How to tell a legitimate investment opportunity from a scam

Investment scams create the impression that you can “make lots of money” with “little to no risk,” the Federal Trade Commission warns.

So when you hear about “a can’t-miss investment opportunity” how do you tell the difference between a legitimate investment — and a scam?

Here’s what the FTC wants you to know:

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. Walk away.

Don’t believe promises that you’ll make money or earn guaranteed returns. No one can guarantee you’ll make lots of money with little to no risk. Anyone who does is a scammer.

Reject the high-pressure pitch. Scammers will often pressure you to act fast, saying that you’ll miss the opportunity if you fail to do so. They try to plant an image in your head of what life will be like when you’re rich. Don’t believe it. Legitimate investments let you take the time you need to investigate before spending any money.

Do your own research. Don’t make any investment until you’ve checked it out and fully understand what you’re investing in, and the terms of the deal. Research the investment and the person offering it. Search online for the name of the company plus “review,” “complaint,” or “scam.”

You may be able to spot a scam, but chances are, you know someone who doesn’t. Sharing what you know could help a family member, colleague, servicemember, or a veteran in your life avoid investment scams.

This Military Consumer Month, help others avoid investment scams and bogus money-making schemes.

Spotted a scam? Report it at