Spot and Avoid Investment Fraud
Investment fraud costs Americans $50 billion per year. Research funded by the FINRA Investor Education Foundation showed that more than eight in 10 people are solicited for a potentially fraudulent offer.
Investment fraud criminals are masters of persuasion, tailoring their pitches to match the psychological profiles of their targets. They ask seemingly benign questions—about their target's health, family, political views, hobbies or prior employers—to identify the best ways to separate victims from their money. Research shows that learning to spot persuasion tactics in pitches can reduce their effect, and increase your ability to spot and avoid fraud.
Besides learning about the tactics, what simple steps can you take to reduce your risk of becoming a victim? Before you invest, ask and check:
Always check out the seller. Before you work with an investment professional: Ask. “Who are you licensed with to sell me this? Are you a licensed broker? Is that investment registered?” Check FINRA BrokerCheck to be sure.
Always check out the investment. Before you buy an investment product: Ask. “Is this investment registered with the SEC?” Check. Any offer or sale of securities must be either registered with the SEC or exempt from registration. While many companies that do not register or file reports with the SEC may be exempt from registration, you assume more risk when you invest in a company about which little or no information is publicly available. Check that the investment is registered with the SEC to be sure.
For more fraud fighting tools and tips, visit SaveAndInvest.org.
About the FINRA Foundation
The mission of the FINRA Investor Education Foundation is to provide underserved Americans with the knowledge, skills and tools necessary for financial success throughout life. The FINRA Foundation envisions a society characterized by universal financial literacy. Visit FINRAFoundation.org to learn more.
Commonwealth builds solutions that make people financially secure. The team collaborates with consumers, the financial services industry, policy makers, and mission-driven organizations to discover ideas, pilot solutions, and drive innovations to scale so wealth can become possible for everyone. Learn more at www.buildcommonwealth.org or follow on Twitter at @buildcommwealth.