According to a report by CNA in October 2019, over 3,951 cases of scams were reported during the period of January to June 2019 alone, with a total loss of S$83.1 million*. These scams can come in many different forms, but there are many tell-tale signs that make it easy to spot one. Look out for these 3 red flags before making the decision to part with your hard-earned money.
Too good to be true
Ever heard of an investment plan that sounds too good to be true? It probably is. Get-rich-quick schemes, such as the Ponzi or Pyramid schemes, promise high returns to its investors at little to no risk. These ‘returns’ are actually money received from earlier investors, and once these funds dry up, the schemes typically unravel.
Warning Sign: One tell-tale sign is when the income you’re promised is based on the number of people you recruit, and not upon the sale of products to customers.
Sometimes, the person doing the selling won’t even know that they’re selling a fraudulent product, being yet another victim in a larger scheme of things. Many fraud victims actually base their decisions on the advice of a relative or friend, so make sure you do your own research!
Pushy persuasion tactics
If an investment seller is hesitant to share additional information or risks, and uses hard-sell tactics, you may want to steer clear. Instead of disclosing the truth, these fraudsters can use different persuasion tactics to get you involved in their schemes. This can include cold-calling and purporting to be from a reputable institution. They then try to set up a face-to-face meeting, asking you personal questions and trying to persuade you to commit with limited time offers.
Warning Sign: Be wary of any sellers who avoid providing information in writing. Conduct your own research and bring along an acquaintance when agreeing to meet in person.
Unregulated or unregistered sellers or products
There are plenty of investment companies and advisors out there. However, all financial planners, advisers or agents are required to be licensed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) under the Financial Advisers Act (FAA). Make sure the individual you’re meeting is licensed.
What Can You Do: Protect yourself and stand guarded against potential scams by being vigilant and doing your research on the individual, company and product.
This article is brought to you by CIMB as part of our ongoing efforts to raise the level of financial literacy amongst Singaporeans. Financial knowledge and understanding are key to making well-informed and meaningful financial decisions that will improve everyone’s well-being. This in turn, achieves CIMB’s purpose of advancing customers and society.