What To Do When A Family Member Is In A MLM Scam
MLM scams use many methods of influence to convince you to stay in their business opportunity.
- Commitment and Consistency
- Social Proof
Many people view these methods as cult like. Here is a common question I get from family members of people that are under the influence of a MLM scam.
My sister has been a distributor for (MLM Scam Name) for almost two years now. It is like she is in a cult. I really do not want to lose my relationship with her but her whole life revolves around (MLM Scam Name). She has tried to get me involved and I have declined multiple times. I also have only tried products she has given me for free. I refuse to waste money on it. The products never work and her excuse is that they don’t work the same for everyone. I just do not know how to carry a relationship on with her anymore because she has been taken over by someone I do not even know anymore. If I say anything even slightly critical I am being unsupportive. Please help!
Here are my thoughts on what to do in this situation:
It is very important to not panic or act rashly when a family member gets involved in a MLM scam. What you want to do first is educate yourself about the scam they are involved with. You can find detailed information about most MLM scams from websites on my Top 10 Scam Buster Sites. After you educate yourself, you will be able to understand how the scam works.
When educating yourself about MLM scams it is important to recognize that there is also misleading information provided by MLM scam promoters. The MLM scams have front organizations like the DSA and people like Robert Kiyosaki that pose as neutral resources. They are not neutral resources.
Keep in mind that when you do respond to your family member you can quickly become known as a “hater” and they will no longer listen to you. Be considerate and do not attack them.
Any time you talk to your family member about their involvement in the MLM scam remain clam. Try to have other family members who are not involved in the MLM scam there with you when you talk to them. It maybe helpful to have a family friend there that has been part of a MLM scam.
How To Communicate With Your Family Member
Ongoing Communication with your family member is important. This will allow you to reach them when they develop doubts in their new found road to success. Family and friends who are not hostile and remain calm will not be viewed as a threat and communication will be allowed.
Demonstrate continuing love and commitment regardless of the MLM scam they are involved with.
MLM scams use catch phrases to limit critical thinking in their members: JOB = just over broke, The only way to fail is to quit. language is used to control how a scam victim thinks about the world. Jobs become evil and anyone that does not participate in the MLM scam is an outsider. Whenever you talk to your family member you should always try to stay positive. Find subjects of mutual interest and attempt to maintain and build upon your relationship. Don’t be confrontational.
Ask general questions about their daily life such as – “What did you do this week”? And just simple questions like “How are things going”? Don’t ask pointed questions that sound accusatory and again – never use the word scam in any conversation.
In any conversation with your family member It is crucial to connect in some way with their past – specifically, before their involvement with the MLM scam. You can do this by recalling memories of happy times spent with family and friends, accomplishments at school, etc. It is important to demonstrate to them that their past life did have value, happiness and meaning.
Life is often hard in a MLM scam and it is very important for your family member to know they have family and friends on the outside who care. And that these people are there to provide loving support.
Encourage family members and old friends to also have conversations with them too. Be sure everyone is aware of the guidelines above.
Generally, the more communication there is with people outside of the group – the better.
If your family member tries to recruit you into the MLM scam simply say “Your business opportunity is not a good fit for me.” If they are persistent say, “I would rather not discuss this now – let’s talk about something else. I don’t want to argue.” And “I am glad to have this time with you and let’s enjoy it.”
Change In Their Personality
People in MLM scams can develop a different personality. This personality will be consistent with the qualities valued by the group and its leaders and teachings. Members are taught that they are the product of the people around them and they should model those that are where they want to be in the business opportunity. This new personality is often not consistent with their previous character.
When Doubts Come
There may come a time when your family member expresses doubts about the MLM scam. It is important to understand that this may only be temporary. It is a good idea not to comment too quickly about how bad the MLM scam is. This may complicate future communication.
The best first response is to be a good listener and take no position. Instead you might say, “That’s interesting.” or “I didn’t know you felt that way.” If there are repeated doubts and misgivings expressed through further conversations you might begin to consider other more direct responses.
Eventually as doubts are repeated and perhaps expressed more deeply share information (e.g. factual documentation specifically about the MLM scam, websites about MLM scams). You should carefully qualify sharing such material by stating, “Some people shared this information with me about (name of the MLM scam) – would you like to see it”? Don’t be aggressive; allow enough space for your family member to personally reflect. If your offer of help is rejected simply respond, “That’s OK – the information is here if you want it.”
Sometimes, it is much easier for a family member to recognize what is wrong with another MLM scam other than their own. In this case, it may be better to offer material that does not name their group, but rather others with similar problems and practices.
Leaving The Scam
Most MLM scam victims will eventually walk away from their group. 60%-90% leave in the first year. It is vitally important to express your unconditional love. Never say, “I told you so”.
Remember that even a MLM scam experience may not have been totally negative. Their time within the group may have resulted in some positive changes and may motivate them to go on to create a legitimate business. Again, be a good listener and always be as positive as possible.
There are common problems experienced by most MLM scam members during their recovery period. This may include depression, anxiety attacks, excessive guilt and seemingly unreasonable fears about the future.
Blind belief is taught in many MLM scams. It may take some time to redevelop their critical thinking skills and initiate independent decision-making. Don’t expect some instant overnight transformation.
There are forums like realscam.com and pinktruth.com where former members of scams can share about their experiences and help others. Former MLM scam members are likely to feel less alone through their involvement with others. They may also realize that many other people have a similar history.
– Source Ross Institute of New Jersey