As more and more investors turn to the Internet to learn about new investments and manage their portfolios, more and more scam artists are also moving their scams online. If you are offered a new investment opportunity online, especially if you received the offer unsolicited, then you should probably take extra steps to ensure that you’re not being coaxed into a scam. Here are three basic steps you can take to check out the investment and the promoter:
- Always arrange a face-to-face meeting with the promoter at his or her office. Meeting in person gives you a chance to get a better “feel” for the person promoting the investment, and meeting at his or her place of employment can give you insight into how the promoter and the firm operate. Be wary if the promoter does not want to meet with you in person or doesn’t have a professional office where you can meet.
- After the meeting, verify the information you were given. Review the documents you were given, seek additional information, and check out the promoter and the investment with state and federal regulators. To help you get started, both FINRA and the SEC offer valuable, free tools on their websites.
- Always get another opinion. Whether you choose to discuss the investment with another trusted financial professional or with a trusted family member, it is worth seeking another set of eyes to help you look over any new opportunity. Another person may be able to spot red flags that you missed the first time around.
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