has an article about the top 10 investment scams
. Here's the short version:
- Ponzi/pyramid schemes that promise huge returns, but only pay off the "investors" who got in early.
- Fake promissory notes from companies or that are little known or don't exist.
- Immoral financial managers that charge for services not provided or conduct unauthorized activities (e.g., frequently trading without permission.)
- Con artists scamming people with similar interests/backgrounds (e.g., non existent "gifting" programs for a church.)
- Unlicensed agents selling products/investments that promise high returns with little risk (and pay very high commissions.)
- "Prime bank" schemes that promise to let you invest in the same secret investments of the ultra rich.
- Internet fraud such as phishing scams where a web site that looks legitimate is really a front for a thief. Another is the Nigerian 419 scam. If you've ever received an email asking you to help someone move their money to a US bank account for which you will receive a nice multi-million dollar commission, you've seen the Nigerian 419 scam.
- Mutual fund improprieties.
- Variable annuities with big surrender charges (cash out fees) and high commissions.