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Be Wary of Financial Fraud this Christmas

‘Tis the season to be jolly, not depressed and shedding tears of frustration. Ensure you are guarded against financial fraud and scams. Did you know that many victims of investment fraud are people whom you would least expect? Among those who have been defrauded are professionals and persons who have some familiarity with financial products.

One of the most popular scams that is gaining traction in Trinidad and Tobago is identity fraud. Con artists target millions of victims on the internet by posing as alias businesses and names, and sending out emails aimed at coercing you into revealing your financial information. Another popular scam is the ‘Boiler Room Scam’ where you get a phone call from a random individual offering you a ‘chance of a lifetime’ to make lots of money.  As long as new people keep buying, the value of the stock goes up.  Eventually people stop buying and start selling and the stock price falls because it had no real value. You end up losing all of your money. I’m sure this is not how you would like to spend your holiday.

So the question now is, how do you protect yourself?

The first things you need to ask yourself are:

  • Are these securities registered with the Trinidad and Tobago Securities and Exchange Commission?
  • Is the salesperson a registered broker/dealer’s representative with the Trinidad and Tobago Securities and Exchange Commission?
  • Who are these sellers and how long have they been in business?
  • Where is the business located?
  • Who are the owners in the business?
  • Have there been any complaints filed against the companies or the owners, or lawsuits filed by other investors?
  • Is a prospectus about the investment available from the company before you invest? If not, why?

Here are some of the things, a fraudster/conman WILL NOT tell you.

  1. “Here is the website and phone number for the agency that regulates this business. Check with them before you decide”

The LAST thing fraudsters want you to do is to check their background. Do not proceed if the person or business entity does not appear in a database where he/it should be registered. The TTSEC is the regulator for the securities industry in Trinidad and Tobago therefore we urge you to visit our website to verify the validity of the product and the seller, before parting with your hard earned money.

  1. “Why don’t you ask a professional within the industry or someone you know, to review or give you feedback on this financial opportunity?”

You will probably never hear a fraudster recommend that you get a second opinion from an independent person that they don’t know. They would not want to risk someone else seeing through their schemes and telling you not to participate.

  1. “You know, fraud costs unsuspecting persons thousands of dollars every year.”

A fraudster would never hint that the easy riches that they promised, come with some level of risk.



The Trinidad and Tobago Securities and Exchange Commission (TTSEC) 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 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 learn more, visit www.investucatett.com , follow us on Facebook or call 624 2991. If you have any questions or comments feel free to email us at ccei@ttsec.org.tt.