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Commission issues warning on new chain letter

Media Release

Issued 16 May 2004-05/131

Commission issues warning on new chain letter

“Bin it” is the strong advice from the Commerce Commission on a new chain letter promising enormous riches for practically no outlay.

“Less than a month ago, the Commission warned New Zealanders about the so-called ‘David Rhodes’ chain letter, and now a new one has surfaced, this time in the name of ‘Mike Fitzgerald’,” said Deborah Battell, Director of Fair Trading at the Commission.

“In almost all respects, the Fitzgerald version is a copy of the Rhodes version, and our advice is just the same: throw it away.

"The letter obviously targets those who will see it as a magic bullet, but it is rare that anyone reaps the rewards promised, and most people actually lose by it - often those who can least afford to do so," she said.

“The letter asks people to send money, and under the Fair Trading Act, chain letters that ask people to send money are deemed to be pyramid selling. Pyramid schemes are specifically prohibited by the Act.

“The Commission’s call centre has already started receiving complaints, and we believe this letter is relatively widespread," said Ms Battell.

"As I said a month ago, the Commission has not found anyone who has made a return out of this scam. The only winners are the scam promoters, stationery shops and the postal service."

ENDS

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