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Avoid Security Fraud - Don't Let Investing Put You In Debt

Unless you've been living under a rock for the past few years, you're probably quite aware of financial fraud. Yes, despite our advances, and our computers, and our "civilized ways", there are still crooks among us. In fact, technology has made it easier for the frauds to get hold of our money, which is a sad side effect of progress. Securities fraud is a particularly serious form of financial fraud, as evinced by the recent Worldcom/Enron debacles, both scenarios which wiped out millions of dollars of savings for rich people, but also for regular working people. Securities fraud is typically caused by lies or incorrect information which causes the investor to think positively of an investment incorrectly. But there are some good signs to watch for when investing that can ensure you don't go from positive savings to heavy debt with the close of the markets.


Investor Beware

If there is an area where you can avoid to save yourself the stress and financial strain of securities fraud, it is the Internet. The issue with the Internet, of course, is that it is free, unregulated and you can basically publish whatever you want. Not to say there aren't superb resources for real information (like, the Debt Consolidation Advisors library, as an example), but it is a fact that in the investment arena, grifters have found ways to use the medium very much to their advantage. They do this by spreading false information about companies in order to draw in investors ready to take the bait. Investment information on the Internet can be good, that we can say, but it should always be taken with a grain of salt. So what we are saying is, despite what you read on the Internet, before you make an investment decision, you should definitely research details more in depth.

Scam Alerts

There are a number of common ways to watch out for scams, which in the investment world, can be as plentiful as good stocks. Avoid, as an example, spam email which tout small stocks (typically unheard of companies trading anywhere from 5 cents to $1.00), as these are often major scams. The trick here is that many firms hire companies to send people emails about their stock, to which someone always buys, and then the stock price goes up. Once the stock price goes up, the company owners can sell their stock. Easy money. But a bad thing for you. This is what they call the "pump and dump" in the investment industry.


There Are No Guarantees

Watch out for investment deals which "guarantee" a really high return. The average annual return for stocks is 8%. If someone promises 50% or more, they are likely liars. Avoid this. Also, ask yourself this: are the claims being made by the person touting the investment verifiable? Can you be assured that they are true? If not, stay away. As well, beware of mail from foreign companies which you have no idea about, or letters with a return address that is post office boxes. The best way to avoid being scammed by an investment con is to go with your gut: does something feel funny? If it does, get out quickly or hang up the phone as soon as you can. Don't get taken.


The Double Edged Sword Of The Internet

We love the Internet. You should too. Never before has the average citizen had so much superb information at their fingertips. But with this easy access to information, the dishonest among us have come out to play. Although the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) has set up a division to investigate Internet stock fraud, they cannot help everyone. Use your own discretion, and investigate very, very thoroughly before you part with a penny. Don't let a hot tip turn into a huge debt.


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