WASHINGTON, July 20, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Do you use or have you ever considered using a financial advisor to help you make money decisions? Before you turn over your hard-earned cash, you can learn the signs of investment fraud and find out how to check the background of your financial advisor.
Here are some tips from USA.gov:
1. Be wary of common fraud phrases
Pay attention if an investment advisor or promoter uses the following vocabulary:
- risk free
- guaranteed earnings
- quick profits
- the investment is government approved
- limited-time offers
2. Check the background of your financial professional
Looking into the background of a financial advisor is one of the most important steps an investor can take toward protecting their assets.
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) recently launched SmartCheck.gov to help you check the background of financial professionals. It is an easy and free tool, requiring no usernames or passwords.
3. Research and report investment fraud
You can find information on brokers or file complaints with a few sources:
- The Securities and Exchange Commission: SEC takes questions or complaints concerning violation of federal securities laws.
- The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority: FINRA accepts complaints about brokers and their firms.
- State Consumer Protection Offices: Each state has its own laws and regulations for securities brokers and securities. Security administrators or state commissions can determine if a broker or company has violated their securities laws and provide information to help you make informed investment decisions.
If you would like financial compensation for your losses, you may want to seek legal action or go through a dispute resolution program.
To learn more about recognizing investment fraud and researching your financial advisor, watch the recording of a Google Hangout with the editor-in-chief of the Consumer Action Handbook and a CFTC representative.