A High Yield Investment Program, or HYIP, is a type of investment scheme normally offered via the Internet. HYIPs typically accept deposits as low as $10 while promising astoundingly high returns.

Online HYIP schemes rarely last for the long term. Overwhelming number of cases suggest that HYIPs are Ponzi schemes, in which new investors provide the cash to pay a profit to existing investors, which they typically then withdraw. This approach allows the scam to continue as long as new investors are found and/or old investors leave their money in the scheme, known as compounding.

The introduction of e-currencies has made it possible for HYIPs to operate on the internet and cross international boundaries, and to accept large numbers of small investments. HYIPs usually accept deposits by either e-currency, like e-gold, e-bullion and INTGold, or use specialist third party payment processors like AlertPay, SolidTrustPay, CEPTrust, TriStarMoneyChangers and StormPay. HYIPs typically offer a significant incentive commission (for example, 9% of invested funds) for members to attract and refer new investors.

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