IF you cannot afford to lose money, do not invest it.
That is the warning from a senior member of the Garda Economic Crime Bureau, Detective Inspector Steven Meighan.
He told The Echo that the latest potential pyramid type scheme currently circulating on social media channels across Cork and throughout the country is the latest example of an investment-type fraud.
The scheme uses the image of a flower and may refer to flowers or petals.
Urging people to be cautious of investment opportunities offered online, DI Meighan said: “If you cannot afford to lose it, don’t invest your money. If it seems too good to be true, it is too good to be true. Do your research, get advice and do not respond to any unsolicited approaches.”
Last week, the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission issued a warning to the public to be vigilant against the flower scheme.
The warning came after people made reports of having been encouraged to make an initial investment of €150 in the scheme, before being asked to recruit others to invest.
They were told that once they recruited more people they would move to the next tier of the model.
This scheme supposedly continues until the participant reaches the centre of the model and makes a return on their investment.
Pyramid schemes generally work by offering individuals the opportunity to buy into a scheme.
This money goes to those above the individual in the pyramid.
Participants in the scheme are said to be able to recoup their original investments and qualify for a pay-out by recruiting new members who join the pyramid below them.
Under the Consumer Protection Act 2007, it is an offence for anyone to establish, operate, promote or knowingly participate in such a scheme.
The CCPC is currently investigating this scheme and is warning consumers not to engage with it.
They have asked anyone approached to join any kind of pyramid promotional scheme, to contact the CCPC immediately through their helpline on 01 402 5555 or via email, email@example.com