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Watch these how-to videos and long-form documentaries on a range of financial topics.
Bonds between groups of people, like those in the military, are not easily broken. Unfortunately, it's these bonds that fraudsters sometimes exploit to get you to invest in a scam. Take the affinity fraud case of "The Three Hebrew Boys." These investment fraudsters preyed on the trust between military service members to con them out of millions of dollars. Watch the video to learn how you can avoid affinity fraud.
The bonds of faith are strong, but when dealing with a matter such as your financial security, faith alone should not be a deciding factor. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Utah is a close-knit, trusting community. For this reason, the area is a hotbed for affinity fraud—just ask Jim and Diane Smart, faithful church members and investment fraud victims.
As an investor, you may be tempted by a seller's pitch to put your money into the next "hot" investment deal—especially if you hear your friends, family or fellow worshippers are buying it. Called "social consensus," fraudsters use this tactic to convince people it's safe to hand over their money. One of the worst cases was Greater Ministries International, a Florida-based Ponzi scheme. Learn how these fraudsters used religion to swindle innocent people out of their money.
There are phantoms that lurk in every investment scam also known as "phantom riches," they are the most common tactics fraudsters use to scam investors. Jameson Kauhi was lured by one of these phantoms, and the only thing it led to was an empty bank account.
When your friends recommend something to you, you tend to take their word for it. But when it comes to investment ideas, you shouldn't just rely on tips. Cons often use these affinity relationships to find their victims. Before handing over any money, you need to thoroughly research the investment and the person selling it. It was a lesson that The Thompsons learned the hard way—after they lost thousands in an investment scam.
Unfortunately, military ties can be used to commit financial fraud. In some cases, by fellow veterans. No matter how you know the promoter, and even if you served with them, you still need to make sure the professional is licensed and the product registered. This is a lesson that James Gonedes and other veterans learned the hard way. Watch the video to learn how you can avoid affinity fraud.
Protecting yourself from investment fraud can be as simple as asking if the seller and the investment are registered, and then verifying the answers with FINRA or the SEC. Unfortunately for some people, like Robert Kalinowski's father, not taking these steps can result in irreversible financial damage. Read Kalinowski's story and plea to always "ask and check" before investing.
Catherine Mulholland received a cold call from a public relations firm touting a can’t miss stock. The promoters promised phantom riches and used source credibility to lure her into investing $30,000. Catherine was the victim of a classic stock pump-and-dump scheme, and her investment is now worth pennies. Watch her video to learn how you can avoid becoming a victim. And read this Investor Alert from FINRA for more tips.
Like many Americans, Ruth and Len Mitchell worked hard to save for their retirement—but they fell victim to a Ponzi scheme and lost $100,000. The fraudster was no stranger either. He was their accountant—someone they socialized with and trusted to handle their finances. How did he do it? Watch their story and learn how you can avoid becoming a victim.