Investment scams are often very sophisticated. Scammers often sound credible and their websites look professional, usually including testimonials from other investors. It can be hard to tell a scam or fraud from a genuine investment opportunity.
We publish a warnings list of known investment scams. But be aware that scammers regularly change their names. Just because a name is not on our warning list it doesn’t mean they’re not a scam. Look out for these warning signs of scams:
- A stranger rings or emails you about an investment opportunity. Ignore them. Hang up or do not answer the email. It is illegal in New Zealand to sell financial products through cold-calling or other unsolicited communication.
- They promise you very high returns, with little risk. These promises are nearly always too good to be true.
- They tell you the offer is known only to a select few and should be kept a secret. This is often a ploy to make you feel special and to stop you speaking to an adviser or the authorities. A legitimate business will always give you an opportunity to seek professional advice from someone you choose yourself.
- The person/business gives you little or no information in writing. All legitimate investments must have documents explaining the investment in plain English.
- They promise you access to 'secret' overseas banking markets supposedly offering very high returns. These markets do not exist.
- They tell you it’s for a limited time and you have to make the decision and pay your money quickly. A legitimate operator will give you adequate time to review the documents and consult with your own adviser about any arrangements.