Now that the financial health of the world has gone down the toilet, all kinds of cockroaches and rats are being exposed to the sun. This is not a nice picture but at least the whole world can take notice about a couple of sayings: “There is no free lunch,” and “if it sounds too good then it is too good.”I am a small potato in this huge world of financial IOUs. So, I never qualified to be robbed by Bernie Madoff.
I am also not someone from a Latin American country who is trying to safeguard his or her assets against unstable governments. I do feel sorry, however, for all those Latin Americans who thought that their investments in certificates of deposits with Bernie redux’s (aka disgraced Robert Allen Stanford) bank were secure. Like Mr. Madoff, Mr. Stanford promised steady returns. This time in the form of higher interest paying CDs issued by his bank domiciled in the island of Antigua.
So, how can we, the small potatoes of the world, know if we are scammed? Like what Ronald Regan said eons ago, trust but verify. As blogger Alex Dalmady said in his article that uncovered Mr. Stanford’s scam, it is in front of our eyes if we open them. Mr. Dalmady provided some guidelines to check if an investment is a scam:
1. It is too good to be true
2. It can do what no one else can
3. There are few (or only one) persons overseeing everything
4. Few incentives for whistle blowers
So, why did I say that my only contact with Mr. Stanford was metallic? I flew Caribbean Sun once. It is now a defunct airline, but Mr. Stanford used to own.