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‘Blessing Loom’ scheme deserves curses, not blessings

You might well be praying for others during this time, but make sure you don’t do it through “Blessing Loom.”

While it sounds like a prayer circle or some other noble undertaking, the “Blessing Loom” is actually just a run-of-the mill pyramid scheme, the Better Business Bureau says.

It starts when you get a message on social media – most often Facebook or Instagram – inviting you to join.

The message says with a “small investment” of about $100 made through PayPal or another digital payment service, you can “spread the wealth and see a huge return on the money you put in,” the BBB says.

To weave your way into the Blessing Loom, though, you first must recruit several others to invest as well. They, in turn, will recruit others and, you’re told, the circle widens and everyone makes money.

“This pyramid scheme is causing many people to lose their hard-earned money,” the BBB said in a recent scam alert. “Once people stop participating, the money supply stops as well. That leaves lots of disappointed people who lose the cash they initially invested.”

Here are some ways to stay safe when it comes to social media pyramid schemes:

• Keep a high level of skepticism always. That means doing your own research before you accept any offer that comes your way on a social media outlet. Many include extravagant promises that are just too good to be true. Just because it comes from a friend doesn’t mean it’s safe.

• The same holds true for an investment opportunity. Check business ratings and reviews at www.BBB.org and other online resources before agreeing to work with any company or person.

• Decline friend requests from people you don’t know. And beware of a duplicate friend request from someone with whom you’re already connected. It could be an impostor aiming to access your information and friends list.

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Some pet shelters have reported that adoptions are on the rise as home-bound people look for coronavirus companions.

However, there’s a new warning from Fraud.org about a 42% spike in complaints about online pet sales between February and April.

Typically, the scam is run with a fake website, with advertisements on social media or with phishing emails, said Fraud.org, which is a project of the National Consumers League. Potential buyers are told to pay fees for shipping, inoculations or other items before the animal is shipped. You find out later that there is no animal, and you’ve been duped.

The group advises not shopping for a pet until virus lockdowns are lifted. “If you cannot touch an animal with your hands, there’s a risk it could be a scam.”

Beware of online offers of “free pets,” because these are often warning signs to get you ensnared in the scheme.

If you want to adopt a specific breed, contact the American Kennel Club or the American Humane Society to find a reputable breeder. Check out a potentially scam adoption website at www.PetScams.com.

Contact Ellen Marks at emarks@abqjournal.com or 505-823-3842 if you are aware of what sounds like a scam. To report a scam to law enforcement, contact the New Mexico Consumer Protection Division toll-free at 1-844-255-9210​.

 

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