If you receive an unexpected offer for investment services
- from an unknown entity,
- in which a higher than average return on your money is promised,
- in which you are encouraged to exchange money for another currency,
it may be a scam.
In a typical investment scam, a swindler calls the victim from abroad and claims to be an investment adviser, stock broker or portfolio manager. He or she offers the customer financial services involving stocks, mortgage or real estate investments, options trading or currency exchanges and promises a high return on the money. Pressure and persuasion are used to make the customer feel as if it is impossible to refuse the offer.
Swindlers also market investments on the Internet. One form of an investment scam is money collection disguised as insurance. The consumer is led to believe that money is being collected for insurance services, although this is not the case at all. Web pages are carefully designed and set up to look like the real thing. Indeed, it takes a certain amount of trouble to expose a scheme that seems legitimate.
Swindlers also reach potential investors at investment seminars. Not all investment advice provided at seminars is illegal or useless, but it's a good idea to research it thoroughly before entering into a contract. Alarm bells should go off especially if you are being encouraged to invest money in high-risk schemes by borrowing large amounts of money or providing a loan without adequate security.
Misleading marketing of stocks
You may receive e-mail messages telling you about good stock trading deals. A message might hint that the value of a certain stock will go up soon. When the same message is sent to millions of people and some of them are inspired to buy the stocks, the sudden demand raises the stock value. During the buying boom, the swindlers sell the stocks they obtained previously and make a tidy profit. The new stock owners, on the other hand, lose money because they paid more for the stocks than they are worth.
There is a particular need for caution if the message promises increased stock value with a reference to inside sources.
If an unknown person sends you advice about stock trading or the stocks of a particular company in an e-mail, it is most likely a scam. Think about why someone who has hit upon a quick and easy way to make money would choose to share the information with you in particular.
- Do not allow yourself to be pressured into making a rushed decision. If you are not given enough time to think something through, it may be a scam. A genuine offer would usually give you enough time to seek expert advice.
- Find out if the claims made by an investment adviser are true: if there is any security for the investment, who is managing the investments and whether the investments are under the supervision of some authority.
- Remember that a familiar company name does not guarantee the accuracy of information provided about stocks.
- If you receive an e-mail that seems to be from a well-known company, contact the sender and ensure that the message is genuine before you invest.
- If necessary, ask an expert for advice.
- If you are considering investing, check the warning list of suspicious service providers and other information provided by the Finnish Financial Supervision Authority.
In cases involving suspicious financial deals, you can contact the Finnish Financial Supervision Authority.
The Finnish Financial Supervision Authority supervises also insurance companies' use of contract terms and marketing. Insurance marketing material should give a person who is taking out insurance all the necessary information from a financial security standpoint, for example.
Finnish Financial Supervision Authority