Protecting Hawaii’s Kūpuna Since 1997

If you think you've been scammed, CALL NOW! Oahu: 808-586-7281, Toll Free: 1-800-296-9422

KG April 2024 – Beware: Pyramid Scheme Grows

SMP Hawaii advises the public of a pyramid scheme that was recently reported by a Leeward O‘ahu couple who claim they’ve lost $16,000 over a six-month period. The husband and wife said they were invited to join the group linked to a humanitarian restoration project. Group meetings were held via Zoom, however the “leader” joined by audio only, no camera.

This project requires its members to pay $1,000 each month to receive benefits, which includes offers for assistance with mortgage and credit card payments, as well as special cards to help cover incidental or small purchases. Monthly payments were done by cashier’s check and picked up at their residence.

When the husband began to feel like it might be a scam, he convinced his wife to stop participating. The wife then received a text from the group liaison notifying her that she was no longer a part of the group. The “leader” went on to say that they were going to report the husband to the police because they felt he was harassing her/them.

The couple said they want to warn as many people as possible to avoid falling victim, especially members of the Filipino community, who have been targeted and told that the group would accelerate recruitment efforts in the Philippines.

The couple said embarrassment and guilt may prevent others from reporting this activity to authorities, but they hope their personal experience can help to spread awareness and prevent others from investing their life’s savings on false claims and empty promises.

SMP Hawai‘i is ready to help with information and referrals to a network of partners at the local and national level. SMP’s mission is to help educate and empower Medicare beneficiaries in the fight against health care fraud and other scams. To report suspicious activity, call SMP Hawai‘i at (808) 586-7281 or toll free at 1-800-296-9422. Leave a message with your name, phone number, a brief message, and the best day and time to reach you. Messages are retrieved 24/7 and your call will be assigned to a trained counselor on your island that can assist your further.

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