Also called ‘brokerage fraud,’ investment fraud technically occurs when an advisor, a brokerage firm, or a stockbroker advises a client against the guidelines set by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Do not fall victim to unscrupulous brokers; learn the tricks used by investment fraudsters and how you can avoid them.
Sadly, most investment fraudsters target older people. Many senior citizens have the characteristics that fraudsters are looking for – sizeable savings accounts and the tendency to trust more easily. If you belong to this demographic, be extra careful. Invest your money directly with banks, and avoid shady Internet deals unless you are adept at online transactions.
Never sign anything without the presence of a lawyer you trust, especially if you are not very familiar with legalese. If you prefer not to hire a lawyer, then do your homework beforehand – reading and understanding contracts, terms of agreements, and policies that come attached with any investment offers could prove to be a wise move. Most fraudulent companies use the fine print of their contracts and agreements to cheat you.
The most common schemes used by investment fraudsters are ‘Prime Bank Instruments.’ They use the names of the world’s most prestigious banks in efforts to make you invest your money. They pretend to pool your money with the money of other investors. At first they may reel you in by giving you good returns, so that you invest more and tell your friends about it. In reality, the ‘returns’ they give you are money from new victims. After one or two cycles, they disappear together with your money.
If you think you have found a company worth investing in, be cautious. Look further into the company’s background and financial situation, at the very least. Leave no stone unturned – do everything you can to make sure that you are dealing with a legitimate company so you will not be robbed of your hard-earned money.