Beat the recession chain letter scam

12 August 2009

SCAMwatch is warning Australians to be on the lookout for a new chain letter scam seeking to take advantage of the current economic climate.

Reports to SCAMwatch indicate that consumers in Australia are receiving letters advising they have been chosen to be one of the first to participate in a plan designed to beat the recession.  The letter claims that you can earn over $600,000.

In the letter, Beverley Martin, reputedly from the UK, says she set herself up for life when she discovered a new way to tackle the recession. She claims her plan has enabled her to bank over £750,000 in the past 12 months and allows her to make a consistent six figure income – it requires no staff and only a tiny set up capital (less than $200).

The letter contains instructions on how to implement Ms Martin's 'plan'.  The recipient is asked to send $20 to the person at the top of a list of names enclosed with the letter, add their name to the bottom of the list, copy the letter and send it on to at least 200 people.  The recipient is advised that to make the transaction legal in Australia they should add a particular comment when enclosing the $20 i.e. 'please accept this $20 gift'.

SCAMwatch advises that Ms Martin's 'amazing business plan' exhibits all the warning signs of a classic chain letter. These schemes are illegal and are a type of pyramid scheme.

SCAMwatch warns consumers to not:

  • make any decisions without doing your homework – don't be fooled by the promise of easy money.
  • respond - you will only be wasting your time and money by forwarding it on to other people

Protect yourself

  • If it looks too good to be true—it probably is.
  • You can contact your local office of Fair Trading, ASIC or the ACCC for assistance.
  • Beware of products or schemes that claim to guarantee income or winnings.
  • Remember that family members and friends may try to involve you in a scam without realising that it is a scam: you should seek independent advice.


You can report the matter on the Report a scam page in SCAMwatch. Warn your friends, family, colleagues and neighbours about the scam.

More information

Explore SCAMwatch to find out more about Chain letters & pyramid schemes and tips on how to protect yourself.

Read more