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I Want To Hear From Anyone Who's Been Scammed By An MLM

The girl bosses must be stopped.

Imagine you're scrolling Facebook, just minding your business, when suddenly you hear the distinct ping of a new message popping up. It's from someone you haven't spoken with since high school. "Hey hun!" the chilling text reads. Terror washes over you. You know exactly the kind of horror that comes next. The mating call of all MLMs: "Do you want to be a #BossBabe and start making some serious cash?!"

A woman showing an EnergizeHer board and speaking to the camera

An MLM aka "Multilevel Marketing" is — more often than not — a scam. It's essentially the legal version of a pyramid scheme. MLMs promise financial independence and freedom from the 9–5. These programs boast that all you need to do to become a #GirlBoss is pay for this "life changing" product upfront (red flag!) and watch as they basically sell themselves. Spoiler alert: They won't. According to a report by the FTC, at least 99% of participants actually lose money.

There's a much larger emphasis on recruiting than selling products. When you personally enlist more people, it's promised that you'll get a portion of their profits as well. It sure feels like a pyramid scheme, but the difference is that MLMs do sell something. Illegal pyramid schemes rely only on recruiting and exploiting people who pay to join.


These days, MLMs have become totally meme-ified and joked about on TV shows, which has raised the collective social awareness for all the glaring risks involved. Sadly, they have been around for a looong time — way before scams started getting exposed online. People who were tricked into thinking it was a legitimate business ended up stuck with hundreds or even thousands of dollars worth of products piling up in their garage.

Screenshots from "The Office"

I'm curious to hear from you, BuzzFeed Community. Have you ever been tricked into joining an MLM?

Maybe you were in a vulnerable position and out of work during the early stages of COVID. Did an MLM recruit you by playing on your anxiety and desperation to make ends meet? Did they tell you it was a foolproof way to get rich quick? Tell us how they swindled you into it.

Since MLMs rely so heavily on recruitment, were you convinced to join by someone that you used to trust? Did they promise and reassure you that you'd definitely profit, only to end up losing money?

A woman looking at paperwork at her table

These "businesses" expertly prey on people who are already in rough financial positions and promise unimaginable wealth, so it's nothing to be ashamed of if a stressful situation accompanied by intense sales tactics pressured you into joining. You were taken advantage of. Your story could help others who might not know the risks.

Let us know how you were tricked into joining an MLM in the comments or by using this anonymous form. Your response could be featured in an upcoming BuzzFeed Community post!