have a little money or a lot, you may be looking for ways to “put your money to
work,” and earn more. But your money could be lost if you get caught in an
Do not believe
claims that there is no risk. There is always risk in investing, but con
artists will tell you otherwise. Know the risk before you invest.
promises that you will make big profits fast. No one can accurately predict how
an investment will do. Often the investments that promise the most pay-off are
also the riskiest.
Get the details
in writing. Legitimate companies will be happy to provide you with all the
information you need.
Do not agree to
anything on the spot. Pressure to act immediately is a danger sign of fraud.
investments. Do you know the difference between stocks and bonds, margin
accounts and cash accounts, options and futures, mutual funds and certificates
of deposit? If not, do your homework before you invest. Consider professional
Do not act on
testimonials from strangers. Someone wanting to share a friendly tip about a
great investment opportunity may actually be a con artist or shill trying to
lure you into an investment scam.
wary of investments in commodities. Crooks often promise that the value of
investments in coins, precious metals, artwork, oil leases, gemstones, and
other commodities will rise. The truth is that the value of these types of
investments can go up or down significantly.
Steer clear of
“offshore investments.” These are often promoted as a way to avoid taxes.
Actually, you are still liable for taxes, and the investments themselves are
usually very risky.
about emails for investments. Almost all unsolicited emails are fraudulent.
Take the time to check out investment offers. A good place
to start is with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions, Division
of Securities, (800) 472-4325, www.wdfi.org.
Other resources for information to
help you make wise investment decisions include:
the federal Securities and
Exchange Commission, (800) 732-0330, www.sec.gov;
the North American Securities
Administrators Association, (202) 737-0900, www.nasaa.org;
and the National
Futures Association (for investments in commodities), (800) 621-3570,
(Information provided by the National Fraud Information