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Investment Scams, is it common in today's environment?

How do we avoid investment scams during this COVID-19 pandemic when everybody is desperate to make more money?

With this COVID-19 pandemic creating havoc in everyone's life and businesses,

  • most people are affected badly,
  • some even lost their earning power,
  • some are short of financial resources and desperate to find ways to increase their income.

What people will do in desperate situation?

  • Some people are looking at ways to earn a living,
  • or improve their income,
  • others will think of investing in some financial instrument,
  • they hope this will be the way to go and earn more income.

Why do people invest?

With the bank interest rate at all time low, people will believe putting their money in the bank will not give a good return.

Human being by its nature, will always look for high return on investment.

Hence we will tend to look at investment instrument to boost up our returns and make more money.

Therefor in the eagerness to go after high returns on investment, people tend to forget the basic rules of investment.

The saying of Too Good To Be True especially those schemes which promised return of investment of more than 10% per month.

Some reports of the Investment scams and their methods

In the News published by The Straits Times of Singapore on 3rd April 2021,  under the heading - Promised Big Returns, Only To Leave Many High And Dry.

The Straits Times reported that a total of 15,756 scams in 2020,  and one of the scams involved cryptocurrency trading platform.

There are quite a few such platforms in Singapore.

MAS - The Central Bank of Singapore, more commonly known as Monetary Authority Of Singapore, does not regulated some of the platforms of cryotocurrency.

Even the Prime Minister of Singapore also said in his Facebook page that some platforms used his profile, see the link .

You can see those scammers will take whatever actions and tricks they can, in order to get people to invest in their platform.

Every day, we can read about people being scammed, and with internet now more popular, and easily accessible in everywhere, it is even easier for scammers to take advantage of human greed and cash in on this.

How do we detect and learn how to spot investment scams?

You may want to consider the following points:

1. Risk Factor

Every investment carries risk, and if someone tells you, what they offer do not have risk or very low risk, go back to the basic motto of investing -- Too Good To Be True.

What do you need to do when you come across such a plan?

  • With internet and other resources, if one come across such an investment plan,
  • do carry out your due diligence and research,
  • especially for those investments plan, which claim to offer very good return with low or no risk.
  • If this is being offered online,
  • you can not even meet up with the promoter of the plan.

it is advisable to just drop this plan.

2. Prove of track records

When someone promote their investment to you, and claimed they can generate good and high returns,

Please carry out the following steps to check

  • do ask them to show documentary proof,
  • that they themselves have used the same plan,
  • and generated so much profit,
  • Meanwhile to make sure the proof being shown are statement from a Trading House or Bank,
  • which showed the promoter account with the transactions,
  • if the promoter of the investment plan is not willing to provide such a proof of track records,
  • hence, it is advisable to walk away from such investment plan.

3. Regulatory Framework

For any investment scheme, we need to ask the following questions:

  • Is the scheme is approved and monitored by the Center Bank of the country?
  • where the investment plan is originated, are there any chances the scheme is a scam?
  • even if it is not a scam, can the investors get back their money?
  • Moreover, Is the investment money protected?
  • What happen in the event the investment go south and fail to generated the returns as promised?

4. Guaranteed Returns and Investment

If the investment plan promised guaranteed return and investment amount is protected, all the more we need to carry out a thorough due diligence.

  • Check with the relevant authority of the authenticity of the plan,
  • Who are the people behind the plan,
  • Are they on the white list or not.

5. Influence Tactics

Some plan will always tell you the offer is expiring in one or two days,  if you do not take advantage of it, you will lose a lucrative return or discounts being offered, which on the surface of it, look like a good bargain if you invest now and can get an even higher return than promised.

This tactic is to take advantage of human perception that scarce opportunity is a good item, and should take advantage of it.

6. Referral Scheme.

Some investments scheme offer referral scheme, that is, if you bring in certain investors, the platform will reward you some monetary rewards, or certain percentage of the invested amount of the investors you bring in to the plan or scheme.

