• James Robinson CFP

White Collar Crimes

White Collar Crimes are increasingly problematic. Reportedly coined in 1939, the term white-collar crime is now synonymous with the full range of frauds committed by business and government professionals. These crimes are characterized by deceit, concealment, or violation of trust and are not dependent on the application or threat of physical force or violence.

The motivation behind these crimes is financial...to obtain or avoid losing money, property, or services or to secure a personal or business advantage. These are not victimless crimes. A single scam can destroy a company, devastate families by wiping out their life savings, or cost investors billions of dollars (or even all three). Today’s fraud schemes are more sophisticated than ever, and the FBI is dedicated to using its skills to track down the culprits and stop scams before they start.

The Investment Fraud Playbook Investment fraud criminals work hard to make themselves and their schemes sound legitimate. See cons explain how they separated victims from their money.

How to Spot Investment Scams in 6 Simple Steps (Military) Investment fraud criminals use a wide array of sophisticated and highly effective tactics to get people to part with their money.

How to Spot an Investment Scam in 6 Steps

Financial fraudsters use sophisticated and effective tactics to get people to part with their money. Here are six steps you can take to help you spot an investment scam.

  1. Verify credentials. Don't fall for a fancy title or other trappings of success. Fraudsters hope that if they look successful, you won't bother checking their credentials. Investment professionals must register with FINRA, the Securities and Exchange Commission or your state securities or insurance regulator. You can use FINRA BrokerCheck, a free online tool to get information on brokers and investment advisers.

  2. Don't chase "phantom riches." Be skeptical of investment pitches that guarantee a certain return or promise spectacular profits. They are what fraud-fighters call "phantom riches" that you will never see. No salesperson can make those kinds of promises. The reality is that every investment involves risk.

  3. Ignore the "everyone is doing it" story. Don't believe claims that "everyone" is in on the deal. Be wary of a sales pitch that focuses on how many people are investing, without telling you why the investment is sound. Remember, affinity frauds are scams that prey upon members of the same social circle, religious group or ethnic background.

  4. Refuse to be rushed. If the salesperson tells you that the offer is for a limited time only, or that investment opportunities are limited, consider it a red flag. A legitimate investment will still be there tomorrow.

  5. Never feel obligated. Don't invest because the seller gives you something for free. Salespeople count on those freebies to guilt you into buying what they are selling.

  6. Arm yourself with information. Learn to spot the red flags of investment fraud so you can protect yourself and your loved ones. Go to SaveAndInvest.org for more information.

Military Ties Can be Used to Commit Financial Fraud Unfortunately, military ties can be used to commit financial fraud. In some cases, by fellow veterans. No matter how you know the promoter, and even if you served with them, you still need to make sure the professional is licensed and the product registered. This is a lesson that James Gonedes and other veterans learned the hard way. Lessons Learned

Visit the FBI's White-Collar Crime webpage for additional information

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