Photo Courtesy: Google Images

Photo Courtesy: Google Images

Before you continue reading the whole post, I have a confession to make. I have become a victim of an investment scam (Aman Futures, 2012). It was year 2012 when a big fraction of my savings bid farewell in my pocket and down the drain to perish forever. Like most of the so called “investing people” that time, we all felt depressed and confused. But that nasty scar brought a gargantuan learning experience. I vowed to myself to not let it happen again. I subjected myself to self-imposed research, sought attendance in financial seminars and read and read to learn stuffs I never thought existed. I realized if people only knew what I know today, we all could have made wise investment decision. I hope this post will help provide guidance to you and the people you love.

Many people confuse investment with business or deliberately use them interchangeably. The truth is they are alike but are not the same. In Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad, Poor Dad book series, it is a continuous theme and pronouncement that an investment is money you put into something that has the potential of getting a return. If you purchased something but has no potential gain/profit then it is not an investment. For example, you buy a new house and call it an investment. If you do not plan to have it rented or sell it in the future for a higher value; it must not be defined an investment.

Investment could mean a lot in many people. Some attach emotions to it which will make it wide of the mark. I know someone who buys a new car and say that it is an investment for himself. This isn’t an investment! You call it an ego bolster instead.

  1. Recruiters are in Haste – Scammers know that they do not offer you anything with value. And because you do not know it or doubt about it, they do not want to give you time to think about it. So to avoid that you’ll do in-depth research, they will be pushy. And to rid-off annoyance, you will sign up only to regret it in the end.
  1. Buy More to Earn More – This usually happen in “networking company” scams. They will sell you products that are hard to sell. When you realize that it is difficult to dispose your inventory, you have no resort but to recruit people to earn from their recruitment commissions. The problem with this thing is that, essentially no company will survive without a product being sold and bought. Earning money due to recruitment is a tell-tale sign of a company waiting to collapse. Here’s more, according to RA 5601 or otherwise known as Anti-Pyramiding Law, the SEC requires all MLM (Multi-Level Marketing Company) to not engage in Pyramiding Scheme. This means that total worth of products given back to members of the MLM must not go lower than 73% of the total capital shelled out by the member. Example, if your registration for a food supplement MLM company is P 10,000 the stocks you must receive should be worth not under P 7,300.00
  1. Recruiting Members to Earn – Now I really, really want you to get this so please read very carefully. If you were asked to recruit so you will be compensated, then you have all the right to doubt. Here’s why. According to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) when a company registered to them as a corporation collects “membership fee” to compensate uplines and representatives and relies on the circulating membership (not on products sold), in effect that company are collecting securities or investment amount. Any company in the Philippines that sells securities or collects investment is defined as an “Investment Company” and because they will fall within that category, they are bound by law to secure a Secondary License (as per SRC RULE 68, AS AMENDED) from the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission). If they fail to do so, then you are dealing with an unregistered company thereby making their offer null and illegal.
  1. Use the Rule of 72 – According to investopedia, “It is a rule stating that in order for you to find the number of years required to double your money at a given interest rate, you divide the compound return into 72. The result is the approximate number of years that it will take for your investment to grow”. How do you use this rule in your investment? If someone approaches you and says “ I will double your money in two years….” That simply means 72/2=36. Hence, using this formula, you know that your money will grow 36% per year. Although this is possible, this is also very ambitious. Remember risk-reward trade off, the higher the return the higher the risk. So if your heart is not prepared to take on high risk investments, this is not for you. The problem happens when representatives in these so called companies promised you that guaranteed return with NO RISK AT ALL. Quite frankly, a company without proven track record to provide that high return is a scam. Too good to be true as they say.
  1. Do your Homework and Research – We are in the information age so looking for information is easy. If you have any doubts about an investment opportunity or any networking company, you may check Securities and Exchanges Commission’s advisories. In their website you may be surprised to know that it houses a long list of companies who may have engaged into unfair investment practices. Always exercise due diligence so as not to be duped by shark-like scammers hungry to get hold of your hard-earned money.

P.S. I hope you learn something new. If you think this is helpful, please share.

P.S. 2. Please join our group in Facebook called Pagadian City Stocks Network

Comments
  1. Jay,

    Your five rules strike me as very good advice.

    The excellent Herb Simon had a rule he said his father taught him, “Never sign the contract while the salesman is still in the room.”

    Look up Simon. Former Professor at Carnegie Mellon. He’s the guy who won an economics Nobel. just on the principle that he had done so many good things they ought to give him an economics Nobel. I agree with them. He had. And we all miss him.

    There’s I’ve paid you back, with Simon, for your good five rules.

    Cheers,

    -dlj.

  2. […] 5 Ways to Spot Investment Scams […]

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