Michael Teoh – Thorough Research Will Help You Outsmart Scammers

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By Andrew Stotz. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

During the COVID-19 lockdown, when most corporate training stopped, Michael Teoh led his company, Thriving Talents, to pivot from their usual corporate consulting, team building, and employee training practices to work with SMEs to help their sales teams market and sell better and to boost the performance of work-from-home staff.

Since then, Thriving Talents have helped 150 companies generate 5-to-6-figure revenue within the initial 3-month lockdown period. They have also taught thousands of remote staff in Malaysia, India, Singapore, Australia and the US on “Mental Health & Productivity.”

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Michael accumulated 16 years of experience, working in various capacities as a Management Consultant, Branding Strategist, Outreach Campaigns Director, and Serial Entrepreneur. Michael has served Fortune 500 Companies across 41 countries.

“As long as you’re willing. There will always be a path for a better future for you.”

Michael Teoh

Worst investment ever

Michael had just started his company, Thriving Talents, in 2013 when he made his worst investment ever. He was very fortunate when he first started. The company got big clients, including fortune 500 companies. Michael was bathing in grandiose and in the prestige of working with the world’s largest, most influential organizations, leaders, and brands. He was making progress in life.

Investing in crude oil

Michael was approached to invest in crude oil. The investment company told him that he could be the trader trading derivatives and commodities. But since he did not have millions of dollars to do that, they advised him to get into drilling the crude oil. Michael figured that made sense.

What Michael was buying was land in Canada and the British Virgin Islands so that the investment company could extract crude oil out of it. The company promised Michael a fair return of 12% per year. The return sounded relatively little to Michael, but the company convinced him that anyone promising him 12% a month instead of a year was a scam.

Too lucrative a deal, can my family join?

Michael did the math quickly and realized that he would get $10,000 every month in return if he were to invest a million dollars. But because he did not have this kind of money, Michael called his grandmother and parents and asked them to join and put their entire savings into it. Though they were not computer savvy, they could not transfer funds luckily missed out on the opportunity.

Getting his payout

True to their word, the investment company paid Michael his 12% per year for about a year. Now that he had received his money, they asked him to recommend them to other CEOs and friends. While Micahel wanted to share this excellent investment plan with other people, for some reason, he didn’t have that chance to be active and to be serious in promoting it to his inner circle.

The cat and mouse games begin

One and a half years later, the company stopped paying. Michael asked them about it, and they told him not to worry; it was just a minor problem with the transaction. Because they had built Michael’s trust for an entire year, he allowed them to pay him in the next six months. Then after six months, they just disappeared.

A con game played so well

In the one and a half years that the company was paying Michael, they held regular meetings. He was invited to go to their posh office, and they would show him actual videos of them going to the site in Canada and the British Virgin Islands.

He would see them purchasing the equipment, the drills, and interviewing some chief engineers representing actual oil and gas companies. They even had letters from local governments, acknowledging that the company would be mining crude oil. It all seemed so believable.

Accepting that he had been scammed

It was only after the company stopped paying that Michael realized that things were amiss. A group of investors who got scammed about $70 million came together, hired lawyers, and went to regulators. They found out that all those documentations were forged. The land in Canada belonged to other projects by companies that had nothing to do with this investment project. It was all just for show.

When the group of investors took the scammers to court, they told the group that it was not rich enough to beat them, and the company would keep hiring the best lawyers or bribe its way through this. The investors, Michael included, decided to let it go and accept that they had been scammed, but the best thing was to move on instead of a draining never-ending court battle.

Lessons learned

Learn how to love yourself, especially after you have been scammed

If you ever get scammed, give yourself a break, and just love yourself. Appreciate yourself for being so strong and resilient. Losing money is not worth taking your own life or getting involved in any crimes. Just give yourself a chance, and remember that we all make mistakes. Learn from this mistake and move on.

Verify and fact-check information before you sign off on any investment

Before you sign up for any investment, do background checks. Check up on the investment company, go through reviews, and fact-check every information they give you.

Do not involve your family in your investment ventures

No matter how good the investment is, do not involve your family and loved ones. This way, if something bad happens, at least you will bear the brunt of that problem on your own and not include anyone else in the problem.

Andrew’s takeaways

Beat investment scams by doing thorough research

Scammers have become very smart and will often cover all their bases. To beat them, you have to dig deeper with your research. Research is not just reading and digesting; whatever someone gives you.

Good research involves seeking out opinions of a third party that is unrelated to the people selling the investment idea to you. If you are researching a company and thinking about investing in it, talk to one of their customers or suppliers and see what they have to say.

Speak out if you suspect you are being played

These types of investment scams often use shame and embarrassment as tools to take people’s money, knowing that the victims are not going to say anything. So if you suspect that you are being scammed, speak out.

You will lose money just as you are going to make it. That is just life

Whether to scammers or an investment that has gone bad, if you lose money, remember it is only money. In life, you are going to win and lose over time. Losing money is a tragedy, but you can earn it back and get on with life. So do not beat yourself up too much when you lose money.

No. 1 goal for the next 12 months

Michael’s number one goal for the next 12 months is to expand how he can help businesses, large corporates, and small to medium enterprises worldwide.

Parting words

“A lot of people talk about how successful they are. But I think there are many more lessons we could learn from failures.”

Michael Teoh

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