Investment scams are strategies used by fraudsters to lure unsuspecting investors into investing their money in a fake business. In most cases it comes with interesting and convincing stories of high profits with little or no risk. It may come in form of real estate, import and export, farming, buying and selling of products etc.
The most common types of investment scams are:
1. Pyramid schemes: This is when fraudsters claim they can invest with little amount and make huge profits within a very short time with little or no risk.
2. Ponzi schemes: In Ponzi schemes, scammers collect money from new investors and use it to pay profits to those who invested earlier rather than investing the money as promised to the unsuspecting investors.
3. Advance fee fraud: This is a fraud in which individuals, companies or organisations are asked to pay a certain fee before receiving some promised products, services or money.
Being online exposes us to many online dangers and our ignorance about how to recognise and protect ourselves from investment scams can always put us at risk of being vulnerable.
We must be informed that the people we trust so much may present a business proposal to us without realising it is a scam. However, recognising and protecting ourselves from investment scams will save us from many financial problems.
How to recognise investment scams:
1. It comes with a sense of urgency.
2. The story sounds too good to be true.
3. It involves unsolicited calls and emails.
4. The scammers use a lot of media platforms to advertise.
5. The scammers don’t want their victims to know their identities.
6. It comes with a promise of huge profits with little or no risk.
7. At first they will tell you it’s free but they will demand for money later.
8. The scammers call you severally to convince you.
9. In most cases, they use personal bank account for their transactions.
10. The scammers have more than enough testimonies to back up their claims e.g. testimonies from fake investors.
How to protect yourself from investment scams:
1. Don’t believe everything you see online.
2. When the story sounds too good to be true, be suspicious.
3. Beware of unsolicited calls and emails with an investment proposal.
4. Always request a video call with anyone that wants to have any business transaction with you online.
5. When you are in doubt, share your experience with friends, neighbors, co-workers, or anyone around you.
6. Find out if the company is legally registered.
7. Find out if the company has integrity. Investigate thoroughly before you invest your money.
8. Be suspicious when you notice errors in spelling and grammar used in the texts or emails sent to you.
9. If you think you have fallen victim to an investment scam, report immediately to your bank and law enforcement agencies.
10. Educate yourself on how to recognize and protect yourself, family members and company from investment scams.