If it Looks too Good to be True…

By Lynn Mckeel, Fall 2018 IAC Student Intern

Fraudsters go to meticulous lengths to steal your money. According to FINRA, a new scam has taken investors by surprise. Somewhere in the world there is an individual, or a group of individuals, counterfeiting FINRA documents and impersonating FINRA employees in an effort to steal money from individuals all over the world. FINRA warns that investors report receiving convincing and detailed packages with the FINRA name and the names of FINRA’s top employees. Though FINRA says most of these scams are seen in the United Kingdom and Australia, it’s a lesson for all of us. 

One such package contained over sixty pages of detailed conversion documents and guarantees, promising the investors enormous returns, so long as the investor submits an advance payment of $28,000! $28,000 seems like an enormous upfront payment but the documents guarantee a return of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Of course this seems too good to be true, but the level of detail these fraudsters went into is astonishing. Not only are they forging complicated and detailed investment packages, but they also have all of your personal information, and make personal phone calls describing the opportunity.

According to the SEC and the FBI, Advance Fee schemes promise a high return on investments in exchange for an upfront payment.

But Lynn, isn’t that how all investments work? Pay now, cash out a return later?

The biggest difference between an Advance Fee scheme and a legitimate investment are the promises. Legitimate investments never guarantee a profit. There are inherent risks in every investment. Whether you invest in the stock market, a small business, or even real estate, all investments carry some form of risk.

If you believe a con artist tried to steal your money through an advance fee fraud please submit detailed complaints to the SEC and FINRA.