Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

PayPal Pyramid Scheme

There seems to be a pyramid scheme going around involving UK eBay and PayPal users. I got an email from a user that I had previously had bought from or sold to (can’t quite remember), asking me to send £3 to a PayPal account, then copy the email and send it on to other people who I have received PayPal payments from (or paid). PayPal makes this easy because it’s possible to download a complete list of people you have previously had transactions with, including email addresses. The theory is that all the people that you send the email to will send £3, and so on.
Although we’re only talking small amounts of money here and not the three or four figure sums that other schemes often entail, I’m not taking part. Pyramid schemes are unethical because those at the bottom of the pyramid are more likely to lose out, and in any case, I believe they’ve recently been made illegal in this country anyway.
Update: Oh yeah, it’s also against PayPal’s terms and conditions:

You may not use PayPal to send or receive payments for any form of multi-level marketing programs (including online payment randomizers), as well as matrix, pyramid and Ponzi schemes, “get rich quick” scheme, or other similar ventures.

It also seems to have been around in the US for some time. Note to self: must do a Google search before making weblog posts.

One Comment

  1. HI,
    I received this last week, and thought it harmless eneough. I badgered a friend to do it as well, but he has been suspended by his service provider for taking part…..very nasty!