It is quite unusual for any scheme to offer commission to investors who bring in investors to the scheme, if it is a legitimate scheme, all they need to do is to just publish a prospectus and let those who are interested to invest in, no need to incur additional cost for the plan.

7. What Are Available For Investor To Verify.

In Singapore, one can always go to Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) website to check on the validity of the investor plan, and if it is an oversea plan, they always search on the net with website like the SEC alert list such as .

1. https://www.investor.gov/introduction-investing/general-resources/news-alerts/alerts-bulletins/investor-alerts/investment-0

2. https://www.usa.gov/scams-and-frauds

These are just some issues about investors scam which we should be aware of.

You only live once, thus, it is important that we do not waste our life savings to scammers, in our eagerness to generate more returns on our investment.

Investment scams

To understand more on what we can do to detect fraud and scams, perhaps you want to learn HERE

if you have any ideas or wish to share your experience, do share it below in the comments section below.

What Is Investment?

Investment, a word which make a lot of people think, this is how to have more money, and is the way to have more money and gain some income.

When Did Scammers Strike?

However, a lot of people have not been successful in their investment, especially during depressing environment, be it business, economic, health whatever.

Consequently a lot of people, in their desperation, try all sorts of investment methods, and ways just try to make money or recoup whatever is lost.

And this is the time, crooks and scammers thrive on human greed, and take full advantage of the vulnerability of human, as a result of which, this further make the investors lost more instead of recouping their losses.

According to Federal Trade Commission in its report stated that in 2020, they received more than 2.2 million reports about fraud, and about $3.3 billion was lost, you can read more about this in here.

Why People Fell To Scammers?

The problem is a lot of people think it will not happen to us, just like a lot of people think, they will not be infected with COVID-19 virus, even though they do not take the basic precaution, like wearing masks or wash hands often. If we have this assumption, and lay down our guard, or get greedy with some money making opportunity, we may regret our action later.

The crooks and scammers are much more sophisticated, with their intelligence, just wonder why don't they put their skills to good use, maybe they find it easier to scam, and con people, so they can make a lot of money.

So what are the usual or the latest tricks these scammers employed?

1. Too good to be true investment platform

A lot of times, some platforms claim they can generate return on investment way above the norm.

Some investors tend to believe this lucrative returns, and decide to invest, only to find out later it is just another Ponzi Scheme in operation.

Most of the time, investors do not bother to carry out some due diligence and find out more about the platform before investing.

2. You are approached to invest in certain investment plan.

When someone approach you and tell you, that he has a fantastic investment scheme, whereby, if you invest, you are able to make a lot of money, this is actually a red flag for you.

You should raise doubt about this too good to be true investment plan, sadly, a lot of people decide not to take more action to find out more about the scheme.

3. Use of the latest technology

Scammer usually have the following in their website:

  • Videos about their products or investment plan.
  • Testimonies in video presentation from supposedly successful investors who reap huge and handsome returns.

Upon seeing the videos, some people tend to believe the investment plan is genuine.

They will think this investment product can be trusted, unaware the crooks have created the videos just to impress people.

If one bother to check and do more research, they will find out similar videos have been shown in other investment plan too.

4, The Truth Secret of the Successful Investment Plan

If a marketer wants you to invest in the product he is promoting, and claimed that his method and technology is more advance and easier to make profit,.

What will you do?
  • Do you believe in him and jump in and give him money to invest for you?
  • Did you ask him what his secret is?
  • How is his method successful?
  • Whether he can show some proof to substantiate his claim?

If he refuses to show you some concrete evidence, that by using his method or technology, you can reap handsome profit in investment, you need to raise red flag, and be alarm of possible fraud and scam

5. The Most Vulnerable Group

Which is the most vulnerable group for investment fraud?

The group which is more prone to financial fraud, is the retiree group with huge sum of money, as they tend to make payment for one lump sum distribution.

We need to educate those retirees:

  • Not to hand over their money to someone,
  • Wary of some one who claim can help them to grow their money.

Fraudsters are good at evoking emotion, especially among the older retirees, to hand over their money in dubious decision-making.

