May 13, 2023
Majority of the people who left Kenya in the 80s and early 90s and started their lives in the USA are nearing retirement age. After working for all these years in a foreign country, do you ever wonder why some of the friends you left in Kenya are doing way better than you? Do you ever feel like you don’t have anything to show for it? You are not alone. Are you living an America dream? Is your business thriving? These are all good questions to ask yourself.
Many of us who are living in the diaspora have at one point or the other lost money through the hands of investment scammers. These scammers are led by people who have studied our behavior and are aware of our weaknesses and shortcomings.
They also know how difficult it is for some of us to travel back home frequently. They also understand that those living in the diaspora tend to be very trusting. These scammers have mastered the art of packaging their products to appeal to us. They also know that should they be unable to keep their end of bargain, suing them will amount to no justice in a country where court cases can drag, for years and years. You will end up giving up and hence they win.
One may ask, if I have been scammed before, why do I allow myself to be scammed time and time again? The answer is they simply know what to say and how to say it. Those of us in the diaspora have been scammed by so many companies.
There was a recent newspaper article that listed some of these companies. Some of us were sold land from a map and now we can no longer locate the sellers. Others were sold houses that were never built, and others were sold greenhouses that ended up being more like grey houses.
Others packaged their investment as a “group of companies” with massive growth potential. It was only when one got in, that they realized that the so called “group of companies” were more like a “group of kiosks”. Another way we have been scammed is through overpricing.
Did you know there is a price for “watu wa majuu” and another price for Kenyans living in Kenya? The other day two of my good friends purchased similar pieces of land from a well known company. One of them did their negotiation and completed the transaction while in the US.
The other friend sent their family member in Kenya to go buy it pretending it was theirs. The price difference was a whooping Ksh 3 million. The Daily Nation ran an article on June 21, 2021 titled “How to know you are being scammed” which discussed how some companies entice you with very good returns and yet it is a scam.
We in the diaspora need to do better. We need to learn our lessons. We should refuse to let this continue and stop allowing others to steal our hard earned cash. Some of us work so hard and sacrifice so much but have nothing to show for it. We need to do our due diligence before we commit to doing business with these companies.
Perhaps that last plot (maguta maguta) that you bought has no title or is under inheritance family fight. You will only know this if you commit to doing your research and only do business with honest companies. Yes there are some companies that are genuine and will not rip you off.
Here are some tips from lessons learned through the hard way:
- Always do your due diligence and when in doubt do not buy.
- If it sounds too good to be true perhaps it is.
- Have a trusted close friend or family member that can vet these companies for you. This are rare to find but they are still there. Perhaps if those living in Kenya have not heard about this “group of companies” perhaps they do not exist.
- Use trusted lawyers who can review the documents before you complete the transaction. Vincent Kimani is one of those my family has trusted and has worked hard for us. You can reach him at Vknjoroge5@gmail.com
- Sit with a financial planner and see if that investment is something you can afford. Such planners like Esther Kamunya will always work with you and help you avoid taking debt that you can’t afford. She can be reached at email@example.com
- . Visit Jambolist.com and see if the company is listed there and if yes whether there are any reviews. Jambo List is a free directory of Africans owned businesses in the diaspora and also businesses in Africa that sells to those in the diaspora. It is a resource that connects businesses and consumers.
Leave your comment and share how you have been scammed. Follow my blogs at Jambolist.com
Director, Jambo List LLC