I was approached by an acquaintance several months before buying my open ticket to the US. At the time I was attending university by day, bar tending at night and cramming study, fitness and life into a few short hours per day. Who had time to sleep? The proposal was enticing -- making money fast. Well, call me what you will, I never believed in get-anything-quick schemes. The transaction as it was presented did not feel right.
The pyramid scheme I did not join into collapsed a few weeks later leaving several people holding the candle. I would have lost all my hard-earned funds and, more importantly, the chance that changed my life.
Seth Godin has a very thorough post on the spectrum of schemes like pyramid, Ponzi and others; one worth understanding. The way we feel about a transaction is indeed more important than the transaction itself.
Just because the Internet makes it easy for us to connect, it does not mean that real connections are taking place all the time. Just because it is easy to send a quick email with news to someone, it does not mean that we have taken the time to engage in a conversation that is meaningful to them. We need first to trust the motives of the person we're listening to. And trust is built over time.