The digital age is the way of the modern living, technology has become such an extension of ourselves we don’t have to leave the house to get things done, making life very convenient.
Unfortunately it is also the most accessible way for scammers to reach into our wallets. Get-rich- quick scams have been around since the 80’s. However the allure of skyrocketing profits taps into our greed and never lets go, something like the Symbiote from Spider-Man.
One of the more satisfying moments of 2020 was when the Bank of Namibia, a very reputable institution investigated The WhatsApp Stokvel ‘investment hype’ and concluded it was nothing more than a pyramid scheme.
A pyramid scheme operates in a way that relies on recruiting members that have to give money for what they believe is an ‘investment’. However, these monies are used to pay old recruitment members (i.e the people who were in the early recruitment process)to encourage them to recruit more people, making it seem as if they earned ‘return’ on their ‘investment’. It is the help of such institutions creating awareness of these deceitful schemes to the public that prevent these schemes harming more victims.
Such a scam is very common, especially with how the internet makes it so accessible for scammers to finesse the public, praying on our greed. Investment 101 states the highest returns top invest managers in the world can deliver are 20-25% year-on-year. As a social experiment, I want you to observe how many ‘investment gurus’ on social media platforms promise returns higher than 20- 25% of what they want to invest.
I’m not accusing them of being scammers outright but I just squint my eyes and think “Really bruh ? So if I become your client and invest $1000 of my money I will double my money in 2 weeks?” So many questions come to mind: How can you deliver such returns when some of the best performing managers deliver 20%?
Where’s your business acumen or what track record can I see for me to trust you with my money ? Why haven’t I heard of you before if you’re this great investor? In the case of Stokvel WhatsApp, promoters of the scheme were promised a return of N$1200 if they paid N$200 as a joining fee and if they managed to recruit more members under them, which is a classic pyramid scheme structure.
To end on a final note, quick-rich schemes are not the way. If it sounds too good to be true, it’s probably not. Infact, if the more unbelievable an investment opportunity sounds, the quicker you have to run the other way. In desperate times people want to make cash as fast as possible, switching off common sense, especially with the current pandemic. The harder the times, the more people find these schemes alluring. With the current pandemic still ongoing, it is important to wisen- up and not be swindled of the money you have worked hard to keep.