More people have parted with their hard-earned money as yet another lure-and-dupe financial fraud comes to light. The Bengaluru, India-based 'halal' investment firm’s sudden demise has left in its wake thousands of shocked, dismayed investors, many of them from the UAE, who have lost their lifetime savings.
The lure of the Ponzi scheme, whose nomenclature has its inglorious origins in the 1920s’ US financial environment thanks a certain Charles Ponzi who divested millions of dollars from people looking for quick, and incredulous, returns on their investment, has been the oldest chicanery of man thanks to its ability to appeal to most basic of human pursuits — get rich quick.
For expatriates, who leave their native country to chase fortunes in a foreign land, the lure of fast money is a hazard they must particularly learn to spot and avoid. The desire to get rich quick before returning to their roots is fraught with danger and the degree of this danger can be gauged by the fact that 30,000 people in the UAE have been duped out of roughly Dh3 billion in a little over four years.
The promise of low-risk, high returns, the initial standardised returns that are a deadly bait, but are red alerts screaming out a warning to would-be investors.
Why do people, time and again, fall prey to such fraud? After all, there is no dearth of awareness on the modus operandi of financial schemers. The media has repeatedly brought to light dozens of such instances, not just in the UAE but also around the globe.
There are plenty of victims whose stories of loss and devastation have been making headlines and by now, these stories ought to strike terror into the hearts of individuals dreaming of getting on to the fast-track to riches.
The most tragic aspect of such scams is that they subvert to an extreme degree an expatriate’s aspirations to build a life for themselves through hard work and commitment. Rather than achieve their dreams through sustained and prudent means, they are diverted, through deception, to a path of ruin. The foundation of Ponzi schemes after all, is inarguably ramshackle. The promise of low-risk, high returns, the initial standardised returns that are but a deadly bait, the business models that are opaque rather than transparent, are red alerts screaming out a warning to would-be investors and yet, the latter continue to remain gullible and part with their lifetime savings.
If there was a need for one more warning for the hasty minded, the Benguluru-based scam has sounded it.