Here are 10 tips from the SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy to help you make better informed investment decisions and avoid common scams in 2017.
- Always do your research and check the background of an investment professional. It’s not hard to do. You can check FINRA’s Broker Check finra.org or the SEC’s website for individual investors, Investor.gov.
- Don’t fall for promises of high returns with little or no risk are classic warning signs of fraud. Every investment carries some degree of risk and if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- Use caution when using social media as an investment tool.
- Beware of hidden fees associated with buying, owning, and selling an investment product. Expenses vary from product to product, and even small differences in costs can mean large differences in earnings over time.
- Affinity frauds target members of identifiable groups, such as the elderly, religious or ethnic communities, or the military. Even if you know the person making the investment offer, be sure to check out the investment and the person’s background.
- Check to make sure the securities you are considering buying are either registered with the SEC or exempt from registration. Otherwise, it is illegal. You can use the SEC database sec.gov/edgar to get the information needed.
- Don’t forget the importance of diversification to limit your losses and reduce fluctuations of investment returns.
- Know the common investment mistakes and learn to avoid them — such as active trading, holding on too long (or not long enough) to certain investments, focusing on past performance and favoring investments from your own city or state.
- There are several tools available to help you reach your long term investment goals, such as compound interest and savings goals calculators.
- Unbiased resources are available to help you make informed investing decisions. A great starting point is Investor.gov.
This information is being provided by The White Law Group, a national securities fraud, securities arbitration, investor protection, and securities regulation/compliance law firm with offices in Chicago, Illinois and Vero Beach, Florida. For a free consultation with a securities attorney, please call 888-637-5510. For information about our firm, please visit www.whitesecuritieslaw.com.