It seems that no matter what the state of the global economy, there are always going to be those out there who will want to scam us out of our last pound or dollar.  As expats we’re exposed to a whole another level of swindlers too, as it’s not just British schemers who’ll be after our money.

When you’re living abroad and are perhaps less that au fait with the lay of the land in the new nation it can be all too easy to fall prey to fast talking, sharp suited scam merchants who are after your hard-earned cash.  But never fear, Degtev is here – and in this article we’ll show you 7 ways you can spot an expat financial scam.

And remember, even if our top tips don’t necessarily apply to an ‘opportunity’ you’re presented with at some point, if a deal seems to good to be true it invariably is!  Go with your gut instinct rather than your greed gene and chances are you’ll be able to determine what is and what isn’t a legitimate opportunity to enhance your expatriate financial status.

How to Spot an Expat Financial Scam

1) The winning financial deal arrives in your inbox, on your doormat or in your face in an unsolicited fashion.  Did you ask a financial adviser to contact you with regard to your expat finances?  Did you request a brochure or further information from a given financial services provider or investment house?  If the answer is no and yet you are presented with a tonne of information about a ‘not to be missed opportunity,’ then chances are the ‘opportunity’ is a scam.

2) You are required to buy in to the opportunity immediately, lay out fairly significant sums of money now that will produce you high returns in the near-term.  These returns are always way above the really rather naff returns you can currently get from legitimate financial service providers and institutions – what’s more, the term of the investment is often unspecified.

3) The proposer of the scam often claims to have specialist or even insider knowledge that’s highly secret.  They like to emphasise the secrecy of the entire investment, insinuating that you’re on the inside too, a chosen special person who will win out from this amazing clandestine deal.  In reality the only thing secret about the entire deal is that it is likely to be a scam and illegal.  Don’t get sucked in.

4) You will never be able to get a straight answer about where the company or the individual has got your details from, why they have contacted you, why you have been ‘chosen’ to benefit from this once in a lifetime, mega opportunity.

5) Look closely at the company behind the opportunity.  They may have a shiny website promoting their services, but when was the company incorporated, when was the site set up?  Look at the professional credentials of any advisers – I bet they don’t have any.  Look into any claims they make to be experienced at giving advice – they are likely to be bogus.  In other words, do even just a tiny amount of due diligence on the company or the individual adviser and you’ll answer your own nagging questions about their legitimacy – or rather their lack of legitimacy!

6) The company or individual in question will not be pinned down on the amount of security your investment will have, nor will they be able to answer specific questions about how much you will receive in the form of a payout in the future.

7) And finally, there will be a huge urgency about the investment opportunity.  It’s a once in a lifetime chance, get in now before the closing date, don’t miss out, limited places exist – and so on.  This is because they need you to sign up without having any chance to think about it.  And you can guarantee there will be no cooling off period once you’ve signed the flimsy paperwork so that you can change your mind and back out.  They want you – and preferably all your friends and family – to sign up and hand over your cash as quickly as possible.  They will then fly away with your funds, never to be heard of again.

There are scam merchants out there in every country in the world.  And thanks to the Internet and email, it’s easier for these people to access anyone, no matter where in the world they live.

As an expat living abroad in an unfamiliar environment you could well be prey to even more evil people because they are aware that you’re likely to be looking around for legitimate opportunities to enhance your offshore wealth.  Well, just be careful and do sufficient due diligence before you sign up to any financial deal.

Remember that the legitimate advisories out there wait for you to contact them, and they only invest your money for you with reputable institutions in well-regulated offshore and onshore financial centres.