Many Namibians have become so desperate to make money that they have become gullible to the silliest of scams you can think of.
From the collecting of receipts to investing in bitcoin, more and more Namibians are falling victims to smart scammers every day.
Types of scams
There are three types of scams that are widely practiced in Namibia.
Old fashioned scams
These are scams used to trick very desperate unsuspecting individuals. They often create a sense of urgency so the victim is forced to make a decision in the nick of time or they will miss out on a once of a lifetime opportunity.
Real life example: There are some individuals that will call you and tell you that you were chosen as a lucky winner by MTC Namibia, Coca Cola, WoermannBrock or any well-established company in Namibia without you actually entering their draw.
They will then inform you that you can either go to the company’s office to claim your reward or you can claim it at that moment by giving them your bank details. They will usually call you after work hours or during the weekend so that you get tempted to give your details over the phone.
Once you choose to give your details via the phone, the scammer will trick you into sending them your money or they will trick you into giving them your debit/credit card number and the three number security code at the back of your card (this number should never be shared with anyone unless you are making an online purchase).
Many Namibians are usually overwhelmed by the fact that the scammer said they won, so much so that they stop thinking irrationally and end up losing a lot of their hard-earned cash in the process.
My advice here is that don’t ever give your bank details over the phone. Even if you really won, a company will never ask for your bank details over the phone. If you ever receive a call that you won anything, ask the caller how you won and if they beat around the bush or get aggressive with you, it is most likely a scam and you should hang up.
If they provide a valid reason why you won, get their details and go to the company’s offices when you get the time and enquire about your winnings.
Old fashioned scams are a lot, here are more examples:
- Scammers ask you to pay them a bribe so you can get a certain job in a company that they work for.
- Scammers tell you that they can get you clothes at half the price listed in a shop but you have to leave all your belongings with one scammer while you enter the shop with another scammer.
- Bitcoin scammers tell you to invest a substantial amount with them so they can mine for you. They will then give you back a portion of your money back as profit and ask you to invest more so you get higher profits. But you will end up losing a lot of money since they will keep dodging you.
Pyramid (Ponzi) schemes
These types of scams are the most common in Namibia. The Bank of Namibia monitors and prohibits these kinds of scams as they pop up but the Namibian people do not understand why hence, they think the government is trying to keep them poor.
There are endless examples of these types of scams: My Life Change, Whatapp Stokvels (There are legitimate stokvels that communities use to help each other out during hard times), Elemant (Collection of shopping receipts), forex (only when you give your money to someone to trade for you).
Basically, you do not make money by joining a pyramid scheme. You will only make money when you bring along three or more people to join then you get the money from those people. They will then have to get more people to join so they can make money and you will also get more money. This kinds of systems can destroy entire economies because the people who join at the end will lose their money and most of the people who get some money from the scheme never fully recoup their initial investment.
Multi-level Marketing (MLM)
This type of scam is basically a legal kind of product-based pyramid scheme. The government cannot stop it because it does not violate any rules but most of the people who join do not know what they are getting into.
These companies are not scammers per se but the people who recruit you to join will be the ones using a legitimate business to scam you.
For example, to join longrich a scammer will tell you that you only need to invest N$ 1 500 then you will get N$ 1 500 worth of Longrich products (you can sell or keep these products it is up to you apparently) but you will be paid N$ 1 500 every Friday without doing any work.
Once you pay your N$ 1 500 the scammer will give you your products as promised but he or she will inform you that you have to sell the products and you have to recruit 3 or more people so that you can get paid.
Can you see that this is just a more sophisticated pyramid scheme? Many people have fallen for MLM schemes and end up with many products they can’t sell.
Please understand that most companies and markets mentioned here are not necessarily scams but there are people using their names to scam people. MTC Namibia, WoermannBrock, Coca Cola, Forex, Bitcoin, Retail shops, Herbal life and many more are legitimate businesses and markets.
Always be vigilant when an opportunity arises for you to make quick cash. Ask a financial advisor or visit your local bank to ask about the investment you want to make. Most banks in Namibia will offer you free advice whether you are a customer or not.
Never rush your decision-making process and just remember that the government will never want to keep you poor because it can only benefit from you if you make money (by taxing you of course).
Share your experiences below if you have ever been scammed or if you were almost scammed in Namibia.