How To Spot A Financial Scam

How To Spot A Financial Scam

Investors have always had to be savvy, because there are just as many if not more fast-talkers and smooth operators out there who are more than willing to trick you out of your hard-earned money. While common sense (cold calls from a company that does not sound familiar) and a logical approach to investing can help you avoid being taken advantage of, there are other signs that a scam is in the works.

Many financial scams are perpetrated over the phone, many of which use call centers to spread their ill intentions. Listen for the hum or background murmur associated with call center lines. Another telling and awkward sign is when they refer to you by your full name, which suggests your information came from a list the caller is just going down one-by-one. Listen for the ever-popular flattery of being part of a “special group” or one of “a select few” the caller is authorized to discuss this offer with. Questions like the amount you want to invest initially are often asked, as well as the promise to send email confirmations with more information including the next steps to take or “what we will need from you next”. It is a script, no doubt about it. If you show the vaguest interest, the caller will attempt to transfer you to his manager or “department head” in an attempt to give the scam a shred of credibility. A quick online search to review the calling company’s accreditations are the fastest way to confirm what you (hopefully) already knew and hang up.

An excellent way to avoid or immediately spot scams like these is by becoming a CPA. CPA’s or certified public accountants, differ from typical accountants in that they are able to conduct auditing and other financial functions because they have passed the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination as well as the requirements of the state they work in. The stigma attached with accounting has been that it is dull work with numbers and spreadsheets. This is not necessarily the case. In fact, while many people believe accounting simply consists of crunching numbers, the term accounting is quite broad and offers careers in offering tax advice, consulting, and estate planning. If we take a look back to the beginning of this article, and the detection of scams, CPA’s can also focus on forensic accounting, a vein of accounting that entails monitoring financial frauds and scams, not only be investigating them, but finding new ways to prevent people from being affected by them. There will always be people out there looking for new ways or rehashing old ways to swindle others out of money, which makes being a CPA not as dull as one might initially believe.

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