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Imitation is the greatest form of flattery. It’s also the greatest form of “scammery.” That’s why scammers are imitating a type of informal savings club known as a “sou sou” or “susu” to trick people into joining what amounts to an illegal pyramid scheme.

If you’ve never heard of the term “sou sou,” a quick internet search will tell you that it’s a rotating savings club with historic roots in West Africa and the Caribbean. It’s a savings arrangement between a small group of trusted people – usually family and friends – who regularly pay a fixed amount into a common fund and take turns getting paid out. In a sou sou, you don’t earn interest, never get out more than you paid in, and there’s no reward for recruiting people to join. This way of saving is based on the honor system, and it is not without risk.

So, it’s not surprising that scammers are pitching fake sou sou savings clubs and opportunities like “The Circle Game,” “Blessing Loom,” “Money Board”. These kinds of illegal pyramid schemes are the exact opposite of a sou sou: They promise you’ll make more money than you put in and depend on recruiting new people to keep money flowing into the fund. Like all other pyramids, once they run out of new recruits to bring into the club, the money dries up, leaving everyone waiting for their pay out holding the bag.

If you see a post or get a direct message on Instagram, Facebook, or other social media about one of these clubs, think twice and remember the warning signs. If the offer comes from a friend or family member, tell them about this scheme. And, if you’ve if you’ve been contacted to join a fake sou sou, please tell us: Your report can help us protect others from a scam.

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The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

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Carl Bowles
August 11, 2020
New name, same game. Thanks for the update.
Felisa RecioDo…
August 11, 2020
Thank you for this information.
August 11, 2020
I appreciate all of your updates. Thank you
Helen Morgenstern
August 11, 2020
Hank you, I will share this.
August 11, 2020
Good article, just makes you do you due diligence even more before you decide.
Wuwu.comDon't …
September 10, 2020
I am beat to the ground with Sousous, I have lost thousands of dollars, please believe, I am totally stressed out. Underground Railroad, and many more.
September 15, 2020
Thank you for this!
Jacki H
September 17, 2020
Thank you so much for this article.
Nicole brown
September 21, 2020
This is so true. I have a friend that put in $1k and now 6 months later he has not cashed out or seen one penny. Now the group he is in is threatening to kick him out if he does not pay a $100 a month investment fee on top of the $1k he already spent joining.