National Consumer Protection Week details common investment scams

On Behalf of | Mar 10, 2024 | Consumer Fraud

The annual National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW) has just ended. However, it’s critical to remember the information provided during that week throughout the year. No matter how savvy you may feel as a consumer, scammers are getting more and more creative. Now they have artificial intelligence (AI) to help them. 

Those who are elderly and less comfortable with online sites, email and other digital technology are at far greater risk. Of course, people can still be defrauded via phone, traditional mail, TV ads and even in person.

Common investment schemes

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) warns people to be especially cautious about anyone promoting investment and “get rich quick” opportunities. These often involve buying fraudulent:

  • Securities, stocks and commodities
  • Rare coins or gems, cyber currency and oil wells
  • Franchises, real estate and land 

Don’t assume that just because you see something advertised on television that it must be true. Also don’t be thrown by a “professional looking” website. It’s not hard to design a website that looks official. 

Often, fraudsters will perpetrate these investment scams over the phone. They know that older people are more likely to answer their cellphone for unknown callers and often still have landlines. However, a person doesn’t have to be a senior to be fooled by a persuasive scammer.

How to avoid becoming a victim

There are things you can do to protect your hard-earned money from being stolen. For example:

  • Don’t give credit cards, checking accounts or other personal information over the telephone or online without first doing some due diligence about the company.
  • Don’t answer your phone for an unknown number. Let them leave a message. (Often, fraudsters will just move on to the next number.)
  • Remember that there’s no such thing as a “guarantee” that you’ll make money.
  • Don’t feel pressured to make a decision immediately. If someone tells you it’s a one-time-only offer, tell them to send you information via email so you can review it. Generally, they won’t, which should be a red flag.
  • Check with outside trusted sources like the Better Business Bureau or Federal Trade Commission. Often, a quick Google search will reveal a scam.

Finally, if you’ve been the victim of a scam, there’s no need to feel shame. You’re far from alone. The important thing is to take action as soon as possible to seek justice and try to recoup your losses. Having experienced legal guidance in this area can improve your chances of success.

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