As 2018 grinds to the finish line, it is obvious that Nigeria’s economic woes are not yet over. Pray that the budget benchmark of $60 does not collapse, a likely thing given the projected slow down of the global economy.
Only yesterday, crude oil price served a notice with a drop to $48. Industry experts have repeatedly said that the era of oil selling at $100 and above may be permanently over. (see here). That warning has not gotten to the ears of authorities in Nigeria yet. Even those jostling to take over power in 2019 still have their eyes locked on a crude oil revenue that is facing the worst threat in history.
Government has said a few more taxes may be needed to shore up revenue in the 2019 budget cycle. Therefore, all things considered, 2019 is going to be a turbulent year, perhaps, more so than 2018. What do you make of an election period, previously a traditional boost of economic activities, but currently as dry as the harmattan wind? That may just be the bellwether of what is to come.
Whenever the economy shrinks, people become more apprehensive and vulnerable, a scammer’s haven. Agitation and fear of the unknown diminish clear thinking and recall or lead to the dangerous dismissal of previous bad judgment and experience as happenstance.
Scammers know how often people slip into this venerability ecology and like scavengers, they lie in wait patiently for the right moment to strike.
The pool of prospective victims will be large -from politics, to religion to business and even romance.
Tough times are a favourable season for romance scams. Young ladies who are in need, desperately searching for jobs, relationships or husbands top the list of victims. In the age of social media, it is easy for prowlers to profile targets.
Some ladies have the habit of putting themselves in the line of danger. For instance, they would make posts asking whoever can to “sow a seed” in their lives by buying them a particular thing they desire, or publicly sob about their lives, or quickly jump into intimate conversations with strangers who compliment their beauty on social media. This is usually an open invitation for romance scammers. The consequences range from heart break, rape, forced prostitution to the extreme of ritual killing.
The years of 2016 to 2018 wt scams (MMM etc), as well as crypto-currency, gold and foreign exchange trading scams. Nigerians lost billions despite multiple warnings from the Central Bank and the Security and Exchange Commission. 2018 was the year of reckoning as many Nigerians spent time at the wailing wall, regretting their foolishness and indiscretions.
Believe it or not, scammers will again be waiting for Nigerians in 2019. Their nets, which have been spread in the sun this year due to the ban on promotions of bogus investment schemes on radio and television and the monumental loss by Nigerians, will be thrown back into the lake of prospective victims.
As people frantically search for economic relief, they often ignore all the stories from around the country about previous dubious investment schemes. The justification will always be the emotional balm of “who knows, this might just be the breakthrough I need in my life.” And as usual, a few people or even many may benefit from an investment scam at the beginning before it all falls apart down the road.
Therefore, before putting your money into any scheme in 2019, talk to a professional you trust to give you an unbiased assessment and opinion.
Religious scams are bigger than ever and will keep growing as things get worse in the country. This year saw the emergency of “financial prophet” as an official title in an Abuja church. Those who bought into the “prophet’s” investment scheme are currently licking their wounds and waiting for divine a intervention that will never come. The “man of God” has taken a walk into the woods with millions belonging to his sheep.
Religious scams share the same cubicle with political scams. Both play on emotions deep in the human psyche. When you flag a religious scam, victims and prospective victims feel you are attacking their religion and its leader or leaders.
In 2019, more people will search for spiritual pacifiers due to economic pressure. And that will open up a bigger slice of individuals to religious scams.
As the unemployment situation gets worse, more young men will be “called” to expand the “ministry”. But these young men just want to live large like the sleek preachers at the top of the pyramid. Once they are able to get a large pool of worshippers (or suckers if you wish), they will be on their way to a self-made heaven on earth.
As for the more established preachers, 2019 will be the year to turn up the bombast of miracles that are perpetually on the way or the banishment of “generation poverty”. Unfortunately, religious scammers are hardly held to account.
Politicians are well known all over the world for their scams. In some lands, they pay a high price when they are caught. In recent times, we have seen some serving and former presidents sent to jail in South Korea, Brazil and many other places.
In Nigeria, two former governors have just begun their “service to their fatherland” in jail. Many more are one the cue. Yet the season is here again in Nigeria when promises that will never be kept are made and those who will be victims engaged in the delirious debate of what baits to swallow.
Besides, the period just after elections is often a window for scammers to ply their trade. Those who are desperate to get appointments in the new government become easy victims of scams perpetuated by name droppers and influence peddlers. Others become victims of shady civil servants who sell whortless contracts at high discounts. This is more prevalent when there is a transition from one party to another.
So, “shine your eyes” and be wise my friends. Don’t be a host to a fat cat scammer in 2019!