In 2021, Georgians lost a total of $26.4 million dollars to investment scams according to data from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). In these scams, you typically receive a phone call out of the blue or see a post or ad on social media about an investment that promises a high rate of return and no risk. But to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, you have to act today. The truth is the investment is questionable at best, and may not even exist at all.
Tips to Avoid Investment Scams:
- Don’t trust promises of unusually high returns or risk-free investments. Every investment contains some amount of risk.
- Don’t feel rushed. Pressure to act immediately is a red flag of a scam.
- Be very wary of foreign or “off-shore” investments or insistence that you pay with cryptocurrency, as these are also signs of a scam.
- Don’t be persuaded by claims that “everyone” is in on the deal. Many scams target members of the same social circle or religious group to give victims a false sense of security.
- Don’t rely solely on the information the investment promoter gives you; a scammer can easily create phony materials. Always do your own research before investing your money – even if the person promoting the investment is someone you know.
- If you are considering buying stock, check out the company’s financial statements by using the Security Exchange Commission’s (SEC) EDGAR database (www.sec.gov/edgar.shtml).
- Verify whether the person contacting you is licensed to sell securities in Georgia by contacting the Georgia Secretary of State’s office at www.sos.ga.gov or 1-844-753-7825.
- You can also use the following resources to see if the person or company is the subject of any complaints or violations:
- To report an investment scam, contact the Georgia Secretary of State’s Securities Division at http://sos.ga.gov/index.php/securities or by calling 404-654-6021.