Financial fraudster are getting more creative - and audacious, according to a recent Investor Alert from the FINRA (the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority). FINRA is in charge of keeping an eye on the US Securities Industry. Shockingly, scam artists have recently been using FINRA itself - or its name at least - to separate investors from their money.
Investment “Guarantees” Are Too Good To Be True
According to the Alert, the latest fraud has been using FINRA name and logo in correspondence suggesting that FINRA has provided a guarantee for an investment pitch. Some of this correspondence may even use the name of FINRA’s CEO, Robert Cook, in trying to win investors’ trust. The pitch is in fact an advance-fee scam. It goes without saying that not only does FINRA not solicit investments on behalf of any entities, but it also never guarantees an investment because there is no such thing as a guaranteed investment!
What is an Advance-Fee Scam?
In these scams, fraudsters try to get investors to send money to cover administrative or regulatory charges with a buy back of shares of stock. The trouble, there is no stock - and you never see your money again. In order to convince you that these phony companies exist, however, fraudsters will often insert the names of real companies. They will also try to call you and speak to you personally to build up a rapport and trust. They keep on you until you send the money, and then - poof! - they and your money are gone!
If It Sounds Too Good To Be True…
Scammers prey on our wish for a reward with no risk. All investments - even those floated by the US government - come with the risk that you could lose your money. That’s the nature of speculation. However, there are risks, and then there are scams. If you can’t tell the difference, contact FINRA or the SEC directly and they’ll set you straight.