• Sat. Dec 2nd, 2023

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Northumbria’s residents lost £110,000 to pyramid scheme scams

Pyramid Schemes Credit -GajusPyramid Scheme Scams Credit - Gajus

Northumbria residents lost £110,373 per 100k population to pyramid scheme scams in 2022. 15% more than Essex which lost £92,941. Northumbria also reported 12.23 pyramid scheme scams. 70% more than Hertfordshire which were among the lowest reported scams (3.58).

London residents lost the most to pyramid scheme scams in 2022, losing a staggering £1.2 million per 100,000 people.

That’s according to the experts at Scams.info who utilised data from the National Fraud Insurance Bureau (NFIB) to uncover which regions have lost the most to pyramid scheme scams.

Key findings:

  • Gwent, Wales had the most reports of pyramid scheme scams per 100,000 people last year (28.36), 89% more than Lancashire residents (2.99).
  • London residents lost the most money to pyramid scheme scams, losing £1,292,541 per 100,000 people.
  • The Dyfed-Powys area, Wales had the fewest reported pyramid scheme scams, with just 2 reports per 100,000 people.
  • Scam expert, Nicholas Crouch, offers his key advice on how to spot a pyramid scheme scam.

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The areas losing the most to pyramid scheme scams in 2022

Rank Area (by Police Force) Pyramid scheme scam 

reports per 100k

Losses per 

100k people (£)

1. London 8.03 1,292,541
2. Bedfordshire 15.90 879,743
3. Dorset 12.59 367,173
4. Gwent 28.36 183,154
5. Cheshire 8.11 156,305
6. Lancashire 2.99 121,356
7. Northumbria 12.23 110,373
8. Hertfordshire 3.58 108,278
9. Merseyside 3.30 105,401
10. Essex 5.51 92,941

Please find the full dataset used throughout this study, here.

London residents lost the most to pyramid scheme scams in 2022, losing almost £1.3 million (£1,292,540.73) per 100k residents. This is 13 times more than neighbouring county, Essex which lost £92,941 per 100k population (10th). Despite this, there was only 8.03 reports of pyramid scheme scams in London per 100,000 people last year, almost 4 times fewer reports per 100,000 people than the Welsh region of Gwent (28.36 per 100k residents).

Bedfordshire places second having lost £879,743 per 100k residents in 2022. 87% more than neighbouring county, Hertfordshire, which lost £108,278 per 100k people in the past year. Overall, Bedfordshire had the second highest number of reports per capita (15.90), over five times more than Lancashire, which had the fewest number of pyramid scheme scam reports.

Dorset ranks third with £367,173 lost per 100,000 people in 2022. The coastal county lost 82% more in pyramid scheme scams than in neighbouring country Hampshire, which lost £62,495 per capita — ranking 16th. In total, there were 12.59 pyramid scheme scam reports per 100,000 people in Dorset – over 6 times the amount recorded in neighbouring area, Devon (1.98).

The areas losing the least to pyramid scheme scams in 2022

Rank Area (by Police Force) Pyramid scheme scam 

reports per 100k

Losses per 

100k people (£)

1. Cumbria 1.60 1,577
2. Scotland 0.95 5,398
3. Carmarthenshire 1.50 8,012

Cumbria had the least stolen in pyramid scheme scams in the last year, losing £1,577 per 100,000 people to this type of fraud, with just 1.60 reports per capita. Police Scotland received the fewest pyramid scheme scam reports, with less than one report per capita (0.95). Scotland lost £5,398 per 100,000 people to this type of scam in the last year — almost a third less than Carmarthenshire, Wales where £8,012 was stolen.

Scams expert, Nicholas Crouch, provides guidance on spotting pyramid schemes:

Setting unrealistic expectations

Possibly the biggest red flag for pyramid schemes is the huge promises made by ‘employees’ to entice people. These typically come in the form of flash cars provided by the scheme, holiday homes, the idea of being your own boss and the freedom to retire early thanks to the scheme. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

If you are expected to pay large sums before employment 

Pyramid schemes are constantly promoting what ‘great value’ their service is. The reality is quite different, with new recruits expected to pay extortionate fees for onboarding, such as: mandatory training courses, equipment needed to do the job and company events — often before starting the job. The constant reiteration of money is a massive tell that the pyramid scheme is a scam.”

The products sold are overpriced and of poor quality 

The products pyramid scheme scammers are trying to get you to sell are often vastly overpriced, of poor quality and new recruits are often discouraged from asking about the products they are expected to sell. Just by shopping around you’ll find that better quality products are already on the market and sold for more reasonable prices.

What to do if you think you have been scammed by a pyramid scheme 

If you are concerned that you have been scammed by a pyramid scheme the first thing you should do is contact your bank immediately. Then contact either Action Fraud or your local police service to report the details of the scam.”


  1. info sought to investigate which regions are most at risk of pyramid scams.
  2. NFIB data was scraped for number of fraud reports and losses by police force for the category Pyramid and Ponzi schemes:
  3. The results were sorted by County and then grouped by Region to determine which region in the UK had the highest number of reports over the past 13 months (December 2021 – December 2022)
  4. Additionally, population numbers for each local authority (police force area) and region were added from https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/populationandmigration/populationestimates/datasets/populationestimatesforukenglandandwalesscotlandandnorthernireland
    1. and https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/populationandmigration/populationestimates/datasets/populationestimatesforukenglandandwalesscotlandandnorthernireland
  5. Fraud reports and losses per 100k population were also calculated.
  6. All data was collected in January 2023 and is accurate as of then.