Red Flags of Investment Fraud
Scam artists have an arsenal of tricks when it comes to parting you with your hard-earned money. Watch for these warning signs.
- Low risk investments with high returns. Any investment that looks too good to be true probably is. High returns are normally an indication that the investment is high risk.
- Pressure to make a quick decision. Investing your money is a serious decision, and should always be done with time and consideration. Scam artists don’t want to give you enough time to figure out their game.
- “Insider” information. If an investment adviser is giving out “confidential” investment advice, they may actually be deceiving you or their employer. Both put you at risk. It is illegal to knowingly trade on inside information.
- Investment offers from complete strangers. If you are approached out of the blue by someone who you do not know offering an investment you know nothing about you significantly increase your risk of becoming a victim. If an investment is worth your money, your registered investment adviser will be aware of it or be able to help you decide whether to invest.
- Unregistered salespeople. If the person selling the investment is not registered to do business in Manitoba, you should question whether they’re authorized to sell investments at all.
- Anti-establishment. Any individual who encourages you to subvert the government or avoid financial institutions is most likely trying to keep their illegal activities from being tracked.
- Exclusive offers for wealthy people. Be wary of investments that are allegedly intended for the super rich but are being offered to the average investor.
- Cutting out the paper trail. Without receipts for investment purchases, statements, a prospectus, or “know your client” forms, a scam artist can easily take your money without being detected.
- Overly complicated investments. Honest investment advisers are able to make investing your money simple and straightforward. You should always understand where your money is going and how it’s being invested.
- Avoiding the question. If the person selling you the investment doesn’t answer your direct questions, they’re probably trying to keep you from seeing the truth. A legitimate investment adviser has nothing to hide.