Most investors need help with choosing and buying investments. You may trust someone to help you and believe their advice is good for you. But it can be hard to tell whether someone is trying to help you or just trying to help themselves. If they are just trying to help themselves, their advice is likely to hurt you.

Sometimes people pretend to offer you investments, but are really trying to steal your money. In other cases, advisor/registrants selling real investments take advantage of you.

Being aware of both of these risks is important for protecting yourself and your money. Knowing what to do if you have one of these problems is also important.

The risk of investment fraud and the risk that an advisor/registrant will take advantage of you are different. The signs of trouble, or “red flags,” are different; how you protect yourself is different; and what you do if it happens is different. You will learn about both concerns. We will start with investment fraud and then look at the other concerns.