How can you help your family, friends, and neighbors choose safe ways to invest? This checklist is your answer to helping spot and stop investment fraud.
- Know the Signs of a Scam: Listen for promises of high return and low risk — promises that can’t be met. If you feel pressured, STOP! Take your time and check it out. And most important, remember that if a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is! Visit www.aarp.org/money/scams-fraud.
- Check the Person and Check the Product: Make sure the person selling you the investment is licensed and that the product is registered with your state securities regulator or with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Insurance products are regulated by your state insurance commission. Before you invest, follow the steps below:
- To check the person and product, contact your state securities regulator. Visit www.nasaa.org (click “Contact Your Regulator”). You can also investigate the financial company or professional at www.finra.org/brokercheck.
- If you are offered an insurance product, contact the insurance regulator in your state. Visit www.naic.org.
- Beware of “Free Lunch” Seminars: AARP and regulatory agencies are concerned that some free, educational presentations and events are thinly disguised sales pitches or scams for products that may not be right for you.
- Before you go to an investment seminar that comes with a free meal, educate yourself with a copy of AARP’s What to Listen for Checklist, at www.aarp.org/nofreelunch.
- Whether you attend or not, you can scan and e-mail the invitation to email@example.com. This way, you will help AARP track potentially deceptive practices.
- Understand Professional Designations: Don’t be misled by credentials that are meaningless. It’s easy to find out what all those initials following a professional’s name mean at http://apps.finra.org.
- Make Sure the Product is Right for You: A sound investment should follow five basic principles: Keep fees low, keep it simple, diversify, rebalance your investments to stay on track, and consider using index funds. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org/money/investing.