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How to Protect Yourself from Investment Scams

Data breaches, identity theft, and investment scams. Year after year, an increasing number of fraud attacks occur, leaving businesses and customers vulnerable to cyber criminals.

An investment scam generally refers to a wide range of deceptive practices that scammers use to lure investors to make investing decisions. These fraudulent practices include false, misleading information or unrealistic opportunities. It may involve in different investment ideas such as stocks, bonds, currency, life insurance or even condo and real estate.

The scams come in different forms and scammers develop attractive pitches or come-ons for their latest fraud.

Investment scams tempt you with the promise of teaching you how to get high returns of money quickly, easily, and with low risk, usually by investing in the financial or real estate markets. It sometimes starts with a free seminar where the scammers will later charge you a fee for their “proven and tried-and-tested” investment tricks. But the real tricks are the lies they say to you.

Here is a list of common investment scams for you to be able to know the warning signs and understand how scammers work.

Real Estate Investment Seminar Scams

Nowadays, there are a lot of in-person and online real estate seminars which often promote “risk-free” training or business coaching systems. They may lure you in with promises or guarantees of financial freedom, saying that they will teach you on how to make a huge amount of money on real estate. But be careful and smart, there are many real estate investment seminars that are scams.

It is best to check on the promotional materials and sales pitches that are being used. If they are too good to be true or if they have over-the-top claims, then, you might need to think twice.

Scammers promise that you can earn a big amount of money fast, regardless of your experience or training. They also promise that their deal will give you security for years to come. Moreover, they also tell you that you will be coached and trained to success every step of the way. Some also claim that the program worked for other participants including the organizers.

Check the facts. Don’t be convinced easily by what they say and show you. Some real estate investment scams use fake client testimonials and pay people to endorse their programs.

Investment Coaching Scams

In the case of an investment coaching scam, the scammer will tell you about their “patented,” “tested,” or “proven” strategy and will teach you how to make money by investing in stocks, bonds, or foreign currency, among others.

They promise that their investment approach will set you up for life and that you can stop working and simply enjoy the high returns of your investment.

This type of scam will get your attention through ads, encouraging you to attend free events or subscribe to their introductory videos. But later on you will find out that you have to pay a fee to get the coaching they have promised you.

Scammers will also share with you the different success stories of people who have used their coaching program. But come to think of it, you have no way of confirming if those stories are even true.

Precious Metals and Coins Investment Scams

With these scam types, the “metal dealers” or “rare coins merchants” tell you that there is no better time to invest than now. This is to create a sense of urgency and get you to act quickly to invest your money.

You have to remember that scammers lie about their credentials and experience in these markets, and often don't deliver what they promise. They are just after taking the investors’ money for themselves.

Before investing in precious metals like collectible coins, or gold, make sure to familiarize yourself with these types of investment. Read articles, watch investment videos, and find out what questions to ask before you invest.

Pyramid Schemes

A pyramid scheme is when scammers claim that they can turn a small investment into large profits within a short period of time. But in reality, the scheme involves participants making money by getting new participants into the program.

The scammers behind these schemes typically go to great lengths to make their programs appear to be legitimate multi-level marketing schemes. Pyramid schemes, however, eventually fall apart when it becomes difficult to recruit new participants.

Ponzi Schemes

This type of scam involves a scammer collecting money from new investors and using it to pay purported returns to earlier-stage investors, rather than investing or managing the money as promised.

Ponzi schemes require a steady stream of cash to stay afloat. But unlike pyramid schemes, investors in a Ponzi scheme do not have to recruit new investors to earn a share of profit.

Ponzi schemes tend to collapse when the scammer can no longer attract new investors or when too many investors attempt to get their money out.

Forex Scam

A Forex scam offers investors the opportunity to invest in foreign exchange, but in the end, the money is used by those running the scheme. Sometimes the scammers steal the money to be able to maintain a lavish lifestyle, or they may lose it by making poor trading decisions.

Forex trading is high risk, so you have to be smart and sure of your investment decision.

How to Spot an Investment Scam

Scammers use different tactics to get people to invest their money. Here are some steps that you can take to help you spot an investment scam.

Verify their credentials

Don't fall for any title or proof of success. Scammers portray themselves as successful, hoping you won't bother checking their credentials.

Don't chase the quick gains

Be skeptical of investment pitches that guarantee a certain return or promise high profits. Remember, no salesperson can make those kinds of big promises. The reality is that every investment involves risk so don’t fall for these phantom riches that they promise you.

No one can guarantee a specific amount of the returns. Scammers might claim that you can make a huge amount per day or per month for life. But they don’t tell you the risks involved. After all, no one can really guarantee that an investment will be successful. Try to ask questions about the investment and see how vague their answers will be.

Ignore the success stories

Don't believe that everyone is in on the deal. Observe their sales pitch and check on how it focuses on how many people are investing, without telling you why the investment is worth-taking.

Remember also that statistics and testimonials can be faked. Scammers want you to believe their program is always successful so they might show reviews or client testimonials regarding the program and how these people made lots of money. But those could be paid and made-up reviews. Again, you have no way of confirming their stories.

