November 19, 2013

Represented by skyscrapers, man-made islands and luxury living, Dubai symbolizes wealth at its highest level. Although Dubai's economy was built on the back of the oil industry, revenues from oil and natural gas currently account for less than 3% of the United Arab Emirate's total revenues. For being a desert, this is impressive.  Dubai's oil reserves have diminished significantly and are expected to be exhausted in 20 years, and this is one of the main reasons why scammers use oil as a bait. As the world is getting closer to an energy crisis, the greater value the “last oil reserves” get. Higher prices of oil mean more profits. Oil investment has become a take it or leave it deal, no time for analysis.

Dubai has been preparing for the post-oil era through diversification. The main revenues today come from tourism, real estate, and financial services. The government's decision to diversify from an oil-reliant economy to one that is service and tourism-oriented made property more valuable, therefore the real estate industry has shown a lot of growth. It is also known as City of Gold because a major part of its economy is based on gold trades. So whether you´re an intrepid investor looking for big ROI in the oil and gold business or looking for a safer investment in the always profitable real estate business, Dubai is one of the most attractive places for investment, and scammers are well aware of that.

Investment scams sound and look completely believable. Most of the time, it takes a professional private investigator to uncover fraud or properly minimize your risk. There is a whole system designed for ripping you off, with smooth talking sales agents, super pro websites and a whole lot of forged documentation. When you add up the eagerness of being part of that next big deal, you´ll end up recognizing that falling for a scam is easier than you thought. The worst part is that many scammers remain anonymous and out of the reach of law enforcement, making loss recovery almost impossible. This is the time when consumer education is key, and it's very important way to minimize the threat first, rather than lose big. 

How can you avoid biting the bait? Get informed. Investing wisely depends on having accurate and quality information. International due diligence is a must, not a plus. Verify the company and the people involved before putting money into it, it´s the only way to know for sure your money is safe.

S. Birch
© 2013 S. Birch

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