February 2018 - Fraud & Scams Seminar
The Fraud and Schemes Seminar was successfully held in mid-February. Rob Foster, a volunteer Community Educator from AARP, spoke about the techniques used by scam artists and current scams of which to be aware. Rob talked about the 13 ways con artists can steal your money via identity theft, investment fraud, and other common scams. Prevention tips included:
- Protect your Social Security Number and personal information;
- Monitor your bills and financial accounts;
- Monitor your credit reports;
- Protect personal identification numbers (PINS) and passwords;
- Protect your information online;
- Protect your mail, and
- Be cautious of scams and frauds
Available resources include:
- AARP Fraud Watch Network
- Fraud Fighter Call Center (AARP counseling, support and referral services to fraud victims)
- National Association of Attorney Generals
- FINRA Investor Education Foundation
- The North American Securities Administrators Association
- U.S. Postal Inspection Service
Terri Alexon, Investor Education Coordinator for the Securities Division of the Arizona Corporation Commission, spoke to common tactics used in investment fraud. Common tactics include:
- The “Phantom Riches” Tactic – dangling the prospect of wealth, enticing you with something you want but cannot have.
- The “Source Credibility” Tactic – trying to build credibility by claiming to be with a reputable firm, or to have a special credential or experience.
- The “Social Consensus” Tactic – leading you to believe that other savvy investors have already invested.
- The “Reciprocity” Tactic – offering to do a small favor for you in return for a big favor.
- The “Scarcity” Tactic – creating a false sense of urgency by claiming limited supply
Terri also talked about how to protect yourself from investment fraud:
- End the conversation: Simply tell the person, “I am sorry, I am not interested.” Or tell anyone who pressures you, “I never make investment decisions without first consulting my ___>” Fill in the blank with whomever you choose. Then hang up the phone. And don’t worry about missing out – real deals will still be there tomorrow.
- Turn the tables and ask questions: Before you give out information about yourself or sign on the dotted line, ask “Are you a licensed broker? Is that investment registered?” Then check out the seller and the investment using available reliable resources.
- Talk to someone first: Even if the seller and the investment are registered, it’s always a good idea to discuss these sorts of decisions with family or a trusted financial professional.
Available resources to check before you invest include:
- FINRA BrokerCheck (for information about a Broker or Firm)
- SEC Investment Adviser (for information about an Investment Adviser)
Public Disclosure Database
- Securities Division, AZ Corporation Commission – (for information about an Arizona Broker-dealer, Investment Adviser or Investment)
- SEC’s EDGAR Database – (for information about an Investment)
Story by Bev Buddee
Pictures by Elmer Gooding
ASU Retirees Association
Mailing address: PO Box 873308, Tempe, AZ 85287
Physical address: Community Services Building Room 201, 200 E. Curry, Tempe, AZ