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Business News of Friday, 24 January 2020


Five ways to spot an investment scam

Fraudsters hope that if they look successful, you won't bother checking their credentials Fraudsters hope that if they look successful, you won't bother checking their credentials

Over the period, there have been investment companies that promised extraordinary returns with very little or nonexistent risks.

These schemes have taken different shades and ruses but the commonality amongst them is that they promise unsustainable returns or profits that outpace average market returns without corresponding risks.

In Ghana, it is said that the ‘greedy and irresistible's love for money’ without circumspection has led many to be exploited at their own expense by some fraudsters posing as investment firms.

Such financial affinity fraudsters, often use sophisticated and effective tactics to get people to part with their monies and investments in the long run.

GhanaWeb takes a look at five measures you can take to help you spot an investment scam.

1. Verify credentials: The first thing one should often do before making an investment is to verify the credentials of the firm. One must take caution not to fall for a fancy title or other trappings of quick success.

Fraudsters hope that if they look successful, you won't bother checking their credentials. Investors should make sure the firms are registered to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or an insurance regulator.

You can also check information about the firm online, such checks speak volumes to the investment advisers.

2. Ignore the ‘everyone is doing it’ story: When considering investing in a firm, don't believe the claims that ‘everyone’ is involved in the deal. One must be wary of a sales pitch that focuses on how many people are investing in the firm, without telling you why the investment is sound.

Remember, affinity frauds are scams that target members of the same social circle, religious group or ethnic background.

3. Refuse to be rushed: Before you make an investment, the salesperson often pitches to you that the offer for that investment opportunity is a limited one but you must consider that as a red flag.

Be advised not to invest because the seller gives you something for free because they count on these freebies to guilt investors into buying what they are selling and most importantly, never feel obligated to invest when you’re not sure.

A legitimate investment will still be there tomorrow irrespective of the limitation being pitched.

4. Don't chase ‘phantom riches’: Be skeptical of investment pitches that guarantee a certain return or promise spectacular profits. They are what fraud-fighters call ‘phantom riches’ that you will never see.

No salesperson can make those kinds of promises. The reality is that, every investment involves a risk.

5. Arm yourself with information Finally, one must arm themselves with as much information they can and speak to professional investment advisers on steps to take before making investment and also learn to spot the red flags of investment frauds so you can protect yourself and your loved ones.