Chain Letters and Randomizers

Let’s start with the basics here: They’re illegal. You’ll often see claims stating that these are legal due to postal code such and such, or that someone consulted their lawyer.


This is one of those times where a healthy dose of skepticism will do you a world of good. Remember, the person sending you the chain letter or recruiting you for the randomizer need you to believe that the opportunity is legitimate and legal. Why would they admit otherwise? Take a better look at the opportunity through the eyes of someone with nothing to gain and don’t trust the sales pitch.

One common form is to run chain letters through forums and payment goes through PayPal. It’s still the same and it’s still illegal. Basically, if it’s money being sent on with nothing purchased, it’s probably a scam. Sending a bit of money to get a report that you can send on when people send you money doesn’t count. That’s still a chain letter trying to masquerade as something legitimate.

One of the most important things to remember here is that if you participate, you can face legal action against you. When you’re just trying to make a living you don’t need that kind of trouble. Steer clear of these opportunities.

If You Get Scammed

First, try to clear it up with the company. If they are uncooperative, let them know that you will be contacting officials about the matter. Then do it.

  • If you found out about the company on a website, let the site know so that they can take it off their site.
  • Contact the Attorney General in your state or the state the company is in.
  • Contact the BBB, both your local office and in the company’s state.
  • Contact the National Fraud Information Center if this was a “get rich quick” or “easy money” scheme.
  • Your local Consumer Protection Offices.
  • The Postmaster if you received the offer in the mail.
  • The Federal Trade Commission. The FTC has a Complaint Assistant website to help you file your complaint.