Don’t be pressured to take the offer

Most scammers will tell you that the offer is for a limited time only, or that investment opportunities are limited - consider this a red flag. A legitimate investment will still be there tomorrow, or maybe the next couple of days.

Take time to research the offer. The scammers want you to think you’re one of the few lucky people who can get in on the program so they can rush you into making a decision. Don’t let them pressure you. Search for the name of the company online and read reviews and other relevant information. The experiences of other people, their comments, and complaints with the company can tip you off to possible problems.

Don’t feel obligated

Don't invest just because the seller gives you something or sends you a token or big discount. Salespeople usually use this tactic to make you feel guilty about buying what they are selling.

Feed yourself with information

Learn to spot the red flags of investment scam so you can protect yourself and your loved ones.

Consider the risk

Ask how much risk is involved. This is something that scammers usually avoid to mention or talk about. 

How to Avoid Financial Scams Online

Never Wire Money to a Stranger

At some point or another, you have probably received an odd email from a stranger telling you that there is a need to transfer money to a certain account. In return, he/she will reward you with thousands of money. All you need to do is transfer a certain amount to him/her.

Although it’s one of the oldest and most common internet scams, there are still people who fall for this tactic. No matter what the circumstances or claims are, never transfer money to a stranger, especially overseas, it could be really impossible to reverse the transaction or trace the money.

Never Give Out Financial Information

Do not give any sensitive financial information to a person or business that you don’t know, whether they reach out to you via phone, text or email.

Scammers will sometimes email or call you, claiming to be from a certain company, financial institution or government agency. They may say your account has been compromised or needs to be updated. Be mindful and never ever disclose any financial information.

Never Click on Hyperlinks

If you receive an email from anyone or a company asking you to click on a link or open an attachment, think twice before you do it or better yet delete the email immediately. You have to check the email and source. Even if the email appears to be from your bank or credit card company, it’s more likely a scam.

Use Difficult to Crack Passwords

Remember that hackers can easily crack passwords that are simple number combinations or related to your name. Use passwords that are at least eight characters long and that include a combination of some lower and upper case letters, numbers and special characters. It is also best to use a different password for every website you visit.

Install Antivirus and Spyware Protection on Your Computer

Protect your computer from any harm and keep your sensitive information stored safely on your computer by installing antivirus, firewall and spyware protection. Once you install the program, make sure to keep the software updated by turning on the auto-updating feature.

Don’t Shop With Unfamiliar Online Retailers

When it comes to online shopping, only do business with familiar and trusted companies. If you’re interested in purchasing a product from a new store or merchant, do some research to ensure the business is legit and trustworthy.

Don’t Download Software From Pop-Up Windows

When you’re online, be careful of pop-up windows that appear on your screen. Most of the time, clicking on the link in the pop-up will start the “system scan” or “malware” that could damage your operating system.

Make Sure the Websites You Visit Are Safe

Before you enter your financial information on any website, double-check the website you are visiting. Make sure that the website uses encryption, which is usually symbolized by a lock to the left of the web address. The lock indicates that the information you’re entering is safely encrypted and protected against hackers.

In this day and age, it seems like financial scams are common and are just around every corner - both online and offline. By following these tips, you can outsmart these scammers and protect yourself from any financial and investment harm.

Vista Residences is the condominium arm of the country’s largest homebuilder, Vista Land & Lifescapes, Inc., which offers ready for occupancy and pre-selling condominium projects in Manila and Quezon City that are strategically located within inner-city areas, in close proximity to premium universities and developed business districts.

At Vista Residences, unit owners can take advantage of the property’s centrality. The properties of Vista Residences are strategically located near the country’s premium universities and CBDs, making them an attractive investment for both local and foreign investors.

Vista Residences has ready for occupancy condo projects in Manila such as Vista Taft, Vista Heights, Vista GL Taft, 878 Espana, and Crown Tower University Belt. It also has pre selling projects in the said area which include Vista Recto, Plumeria Heights, Tennyson Heights, Bradbury Heights, Sky Arts Manila, and Kizuna Heights.

Meanwhile, its ready for occupancy projects in Quezon City include Wil Tower, the Symphony Towers, Pine Crest, and Vista 309 Katipunan. It also has pre selling condo projects in the said city such as Hawthorne Heights and Vista Pointe.

Living in Vista Residences enables you to enjoy convenience, where everything is pretty much within walking distance or a few minutes away from the property; comfort because the project features and amenities are designed to deliver comfort at all times, which makes condo living a worthy investment; security that is 24/7 and CCTV monitoring, which makes the residents safe and secure within the property.

In line with Vista Residences’ thrust to offer convenience among its residents, it also features an AllDay Convenience Store and Coffee Project in all its projects.

Vista Residences is part of Vista Land’s roster of condominium brands that cater to millennials and young professionals. The other vertical brands include Camella Manors, COHO, and Crown Asia.

For more information on Vista Residences, email [email protected], follow @VistaResidencesOfficial on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, or call the Marketing Office at 0999 886 4262 / 0917 582 5167.