Fraudulent investment schemes are often marketed by telephone
salespersons armed with high pressure and sophisticated selling
techniques. Some swindlers surround themselves with the trappings
of legitimacy -- rented office space, a receptionist, investment
counselors, and professionally designed color brochures describing
Seniors are a prime target for fraudulent investment schemes since
many have saved a good amount of money for their retirement years.
Fraudulent schemes require you to invest your money -- often lots
of it. Most promise you either a large increase in the value of
your investment or higher-than-market interest on your capital, or
These schemes are fraught with danger: in most cases, you will
never again see the funds you invested. And you may not even
receive the promised interest. If you do receive interest, you
will often be paid late. Often, unbeknownst to you, your interest
will be paid from the investments of others who are newly brought
into the program in order to keep it alive. The swindler hopes
these payments will allay any suspicions you might have as to the
strength of your investment.
If answers to any of the following questions are yes, you may be
dealing with a swindler who wants you to put money in to a
* Does the salesperson make it sound as you can't lose?
* Are you promised an unusually high rate of return or
interest payment on your capital?
* Are you pressured to make a decision immediately or in a
short period of time because new investment units "are selling
* Does the salesman have any prior successful experience in
the investment area he is promoting?
Protect yourself. Be suspicious of any deal that promises
fantastic return at little risk. Know whom you are dealing with.
If you are not sure, check the company's reputation with your
local Better Business Bureau, Postal Inspector's Office, or
District Attorney's Consumer Protection Unit.
Protect your retirement nest egg. If you've been the victim of an
investment fraud where the mail was used, contact your local
postmaster or the nearest Postal Inspector.
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