5 Ways to Recognize a Financial Scam

With a tough economy making timely retirement less likely for many folks, retirement-related financial scams may be on the upswing. Here are five ways to know if you are being played.

  • Share
  • Read Later
Martin Poole / Getty Images

With a tough economy making timely retirement less likely for many folks, retirement-related financial scams may be on the upswing. According to a new guide from the Securities and Exchange Commission, here are five common tactics that crooks use to sign retirement-minded victims to bogus accounts:

  1. Phantom Riches A scammer may dangle the prospect of wealth, enticing you with something you want but can’t have, and then promise something like this:  “These gas wells are guaranteed to produce $6,800 a month in income.” If it sounds too good to be true it probably is; any guarantee of investment gain should be viewed skeptically.
  2. Expert Credentials A scammer might build credibility by claiming to be a reputable expert. “Believe me, as a senior vice president of XYZ Firm, I would never sell an investment that doesn’t produce.” Check out the firm at Broker Check. It may sound blue chip but have offices no closer than The Isle of Man.
  3. Everyone is doing it Anytime a financial sales person tells you that Warren Buffett and Peter Lynch have bought into the investment along with his own mother and half his church — run. If the investment doesn’t make sense on its merits, don’t be fooled into thinking a bunch of smart and connected people have already vetted it and forked over their cash.
  4. Tit-for-tat A scammer might offer to do a small favor in return for a big favor. “I’ll give you a break on my commission if you buy now—half off.” Inducements are always a red flag.
  5. Only a few left Be on the lookout for anyone creating a false sense of urgency by claiming limited supply. “There are only two units left, so I’d sign today if I were you.” Reality is usually the other way around. If it’s a truly scarce sure thing, you won’t get the call. Sorry, those are the deals that brokers save for Warren Buffett and their own mother.
(LIST: Six Ways to Stay Healthy and Save Money This Winter)
0 comments
Sort: Newest | Oldest