Personal Wealth Management / Expert Commentary
Fisher Investments Shares Tips for Protecting Yourself from Financial Scams and Fraud
Financial scams and fraud are becoming increasingly commonplace. The following article shares some important reminders on how you can better protect yourself and loved ones. Fisher Investments believes educating yourself and taking proper precautions can significantly lower the risk of falling victim to financial fraud.
For more information, you can also listen to a podcast we published on the topic: Fisher Investments - Protecting Your Family From Financial Scams – Jan. 2022
How to Identify a Potential Financial Scam or Fraud
While scams come in many forms (phone, email, social media, etc.), Fisher Investments has found that most have three common characteristics:
- Unsolicited – Many scams start with a communication you didn’t initiate—often in the form of “spam” emails, uninvited social media messages or phone calls. Scammers can use these platforms to reach many people, in the hope that just one will find an unsuspecting victim.
- Unexpected – Scams can also arrive unexpectedly from seemingly legitimate sources. Some may even appear to come from a company, charity or person you know. For example, a company with which you do business contacts you and asks for personal information such as a credit card number or account number they should already have. Or to authorize a transaction that you didn’t initiate.
- Urgently asking you to do something – Scammers know the more time you have to think about what they are asking you to do, the more you are likely to suspect something. That’s why they typically introduce urgency into their communications in an attempt to get you to act without thinking.
Tips to Protect Yourself
- Be overly cautious
- Don’t reply to unsolicited emails, phone calls or text messages.
- Don’t click on web links or open attachments in unexpected or suspicious emails.
- When in doubt, visit a company’s website directly or call their verified customer service line.
- Look for red flags
- Promises of quick, guaranteed returns—with little or no risk—are usually too good to be true, in Fisher Investments’ experience. While scammers may use various tactics, fraudulent schemes involving cryptocurrency or other digital assets are increasingly common.
- Grammatical errors and spelling mistakes in written communications are common scam hallmarks.
- Be wary if a sender’s email address doesn’t match whom they purport to be. If someone is soliciting an investment in securities, consider using investor.gov to verify their registration.
- Testimonials or reviews may be fake or come from biased sources. Don’t rely solely on reviews or testimonials when making investment decisions.
A Few Additional Reminders
- Fisher Investments employees will never call or e-mail to ask for sensitive information like your passwords or information we should already know—such as account numbers.
- Fisher Investments does not offer exclusive access to shares in initial public offerings (IPOs) or private equity investments.
- If you are uncertain a communication or request from Fisher Investments is legitimate, please contact us as soon as possible using the information listed here.
See Our Investment Guides
The world of investing can seem like a giant maze. Fisher Investments has developed several informational and educational guides tackling a variety of investing topics.