Sunday 28 August 2022

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Where's my tractor?

I followed a certain page on Facebook in June who claimed to be selling used tractors in Caledon in Western Cape in South Africa. I made an enquiry on their Whatsapp line and they responded that they do have it. 

A proforma invoice was sent to me on 11 July 2022 and they told me that tractor will be delivered within 3-4 days. On 12 July they confirmed that they have received my payment and will now process the export documentation. That was the last time I heard from them.

The amount of money I sent is R85,000 and this was done bank transfer using FNB online banking.

Now they do not read my Whatsapp chats or answer my calls.

Unfortunately I don't think I have any good news for you. The bad news is that your money is gone, never to be seen again. You've been scammed.

There's a company with the name you gave me that's registered in South Africa, but it isn't registered with the number shown on the invoice you sent. The real company's registration number is very different. This isn't just a simple mistake, this is a con. The genuine company is also registered at a very different address to one shown on the invoice.

Their Facebook page is also suspicious. They only offer a cell number and the web site they give hasn't been set up yet. Also, the domain they're using was only registered a year ago. The Facebook page offers some very good deals on tractors but these deals are way too good to be believed. I'm no expert on farm equipment but I checked the prices for similar equipment and the prices these guys offer are incredibly low.

This is yet another scam, just like many others we've seen before. These scams always offer normally expensive vehicles or equipment at remarkably cheap prices. In fact they're nothing more than Facebook pages that anyone can set up.

The lesson for us all is a simple one. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

How do I buy cryptocurrencies?

Hello Mr Harriman, I need to buy a certain crypto currency. By doing a bit of research I have heard it's going to go up. I have tried to buy it through some American crypto app but cannot download the apps because of our region. I have done my research, I just need the correct avenue to enable me to buy.

I know it's a gamble but I don't mind I just need an avenue to buy it because there are a lot of scammers. You probably don't believe in crypto, I understand, but just like stocks, if done right it can be lucrative. I just need help on how I can purchase the currency.

Can you recommend any crypto person or company to help me buy?

It's not that I don't "believe" in cryptocurrencies, it's just that they're incredibly risky. Their value can rise extremely quickly but it can also fall just as quickly. That's why they should never be seen an investments, just like any other currency. People don't "invest" in the Pula, US dollar, Euro or Yen, they trade them. Some people, a very small percentage, make money by doing this but the overwhelming majority either make no money or lose it. That's even more so with cryptocurrencies. For example, if someone had bought Bitcoin this time last year they would have lost 57% of the money they spent by now. With the smaller cryptocurrencies like the one you told me about the risks are even greater. Just remember that even though it's quite easy to buy a cryptocurrency, it can be very difficult to sell it again if the value drops. You might not find anyone foolish enough to buy it from you and you'll be stuck with an asset that's disappearing in front of you.

Then there's the scammers. The currency you mentioned appears to be legitimate but the whole industry is dominated by crooks, scammers and liars, all trying desperately to get your money.

My advice is simple. Investing your money in cryptocurrencies, like any other currency, is little more than gambling and you should treat it that way. If you've done your research and have some spare money you don't need and can afford to lose, then have a go. Otherwise, play safe.

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