Internet Scams Exposed

SCAM WATCH: Internet & SMS Scams - Phishing - Email Fraud

These emails and text messages are real examples of current scams. Learn to identify them. Please forward any scams you receive to Mark Hutten: They will be posted on this site without your email address.

What To Do If You Have Been Scammed

Have you lost money due to a scam?

Email: with a description of how the scam worked (i.e., what happened exactly), and we will try to (a) locate the scam artist(s), (b) work with law enforcement to expedite prosecution, and (c) help you get some - or all - of your money back.


The Do's and Don'ts For Investors

1. Anyone using high-pressure tactics to force an investor into investing now is almost always selling a scam or fraud. He or she doesn't want you to think about it or check it out.

2. Be suspicious of "insider information", "hot tips", and "rumors". When a stranger, or even an acquaintance, offers you a promising investment, ask yourself why. It is illegal to make money by using information that is not available to the general public.

3. Beware of promises of high rates of return and/or quick profits with little or no risk. Con artists know what appeals to people. If it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is. The higher the return, the higher the risk. There is no such thing as a no risk investment.

4. Call the Securities Division @ 360-902-8760 or 1-877-RING DFI (1-877-746-4334) to check to see if the investment is registered or if there have been any complaints about the company. Check with the Better Business Bureau to see if there have been any complaints filed with them. However, just because there are no complaints on file doesn't mean that the deal is legitimate.

5. Demand written information about the organization and the people behind the investment and its past track record and read this information! Ask Questions! Don't sign anything or make any commitments until you understand what you are purchasing. Do a thorough background check. Bear in mind, however, that even printed material can be forged, or falsified.

6. Don't feel indebted to someone who gives you "unsolicited" financial advice. Free financial advice is probably worth what you paid for it, and may cost you a great deal. It could cost you your life savings, retirement fund, or your house.

7. Don't give your money to anyone who says you must "Act Now! Tomorrow will be too late." If this is such a great opportunity why are they calling you? It will be here after you have had a chance to check it out. If you act in haste, the only thing that may be gone tomorrow is your money.

8. Don't trust a stranger that calls and asks for your money. Be wary of unexpected letters, or even personal visits from strangers who offer quick-profit schemes. Con artists make their living by being friendly and sounding honest.

9. If the caller is putting undue pressure on you or you feel uncomfortable with the conversation, hang up. You do not owe them an explanation.

10. If they tell you that a prospectus or offering circular isn't necessary, hang up or walk away. Even if it isn't necessary, never invest in something until you have written material about the company and the investment and have taken the time to check it out.

11. If you are interested, take the time to talk with a third party, disinterested person. Talk to your regular stockbroker, your attorney, your accountant, or any other reputable consultant.

12. Is the person you are dealing with trying to make you feel guilty? "Can't you make your own decisions?" Are they trying to make you feel silly or stupid? "Boy, when this takes off you will feel so stupid that you didn't invest!" Or how about greed? Remember that it is your money. Don't let anyone pressure you into investing in something before you have time to check it out.

13. The Securities Division can check the history of the promoter. Ask if they are registered to sell securities in Washington State? What is their disciplinary history? What is their employment history in the industry?

14. When called on the phone by a promoter, don't be afraid to hang up. You are not obliged to listen—in fact, this kind of solicitation is an invasion of your privacy.

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