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Watch these how-to videos and long-form documentaries on a range of financial topics.
More than 6 million Americans age 55 and older have attended a free lunch investment seminar. But many of these so-called seminars are actually sales presentations, where the attendees are often pressured into making unsuitable—or even fraudulent—investments. If a friend, neighbor or relative accepts an invitation to one of these seminars, make sure they know the score before they go.
Investment fraud criminals use a wide array of sophisticated and highly effective tactics to get people to part with their money. Learn how to spot those techniques and help protect not just yourself but friends, neighbors and family members.
Did you know there are five red flags of fraud that every investor should know? This video will help you understand one of them—phantom riches. It's when a con dangles the prospect of wealth in front of you, enticing you with something you seemingly can't have.
There are five red flags of fraud that every investor should know – and learning about these red flags is your best defense. Watch this video to learn more about Reciprocity. This tactic relies on the assumption that if someone gives you something, you are obliged to return the favor.
Knowing more about how fraud works can help protect you and your investments. Your best defense is to learn about the red flags of fraud. This video will explain how cons use Scarcity to create a false sense of urgency by claiming there’s a limited supply or you have to act now, or claiming the opportunity is exclusive.
Fraudsters use all kinds of tactics to get you to give them your money. Learning about these tactics can help you spot the red flags of fraud. This video will explain how fraudsters apply Social Consensus pressure to convince you to invest in their deal.
Knowing more about financial scams and how they work can help protect you and your money. This video will teach you about one important red flag—Source Credibility. This is when a fraudster tries to build credibility by appearing successful, claiming affiliation with a reputable organization or touting a special credential or experience.
Even smart investors can fall prey to fraud and faulty advice. Former professional baseball star Nomar Garciaparra offers hard-hitting tips for holding on to your wealth.
Laura Astorga lost most of her savings to a Ponzi scheme aimed at the vast Hispanic community in Los Angeles. She wasn't the only victim of Juan Rangel. Rangel relied on his ethnic affinity to defraud hundreds of mostly Spanish-speaking victims through two fraud schemes. See how he lured his victims, and learn to spot the red flags of fraud.
Beau Diamond lured investors with his social status and family name. Even smart, affluent professionals were caught in his $37 million Ponzi scheme. These investors learned the hard way not to rely on just someone's name. Read his story to see what red flags to look for when approached with an investment deal.
Steve Sampler knew a thing or two about finance when he decided to invest in an oil well opportunity. He was a licensed stockbroker with years of experience and knew the ins and outs of investing. But the deal turned out to be a scam—and the $40,000 he invested vanished. How did Sampler fall for a phony investment scam? Watch the video to hear his story.
Bonds between groups of people, like those in the military, are not easily broken. Unfortunately, it's these bonds that fraudsters sometimes exploit to get you to invest in a scam. Take the affinity fraud case of "The Three Hebrew Boys." These investment fraudsters preyed on the trust between military service members to con them out of millions of dollars. Watch the video to learn how you can avoid affinity fraud.
As an investor, you may be tempted by a seller's pitch to put your money into the next "hot" investment deal—especially if you hear your friends, family or fellow worshippers are buying it. Called "social consensus," fraudsters use this tactic to convince people it's safe to hand over their money. One of the worst cases was Greater Ministries International, a Florida-based Ponzi scheme. Learn how these fraudsters used religion to swindle innocent people out of their money.
There are phantoms that lurk in every investment scam also known as "phantom riches," they are the most common tactics fraudsters use to scam investors. Jameson Kauhi was lured by one of these phantoms, and the only thing it led to was an empty bank account.
When your friends recommend something to you, you tend to take their word for it. But when it comes to investment ideas, you shouldn't just rely on tips. Cons often use these affinity relationships to find their victims. Before handing over any money, you need to thoroughly research the investment and the person selling it. It was a lesson that The Thompsons learned the hard way—after they lost thousands in an investment scam.
Unfortunately, military ties can be used to commit financial fraud. In some cases, by fellow veterans. No matter how you know the promoter, and even if you served with them, you still need to make sure the professional is licensed and the product registered. This is a lesson that James Gonedes and other veterans learned the hard way. Watch the video to learn how you can avoid affinity fraud.
Protecting yourself from investment fraud can be as simple as asking if the seller and the investment are registered, and then verifying the answers with FINRA or the SEC. Unfortunately for some people, like Robert Kalinowski's father, not taking these steps can result in irreversible financial damage. Read Kalinowski's story and plea to always "ask and check" before investing.
Catherine Mulholland received a cold call from a public relations firm touting a can’t miss stock. The promoters promised phantom riches and used source credibility to lure her into investing $30,000. Catherine was the victim of a classic stock pump-and-dump scheme, and her investment is now worth pennies. Watch her video to learn how you can avoid becoming a victim. And read this Investor Alert from FINRA for more tips.
Like many Americans, Ruth and Len Mitchell worked hard to save for their retirement—but they fell victim to a Ponzi scheme and lost $100,000. The fraudster was no stranger either. He was their accountant—someone they socialized with and trusted to handle their finances. How did he do it? Watch their story and learn how you can avoid becoming a victim.