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Reining In Greed

Goans must check RBI site ‘Sachet’and not fall for fantastic returns

Every few days we hear of one or more Goans being cheated by conmen who succeed in persuading them to invest in this or that fund for an unbelievable rate of return. Before they realise they are being conned it is too late. The police have not been very successful in tracking down all the cheats. And yet there are more Goans falling into new traps.  Those who lose money are ones that cannot resist their greed to get abnormally high returns for their investments. The Economic Offences Cell of the state police has registered at least 20 cases since 2017 against fake companies running dubious investment schemes to dupe people. After losing some lakhs in the pursuit of greed for fantastic returns, the victims expect the police to arrest the cheats as quickly as possible. The cheats that dupe people are too smart to leave traces and clues behind. Everything they tell their victims is false: their names, addresses of their companies, phone numbers, emails and bank accounts. It is not easy to track down these cheats in the absence of any evidence.

The cheats have learnt to make use of technology to their profit. They know how to get their victims to deposit money in their fraudulent accounts. Their manner of persuading the victims is so sweet and suave that they fall easily into their net. They build up an illusion of delivering very high profits and may even pay the promised interest for the first few months into the victims’ accounts in order to gain their confidence and tie them in their dragnet. Once the cheats succeed in making the victims transfer a good amount they vanish. The Goans who have allowed themselves to be duped of millions of rupees in the recent years by cheats come from both genders and all ages. The awareness of cheating by fraudulent companies whose ‘representatives’ talk to people on phone or communicate with them by email has been growing. The majority of Goans do have that awareness. Every one of us receives one or two calls or mails every day. Most Goans have learnt to ignore them. But there are always one or two that are naïve and greedy and fall into their trap.

The first question a Goan tempted to invest in any financial scheme must ask is how the person soliciting his or her investment can offer a rate of interest or return which no private or public bank or non-banking financial institutions or corporate entities can dare to offer. They should be suspicious at the very beginning about promised returns and ignore the solicitation. The second thing they must do is check with the Reserve Bank of India. The RBI has set up a website called ‘Sachet’ which has a list of legitimate companies that can accept deposits from people. Any Goan who is approached by anyone on phone or by email to invest in a company must check if the company’s name is there in the Sachet list. If it is not, they should not invest. Persons who are tempted to invest money in financial schemes must ask the caller or email sender to send them copies of approvals of the firm by central agencies like the RBI, SEBI, Registrar of Companies, IRDA, National Housing Bank, Central Registrar of Cooperative Societies, Registrar of Chit Funds, Union finance ministry and Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority.

The Goans tempted to invest must remember that the police can only help them recover their money if the company is approved and registered with the concerned authorities and regulators. It is possible for the RBI, other financial regulatory institutions and the law enforcement authorities to trace companies that have official presence. But they cannot do anything about companies that do not exist. The Goans who are approached by anyone by phone or email for investments should inform the Economic Offences Cell of the state police and submit the copies of approvals sent by the caller or email sender. The police can then try to track the cheats, as they track women traffickers and men running prostitution rackets by sending decoys. People must understand that greed is not a bad thing but it should be satisfied through legitimate means.

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