Need to take extremely generous deals with a pinch of salt

Pyramid schemes come in all shapes and sizes. They are perhaps the smartest scams ever invented because victims volunteer.

With more than a third of the over 800 million hungry people found in Africa, it is a natural hunting ground for all sorts of pyramid schemes. But despite many schemes collapsing and many people losing money, people never seem to learn.

A scheme works only if people lose money to those at the top. Many people who join a pyramid go in knowing that the risks of losing money are high but gamble that they could be at the top of the pile and strike it rich.

A scheme, however elaborate, in the end becomes unsustainable. One scheme that has become larger than life is World Ventures which has been declared illegal in Rwanda. It claims to sell discount travel deals, but the whole operation has some grey areas that should send alarm bells;

Why would one sell me something at a discount? What’s in it for them? It does not make sense for a total stranger to spread generosity left right and centre if there was no catch somewhere. But as we said earlier, people never seem to learn.

Any take-home lesson as to why people always fall for all those nice-sounding schemes is that we have many desperate people in our midst who are ready to cut corners at any cost. This should push authorities to be on the lookout for too-good-to-be-true and over-generous offers. In fact, Kinyarwanda explains it better: “A person who professes to love a child more than the mother is scheming to eat it”.

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