National Futures Association publishes guide to help individuals identify and avoid investment scams

The US National Futures Association (NFA) has published a new investor education booklet entitled "Scams and Swindles: An Educational Guide to Avoiding Investment Fraud." The guide describes common characteristics of investment scams and outlines steps individuals can take to avoid them.

"Fraudulent investment offers are pitched at us every day," says NFA's Senior Vice President of Strategic Planning and Communications Karen Wuertz. "They come by telephone, through e-mails, in newspapers, magazines and late night television programs. We all have to learn how to spot these scams before we lose our money to them."

The NFA stated: 'Knowing some common characteristics of a fraudulent investment offer can help you to avoid becoming a victim of a scam.' These characteristics include:

* A demand for an immediate decision. Swindlers often insist that you should or must make your decision "right now" before the opportunity for fast profits disappears. In reality, the only thing that will disappear is your money.

* A request for a credit card number other than to make a purchase. A fraudster may ask you for your credit card number "for identification" or some other plausible reason. Whatever the ploy, once a swindler has your card number, you will likely see unauthorized charges appear on your statement.

* An investment that is "without risk". Except for obligations of the U.S. government, all investments have a degree of risk. Think about it. If there were any such thing as a completely risk-free investment with big profits assured, do you think the swindler would want to share that information with additional investors?

Single copies of "Scams and Swindles" are offered free of charge. Individuals may order a copy of the publication by calling NFA's Information Center toll-free at 800-621-3570 or by emailing NFA at information@nfa.futures.org.

Individuals also have the option of viewing and printing the publication by downloading it from the Investor Learning Center of NFA's Web site (www.nfa.futures.org).

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