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How folks in the Diaspora get easily scammed

By October 26, 2021November 9th, 202144 Comments

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:
1. Always do your due diligence and when in doubt do not buy.
2. If it sounds too good to be true perhaps it is.
3. 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.
4. 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
5. 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 ekamunya@eauclairepartners.com
6. 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
Mugure Njoroge,
Director, Jambo List LLC

 

44 Comments

  • Joram Kibugi says:

    Excellent job. You are doing a good job to educate the community. I am one of the people who came here in the 80s and I have properties in Kenya, but I always buy them through a lawyer who does a title search if it needs a title. As you mentioned in your article, due diligence is important.

  • Florence Nyumu says:

    Awesome advice. God Bless your business. Would definitely want to learn more.

  • Simone says:

    Ahhh scammers! They exist everywhere. I love your list of 6 tips to consider when doing business on the continent of Africa. The list is good for us Caribbean folks as well. We have to be sooo careful nowadays and warn the elders in our families to pay close attention.

  • wambui Mugambi says:

    Thank you so much for highlighting these issues that affecting all in one way or another. I have greatly enjoyed reading this blog.

  • Mags Mundia says:

    Due diligence is key to avoid the premium tears. We work so hard for our money and we should be deligent that we’re not blindly misled by the scammers. Unfortunately, these scammers sometimes happen to be family or family friends, that end up causing heartache and division within the families. I enjoyed reading this blog. Thanks Mugush..

  • Daniel says:

    Thanks for enlightening the community. Diaspora people work so hard and been scammed its the worst feeling ever we appreciate you ..keep educating us

  • Faith says:

    This is soooo true!!

    • Daniel Ndai says:

      Finally someone has spoken about what has killed many developers from diaspora into venturing in our mother land, fathers , mothers, brothers, and sisters have scammed us. There is none to trust.

      • Tony says:

        Nice piece Ms. Teresa. Keep going. It is by supporting the works like by Jambolist that folks in the diaspora can learn and find trustworthy companies to work with. In addition, supporting businesses owned and operated by our own diaspora folks…will move us forward together.

  • Joe muroki says:

    Very good advice, it’s always good to do due diligence and talk to other people who are more experienced or have done something similar to what you are trying to do or buy.

  • Beatrice kairu says:

    This is extremely good information. Mugure thanks for sharing.

  • Daniel M says:

    Good job educating us and giving us solutions. having been scammed before, i said never again. almost gave up on investing back home. Asante kea kutuchanua.

  • Dan K says:

    Good job educating us and giving us solutions. having been scammed before, i said never again. almost gave up on investing back home. Asante kea kutuchanua.

  • Bob says:

    This is a great piece.I love the tips.Many of our people have suffered in the hands of scammers.

  • Esther Kamunya says:

    Very good article and some great advice. Thanks so much for founding Jambo List and for your desire to see genuine businesses grow and prosper. With this kind of networking, I can see the scammers will have no place. Thanks again for the shout out. I am honored and humbled.

  • Esther Kamunya says:

    Very good article and some great advice. Thanks so much for founding Jambo List and for your desire to see genuine businesses grow and prosper. With this kind of networking, I can see the scammers will have no place. Thanks again for the shout out. I am honored and humbled.

  • Mary wanjiku says:

    This is pure truth..thank mugush for sharing and opening our eyes.

  • D Kamau says:

    Very good advice, thanks for educating diaspora community.I have been scammed.

  • Johnson Muiga says:

    Good advice. It’s also important for Jambolist to do thorough vetting to parties they are working with, to ensure diaporah clientile desires are met to their satisfaction.

  • W. Kairu says:

    It’s a good analysis of the problems we face trying to invest back home and some very good advice; although it ends up sounding like a sales pitch for some services. I would caution people to do due diligence even on the service providers recommended by the writer.

  • Good pointers, however i can say sometimes, the problem is in the due dilligence. Its not everyone that gets scammed that fails to do due dilligence: The sources of the so-called research end up not being credible and they themselves have an ulterior motive of giving the research evidence that they have uncovered for you. Its hard to cover all bases even though you try to be careful.

    Maybe you can set up an interview with the references stated so they can outline for us what they do, costs of retaining their services and what we expect in return for paid services. Something formal, not just a name drop and email..my 2cts

  • Susan mwangi says:

    Great advice, thank for sharing

    • Faith Kuria says:

      Thank you so much for the information. This is so true! Using reliable people who are professionals is important.

  • Excellent article!
    Scammers packaged as good guys abound everywhere and in every nation. If you are to make an investments back home, don’t discount your risk management practices.
    Work with contacts and organisations, businesses that trusted friends, family, church members and fellow diaspora can vouch for.

    • Wambui says:

      Totally agree, we shall continue to grow those businesses proven by past customers through reviews and ratings here at http://www.jambolist.com. Clients are encouraged to rate the businesses/ consultants /professional services providers & organizations that they work with in an attempt to help others source similar services from the same vendors or avoid being scammed. Jambo list is a company for the people by the people, let is all make JAMBO LIST work for us!

  • JJay says:

    Sometimes the blindness of what people are chasing does not allow us to look well. There is a certainl mentality amongst diasporans that being Ithe west means one is doing better.. but in life there will always be those who are better and those who are so called worse off. It will always be this way. We are nit racing against anyone but yourself. So look wisely, study more before investing. thanks jambolist for the great discussion on the subject.

  • Esther Waweru says:

    Wooh this is very true and very right. Thank you for enlightening us.

  • Clement THAIRU says:

    This is the absolute truth. Wonderful article.

  • Eddah says:

    Good and enlightening article, keep up the good work

  • Wambui says:

    I could agree more with your sentiment! You are racing with no one else but your self. Thank you JJay

  • Beatrice Ambrose says:

    Thank you for continuing to educate us. May God continue to inspire and bless you with more to share and educate our community !

  • Grace says:

    Yes Sarah, Jambolist will go a long way in helping the diaspora population. You are right, most of us have faced the scams back home especially from those who promise us “heaven “ but never deliver. Personally, I didn’t know there is price “ ya watu wa majuu “. Thank you for pointing this out.

  • Harrison H. says:

    Good advise and a reminder.

  • Emily Wathobio says:

    Good education right there , thanks for sharing and helping us get out of this trap. Thanks

  • Teresa Njoroge says:

    Thanks everyone for taking your time to read our blog. We appreciate your input.

  • Dolly O says:

    Remember the company that used scripture in a Christian gathering to scam ppl? What about the “grey house” one? Je ile bank? The stories are many!!!

  • Lucy O says:

    Nice read. Keep it up Mugure! We need to keep talking about these issues.

  • Mindi Shenye says:

    Thank you for an enlightening piece. I especially like that you listed the 2 individuals, Esther Kamunya and Vincent Kimani, that you have personally used. You did not leave us hanging. Looking forward to reading more from you.

  • Agnes w says:

    You are doing great job. Keep up.

  • Betty says:

    Thank God we can effectively refer to this advice,
    We will for sure look deep down into every nitty gritty of every project to execute the deal without being scammed!!!
    More grace to more useful information!!
    Thank you jambolist

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