How to Say No to Joining an MLM Scam

Imagine this: You’re scrolling through your social media feed as you normally do. Out of the corner of your eye, you spot a fun video. You share it, move on to the next post and go on living your life normally as always. Suddenly, a message notification pops up. 

Just as you would normally react, you press on the notification and are taken straight to a conversation window, where you immediately find out that it’s an old classmate from high school who messaged you, asking how you’ve been doing. Normally, this wouldn’t be too out of the ordinary, but you haven’t talked to them in a few years. Yet, you continue to carry on the conversation to be polite. 

While things might seem innocent enough as it is, let’s say that your friend brings up the topic of how they’re living a beautiful life with cars and properties all because of a certain business model that they’ve been doing for a few years. While success stories aren’t uncommon in any way, a certain line catches you out of nowhere: 


I made all my cash with only a small amount of capital and all the money just came in by itself!” 

Intrigued, infuriated, and a bit jealous, all at the same time, you ask them all about how they actually did it. They take you on a short narrative through how their business works, and all seems to be going well until your brain kicks in and spots these keywords: “downline”, “upline”, “distributor”, “minimal buy-in”, “commissions.” Suddenly, you realize that your high school classmate is a part of an MLM scheme. Realizing the mistake you made by absent-mindedly asking about their business without picking up a scent of suspicion, you try to look for the panic button to escape the conversation without being too rude, right until they ask you if they could meet you for some coffee to explain further. 

Although you already about what’s to come, you don’t have any way to just suddenly drop out of the conversation and get back to minding your own business. Their insistence and your lack of a backbone have you deciding between whether or not you should just go to get it over with, but you ultimately decide to just decline — but you don’t know how to. With time running out until peer pressure takes over, these are the responses you’re thinking of giving:

  • No thank you, I don’t want to get scammed today!”
  • Sorry, I think my mom’s friend’s sister’s dog’s brother’s owner’s father has a party that day!
  • Bug off!
  • On the count of three, I’m going to end the conversation and pretend this never happened…

While you probably think that any of these answers are right, here’s the truth: none of them are. There’s also actually a RIGHT WAY to politely decline your friend’s “tempting” MLM invite. 

The reasons why MLMs are so widespread in the first place

With multi-level marketing evolving far beyond its Ponzi scheme roots on social media, it’s near impossible to go through your social media feeds without coming across a #success post showcasing wads of cash and some sort of sketchy-looking product. As lucrative as these business opportunities may seem, it’s important to note that these social media advertisements and posts are all just rehashed extensions of an MLM scheme. You should know better than to jump right in. 

It’s undeniable that you’ll probably have a few people in your contact list who are staunch members of a multi-level marketing operation due to the sheer force employed by these companies through their social media advertisements. This is fine, as long as you aren’t a part of one yourself. However, it’s also inevitable that one of them might message you with the same sequence as previously stated. It’s also important to know that you can deny their attempts gently without any unnecessary fuss.

How to refuse an MLM invite the right way

Do you want to know the secret to refuse an MLM invite the right way? Well, it’s really just extremely simple: be HONEST.

No matter how many excuses you can make, these MLM practitioners know better than to give in to a phony piece of dialogue. In fact, they’ve been trained to deal with fake excuses and carry out the art of continuous pressure. When contacted by a distant friend regarding the opportunity to join an MLM, it’s important that you stick to the actual reason as to why you don’t want to join: tell them straight-up that you have no interest in joining, but want to thank them for their time. 

The process of denying your MLM warrior friend’s advances should really just comprise of a swift “sorry I’m not interested, but I really appreciate what you’re doing”, a few compliments, and then close the conversation as politely as possible as you send them well on their way. This way, you get to step out, while preserving the friendship. Good luck!

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