6. Is there a thing called Secret Formula in investment?

if someone approach you to invest with him, claiming he has invented a secret formula in investment, and sure make money.

Before you jump into the opportunity, do the following:

  • Do ask him to show some hard evidence his secret formula has generated huge profit for him.
  • Ask him to show his trading records,
  • bank accounts statement showing he has made so much money
  • using his so called secret formula.

If he fails to do so, or is not willing to do so.

This is the sign  you should just walk away from him.

7. Awareness of possible fraud.

The moment we accept the fact that we all are at risk to fraud, be financial, or otherwise, then we can safely say, we are at least at a certain level of awareness.

Who are the vulnerable group?
  • People who believe they are not vulnerable to frauds, and
  • these are the people who most likely fall into the trap,
  • After all they are not going to take necessary steps to protect themselves,
  • they are not aware and alert of fraud.

8. When Do Fraud Happen?

Fraud cases happen now and then.

It is more severe and rampant during crisis or disasters.

For example, the current COVID-19 Pandemic which has affected people from all walks of life, with people losing jobs,  businesses badly affected and forced to close.

When do fraudsters strike?
  • When people in general are eager to generate income,
  • In order to ease the financial strain.

9. Have some knowledge especially financial knowledge to be aware of fraud

Nothing beat having the knowledge, and able to identify possible fraud.

As mentioned by one expert, she said “Prior knowledge about fraud, even generally, is particularly helpful in avoiding victimization,” .

You can learn more about what she said in HERE. 

If you want to learn more about detection of investment fraud, click HERE

If you have any comments and feedback, do give your opinion in the comments below.

2

There are so many Binary Options platforms out there, and most of the Binary Option claimed that you can use that to get rich fast!!!.

The platform is cashing in on the human greed, to lure people to the platform, basing on the basic human desire of Who Does Not Want To Get Rich.

How many people have been using Binary Options?

and learned a painful lesson that they will never forget?

There are Binary Options who claimed you can make a lot of money, and easy to get your investment back.

FREEBIE IN BINARY OPTION

Some Binary Options even provide one for one investment.

  • That is if you invest USD $2,000,
  • they will top up the account with USD $2,000 and
  • you have $ 4,000 Capital to trade using Binary Option,

What did not the platform administrator tell you in the beginning?

  • if you take the option of getting the free top up,
  • you are not able to withdraw your initial Capital,
  • until you make certain numbers of transactions.

In the internet, there are so many advertisements about Binary Option, and video showing how people have made a million within a short time, using the same actors or actress to lure you to believe this is THE WAY to make money.

photo by Chee Shi

WHAT IS BINARY OPTION?

According to Wikipedia definition

"A binary option is a financial exotic option in which the payoff is either some fixed monetary amount or nothing at all.[1][2]

The two main types of binary options are:

  • the cash-or-nothing binary option and
  • the asset-or-nothing binary option

The former pays some fixed amount of cash if the option expires in-the-money.

While the latter pays the value of the underlying security.

They are also called all-or-nothing options, digital options, (more common in forex/interest rate markets), and fixed return options (FROs) (on the American Stock Exchange)  "

So in layman term:

  • it is a yes or no, and
  • head and tail type of game,
  • it is like a game of chance, right or wrong.

When you want to find out more about the platform, initially, the customer service is so friendly and helpful.

However when you are winning using the Binary Option, they will have people making calls to you.

They are so eager to show you how to make more money, and encourage you to trade more, and in no time, you find out your winnings are gone.

As a result of which, they will call you to put in more money and tell you again, if you put in USD $5,000, they will top up USD $ 5,000 and here you are, you have now USD $ 10,000 to trade.

What Do Binary Option Platform Offer in Their Website?

Some websites even offered training on trading of binary option, and claimed to provide good trading support.

A lot of these websites even claimed to offer good tips, and sure win trade if you pay certain amounts of money.

Therefore I would suggest if you really want to trade binary option, do so with the local platform.

