Columnists Features

How to beat conmen hands down

CUSTOMER CARE with NAMUCANA MUSIWA
IN THE last two weeks I looked at how conmen manifest in different ways to dupe unsuspecting clients out of their hard earned money.
They will act under the veil of genuineness to unsuspecting clients who only come to know that they have been cheated out of their money much later.
They will handle the first two or three transactions with feigned honesty and genuineness so that they win your trust and thereafter strike.
It is important to note that with some people’s insatiable appetite for quick money, they are prepared to go to any length to milk a fortune out of you.
With the business of real estates, which includes selling and buying of houses and land now on the increase, conmen gifted with sweet talk and tricks, which victims who fall prey to them only come to know when it is too late, are on the rise.
The growing real estate business entails that clients, or indeed genuine dealers, are mindful of how to conduct business in a manner that does not make them vulnerable to the tricks of conmen and other unscrupulous people.
This week I would like to share some tips on how to ensure that the estate business keeps conmen at bay.
In presenting my case, I will cite one or two practical scenarios that we are all able to identify with.
The first one is the selling and buying of land.
It is a known fact that, the desire by the average Zambian to own land, build houses or
some commercial property, has increased to an extent that, some people have taken advantage to dupe those who show desperation.
In instances where land is being sold, conmen will always forge or fake land documents like title deeds and make them appear genuine to a potential customer.
It is important, therefore, that when you are approached with an offer to buy land, or indeed when you seek to buy it, you demand that all documents are subjected to a thorough verification process.
Ideally, it would be advisable to have this process done through a lawyer.
Where you cannot afford the services of a lawyer, insist that before any payment for the land is made, you conduct a physical check at the Ministry of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection to confirm that the land documents tendered are authentic.
Ensure that you carry a witness with you and all parties to the transaction.
When satisfied with the status of land documents, you should then move to the next stage of preparing a sale agreement, which the buyer and seller should sign in the presence of witnesses before any cash transaction is made.
If you are buying a house or selling one and you wish to utilise the services on an estate agent, you could check their credibility by consulting the Zambia Estate Agents Association and also ask for proof that they are registered to conduct such business.
Conmen take advantage of any hint of desperation.
Therefore never show desperation for acquiring land or property because if you do, that can be used against you.
The same principle for buying and selling houses should be applied. We have heard of stories of how some conmen have sold one property to different people.
All this is a result of not doing due diligence to the right process of buying property.
Another way of safeguarding your money is insisting on cheque payments.
If you notice the other party insisting on cash payment, that should be a warning signal.
We should understand that what contributes to creating fertile ground for conmen to thrive is the failure by buyers and sellers of properties and land to follow simple channels of transacting.
Please, take heed. If you take these steps you will beat the greedy conmen hands down!
Namucana.musiwa@careerprospectslimited.com

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