- Check out the person touting the investment. Alabama law requires most securities and the people selling them to be registered. Check them out with the Alabama Securities Commission BEFORE YOU INVEST by calling 1-800-222-1253.
- Beware of high-pressure tactics. Say "no" to any person who presses you to make an immediate investment decision. You need time to do your own research.
- Exercise particular caution if you lack financial experience. Ask lots of questions and insist that the sales person explain the investment until you understand it.
- Remember, good manners do not indicate personal integrity. Con artists are generally very polite, knowing that most of us equate courtesy with integrity. Swindlers also count on your good manners to keep you from cutting them off. Hang up if you don't like the conversation!
- Watch out for sales people who prey on your fears. Swindlers commonly pitch their schemes as a way to eliminate your financial fears for the future.
- Exercise particular caution if you are an older investor. The elderly, and partcularly older women, are a frequent target of scam artists.
- Monitor your investments. Insist on regular written reports and look for signs of excessive or unauthorized trading of your account.
- Look out for trouble when retrieving your principal or cashing out profits. If any person with whom you have invested stalls when you want to withdraw your money, you may have uncovered someone who is cheating you.
- Report investment fraud or abuse immediately, despite any embarrassment or fear you may feel. If you suspect you have been vitimized, call the Alabama Securities Commission at once.
- Beware of "reload" scams.To recoup their losses, victims sometimes invest in another scheme (a "reload") in which the con artist promises to make good the original loss and may offer new, higher returns. Often, the result is only more losses.
Contact the Alabama Securities Commission for inquiries regarding securities broker-dealers, agents, investment advisors, and investment advisor representatives, the registration status of securities, to report suspected fraud, or obtain consumer information:
Write: Alabama Securities Commission
P.O. Box 304700
Montgomery, AL 36130-4700