Financial scams are on the increase. It’s tempting to turn a blind eye to them, but it’s important not to be complacent about your money. One of the many tricks fraudsters use is called “Hundi/Hawala“. This is where they ask you for help with their financial problems in return for an inflated amount of money in the future when they get out of debt. 

The service has its perks especially when it comes to the ease of which it is used. But, there are more downsides and risks associated with using Hundi including the possibility of doing business or remittance scams, as well as high fees for transfers and deposits. Needless to say, things can easily go wrong when you’re dealing with Hundi because everyone involved knows each other personally, and they have their own ways of handling things when they do go wrong. 

Do you think these guys really care about paying back your loan? They just want you to give up your hard-earned cash, and who knows how they’ll spend it! So, say no, and don’t buy into this scam! What’s the catch? If the people you ask are trustworthy, then there isn’t one. There’s high risk and no chance of ending up with nothing at all. You send some money for a loved one overseas and then you don’t get any cash back for a month which happens most of the time. How would you feel? Disappointed, right? You mean to help someone and they just take advantage of you. That’s why you should be wary of doing business or remittances with people you don’t know.  

How to identify Hundi? 

You might be thinking, what’s the difference between remittance and hundi? It’s not just an icky word game, it’s a choice you need to make. One is better than the other for you personally. 

Make sure you know exactly what you’re doing. For example, when you send money across the cross border, always ask for details about the company and the amounts being sought. Find out if they have a physical office and whether it has a license to operate. Make sure you know who is actually in charge and who’s responsible for paying you back! Don’t trust just anyone offering cross-border payment services. The company could be linked to frauds like Ponzi schemes, which makes them unreliable partners. 

Some of the points that can help you identify Hundi is given below:

  • Hundis are registered with the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) In Australia but not with respective payout banks.
  • Higher exchange rate, usually $5-$7 higher than what you get with registered/legal remit. 
  • Operates through various social media platforms like Facebook, Whatsapp, Viber etc. offering higher exchange rates on chat groups to lure customers. 
  • No legitmate website and app. However, some of the Hundis does have website and app, nowadays. 
  • Offers special rate if you send a large amount of money. 
  • No payout partner. 
  • Changing bank account details on a regular basis to stay under AUSTRAC’s radar.

Use Trusted Remittance Services

Remittances have received significant attention due to governments and financial institutions seeking ways to reduce or eliminate the black market and informal economies in developing countries by making remittances accessible to all segments of society, especially those in remote areas who may lack access to formal banking systems. 

Don’t risk your hard-earned money for the sake of a high exchange rate. The safest way to send money overseas is to use legitimate remittance services.