It does not matter if you’re a seasoned investor or just starting out, anyone can fall victim to scam artists and fraudsters. Here are some guidelines to help you make more informed decisions and avoid scams.
- Ensure your investment in securities is secure. Securities offered to the public must be registered with the Trinidad and Tobago Securities and Exchange Commission (TTSEC). Registration is important because it provides investors access to key information about the company’s management, products, services, and finances. Always check whether the securities are registered with the TTSEC by checking its website at ttsec.org.tt.
- Always consult a registered investment adviser before investing. Do your research and find out all you can about the background of an investment professional. Investment advisers are registered with the TTSEC and this list is available at ttsec.org.tt
- Promises of high returns with little or no risk are classic warning signs of fraud. Every investment carries some degree of risk and the potential for greater returns comes with greater risk. Report any suspicious offerings or activity to the TTSEC via our online formal complaint form located on our website, or call 624-2995. You can also write to:
The Chief Executive Officer
Trinidad and Tobago Securities and Exchange Commission
57-59 Dundonald Street, Port of Spain
- Be careful when using social media as an investment tool. Social media and the Internet have become important tools for investors. Investors may use social media to research particular stocks, look up background information on a broker-dealer or investment adviser, find guidance on investing strategies, receive up-to-date news, and discuss the markets with others. However while social media can provide many benefits for investors, it also presents opportunities for fraudsters to spread false or misleading information about a stock to large numbers of people with minimum effort and at a relatively low cost. Fraudsters can also conceal their true identities by acting anonymously or even impersonating credible sources of market information. One way fraudsters may exploit social media is to engage in market manipulation, such as disseminating inaccurate information about a company to affect the share price. Wrongdoers may perpetuate stock rumours on social media, as well as on online bulletin boards and in Internet chat rooms.
- Be alert to affinity fraud. Affinity frauds target members of identifiable groups, such as the elderly, religious or ethnic communities, or the military. Even if you know the person making the investment offer, be sure to check out the investment and the person’s background – no matter how trustworthy the person seems or how well you think you know them.
- Diversification can help reduce the overall risk to an investment portfolio. By picking the right mix of investments, you may be able to limit your losses and reduce the fluctuations of your investment returns without sacrificing too much in potential gains. Some investors find that it is easier to achieve diversification through ownership of mutual funds, rather than through ownership of individual stocks or bonds.
- Unbiased resources are available to help individuals make informed investing decisions. Whether checking the background of an investment professional, researching an investment, or learning about new products or scams, unbiased information can be a significant advantage for investing wisely.
Visit the Trinidad and Tobago Securities and Exchange Commission’s corporate website at ttsec.org.tt or our investor education website at investucatett.com for more information on the securities industry.
The Trinidad and Tobago Securities and Exchange Commission is not an investment adviser nor is it a brokerage house. This article is intended solely to provide you with the information you need to help you make sound investment decisions and to ensure that you are familiar with and understand your rights and responsibilities as a consumer of financial services. To lodge a complaint, ensure that you complete the prescribed complaint form located on the TTSEC website www.ttsec.org.tt.
Before investing, educate and empower yourself!
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