Financial fraud can empty your life savings. Here are 10 steps suggested by best-selling author Charles Murray.

  1. Every deal is a potential scam: Recognize that fraud is an act of deceit by one party intended to induce another to part with something of value.
  2. Map out your goals before shopping or investing: There’s a difference between “buying” and “being sold.”
  3. Avoid mixing business with pleasure: According to the National Institute of Justice, the attempt to defraud is more successful if a person knows or knows of the offender.
  4. Don’t get greedy: Remain calm and dispassionate.
  5. Be suspicious of “inside information,” “hot tips” and “one-time offers”: Why you instead of Tom-Dick-and-Harry?
  6. Educate yourself: Beware of getting all your information from the seller.
  7. Double check all facts: A cheat doesn’t want himself or his deal scrutinized.
  8. Don’t wilt when the heat is turned up: It takes a secure person to say “no” to pressure and manipulation.
  9. A promise is only as good as the person behind it.
  10. Scams copy the same methods used in legitimate business dealings: Spotting the difference can be difficult.

Five tell-tale signs:

  • Something is promised that borders between reasonable and “too good to be true”;
  • Victims typically know or know of the swindler;
  • A sense of urgency exists;
  • A cheat doesn’t want himself or the deal scrutinized;
  • High-pressure sales tactics are used.

There are many investment instruments including your own UTUIA annuities for SMART TD members that are available in which to place retirement funds that can provide the necessary security and still provide a cash stream in retirement years.

In speaking with a financial adviser, find out what their experience has been. Check their credentials and demand other client references. Never write a check directly to an individual. Your payment should be to the investment firm or to the investment fund itself. A request for direct payment to an individual is a big red flag!

Remember, your retirement funds represent a lifetime of savings, and there is no “do-over.”

Here’s a list of articles on how to recognize a scam or fraud:

Here are some resources to help if you are a victim of a scam or fraud: