Financial fraud is more common than ever. Sadly, even some of the most prestigious financial advisers have been convicted of fraudulent activity over the past few years. Although there’s no guarantee to protect yourself against fraud, there are several things you can do to help reduce your risk:
Insist on a third-party custodian. If your financial adviser suggests you don’t need to go through a third-party such as Schwab, Fidelity or your bank, then immediately end your relationship with this person.
Read and review your account statements on a regular basis. This can prevent potentially fraudulent activities from taking place. Dishonest financial advisers count on the client being lazy and not taking time to look over their statements.
Affinity fraud is far too common. Just because you know someone in the community doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give them the same level of scrutiny as you would any other adviser. Be sure to verify first and then establish trust.
Don’t succumb to pressure. Be cautious of investors who rush you into an investment. No investment requires that much pressure or is that time-critical.
Don’t invest in what you don’t understand. If you don’t understand an investment, demand that your adviser explain why it would be a good decision to have your money invested there.
The elderly are especially vulnerable. If you have elderly family members, alert them of potential scams and ensure them that you are just trying to protect them.
Stay engaged in the process of managing your money. Once you find a trusted adviser, make sure you continue to stay engaged and ask questions about the placement of your money. It’s their job to give advice and input on why they feel an investment is appropriate for your situation.
For more information on how to prevent investment fraud, please visit US News.