Recently the Illinois Secretary of State, Jesse White, unveiled a new website designed to inform consumers about investment fraud, with a clear emphasis on prevention through education. The site is full of good information and advice no matter where you live.
The site features a series of videos, including one in Spanish, urging people to take steps such as investigate before they invest and question and verify information. There are also useful, if brief, videos about con artists and some of their tactics, and links to downloadable publications from the North American Securities Administrators Association. One of these clarifies the differences between financial professionals, their fiduciary responsibility (if any), and how they get paid.
Of particular interest is the publication called “Investment Guide for Illinois Consumers.” This 21 page downloadable guide includes much helpful information, and even gives a 2-page guide to taking notes when you talk to your broker. I also appreciated the additional 2 pages on common securities scams.
For those of you who don’t live in Illinois, your state’s Attorney General or Secretary of State is most often the public official whose office is the place to go for help with investment and securities scams. If you have questions or are not sure about something, always remember the third R of scam prevention: Reach Out to Check it Out, no matter where you live.