Where you can meet the administrator of the platform in person, and understand more about their operation.

Even that also may not be good enough, however do trade with good conscience.

DO YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE DEALING WITH IN BINARY OPTION?

The main issue is -- the trader does not know who he is trading with, and how many players/traders are involving in this platform.

For all you know, you may be trading with the platform's software, and the platform operator is manipulating you.

You may think what  you see on screen is the real trade in the financial market.

Actually  there may be some lag in the data, which indicates you may be trading with the platform back end, who is just eating up your money/capital slowly.

WHAT HAPPENED IF YOU GUESSED RIGHT AND WIN?

If you happened to trade right and win, then the customer service will call you the next day, and tell you to trade more or play more.

Depending on what you are trading, whether it is forex, stock, indices or metals.

Someone will call and tell you that they have done some research, and it is a good time to do certain trades, and they would guide you and so on.

The next thing was you realize after a few trades, you have lost all your previous winnings money,.

Since the trades were for few minutes, you would know your trade results within minutes, and

Then they would call and advised you to bet in certain amount as the probability was higher with higher amount and so on.

WHAT HAPPENED IF YOU WANTED TO CASH OUT YOUR WINNINGS?

When you called or log in to your account, and indicated you wanted to withdraw your winning, you would not get any reply at all.

subsequently when you called or emailed them, they would inform that since you had taken the top up from the platform, you could not withdraw your winnings.

because they said you had not done enough trade transactions

They would ask you to continue trading, and you soon knew the game was a scam ,as there was no chance you could win, since it was just a program set up by them to ensure you put in money.

Are Binary Options Regulated?

If you go to their websites, that they claimed that the authorities in their country of residence are regulating their platform.

What are the tricks of the fraudsters?

  • They offered you to check their credential with the relevant authorities,
  • however, if you really check and read the reviews by some other who always monitor the scam and fraud,
  • you would find that a lot of them are really scam, and
  • operated by some fraudsters
  • who hide behind the internet and computer to thrive on human nature of greed of money and get rich quick.

Binary Option

Conclusion

If you really want to trade:

  • do so with the local platform
  • where you can meet up with the administrator and
  • with a company in your location, and
  • understand their operation and get some assurance and
  • check with the local relevant regulatory authorities.

If you are not good in financial market, do stay away from this instrument.

It will be better to trade in something which you know well, instead of looking for some quick short term gain.

If you have any questions or wish to share your experience on this topic.

Please feel free to leave your comments, questions and your experience in the feedback space below.

I would be glad to get back to you and

thank you for your feedback, comments and sharing of your experience.

7

Value Investing Review - The Best Way To Invest To Gain Financial Freedom

To have a good retirement, we can consider Value Investing, after we realize one of the things we need to do is to have a good investment plan.

We  need a good investment plan to ensure we have sustainable and steady income while we enjoy our retirement.

There are so many investment methods and plans in the market, and by financiers, insurance plan sellers, private bankers or others have approached us to take up various investment plan and methods.

What is investing?

Investing can be investing in assets, properties, stock and some other types of financial instruments which add value to our initial capital.

Why do we invest?

Normally we invest to earn some extra income from the assets we put our money in, or any target we are aiming to have a good return.

We should have

  • some predetermined target and
  • returns for our investment
  • before we decide to invest our money in the assets.

Majority of the people will invest in stock and financial instrument readily available.

However, we must be wary that in everyday life, whenever we meet up with friends for some casual chats, we will notice most of the time, the conversation will be centered on

  • how much certain people have made in the stock market today or
  • the day before or
  • last week.

It brought to the question -  whether it was

  • investing or
  • trading of stocks in the market.

What Is The Different Between Investing And Trading

Investing is about building of wealth over an extended period of times through the buying and holding of

  • stocks,
  • bonds,
  • mutual funds,
  • REIT or
  • any other financial instruments,

normally this is done with the aim of taking advantages of the dividend, interest and bonus issues of shares over a period of times.

value investing

Investing

People who are investing will rely on

  • the market fundamental of the stocks, and
  • Performance of the companies invested in.
Trading

Whereas in the case of trading, it is a more frequent buying and selling of stocks, bonds, mutual funds and financial instrument.

The goal is to outperform the "buy and hold investing", and may set a target of certain percentage of return per month or / and per year

We will notice most people in stock market are actually doing trading, and not investing.

this is to say investing tend to be slow to seeing the results, and people may not have the patient to see through.

The irony of this is -  the successful investors who are in the market ,are the one who are doing investing, instead of trading.

Therefore,  we can safely said value investing is one of the method most successful investors used to grow their wealth.

What Is Value Investing?

Value Investing as defined in Wikipedia is

  • an investment paradigm that involves buying securities that appear under priced by some form of fundamental analysis.

Value Investing was first taught by Benjamin Graham and David Dodd.

They stated that value investing had three main characteristics of financial markets:.

  1. The prices of financial stocks are subject to significant movement.
  2. All the financial assets have underlying or fundamental economic value that are relatively stable and which can be measured with reasonable accuracy by any investor, who is very good and follow strictly with set of investing rules and relying on intrinsic value of the stocks.
  3. A superior returns in the long run will show it is a good strategy to buy stocks when the market prices are much below the intrinsic value of the assets.

Why do I recommend you to learn to value investing with Value Investing College?

I recently attended a course conducted by Value Investing College over one weekend which is a boot camp of three days.

In the boot camp program, the trainers taught us on what were Value Investing, and how to make use of Value Investing to growth our portfolio of investment.

The strengths of Value Investing College

  1. The boot comp taught the participants on the concept and theory on Value Investing.
  2. They gave a systematic method of using the Value Investing steps.
  3. They also taught on personal money management skill.
  4. Bootcamp also taught us on Economic MOAT of a stock.
  5. The Bootcamp covers the P.I.E.C. Analysis whereby we learn about profit, income of cash, efficiency and conservative approach in investing.
  6. The next subject we were taught was R.I.S.K. Analysis where we were looking at regulatory risk, inflation risk, science and technology risk and key people risk of the potential company we wanted to invest in.
  7. Other subjects covered in this course included valuation methods, management team assessment, how to identify the stocks/companies, portfolio management.
  8. The final subject which we would learn was on Value Investing Options Strategy

from the above subjects which were covered during the three days course, there were a lot of exercise and team discussion and play to actually worked through the theory learned and understand the underlying concept.

Other benefits for choosing value investing course

  • The trainers were very good and clear in their presentation, and
  • the course materials were very informative, clear and concise, easy to understand and grasp with the concept.
Ease of following the courses
  • Even for those without any finance and investment technical background, it was not an issue,
  • because the course was conducted in such a way, a layman would understand easily and benefit from the boot camp.
Life time learning for free

Value Investing College also allow those who attended the boot camp to attend any subsequent boot camp without any charges.

If the participants felt that they needed to have continuous learning, they were welcome to attend the boot camp again, they only needed to take care of their meals during the three days.

Value Investing College is also a lifetime learning college.

Once a person attended a boot camp, he or she would be a member of the college for life and would be able to tap on their support.

The disadvantage of Value Investing College

The only disadvantage I could think of is:

if you are a day trader or technical trader

  • who prefer to have short term profit, and
  • relying on technical analysis of the price movement and the chart,
  • then Value Investing College may not be the place for you to learn how to invest.

Is it worth the course fee for value investing course?

The fees may be a bit costly for someone who intends to start doing investment.

However, if you think of it as a long term investment itself.

  • The knowledge you will gain from the boot camp and
  • Lifetime support the college provide,

The investment you make in attending the course, it will be the best investment you have ever made.

Conclusion- Why Choose Value Investing

For anyone who wants to learn investment, I would recommend attending the boot camp.

Value Investing College  conduct the boot camp professionally and

as I mentioned before,  you will be a lifetime member  and can benefit from it and happy investing.

This is one of the way to earn sustainable income for retirement.

Therefore, if you want to have a good retirement, learn through value investing.