Episode 158: Tips to Recognize Investment Scams with Rennie Gabriel – Transcript

Episode 157: The Keys to Achieving a Great Retirement with Fritz Gilbert

Hi folks, welcome to Episode 158 of the Wealth On Any Income Podcast. This is where we talk about money tips, techniques, attitudes, information and provide inspiration around your business and your money. I'm your host, Rennie Gabriel. In past episodes, we spoke about how to understand the numbers from your business, how to measure the level of pleasure based on where you spend your money, how to track your money in 5 to 10 seconds, what determines how close you are to Complete Financial Choice®, and how to run your business without being in your business. 

Today will be a little bit different of a format. Instead of having a guest, I'll be reading from a Los Angeles Times article about investment scams on social media. I'm short a couple of guests for upcoming podcasts. And if you feel you would have something of value to contribute to my listeners, something around money, philanthropy or business, you could be on the show and be heard on the various podcast platforms where we broadcast and YouTube. So please reach out to me and I'll email the guest intake form to you. Just send an email to, rennie@wealthonanyincome.com, and we'll see if it's a fit. 

Now, if you followed me for any length of time, you know that I was broke at age 50 after two divorces and a business failure. By using a 5000-year-old concept and smart investing, I could choose to work or choose not to work by age 58. Now, I teach others how to produce the same result and I donate 100% of my business profits to animal and veteran charities. So, welcome to the Wealth On Any Income Podcast. 

One of the ways to increase your wealth is to avoid investment scams. And this is the article from the Los Angeles Times dated August 20, 2023. It says, 'Social media is full of scammers promising guaranteed returns for investments and consumers have lost billions of dollars to them last year. Troy, of Columbus, Ohio was conned out of $25,800, including $15,800 in borrowed money in a crypto mining scam that began with a WhatsApp message from a beautiful stranger. He said, I just moved home to restart my life, and I was lonely, said Troy, age 50. So I started online dating and I got a WhatsApp message that began, 'Sorry to bother you.' Now financial scams including schemes involving cryptocurrency cost consumers $3.8 billion last year, just in the United States. That's according to the Federal Trade Commission, which is twice as much as in 2021. Those who know the field, including the FTC, and Better Business Bureau, say the speed and convenience of the internet, the rise of online payment platforms and apps, and the spread of financial misinformation have all contributed to the problem, as have pandemic era isolation and loneliness. 

Troy spent several weeks exchanging messages with someone who seemed romantically interested in him before she brought up liquidity mining. Though he had been a crypto-skeptic he eventually began following her advice and instructions. Now, scammers have become skilled at setting up sites that look like those of legitimate cryptocurrency companies, and Troy was taken in. After he set up a crypto wallet, it appeared that the money he transferred was growing just the way his scammer said it would. Troy continued to send money to his wallet as prompted, even though the money was transferred out each time until it looked as though he had $200,000 coming to him. When he was told he'd have to pay $35,000 in taxes to access the $200,000 he realized it was a scam. By then, he had taken out nearly $16,000 in personal loans. Troy now works with the Global Anti-Scam organization to investigate similar frauds and help educate others. 

To avoid being taken for a ride, consider the following. Some common signs of investment scams . . . Most scams will sound quick, easy and low or no risk. Many involve real estate, cryptocurrency, financial coaching or gold. Typically, the supposed company uses words such as, proven and guaranteed, along with testimonials from people, often actors who say they've benefited wildly. Watch out for those endorsements, say Melanie McGovern, Director of Public Relations for the International Association of Better Business Bureaus, and know your friends. If you get a message that seems sketchy from someone's account, especially someone you haven't heard from in a long time, reach out to them on a different platform because someone may be spoofing them, which is when hackers disguise themselves as a trusted source. Offers also tend to come with time pressure, "make big money fast", "once in a lifetime offer", "gone tomorrow". Or they involve elaborate steps that require more money at each stage. The scammer typically paints a picture of what your life will be like when you're rich, but no one can guarantee a return. And anyone who promises a no-risk investment is a fraud. 

So what if you suspect an investment scam? First, take time to research the offer. Scammers want to rush you, so slow down. Search online for the name of the company and words like review, scam, or complaint. Second, run the information by a friend or advisor. Chances are someone you know has gotten a similar offer because scams often target specific communities, said the Federal Trade Commission. Third, don't accept any unsolicited offers. If you get an out of the blue call, text or email, about an amazing investment opportunity, it's a scam. Finally, reject high pressure pitches. Scammers will also exaggerate the significance of current events, something that Biden is doing, something that Trump is doing, something that anyone is doing that's in the news right now. By making an opportunity seem timely, they hope a target will commit without having fully researched the offer. 

Crypto investment tactics to be aware of . . . One telltale sign of a crypto con is when the scammer asks you to send money in advance, for any reason. This is what the FTC warns: the fraudster will often claim the payment is to buy something needed for a big return or to protect the money you've already invested. If you meet someone on a dating site app, and they want to show you how to invest in crypto, or they ask you to send them crypto, it's a scam. The FTC cautions you about this. McGovern, of the Better Business Bureaus Group, said losses are even bigger than reported. As many people are embarrassed to have fallen for these schemes and want to hide the problem from family and friends. McGovern encourages you to report scams to the Better Business Bureau, the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, the FTC and the Internet Crime Complaint Center. 

Other common investment frauds are investment coaching. The fraudster will tell you that their proven strategy will let you make money investing in stocks, bonds, foreign currency, or tax liens. They promise the approach will set you up for life. But after the free-event, and the introductory videos, you'll have to pay fees upfront for expensive coaching with no guarantee of a return.

For Real Estate coaching, in-person and online seminars on how to invest in real estate, often promote risk-free training, luring targets with the promises of financial freedom. If the sales pitches make over the top claims, be wary. Watch for phrases like, "sure thing", "security for years to come", or, "the chance to rake in money by working part-time or at home". Most people never make back the thousands of dollars in upfront fees that they've paid. 

The last one, precious metals and coins. If metal dealers or rare coin merchants tell you there's no better time to invest, watch out. The FTC advises consumers to read the Commodity Futures Trading Commission's Precious Metals Fraud Alert, before investing in bullion, collectible bullion, or coins, or gold. That's it for the LA Times article. 

And for all of you who are listening, if you'd like to know how books, movies and society programs you to be poor, and what the cure is, then log on to, wealthonanyincome.com/TEDx. You'll hear my TEDx talk and can request a free 9-Step Roadmap to Complete Financial Choice®, and Philanthropy. And it comes with a 27-page explanation. You can also receive a weekly email with tips, techniques, or inspiration around your business or your money. And if you'd like to see how you can increase your wealth, and donate to the causes that touch your heart, please check out our affordable program, Wealth with Purpose. To my listeners, thank you for tuning in. You can listen to the Wealth On Any Income Podcast on your favorite platform. And please rate, review, and subscribe. Until next week, be prosperous. Bye bye for now.

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