Is There Science Behind Investment Scams?

Con artists are using real-life situations, faking the websites of legitimate businesses and sharpening their skills to outwit even savvy investors

Connecticut BBB Warns Con Artists use a Variety of Tools to Target Investors

Investment scams are getting more sophisticated, con artists are experienced at the art of persuasion, and very talented at deceiving people, and that enables them to know which questions to ask to make victims most susceptible to their pitches.

“It’s becoming increasingly difficult to recognize investment scams,” according to Connecticut Better Business Bureau President, Paulette Scarpetti.  “Scammers are using real-life situations, faking the websites of legitimate businesses and sharpening their skills to outwit even savvy investors.”

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Investor Education Foundation offers some interesting theories on the science behind scams.  Here are some of the most common tactics:

"Phantom Riches" —Dangling the prospect of wealth, enticing you with something you want but can't have.  "These gas wells are guaranteed to produce $6,800 a month in income."

"Source Credibility"—Trying to build credibility by claiming to be with a reputable firm or to have special credentials or experience.  "Believe me, as a senior vice president of XYZ Firm, I would never sell an investment that doesn't produce."

"Social Consensus" — Leading you to believe that other savvy investors have already invested. "This is how ___ got his start.  I know it's a lot of money, but I'm in—and so is my mom and half her church—and it's worth every dime."

 "Reciprocity" — Offering to do a small favor for you in return for a big favor.  "I'll give you a break on my commission if you buy now—half off."

"Scarcity" — Creating a false sense of urgency by claiming limited supply. "There are only two units left, so I'd sign today if I were you."

Never rush when making any purchasing decision, and don’t be afraid to say “no” and walk away.  For more tips on smart buying, donating and investing, go to http://www.ct.bbb.org/.  Also, visit www.saveandinvest.org, to view the full article.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

imecenasik August 02, 2012 at 09:07 AM
I hope that the investments are done properly...
Jim G. September 27, 2012 at 03:35 PM
I think there's a simple rule to avoid bogus investments: if they call you and they're not a broker or adviser you have a prior, trustworthy relationship with, it's a scam. I don't know of any legitimate investment counselors, brokers, or firms who would cold-call a list of potential investors.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »