File picture: John Robinson/AP

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Banking Risk Information Centre (Sabric) on Monday urged consumers to be skeptical of any investment that seemed too good to be true and promised quick, high and guaranteed returns.

Sabric chief executive, Kalyani Pillay, warned consumers about illegal schemes and the tactics fraudsters would use to lure victims.

He said in South Africa, these schemes generally meet the criteria of either a traditional ponzi or pyramid scheme. Both schemes see returns generated for earlier investors through revenue paid by new investors, rather than from legitimate investments or business activities. 

At the point where there are more existing investors than new investors, the scheme collapses and all monies invested, are lost. People who were expecting to make a good return on their investment, not only get nothing, but also stand to lose most, if not all the money they initially invested.

"Scamsters will go to great lengths to get victims to invest in these schemes through the use of social engineering tactics," Pillay said.

"They will even come up with convincing, fabricated statistics to make their offer look attractive, so always treat these kinds of schemes with suspicion."

Sabric is a not-for profit company formed by South African banks to support the banking industry in the combating of crime.

 - African News Agency (ANA)