Do your research. Surf the net. Use Google tools to track the scheme or the organization. Check their antecedents. Find the people behind the business. Check their profiles. Be sure to ask all the easy and uncomfortable questions.
A great number of immigrants move to Canada in midlife, in search of an all-inclusive better life for them and their families. For us as immigrants, it is usually a definite move that leaves no chance for failure, as more often than not, our disengagement from our home country involves selling off most acquired property and investment. All the monies recouped are to fulfill a major mandate which is to act as settlement fund as required by the Canadian authorities.
The story goes that we had learned to trust our new environment before even coming out here. Nothing could go wrong in such a perfect environment with highly efficient mechanisms and systems in place. Unfortunately, even the best of us falls flat after landing – time and chance happens to all! The preferred professional jobs are as elusive as they can be. We soon quickly learn to adjust and accept or look for the less desirable jobs, which some have tagged “survival jobs” in order to avoid being out of pocket.
Some of us are fortunate to find investment or business opportunities. But wait for it. Not all openings are actually doors! The statistics of immigrants that have fallen victim of fraudsters are on the rise and there seems to be no end in sight, to the extent that the police and authorities are both concerned and almost helpless.
Here’s what to do before putting money in any investment. It’s called due diligence.
- Never be in a hurry to go into any business or investment.
Time is a revealer. With time, you learn more about the proposed investment or about other opportunities.
- Newcomers shouldn’t bypass the process of learning. Again, with time, you can find out about tools and trusted places to get correct information about what you have in mind.
- Reach out beyond your immediate comfort zone. Since most scammers rely on word of mouth or testimonials to advertise what they have to offer, usually through your trusted network, it is essential to seek external validation on what you have heard through these means:
- Visit your bank and ask your advisors. Talk to your accountant. Ask them questions. It is possible that they might have heard something about the scheme before or something similar.
- You can never go wrong with research. Surf the net. Use Google tools to track the scheme or the organization. Check their antecedents. Who is at the helm of affairs? Can LinkedIn provide any positive information about him or her? So much to look out for if you are intent on it.
Canada is big and the information flying around is vast. Ask questions; seek answers.
- If it looks too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true.
So step back, re-evaluate before going ahead.
- Don’t ignore the red flags as you snoop around digging for information.
The red flag could come through your gut feeling or what others call intuition. Once you see it, investigate it.
- Study the modus operandi of the organization.
How do they operate their business? Do they have an efficient round the clock call center? What marketing tools do they use? Are they on television or the radio? Do they just blow the trumpet on certain statistics that may or may not be verifiable through social media such as Facebook?
- Attend workshops organized by the organization and don’t fail to ask questions like what your options are in the possibility of you deciding to opt out. Ask also what they invest on that bring such high returns, and also how sustainable the interest is. Ask them to give you the names and profiles of the business owners.
Always think about the worse-case scenario and ask about those. Are their responses satisfactory? Or did they leave your doubts uncleared?
When you ask these questions and any other that comes to mind, watch to see if their answers are plausible enough or evasive. Watch their actions and body language. Be a bit more circumspect and don’t be apologetic about it. It is your money, and you should have the confidence in those who are promising to multiply it for you.
- Remember that every investment is risky. So never invest what you cannot afford to lose. If you must take a risk, make it a calculated one.
You will agree that one way or the other, you are likely to find out more, than even what you bargained for. At the end of it all, you’d be glad you went all the way.
You can get more insights on this topic when you listen to the Immigrant Life podcast, Episode 55. Click here to listen.