Berlin based DR. Schulte and Partner Rechtsanwälte mbB concentrate on assisting our clients preventing fraud and scams. Especially in investment related business relationships and contracts potential customers are supposed to take special care. In Germany as well as in the United States and every other capitalist Nation, the methods are similar.
As an example, here is what the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has issued as a Victim’s Guide To Investment Fraud. (http://investor.gov/investing-basics/avoiding-fraud/what-you-can-do-avoid-investment-fraud):
Red flags for fraud and common persuasion tactics
How do successful, financially intelligent people fall prey to investment fraud? Researchers have found that investment fraudsters hit their targets with an array of persuasion techniques that are tailored to the victim’s psychological profile. Here are red flags to look for:
If it sounds too good to be true, it is.
Watch for “phantom riches.” Compare promised yields with current returns on well-know stock indexes. Any investment opportunity that claims you’ll receive substantially more could be highly risky – and that means you might lose money. Be careful of claims that an investment will make “incredible gains,” is a “breakout stock pick” or has “huge upside and almost no risk!” Claims like these are hallmarks of extreme risk or outright fraud.
“Guaranteed returns” aren’t.
Every investment carries some degree of risk, which is reflected in the rate of return you can expect to receive. If your money is perfectly safe, you’ll most likely get a low return. High returns entail high risks, possibly including a total loss on the investments. Most fraudsters spend a lot of time trying to convince investors that extremely high returns are “guaranteed” or “can’t miss.” They try to plant an image in your head of what your life will be like when you are rich. Don’t believe it.
Beware the “halo” effect.
Investors can be blinded by a “halo” effect when a con artist comes across as likeable or trustworthy. Credibility can be faked. Check out actual qualifications.
“Everyone is buying it.”
Watch out for pitches that stress how “everyone is investing in this, so you should, too.” Think about whether you are interested in the product. If a sales presentation focuses on how many others have bought the product, this could be a red flag.
Pressure to send money RIGHT NOW.
Scam artists often tell their victims that this is a once-in-a-lifetime offer and it will be gone tomorrow. But resist the pressure to invest quickly and take the time you need to investigate before sending money.
Fraudsters often try to lure investors through free investment seminars, figuring if they do a small favor for you, such as supplying a free lunch, you will do a big favor for them and invest in their product. There is never a reason to make a quick decision on an investment. If you attend a free lunch, take the material home and research both the investment and the individual selling it before you invest. Always make sure the product is right for you and that you understand what you are buying and all the associated fees.
Für unsere deutschen Mandanten gibt es hier eine kurze Zusammenfassung:
Dr. Schulte und sein Team Rechtsanwälte mbB beschäftigen sich auch mit problematischen Investmentgeschäften. Wir sind dabei sowohl innerhalb als auch außerhalb Deutschlands tätig. Als ein Beispiel für einen amerikanischen Warnhinweis zitieren wir hier aus dem offziellen „Opfer Leitfaden für Investment-Betrug“ der US Börsenaufsicht.