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INVESTMENT FRAUD What to look for

Published: Wed, July 20, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.

Many consumers are taken advantage of by companies that make big promises but fail to deliver. Some people lose their life savings to unscrupulous businesses. Before investing with a company, here are some tips to avoid becoming a victim:
Investigate a company by contacting the Better Business Bureau or other local or state consumer protection group.
Don't give your credit card or Social Security numbers or other identifying information without looking into the business first.
Be skeptical. Walk away from claims of easy money with little or no effort or risk. If making quick money was that simple, nearly everyone would do it.
Don't believe anyone who promises credit cards, winnings, etc., for a fee up front.
Trust your instincts. If it doesn't feel right, it probably isn't.
If you have been taken, don't be embarrassed. Con artists are good at what they do.
Report the fraud to law enforcement, the BBB or other consumer protection groups. Police can see patterns of complaints against a company, for example.
Report it to the National Fraud Information Center at (800) 876-7060 or www.fraud.org.
Source: National Fraud Information Center

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