On Wednesday, October 15, 2014, Investor Advocacy Clinic student interns Ryan Corbin, Kori Eskridge, and Kristina Ludwig presented “Fraud Watch 2014: How to Spot and Prevent Investment Fraud” to a group of Georgia State University College of Law students. The event was co-sponsored by the College of Law’s Wealth Management and Estate Planning group. Corbin began by introducing the group and explaining the mission of the Investor Advocacy Clinic. He then explained that anyone with money is a target for investment fraud, driving home the relevance of the presentation.
Eskridge then explained some common tactics of fraud, to include phantom riches, source credibility, social consensus, reciprocity, scarcity, and affinity fraud. She also highlighted other red flags investors should be aware of, like guarantees, complex strategies, unregistered products, overly consistent returns, missing documentation, account discrepancies, and pushy salespeople.
Ludwig followed by describing the common investment scams of pump and dump, pyramid schemes, Ponzi schemes, advance fees, and offshore scams. Ludwig explained how each scam operated and consequently, what characteristics should trigger caution in the investor.
The group then led the audience through a Fraud Awareness Quiz prepared by the North American Securities Administrators Association. Audience members submitted their answers to each question via an anonymous voting system. Once all the responses were in, the student interns revealed the correct answer, showed the audience how they did and reviewed the correct response.
Corbin closed the presentation by describing ways to prevent fraud, such as practicing saying, “No,” asking questions, talking to others about the investment, and browsing the internet. He then introduced the audience to FINRA’s BrokerCheck and the SEC’s EDGAR search tools, and gave the audience information on how to remove themselves from solicitation lists.
If you or your organization are interested in a custom-tailored investor education presentation, please contact the Clinic at (404) 413-9270.