Fisher Investments’ Advice on Protecting Yourself Against Financial Scams and Fraud
Financial scams and fraud are an increasing threat globally. Today, scammers are using increasingly sophisticated and devious methods to defraud people of their money or steal important personal information. However, there are important steps you can take to protect yourself from financial scams and fraud.
Here are some tips from Fisher Investments to help you spot and guard against financial scams and fraud.
Fisher Investments Scam-Prevention Tip #1: Learn the 3 Common Traits of Scams and Fraud
Today, scams come in many forms (phone, text message, email, social media, etc.), but almost all have three common characteristics:
- Unsolicited – Many scams start with a communication you didn’t initiate, frequently in the form of emails or social media messages. Scammers often use these platforms to send thousands of messages at once, hoping that just one will trick an unsuspecting victim.
- Unexpected – Scams can 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 an account number they should already have.
- Urgently asking you to do something – Scammers often create false urgency. They know that the more time you have to think and do your due diligence, the more you are likely to suspect something. That’s why scammers regularly use messages about “financial penalties” that require urgent action to avoid. Some scammers offer prizes or seemingly lucrative “investment opportunities” if you act right away. Remember, legitimate businesses will give you time to make an educated, informed decision.
Fisher Investments Scam-Prevention Tip #2: Be Overly Cautious
A little prevention can go a long way to help protect yourself and your family from scams and fraud.
- 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.
- Don’t allow an unknown company or person to have remote access to your computer.
- When in doubt, log in directly to a company’s website or call their verified customer service line.
Fisher Investments Scam-Prevention Tip #3: Look for Red Flags
Many scams have telltale signs that can help you see through their lies.
- If an offer seems “too good to be true,” it usually is! Be careful of claims that provide you “discounts,” “free money,” or investments that have “huge upside and no risk!” Claims like these are hallmarks of fraud.
- Scammers may be technically savvy, but they’re often poor writers and not detail oriented. Look for grammatical errors and spelling mistakes in their communications. If they provide you with documentation—look at it carefully. Does it seem hastily made? Does it seem befitting the organization they are purportedly from? Although not always perfect indicators, these can be signs of scams.
- Be wary if a sender’s email address doesn’t match whom they appear to be. Especially if the sender claims to be a business, but uses email accounts from Yahoo, Gmail, or any free email provider.
- Scam emails and text messages are often sent to multiple people. Be on guard if you see the message was sent to various, unrelated people.
- Pay attention to URLs in any emails or text messages before clicking on them. Does the URL seem legitimate? Does it actually direct you to a legitimate business website?
- When you do click on URLs, look at the address bar in your internet browser. If you see an address that begins with HTTPS, you’re on a page that prevents communications from being intercepted and read by unauthorized third parties. If the address begins with just HTTP, don’t enter any personal information—it’s not secure.
- Any mention of gift cards as a method of payment should make you immediately suspicious. Legitimate financial transactions don’t use gift cards.
Fisher Investments Scam-Prevention Protocols
Fisher Investments employees will never call or email asking for sensitive information like account numbers, passwords, etc. Where we do require sensitive information from you, we will use secure means to collect it.
Lastly, note that we do not offer any sort of discount share-purchase programs, initial public offerings (IPOs), private equity investments, or “credit notes.”
While scams happen every day, Fisher Investments believes that educating yourself and taking the proper precautions may reduce the likelihood of affecting you and your family. You may find the following resources helpful for more information on staying safe from financial scams and fraud.
- Securities and Exchange Commission’s Investor.gov – What you can do to avoid investment fraud
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – Lean more about popular frauds, scams and how to protect yourself
- Federal Trade Commission – Identity theft
- Federal Bureau of Investigation – Scams and safety
- United States Secret Service – Protecting yourself
Verify a Communication from Fisher Investments
If you are uncertain if a communication or request that appears to come from Fisher Investments is legitimate, please contact us by filling out the form below.