Women behind 'Gifting Circle' pyramid scheme warned by Commerce Commission

It starts with an innocent invite from a friend, then the promises of personal growth and riches in tens of thousands of dollars.

Even though many thought it was too good to be true, they still went ahead and paid the money to join the "exclusive group", known as the Women's Gifting Circle.

Now the four women behind the pyramid scheme have received a warning from the Commerce Commission.

The watchdog began investigating the gifting circle in 2017 after receiving complaints. A statement released on Wednesday said people are asked to pay about $7000 in return for "empowerment, wisdom and sisterhood".

They're also promised tens-of-thousands of dollars if they reach "leader status".

More than 200 letters will be issued to other members of the circle, advising them of the warnings.

"The Commission considers that the Women's Gifting Circle is likely to be a pyramid scheme operating under the guise of a personal growth network," Commission chair Anna Rawlings said.

"Promoting a pyramid scheme is specifically prohibited by the Fair Trading Act.

"We consider these circles to be scams and would urge any person who may find themselves associated with them to take the Commission's concern with Women's Gifting Circle seriously, and to stop any ongoing involvement immediately."

The commission says anyone found to be promoting or operating a pyramid scheme could be subject to a criminal conviction and a $600,000.