The sad fact is that people all over the world are willing to do whatever it takes to make a buck, even if it means scamming innocent victims out of their own hard-earned money. These scams can be investment scams, tax scams and other scams that might make you feel as if you are doing what should be done while you’re really just bankrolling criminals into the lifestyle they want, but want to do honest work to earn. Investment scams are some of the most common. The big promises that you can spend just a little bit of your own money to make a lot more money is something that appeals to people of all tax brackets. Those who have nothing to give will do it because this is “it”; this is their chance to finally have a little financial freedom. Those who have plenty of money will fall for these scams because a guy in a well-cut designer suit shows them falsified documents stating how much others returned on their own investments. There are always scams to look out for, and we can’t even promise you that only investing your money in reputable companies you took the time to locate and research won’t be a scam; but we can tell you what to watch out for in terms of common investment scams in 2015. If you come across any of these, run – don’t walk – the other direction.
Over the Phone Investments
There are a number of scams that happen over the phone. A trusted investment firm will not call you up out of the blue and ask you to provide money for this, that or the other. A scammer, however, will do just that. Anytime someone calls you and asks you to invest in something they are working on, that will return your money 10 times over or anything else, for that matter, turn it down. Never, ever give out your personal information over the phone or provide money to anyone that asks.
Investments with High and Fast Returns
According to Bankrate.com, any good investment firm is going to warn you that while the return on your investment could be mind-blowing and amazing, it could also be anything but. A legitimate investment firm will remind you that any investment you make comes with a certain level of risk and that you might not get any kind of return on your money, you might lose money, you might make a ton or you might make very little. A fake investment scam is going to promise you big returns in no time at all. It’s always, always, always a red flag when someone wants you to give them money with the promise you will get so much more back in no time at all. You won’t.
The FBI announced in early 2015 that one of the most common investment schemes to look out for in 2015 is called Platform Trading. This happens when someone tries to convince you to invest with them because they can offer you higher than average returns with barely any risk associated with the investment. Essentially, those asking you to invest in something like this will want you to invest your money in a bank so that you can then trade bank instruments. The FBI warns that these are plentiful this year and that they are currently investigating a number of these schemes, but that anything that sounds even remotely similar to this should be reported immediately as it is not a real investment plan.
EB-5 Investment Scams
In early 2015, the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) announced that there is an investment scam going on that’s targeting foreigners. This scam is being focused on immigrants who are looking to obtain their citizenship or permanent residency in the US under the EB-5 program. If you are looking into this program yourself, you should be warned that it’s not always what it seems. The SEC asks that you please verify your information with the federal government before you turn over any funds, and that you look for signs of fraud by those who are looking to scam the system. This might include the promise of citizenship or a visa, the promise of money or the promise of anything else. This program cannot guarantee anything; and it’s a sure sign of fraud when someone is telling you that by giving them money, they can guarantee you will get something in return.
As of April 6, those with a pension can do whatever they want with it, and the federal government is looking into the fact that many scammers are likely going to see how they can make this new rule fit into their schemes of stealing money from innocent victims. This is going to be a new scam since this is a new rule, so it’s unclear how scammers will go about using this to their advantage. However, there are some things you can always be on the lookout for. Scammers are probably already in the computer systems of America looking for those who are of retirement age this year who will get a change to use their pension as they see fit. Chances are good they will try to contact those people once their funds are released so that they can try to get their hands on it by offering them a great way to invest their money for a bigger return.
To ensure you are not one of the people who fall for this scam, be aware that you should never give money over the phone to someone who calls you. You should ask for the contact information, business name and address of the company and then contact the Better Business Bureau to see if this is a legitimate company with complaints or a good rating. There is a lot you can do to ensure that you don’t become the victim of a financial scam such as this, but doing your homework is the best defense.
Photo by David McNew/Getty Images