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Investments are the lifeblood of your financial plan. Your investments secure your future, allowing you to retire with dignity and build wealth for your loved ones. So why would you ever place these vital funds in the hands of someone you can’t trust? This is not a good plan. But, sadly, it’s a reality for some people.
You need to take every precaution to avoid con men like Bernie Madoff, who recently made national news for skimming billions of dollars from his unsuspecting clients. When you play with snakes—even if you don’t realize they are snakes—you will get bit.
So how do you protect yourself from becoming a victim of investment fraud?
Local experts you can trust.Find an ELP
A scammer will dodge your questions or offer vague and unsatisfactory answers. It’s your money, so don’t be afraid to be inquisitive.
Keep an eye on your investments. Now, this doesn’t mean checking them every day. But open your mail and follow up with your investment professional. The more disengaged you are from your money, the more likely you are to fall victim to fraud.
Hire an advisor you can trust.
You want an investment professional with the heart of a teacher. If he isn’t willing to answer your questions—or explain things in simple terms—then fire him and move on to someone else. It’s hard to trust someone who doesn’t have time for you.
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Make sure the money you invest is paid to the mutual fund company, not your advisor.
There is never a reason you should make a check payable to your advisor. Bernie Madoff wore both hats in his clients’ transactions, as advisor and owner of the mutual fund company. That is a big reason why he was able to get away with so much.
If you’ll take a few precautions before you invest, you can significantly reduce the likelihood of becoming a fraud victim. You work too hard for your money to allow some lazy and corrupt investment advisor to steal from your retirement.
Be diligent. Find someone you can trust. Then let your money work for you.
If you’re in need of an advisor, contact an investing Endorsed Local Provider (ELP). ELPs are researched and hand-picked by Dave’s team. Plus each ELP’s performance is reviewed every month.