ALSO: Please check out my recent update post about this HERE before making any sort of judgments or opinions. Thanks!
I'm posting this to at least 2 of my blogs, because I really want to get this one out there, to make sure no one falls into this well-hidden trap. Please share this so that everyone can learn more about this, and will know everything about it if the situation is presented to them. I want everyone to know that this scheme should be avoided at all costs. Please don't fall victim to it. So, let me share my story of WorldVentures/ Dream Trips with you.
A few days ago, I got a message on Facebook from a girl I hadn't seen in a few years. The odd thing was that I'd never been close with this girl. We had one class together in 10th grade (which is *almost* four years ago for me) and even then, we didn't really talk. If we had to work together on a project, we did, but the only thing we really had in common was that one of my closest friends was friends with her. One of us added the other on Facebook (at this point, I have no idea which it was) and once the class ended, we went our separate ways and haven't seen each other or spoken since.
That is, until a few days ago. Out of the blue, she messaged me on Facebook. I thought it was a little odd that someone I barely knew was talking to me for the first time in 3ish years, but I figured that she might just have seen a post of mine and wanted to know me better, or maybe even that she was soon going to ask me "hey, where do I know you from?" But neither of these turned out to be the case.
We talked a bit about what was going on in our lives, where we were going to school now, and everything seemed to be pretty normal. My first uneasy feeling came when, instead of just responding to a message, she sent me a picture. I won't share the actual picture for privacy reasons, but it's not unlike this one I found online:
But then she asked if she could call. I really hate calling, so I just replied that I'd prefer to text, because I was busy and didn't have time for a phone conversation. When she responded that she wanted to play some sort of audio for me, I got extremely suspicious. I really didn't want to listen to whatever audio she wanted to play, but I didn't want to be rude and just blow her off. So, I decided to find out a little bit about it myself.
When I googled it, I discovered that the sign was kinda a marketing tool for WorldVentures' DreamTrips. At this point, I realized that this 'friend' was probably trying to get me to join/buy something, but I didn't know anything else until I came across an article saying it was a pyramid scheme, so I continued my search by trying to find out information about the pyramid scheme.
One very helpful website that I found was this:
This is where I learned most of my information about the pyramid scheme. Basically, this company claims to offer some extremely low rates on travel for their members. The membership is about $200 to join, with fees around $50 per month. Here's the catch that makes it a very cleverly hidden pyramid scheme. A member who joins is able to waive their membership fee by getting 6 friends to join as well. Now, according to what I've seen, the scam part is that the membership really doesn't save you money. Their prices aren't really better than other sites. I can't verify this for sure, because I haven't looked into it. But it certainly doesn't seem to be worth the trouble you have to go through to actually get 6 friends to join. And obviously, it isn't even guaranteed that you'll find 6 who will buy into it.
Now, after gaining this information, I was almost positive that this girl was just trying to get me to buy a membership. But, I didn't want to be blunt yet, so I simply told her I looked into the sign a bit, and asked if she had a membership with the company. Her response was that she should really give me the information herself rather than me reading online, but that yes, she was a member. This was all I was really looking for. I simply let her know (as nicely, yet bluntly as possible) that I was aware of what she was trying to do and that I wasn't interested. I also suggested that she get out of the membership, because it was pretty much just a scam. This has gone unanswered which just shows that I ended up being correct.
I'm saying all this to show not only what this company and membership is, but to also give a different perspective from the blog I got information from. He was approached in person, while I was approached via the internet. Obviously, I had a bit of an advantage over him, because I was not face-to-face with this girl and could freely search for as long as I wanted, and therefore could get all the info I needed.
I think one key thing that both of our experiences share is that we were both approached by someone we were not in contact with for a while beforehand. While he was approached by a friend he hadn't seen in years, I was approached by an acquaintance I hadn't talked to in a few years. I hate to say that this is a red flag, but it might be something to look for. This is probably someone you either haven't talked to in a while, or don't know extremely well. If someone like this contacts you, and you talk for a while without getting any explanation from them as to WHY they randomly contacted you, it's definitely a good idea to ask (although I feel like most people would do this anyway just out of curiosity). I think that asking for your number is also one that you should watch out for, because you already have a means of communication that is working (of course, they could simply prefer texting or calling, or be stepping away from the computer for a while and don't have a smartphone). These different "red flags" clearly pale in comparison to any mention of the company, Dream Trips, or the you should be here sign. This could also be followed, as was done with me, by the person wanting you to listen to some sort of audio recording about the sign or the company. At first mention of anything related to this company, I would suggest trying to establish whether or not they have a membership in the company. Even if they mention some audio they want you to hear, but don't mention the company, I'd ask further before giving it any of your time. If they do admit to having a membership with WorldVentures, it's probably best to be upfront about what you know, so that they don't waste time on you, and you don't have to listen to them trying to sell you anything. Along with this, I would suggest that you let the person know that they too should probably avoid the situation, and that they aren't going to be helped by being a part of this. ( I think this part works for any pyramid scheme, not just this one) This shows them that you're not trying to be rude, and could possibly show them that they aren't in a good spot.
I hope this has helped you out a bit, and even if you haven't been approached by someone about this, I hope I've given you some good info in case you're approached by someone about the membership. If you thought this was helpful, please share, because I don't want anyone to fall into this trap.
The following was posted as a comment at the beginning of December, but I'm putting it on the main post so it's more visible.
As you all can see, I have stopped responding to comments, both positive and negative. I honestly just don't have the time to go through each and every comment and give feedback. To those of you who have voiced your opinions in a polite and respectful manner, thank you! I sincerely appreciate feedback, even if you disagree with me. However, if your sole intent is to be rude, to bash me, or to make me look stupid, don't waste your time typing out a hateful comment. It only serves to make you look brainwashed and desperate to save a company that you're too tightly woven into to recognize a single flaw. Honestly, I find it funny that half of the people who try to insult my intelligence can't even manage to put together a single grammatically correct sentence. This blog post is based upon my experiences, and the experiences of others. I have never claimed that anything I learned about the company could be considered "research." Those who aim to bash me have used that term, but I literally just googled it in search of other people's experiences. I have never claimed to be a business expert. I have simply stated my experience with a member, and have discussed concerns that others have had. The vast number of unhappy members/former members and the many people who have been approached in the same way as I was should ALL be signs of a failing business model, scam or no scam (although I do still stand by my "scam" belief). If you can't see that, then I fail to see how I'm the ignorant and illogical person in this situation.