It’s no secret that con-artists go where the money is. That means that schemers and scammers target citizens who are retired or who are about to retire who have been accumulating money through their retirement plans, real-estate and their personal bank accounts.

The truth is that we are all at risk. Nevertheless, you can help protect your family and friends by knowing how scammers work and by reporting fraudulent investment sales pitches and other scams to the authorities. The key is to recognize these offers that sound too good to be true. Con-artists are very adept at coaxing and altering their pitches to the profiles of their victims. They often ask casual questions about hobbies, health, family and political beliefs. Once they identify a way in, they will overwhelm you them with various tactics in an attempt to defraud them of money. The two most common tactics are:

The get rich quick tactic: This tactic tries to persuade you that with “this investment” you will obtain something you want but cannot have. For example, a scammer might guarantee you that a business opportunity will produce a monthly income of $4,000 guaranteed!

The credibility tactic: This tactic tries to attain credibility by claiming to belong to a respected group or having a certain experience or special connection.

Claims of endorsement or affiliation: The scammer may claim to be endorsed by a state or federal agency, or the Better Business Bureau, agencies that do not endorse private companies.

A couple of things you can do to prevent becoming a victim of these types of frauds are to take control and ask questions. Remember that any legal investment agent must have specific types of licensing. Your Better Business Bureau has Business Reviews on thousands of businesses which contain licensing and complaint information. Verify any information that is given you with another source and practice saying “No” and “I am not interested”.

Hawai‘i’s BBB works to help prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid scams.

Better Business Bureau - Generations Magazine - April-May 2013