It’s very common to see on TV or on the Internet the many stories about people falling victim to investment scams. Scammers target everyone, but often they focus on OFWs and other individuals who are looking to invest part of their hard-earned savings. Many of them are working extra hard these days to capture a piece of the bonus pie that many workers are earning at yearend.
The SEC, BSP, and other agencies and institutions have issued enough warnings to the public for their safety. It will not hurt to go the extra mile before putting any amount of money into any kind of investment, be it millions of pesos or just a thousand.
Don’t shortcut the process because even if you are excited to start the business, there are steps that need to be taken before making any payment. For example, verifications or double-checking/background checking. Find out if the company is registered, and get all the relevant information about the organization—owners, reviews/feedback, ROI, address, and so on.
Sometimes, we would receive cold calls or proposals from out of the blue—be wary. Unsolicited or unexpected contact via SMS, e-mail, social media, etc., is usually something to be careful about. There are people who simply don’t take calls from numbers they don’t recognize.
Never divulge personal information, including bank or credit card details, to people you don’t trust, even if they sound legit. More importantly, never send money anywhere without verifying the details of the receiver and the transaction itself. Sometimes, your entire bank account is compromised if you go into certain questionable transactions.
With the proliferation of online businesses these days, it can be quite challenging to tell apart the reputable ones from the scammers. Take the time to check their service history, read the feedback and reviews from real customers, and try to learn to spot fake reviews from legitimate ones.
This is a cliché but it’s sound—if it’s too good to be true, then it probably is. Don’t believe offers of easy ROI, unbelievably high return rates, and fantastic success stories. Wise investors already know that there is really no shortcut to success.
If a company has changed its name for no big reason, or if a company doesn’t have a physical office, then it’s a red flag. If it uses a recruitment model or scheme (e.g., double your money when you recruit five investors), be careful. Or if you are presented with a complicated investment plan, don’t readily jump on it. Of course, these are just warning signs; just be careful when you encounter these situations.
A final note: diversify your investments. You can reduce risks this way and increase the possibility of greater profitability. If you happen to put everything into an illegitimate investment, then you will also lose everything when you get scammed.