Amid the worst global pandemic in a century, one group of scammers in the US are targeting the newly unemployed for a secret gifting scam.

And they’re not above shamelessly exploiting slavery either.

To the best of my knowledge The Underground Railroad doesn’t have a web presence. At least not a public one.

The scheme is promoted in secret via webinar, one of which is the source material for this review.

The specific recording we’ll reference going forward features a woman going by Jessica Watson.

Watson claims to be a New York resident and mother of four.

[14:48] I’m an IT professional of twenty-two years. My education is in information systems management and organizational management.

I’ve held top secret clearance for the government. I’ve also held a real-estate license for ten years. I’ve bought (and) sold rental properties even before having a license.

Watson opens up her The Underground Railroad pitch by addressing the name of the scheme.

For those unfamiliar with US history, the Underground Railroad

was a network of secret routes and safe houses established in the United States during the early to mid-19th century, and used by enslaved African-Americans to escape into free states and Canada.

It is on this premise of “saving others” that Watson shamelessly launches her gifting scam pitch.

[0:45] The Underground Railroad really stemmed from just our ancestors.

And I’m just gonna note Harriet Tubman, I think we all know the history there, and how she risked her life over and over again to save others, to bring others along with her.

I believe that we shouldn’t leave anyone behind in something good.

A few minutes later into the presentation, Watson reveals The Underground Railroad is specifically targeting newly unemployed as a result of COVID-19.

[2:46] You share this blessing with two people.

Now what is two people? Two people is nothing.

I know you have more than two people in this world that you love, and that can use an additional $3500 a month. Especially in this time and age.

I feel for so many of the business owners and small businesses, and the workers who have lost their jobs due to this pandemic.

This is coronavirus proof. This is pandemic proof.

So what exactly is The Underground Railroad?

It’s a simple 2×3 matrix gifting scheme.

You sign up for $500. People are directly or indirectly recruited after you, with each gifting $500 for a matrix position.

You steal $3500 off the bottom level of your matrix, with the remaining $500 gifting payment used for re-entry into a new 2×3 matrix.

Instead of just coming clean about this, Jessica Watson explains fraud away with “flowers”.

The water drop in the middle is the top position in the matrix. The earth icons are the two positions on the first level. The wind icons are the four positions on the second level and the fire icons round out of the fourth level.

If the names Watson has given these positions feels manipulative, it’s because it is.

Evidently aware what she is promoting is an illegal scam, Watson dismisses the fact The Underground Railroad is a gifting scam as “miseducation”.

[17:29] I have a four-year old son on this flower. Show me another college plan that has this type of return.

My entire family is in this. So do not come to me being miseducated.

What this boils down to is the cliche “eVrErYtHiNg Is A pYrAmId ScHeMe!” nonsense.

And The Underground Railroad isn’t a Ponzi scheme because participants are aware they’re simply stealing money from those recruited after them.

Because y’know, that’s how the law works. So long as you know and acknowledge you’re committing a crime, the rules don’t apply.

If I may;

The Underground Railroad is an MLM gifting scheme, which incorporates elements of both pyramid and Ponzi schemes.

First off cash gifting as a business opportunity is illegal. This is not the same as gifting money to a friend or family member for their birthday etc.

In cash gifting schemes new participants gift funds to existing participants. These payments qualify them to receive payments from those recruited after them and so on and so forth.

When you give Bob a $20 for his birthday, that’s where the transaction ends. And this differentiation is what makes scams like The Underground Railroad illegal.

Why? That brings us to the pyramid and Ponzi elements.

MLM gifting schemes like The Underground Railroad rely on perpetual recruitment of new participants. This is the scheme’s only source of revenue to fund $3500 gifting payments.

If recruitment stalls so does The Underground Railroad’s matrices, prompting a collapse.

The Ponzi nature of the business exists within the context of $500 in and $3500+ out.

Effectively The Underground Railroad initial $500 gifting fee is a buy-in. Once a set number of new investors are recruited and invest, you cash out $3500 over.

This process repeats itself until The Underground Railroad inevitably collapses.

The use of funds paid in by new participants to satisfy existing participant’s withdrawing $3500 a pop is precisely the definition of a Ponzi scheme.

Participants knowing they are involved in a scam doesn’t make any of this legal.

Despite Jessica Watson’s flowery language, pretty diagrams and assertiveness, The Underground Railroad is just another matrix gifting scheme.

At any given time the majority of participants will not have recouped their $500 buy-in. It’s mathematically impossible, ensuring that when The Underground Railroad collapses, the majority of participants will lose money.

In contrast, scammers like Watson and whoever is running this mess are part of the small group that profit. Gifting scams are a zero-sum equation, so this happens at the expense of everyone else.

In summary The Underground Railroad combines shameless exploitation of slavery, COVID-19 economic victim targeting and an illegal gifting scheme.

I know things are tough out there but please don’t fall for garbage like this. Scammers like Jessica Watson should be more than ashamed of themselves.