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Staying Safe in a World of Scammers: Investment Scams


We all dream of financial success, but when it comes to investing, we have to be cautious. Scammers will tout a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that will earn high returns with little to no chance of loss. These investment scams take a variety of forms, from financial coaching and management schemes to cryptocurrency and fake investment companies. After the unsuspecting investor sends their money, the other person disappears, and the money is gone.

A scammer may post an ad online – or contact you via phone, text, or email with an unsolicited offer – that seems too good to be true. But there are some red flags you can look for that may indicate the opportunity is actually a scam.

  • No Risk of Loss. Be wary of opportunities that advertise a way to make easy money fast and promise financial security for years to come. Typically, all investments require some level of risk.
  • Use of Pressure Tactics. You might see an “exclusive offer” to join a program for a limited time. This is a pressure tactic designed to rush you into making a decision without thinking it through or fully vetting the opportunity.
  • Upfront Payment Is Required. If an investment opportunity requires you to send money upfront through cryptocurrency or a digital payment method, don’t engage.

If you think a scammer may be targeting you, remember to slow down and ask questions. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Pay close attention to the details and do thorough research before making any financial decisions. You can also contact the Better Business Bureau and any applicable government agencies to see if other consumers have filed complaints against the individual or company.

To learn about other scams, and ways to protect yourself, visit Zelle’s website and the FTC’s Consumer Advice site.

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