Multi-level marketing (MLM)
Multi-level marketing (or "pyramid schemes") are a fraud that requires the person who signs up to get other people to sign up as well. The more people they sign up the more money they make. Multi-level marketing schemes usually use products, such as essential oils and supplements as the vehicle for the scheme. They are usually presented as a flexible way to earn money from home.
The vehicle that they use to sell the pyramid scheme isn't the primary purpose, but they tend to gravitate towards products we would be suspicious of as skeptics. The biggest MLM at the moment is Herbalife. They supply vitamins and supplements that you are encouraged to sell and get others to sell. As with all MLM’s they require you to purchase a level of stock in order to get started.
MLMs cause people to lose not only money but also family and friends. The company encourages you to depend on your family and friends to buy products or become sellers. This can lead to conflict as families struggle to continue to support someone who is signed up with an MLM. MLMs will target people who struggle in 9-5 employment either through disability or childcare struggles. These are people who are desperate for a legitimate way to earn their own money and gain that sense of self-respect that employment brings. 99% of people in an MLM will lose money. Some people who have left an MLM scheme have described it as a cult like atmosphere.