How to Avoid Being Conned by a Fake Investment Adviser

Con artists often disguise themselves as “investment advisers” and professional sales representatives in order to solicit investments from unsuspecting people. A good way to avoid being conned by a fake is to follow these five investment Do’s and Don’ts:

Don’t trust anyone who contacts you first. It’s easy for a con artist to purchase a list of names and then contact everyone on the list via telephone, email, or the Internet claiming to have insight into the “next big investment.” If you didn’t initiate contact, it’s a fair bet that the “adviser” is a fraud.

Don’t trust anyone pushing a “once in a lifetime investment opportunity” that will disappear if you don’t act fast. High-pressure sales tactics are a common sign of investment fraud. If an investment adviser – even one you believe to be legitimate – doesn’t want you to spend time investigating the investment, you may want to consider that the “opportunity” doesn’t actually exist.

Don’t trust anyone who says you can get high rates of return with little to no risk. In the world of investments, a high yield product is going to carry higher risk. Anyone who says otherwise is conning you.

Do conduct a background check on all potential advisers through your state regulatory agency. If you see any signs of noncompliance or investor complaints in the adviser’s background, or if the adviser isn’t registered, you may want to consider placing your business – and your money – elsewhere.

Do understand the investment strategy of any security you invest in. If it’s too complex or complicated for you to understand, or if the adviser doesn’t want to answer your questions or tells you its “too difficult to explain,” the investment is very likely a fraud.


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