Affinity Fraud

Affinity frauds target members of identifiable groups, such as the elderly, or religious or ethnic communities. The fraudsters involved in affinity scams often are – or pretend to be – members of the group. They may enlist respected leaders from the group to spread the word about the scheme, convincing them it is legitimate and worthwhile. Many times, those leaders become unwitting victims of the fraud they helped to promote.

These scams exploit the trust and friendship that exists in groups of people. Because of the tight-knit structure of many groups, outsiders may not know about the affinity scam. Victims may try to work things out within the group rather than notify authorities or pursue legal remedies.

Affinity scams often involve “Ponzi” or pyramid schemes where new investor money is used to pay earlier investors, making it appear as if the investment is successful and legitimate.

Additional Information

Social Media and Investment Fraud – Investor Alert

Investor Alert: Beware of Pyramid Schemes Posing as Multi-Level Marketing Programs

Investor Bulletin: Affinity Fraud

Western Alliance to Protect Targeted Communities

Beware of Investment Fraud Targeting Haitian-American Communities 
(Pran Prekosyon ak Fwod Envestisman ki Vize Kominote Ayisyen-Ameriken an)

Avoiding Investment Fraud in Your Faith-Based Community – Investor Alert

Investor Alert Regarding Web-Based Scheme Targeting Deaf Investors [video]

Stopping Affinity Fraud in Your Community