Millions have been ‘invested’ in pyramid schemes in the country. The result? Court cases and endless squabbles.
“My father sold a piece of our land and put the money in one link, we have not seen any money returned, my father is now a very sick man and I feel sorry for him,” recounts a young man during a private conversation.
Pyramid schemes are popular because of its high return on ‘investment.’ But as more members are needed for promoters to pay out early ‘investors,’ at some point, there will not be enough people to sign up, leading to its inevitable collapse.
The Central Bank of Solomon Islands (CBSI) has given numerous awareness campaigns, education and advice on the dangers of investing in these get rich quick money schemes, but people still fall for such schemes.
Currently the Financial Institution Act 1998 is inadequate, giving pyramid scheme operators room to maneuver. Many of these scammers have been found guilty, but for lesser offences where penalties are not enough to act as a disincentive for future scammers.
Unless strong laws are in place, pyramid schemes will continue to rise, and millions will be stolen from ordinary Solomon Islanders.
Such schemes prey on the vulnerable and poor, often times people we trust will be the ones that pull us into investing.
Next time, especially for those playing with the idea of investing in such schemes, the old adage should ring true, that “if its too good to be true, it is very likely a scam.”