A few weeks ago Beaton put out a tweet about pyramid schemes, Patsy the lady being Justified Esctasy on her YouTube channel did a piece about being scammed and I thank for telling her story. Ruth Humura on her podcast Zeehumura Show did a book review that was centering around scams. Scams are all around us and that is why am trying to also add my voice. After reading Uncle’s tweet, watching Pasty’s vlog on financial literacy, and listening to Ruth’s Podcast am also stealing their idea.
No one is immune to financial scams. Today they come in all kinds of colors or of methods, by telephone call, by mail, by computer, and physically. Have come to notice that those that seem to be from well off families or when one has money (that is why most times they are successful) are attractive targets for scammers. Those victims of financial scams are unlikely ever to be able to make up the lost money, they can be that bad today. Just like financial exploitation in common, victims of scams suffer consequences beyond money. They have gone to affect Physical health, emotional well-being, and an impact on those close to them.
In the past have managed to survive attempted scams because am either broke or my parents would ask me where am taking the money after noticing a huge withdrawal. In 2013 I survived a scam from an old school mate because by the time I had the money to join his venture which was a Ponzi scheme (Read about Charles Ponzi) the guy had closed shop and run off with people’s money. I have since gone on the rampage to study modern financial scams.
Uganda has seen a fair share of scams, in some cases, the whole government or country has been scammed in funny undertakings on very big infrastructural ventures. This has happened in procurements gone bad. Having studied procurement at university and practiced a little if I go down that path I won’t stop, I may even end up giving you tips to scam government entities in the process. Today is about me and you the common people. Most big financial scams in Africa have been through Investment schemes. Africa has this business community that is doing so well, ever traveling to Asia and Europe hence becoming targets for the scam. A number of investment schemes have been targeted at the business class who are looking to safeguard their cash for their children as they claim. From pyramid schemes to Ponzi schemes.
I will pick out the case of the Development channel and One Coin. In the former Ugandans were told to buy shares in a venture. In Uganda, it is wrong to buy shares from a company just like it is the world over. If you remember your capital and financial markets from school. In the case of Development channel Ugandans were misled because of the levels of financial literacy. If you ever want to buy shares in any company it must be listed on the country’s stock exchange that is legally approved to trade in securities. Some countries have more than one approved exchanges. An ordinary person can not walk into a trading hall and buy shares, they have to do it through a broker who is certified academically and legally.
In the past individuals have opened offices and claimed to sell shares and people have been scammed in the process. In the case of the development channel, the masterminds paid a few public figures or those that can be referred to as celebrities to promote the venture that ended up as a scam. Their hype for the be venture convinced Ugandans to cash in and I would want to believe they were part of the plot. This is a story you will find across the continent.
Moving to the later, which is valued at 15 billion dollars was presented as a cryptocurrency. An alternative to Bitcoin. One coin managed to make inroads in the Western parts of Uganda, in one of the richest regions in the country, because of it’s agricultural absolute advantage. The scammers targeted the region and the locals sold their animals to invest their wealth in a digital currency they didn’t understand. One coin was actually not close to crypto money because it didn’t have a blockchain on the basis of digital money. Unlike Bitcoin, one coin was a company with founders. The few who benefited did on the factor of earning a commission for bringing in more people making it a Multi-level marketing scheme or pyramid, selling a ghost because one could not access or use the digital money to buy anything. Uganda was the worst affected in Africa.
There are scams run on the phone or email like the pigeon drop where the con artist tells you that he has found a large sum of money and is willing to split it if you will make a “good faith” payment by withdrawing funds from your bank account. In this one normally, a second con artist is involved, posing as a lawyer, banker, or some other trustworthy stranger, to make the deal look real.
Then the fake accident tactic which involves a con artist gets you to send money through mobile on the pretext that your relative is in the hospital and needs the money. For medical attention. This lockdown I was targeted when some called and told me a relative had died in the DRC and they needed money to bring back the body. I told them since the border is closed let them climate the person in confusion but later when I called back I realized the call was actually in the country because of the way it was ringing.
Charity scams have got most of us since we are donating to a course. Money is begged for fake charities. This often occurs after natural disasters like this pandemic. In fact, charities are used for all kinds of financial crimes. I actually have little respect for charity, if I take part its because I want to drink fewer beers. Anyway next time I will explore the deeds of humanitarian work.
There scams that start off by you getting news about a prize for a blog you did in the past, they like using your line of work or hobbies and that you are expected to pay a fee upfront. Then you never hear from them again. They will put you on the pressure to keep the news a secret until a transaction is complete or you risk losing out on this the opportunity. The person on the other end of the phone or email will steadily pursue more information and pressure you to comply. Calling and sending messages to remind you. If they are too good they will have a third party contact you to claim they are the government or bank to make the plot real. This has been tried on me this month with a job offer but I called capital markets and they told me they didn’t know the company. Hit my DM for more details on this fresh one. I strongly believe these targeted me because I was too busy with construction and they noticed I had a bit of disposable income they could target. Because in a short while they tried the trick on my younger brother. Scammer always knows us so well, from maybe school circles and distant relatives.
You should be careful when an old friend offers you free lunch and they bring up investment talk, they want to scam you. These days everyone is going on vacation so free trips is a tactic. In fact, some of these vacations are about modern slavery but today am not here to talk about the sex trade and human trafficking let me stick to the financial scams. Scammers are too advanced that they fake mail to look official for those who get mail from your banks to be careful.
I am very critical to those promoting online trading, my question is what are you trading in. If you are investing in the Dow Jones Industrial Average or any of the big indexes in the world you must use a brokerage and you must know the company you are buying into. Even your broker is not legally allowed to move your money into commodities you have not approved. So for those trading online what are you really trading in because if you don’t am sure you were scammed. If you can not use your Crystal money to buy your favorite thing for me it’s beer you were scammed.
Am not against forex trading which is actually foreign exchange for those of you who may not have noticed. Meaning if you are buying currency from another country it should be for a reason like traveling to that country or buying something from that country. But if you are buying a currency to wait for it to have a nice value then exchange it back to your local currency is stupid. Why stupid, because you are betting against the decline of your own economy. Chances are high whoever is taking you into forex trading is scamming you for the initial payments you make to his fund because it’s not in their power to determine the strength of economies.
I hope you take away something from my verbosities about scams. Because to me a multi-level marketing venture of bring some and get compensated is outrageous because if you bring in six (6) only by the time those six people rich the 12 levels you will need billions of people to keep the venture going.
If you ever get scammed talk to someone. Scammers know us in and out, they take time to plan for their targets.