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The state auditor’s office is warning Montanans of a Facebook pyramid scheme that is claiming victims across the state, including Gallatin County.

The scheme, called the “Friendsgiving Network,” is appearing primarily on group chats on the Facebook Messenger app with people recruiting friends to buy into the bottom of a pyramid for $100.

Once the pyramid is filled up with new participants, the person at the top takes $800. The two people at the second tier of the pyramid each become the top two new pyramids, and the process repeats.

The scheme, which is pitched as a “tournament” or “friends helping friends” make money online, includes participants both in and outside of Montana, including Gallatin, Flathead and Big Horn counties.

The state auditor’s office is investigating the illegal scheme.

“Pyramid schemes like these are against the law because they always fail once the pool of new recruits runs out. People at the top of the pyramids make money, but the newest participants lose everything they’ve put into the pyramid,” said Montana Securities Commissioner Matt Rosendale in a statement. “Montanans should not participate in these type of schemes, and remember: If an opportunity to make money sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

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Whitney Bermes can be reached at wbermes@dailychronicle.com or 582-2648. Follow her on Twitter at @wabermes.

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