Ask, check, confirm

A police report on investment scams.
A police report on investment scams. PHOTO: ST FILE

Recognising telltale signs, such as promises of guaranteed high returns with low risk, as well as high-pressure sales tactics, will help you spot investment scams. This 'Beware! Investment Scams' educational campaign encourages investors to perform due diligence by asking, checking and confirming before committing to an investment.

ASK

Ask as much as you need to fully understand the investment opportunity. If the firm is unable to answer, or avoids doing so, be wary. Even if it has answers, do not be too quick to believe everything you are told.

CHECK

Check on the firm, its owners, directors and management, and the investment opportunity. Here are some ways to assess if it is genuine:

•Check if information provided by the firm about itself is true, such as its address or track record.

•Check if information (experience, qualifications) provided by owners, directors and management about themselves is true.

•Check if there are any complaints or negative comments about the firm, its owners, directors and management, and the investment opportunity, in the news or in online forums.

Ask someone you trust to help you if necessary. Even if you do not find anything that suggests the investment opportunity is dubious, you should still confirm.

CONFIRM

Before investing, it is prudent to confirm the credentials of the firm and any representatives by using available resources including:

•Financial Institutions Directory - a list of persons regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

•Register of Representatives - a list of individuals who conduct activities regulated by MAS.

•Investor Alert List - a list of persons unregulated by MAS who might have been wrongly perceived as being licensed or authorised by MAS.

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Lorna Tan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 30, 2017, with the headline 'Ask, check, confirm'. Print Edition | Subscribe