Whether you own a startup that’s in need of funding, or you’re an investor looking for a great business idea to support, investment fraud is a constant risk. Even individuals with no interest in business often get swindled out of their money by false Princes and fake lotteries.
Believe it or not, in many of these instances, the best case scenario is you lose a few dollars and regret it for the rest of your life. The worst case scenario might involve criminal charges and losing a fortune.
So, here are some tips to help you protect yourself from predators looking for unsuspecting prey.
Protect your Information Online
The more accessible your personal information is online, the more likely you are to become a target of fraudulent activities. This could range from your credit score to your email and phone number. If you work in a field where sharing personal information online is necessary, then be knowledgable of the risks that come with sharing that information, and stay vigilant for crooks who may come calling.
Do Your Own Research
Why take their word for it? Do your own research. What is the name of the company? Check out their website. Look for them in the news. What have they been sued for, lately? What do employees have to say about the company on sites like Glassdoors?
Look out for Low Risks for Big Returns
If it sounds too good to be true, it almost always is. Building a business and growing a fortune takes time, effort, and investment. If someone offers you a business venture that includes none or very little of these, it’s likely fraud.
Make an Informed Decision
Sometimes when opportunity knocks, siezing it immediately becomes the difference between success and failure. However, if someone presents a business venture that requires investment now or never, stall for time. Speak to your accountant, to a financial adviser, or even family members. Get a second opinion, and make an informed decision.
Report Fraudulent Activities
If you or someone you know has been the victim of fraudulent activities in America, report it to the IRS. The IRS takes these cases so seriously that they now offer an award for whisteblowers. For more information, visit usa.gov.
About the Author
Alexis Chateau is the Founder and Managing Director at Alexis Chateau PR. She is an activist, writer, and explorer. Follow her stories of trial and triumph at www.alexischateau.com.