’s offer was open to everybody,
不限相关经验或者教育背景
regardless of prior experienceor education.
只需要两步就可以开始赚钱
There were only two steps to startget started earning:
购买价值500-600美元的液体保健品套装
purchase a $500-600 kitof their liquid nutrition products,
然后招募至少两名成员来从事相同的事情
and recruit two more membersto do the same.
维玛营养公司因此迅速成长
Vemma Nutrition Company grew quickly,
成为了一个全球性企业
becoming a global operation that brought in
最多的时候一个月能招募三万名新成员
30,000 new members per month at its peak.
只有一个问题
There was just one problem—
虽然该公司在2013年以前就实现了2亿美元的年收入
while the company generated $ 200 million of annual revenue by 2013,
但绝大一部分参与者获得收益少于他们的支出
the vast majority of participantsearned less than they paid in.
维玛因此被指控运作金字塔骗局
Vemma was eventually charged withoperating a pyramid scheme:
金字塔骗局是一种常见的骗局
a common type of fraud
会员通过招募更多人购买而赚钱
where members make money by recruiting more people to buy in.
通常情况下 创立者招募首批会员
Typically, the founder solicits an initialgroup of people
去购买产品并推广该项目
to buy in and promote the scheme.
然后鼓励他们招募其他人
They are then encouraged to recruit others
并承诺将那些人投资的一部分钱作为回报
and promised part of the money those people invest,
而创始人也要分得一杯羹
while the founder also takes a share.
这样的模式在每组新参与者上重复
The pattern repeats for each groupof new participants,
从新来的人那里得到的钱
with money from recent arrivals funneled
会流向招募他们的人
to those who recruited them.
金字塔骗局与庞氏骗局不同
This differs from a Ponzi scheme,
后者是创始人招募新成员
where the founders recruit new members and secretly use their fees
并偷偷用他们的钱给老成员发工资
to pay existing members,
而老成员往往认为报酬来自合法的投资
who think the payments comefrom a legitimate investment.
随着金字塔骗局的发展
As a pyramid scheme grows,
对于新会员来说赚钱变得越发困难
it becomes increasingly difficult for new recruits to make money.
这是因为参与者的数量呈指数增长
That’s because the number of participantsexpands exponentially.
假设有这样一个体系
Take a structure
每人必须招募六名以上成员才能获利
where each person has to recruit six more to earn a profit.
创立者一开始招募六个人
The founder recruits six people to start,
这六个人每人又分别再招募六人
and each of them recruits six more.
那么在第二轮就有36个人被招募
There are 36 people in that secondround of recruits,
他们每个人又再招6个人
who then each recruit 6 people—
总共就有216个新募员了
a total of 216 new recruits.
到招募进行到第十二轮的时候
By the twelfth round of recruiting,
理论上新募员数量达到21亿
the 2.1 billion newest members would have to recruit
而他们一共需要再招募130亿人才能挣钱
over 13 billion more people totalto make money–
这已经超过了世界人口总数
more than the entire world population.
而在这种情况下
In this scenario,
占项目人数超八成的最新一批募员
the most recent recruits, over 80 % of the scheme’s participants,
会损失他们所有的投入资金
lose all the money they paid in.
而在现实生活中 许多早期参与者也赔光了
And in real life, many earlier joiners lose out too.
金字塔骗局在大多数国家是违法的
Pyramid schemes are illegalin most countries,
但是它们往往很难被识破
but they can be difficult to detect.
它们可以有各种各样的表现形式
They are presented as manydifferent things,
包括礼品集团 投资俱乐部和多级营销业务
including gifting groups, investment clubs, and multi-levelmarketing businesses.
金字塔骗局和合法多级营销之间的界限
The distinction between pyramid schemesand legitimate multi-level marketing
有时候确实非常模糊
can be particularly hazy.
理论上两者区别在于
In theory, the difference is
多级营销公司的员工
that the members of the multi-level marketing companies
本质上是通过出售具体的产品或服务
primarily earn compensation from sellinga particular product or a service
从客户那里挣钱
to retail customers,
而金字塔骗局的主要获利方式
while pyramid schemes primarily compensate members
来自招募新会员
for recruitment of new sellers.
然而 在实际上
In practice, though,
对许多多级营销公司的成员来说
many multi-level marketing companies make it all but impossible
仅通过做销售赚钱是不可能的
for members to profit purelythrough sales.
而许多类似维玛营养公司的金字塔骗局
And many pyramid schemes,like Vemma Nutrition,
都将自己伪装成合法的多级营销企业
disguise themselves as legal multi-levelmarketing businesses,
用一种产品或服务来隐藏其“投资-招新”的体系
using a product or service to hide thepay-and-recruit structure.
许多金字塔骗局也利用现成的
Many pyramid schemes also capitalizeon already existing trust
来自教会 移民社区和其他紧密联系组织的信任
within churches, immigrant communities,or other tightly knit groups.
前几位成员在获利之前就被煽动
The first few members are encouragedto report a good experience
去宣传他们获利颇丰的投资经验
before they actually startmaking a profit.
他们社交网中的其他人也学着这么干
Others in their network followtheir example,
在大部分成员意识到其实并没有赚到钱之前
and the schemes balloon in size before it comes clear
这个项目就已经快速扩张
that most membersaren’t actually profiting.
受害者往往会尴尬地陷入沉默
Often, the victims areembarrassed into silence.
金字塔骗局以承诺提供机遇和权利来诱惑人们
Pyramid schemes entice people with thepromise of opportunity and empowerment.
所以成员最终没有赚到钱的时候
So when members don’t end up making money,
他们往往会责怪自己 而非这个项目
they can blame themselvesrather than the scheme,
认为是自己不够坚定才没有获得承诺的回报
thinking they weren’t tenacious enoughto earn the returns promised.
一些受害者还继续向不同的金字塔骗局投资
Some victims keep trying, investing in multiple schemes,
结果每次都赔钱
and losing money each time.
除了上述这些特征
In spite of all these factors,
还有很多方法来识别金字塔骗局
there are ways to spot a pyramid scheme.
时间压力是一个危险信号
Time pressure is one red flag—
警惕“立即行动 否则错失此生良机”的口号
be wary of directives “to act now or miss a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity”.
丰厚到足以颠覆人生的收益承诺同样可疑
Promises of large, life-alteringamounts of income are also suspect.
最后 合法的多级营销公司
And finally, a legitimate multi-levelmarketing business
不会要求它的成员付钱
shouldn’t require members to pay
以获取销售产品或卖服务的资格
for the opportunity to sell a product or service.
金字塔骗局对个人 社区甚至整个国家
Pyramid schemes can be incrediblydestructive
都有会有毁灭性的打击
to individuals, communities, and even entire countries.
但是你可以以毒攻毒
But you can fight fire with fire
也就是把这个视频分享给3个认识的人
by sending this video to three people you know,
并且鼓励他们也这么做
and encouraging them to do the same.
说到这里
While we’re at it,
还有几件我们可以帮你留意的事情
here are couple other things we can help you keep an eye out for

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