Saying that the economy is tough at the moment may seem like an understatement. With taxi fares increasing by 20% and salaries remaining stagnant, many Namibians are looking for alternative forms of investment. The need to provide for their families has seen many investing in business ventures that promise high returns in a short period of time.
We have all been approached by a friend or relative who wishes to introduce us to the next best thing investment idea.. Investing in these ventures is simple enough: you pay them N$2 500 and then get four other people to pay you, giving you a N$10 000 return on investment. High returns with minimal effort. But if money was this easy to acquire, wouldn’t we all be rich? When an investment sounds too good to be true, it usually is. So before investing, ask yourself: is this a safe investment or a pyramid scheme?
A pyramid scheme is a business model that promises investors high returns as more members are recruited. Whether selling goods or services, income is solely based on new recruits. If your investment opportunity has the following characteristics, you may be investing in a pyramid scheme:
- Promise of high monthly income while working from home,
- Requires an investment in the form of paying for membership or buying products from the company,
- Places large emphasis on recruiting others to join the business,
- Has a complex commission policy or marketing plan,
- Business sells primarily to members and not outside distributors, and
- Returns sound too good to be true.
However only you have the discretion to decide which investments you make. So next time someone asks you to invest in the next best thing, make sure you’re not being scammed.
Like in many countries, pyramid schemes are illegal in Namibia under the Banking Institutions Act of 1998. If you suspect you are involved in a pyramid scheme, you can contact Bank of Namibia at firstname.lastname@example.org or +264 61 283 5005.
By Ros Limbo (Freelance Writer)