How To Know If An Investment Opportunity Is Too Good To Be True

Investment scams are one of the most common ways Australians are being conned. In fact, last year alone over $29.5million of financial losses were reported as a result of people falling victim to dodgy investment schemes[1].

From the almost 12,000 reports that were submitted in 2016, it’s clear that fraudulent investments affect both males and females. Last year, while males lost a higher amount of money in total, more females were victim to these types of deals[2].

Zaki Ameer, Real Estate Expert and Founder of Dream Design Property (DDP) says, “Unfortunately thousands of Australians are being scammed by dodgy get-rich quick schemes, often after investing a significant amount of money. The internet has made it extremely easy for criminals essentially to pose as Property or Real Estate experts.  It’s now more important than ever to do your due diligence before proceeding with any investment opportunity, especially if it seems slightly too enticing.”

To help determine if a property investment deal is too good to be true, Zaki shares his expert advice on red flags to watch out for:

  • When rental yield is too high. Rental yield is a common indicator used to assess a property’s investment potential. It is calculated by the yearly rent / the purchase price x 100. Often scammers use a fake rental yield figure to dupe investors into believing the property will generate significantly higher revenue. As a general rule, be wary of any rental yield that is over 8%.
  • Being ‘free of charge’. All investments have an element of risk, and any scheme that promotes receiving a return from zero charges is suspicious. It’s also important to remember that professionals make a living from their expertise, and therefore anyone offering their skills or services for free is likely not as credible as they appear. If a professional does persist that their service is free, ask the question of how they are getting paid. Don’t be afraid to request disclosure.
  • Investment schemes based overseas. International schemes can be quite risky, because often the investor doesn’t have any knowledge of that landscape, making them more susceptible to being taken advantage of. Before committing to an overseas investment scheme it’s crucial to research and familiarise yourself with that specific market to ensure the information you have been given is credible.
  • Unregistered schemes. No matter how legitimate an investment scheme may seem, checking that it’s registered with ASIC is essential. Unfortunately, many situations for investors losing money to fake initiatives could have been avoided simply by verifying its registration.
  • When they are offering a property that’s more than 15% cheaper than the market rate. Scammers regularly provide fake market value quotes, making properties seem significantly cheaper than they actually are. They do this not only to increase the appeal of the property, but so they can make it seem like they are offering a significant discount. Be cautious of any schemes that are selling more than 15% cheaper than the market rate.

Mr. Ameer adds, “Although technology is making investment scams more common, it is also making it easier to determine the scheme’s legitimacy. When it comes to investing money into any industry or scheme, always do your research, and remember that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.”



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About the author: Zaki Ameer

Dream Design Property (DDP), founded by Zaki Ameer in 2012 has helped close to 800 clients purchase over 1000 properties. Turnover for the company for its first year was $27,000. Four years later DDP enjoys a turnover of $6.8 million and contributes approximately $90,000 to a variety of charities, including Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Sydney Young Professionals, Tiny Miracles, The Sri Lankan Annual Ball and The Bollywood Club, in its efforts to give back to the community. At just 18, Zaki Ameer arrived in Australia from Sri Lanka with an unfaltering determination to not only land on his feet, but to achieve his big dreams for business success. After multiple life-changing setbacks, including an unfortunate shift in his financial support system, Zaki found himself living in an alien culture with no friends, no income and significant debt resulting from international university fees. Determined to remain in Australia, he spent the next four years, Monday to Friday, working eight-hour days followed by night studies in business, where he’d finally come home at eleven o’clock only to have to complete course assignments. Finally, clear of debt with a Bachelor of Business under his belt, Zaki had a chance meeting that inspired him to try his hand at property investment. Just a few years later Zaki built himself a successful portfolio of 10 properties, worth a total of $3 million. Quickly gaining recognition for his incredible success, Zaki began speaking at seminars and events about wealth creation and personal development. It was here that he built his love for sharing knowledge which led to the creation of Dream Design Property (DDP) in 2012, a unique wealth creation program. Dream Design Property utilises Zaki’s remarkable investment methods and mindset to guide clients as they begin their own property investing journey. Starting with one employee, Zaki now has a team of 20 staff offering each client an ongoing personalised service catering to their changing circumstances and needs. Having a passion for mentoring, Zaki is on hand day-to-day with his team, advising them from a corporate and personal development point of view. Of course, the huge major of his team have their own portfolio of investments. As an example that he is very proud of, Zaki has personally mentored Brendan, one of the team’s key sales staff to grow his portfolio from zero to ten properties in just one year. Unlike many of Zaki’s competitors, he stopped investing in real estate for himself shortly after starting DDP, realising this would ensure that the best stock on the market could be allocated to his clients. This is just one of the ways he feels his company differentiates itself from others out there. Another example of DDP’s unique services is Kickstart. This is one of the company’s main projects which is a unique and affordable program designed to provide Gen Ys with much needed help to take their first step into the property market as well as cement their financial literacy. As to the future of DDP? Zaki’s vision for the company is to continue creating innovative strategies and services for his clients and be recognised as the number one company for wealth creation when it comes to real estate investment. For more information please visit and

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