Investment scams and schemes are on the rise across the nation, which means it is more important than ever to take extra precautions before investing any of your hard-earned money in a new opportunity or with a new professional. Ask questions, conduct your own research, verify claims, talk to other investors, and seek the opinion of an informed, unbiased third party. You also can use one of the three investment fraud prevention strategiesrecently outlined by the Better Business Bureau:
Strategy #1: End the Conversation. Also known as “just say no,” this strategy can be boiled down to simply saying “No, thank you” to any unsolicited investment pitch. Unsolicited investments are significantly more likely to be fraudulent than opportunities you seek out on your own. Unfortunately, anyone who has ever tried to hang up on a cold caller knows how difficult getting off the phone with a determined individual can be. “Knowing your exit strategy in advance makes it easier to leave the conversation, even if the pressure starts rising,” says the BBB.
Strategy #2: Turn the Tables. Instead of being on the receiving end of the conversation, begin to ask questions. A reputable investment professional should be able to provide solid, verifiable answers. For tips on which questions to ask, read our “Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Broker.”
Strategy #3: Talk It Over. Con artists are infamous for using high-pressure sales tactics designed to force you into a quick decision before you’ve had the time to think it through. Some will go so far as to warn you against telling anyone else about “this special deal” or “ground floor opportunity.” The BBB suggests investors be “extremely skeptical” about hush-hush deals.
“A legitimate investment professional won’t ask you to keep secrets,” says the BBB. Take the time you need to investigate the potential investment opportunity and to talk it over with a trusted resource. If the opportunity is legitimate, you’ll still be able to invest tomorrow.