Stay away from investment scams with these tips

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Amid these uncertain times, more Filipinos are seeing the importance of saving and investing for their future. Some unscrupulous people, however, are out to get your money.

An offer to invest in a little-known product or company with a promise to double your money in just a couple of weeks may be tempting as it may sound, but don't get too excited. You could be walking into a scam — and soon part ways with your hard-earned money.

Here are some telltale signs of investment scams:

The offer comes out of the blue

Have you ever received a call, text or email from a stranger offering a lucrative investment deal? It's probably too good to be true.

Before you whip out the checkbook and imagine the riches coming your way, calm down and ask yourself this. Why would an unknown caller choose you for a supposedly elite investment platform? Chances are, the person was trying out random numbers until someone takes the bait.

The fraudsters are simply pretending to offer investment opportunities that would be hard to resist. They even promise discount deals and "secret" stock market tips — but at what cost?

These scammers also usually work from nice-looking city offices and present seemingly legitimate documents, websites and background information to make it look like their enterprise is legit.

Once they have taken as much money as they can from you, they suddenly disappear.

Big and quick returns are promised

For most people, making money is a daily grind, so it's always tempting to fall for "get-rich-quick" schemes. Sadly, that's also how many people are duped into investing in scams.

Unless it's a lottery – where you have one in a gazillion chances of winning – think twice before letting these "investment agents" get your money.

They usually offer to sell shares or bonds; invest in bitcoins, precious metals such as gold, silver, or diamond, or even in fancy wine and fine art. They will try to explain how they make huge profits in trade lingo to make the business sound legitimate.

The promise of enormous profit also comes without dealing with paperwork or fees, which is questionable in itself.

Don't fall for it just yet, do your own research and verify it. Your money is called "hard-earned" for a reason.

They give you a very urgent deadline

Scammers want you to let go of reason and dupe you into making an impulse decision to send your money over –– usually by claiming that the offer is only good for that day.

Pressuring people into making rushed decisions is a big no-no, as any investment requires careful thinking and planning. Legitimate brokers and agents would know this.

The business name is unknown

A quick Google check with the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Trade and Industry can go a long way in protecting you from fraud.

Another good practice would be to ask for the name, address, and phone number of the person who is calling and the company he is representing.

Before even deciding to invest, make sure that the company or fund manager you are entrusting your money with is reputable. Do this by verifying the establishment's name and address through the SEC or DTI website.

Protect yourself

If the person or company offering the investment does not appear credible, trust your instincts and err on the side of caution — hold back.

Also, consider checking the investment scam checklist of the Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as the agency's investment fraud warnings.

Security is everybody’s responsibility. Being vigilant against fraud and sticking to your trusted banking and finance partners will bode well in terms of protecting your money. Metrobank offers meaningful banking, and the Bank has the necessary security measures in place to protect your money.

Did you ever get a questionable investment pitch?

Report scams to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) at (02) 8532-8231 to 38.

Report fraudulent activities to the Metrobank Contact Center at (02) 88-700-700, 1-800-1888-5775, or email us at customercare@metrobank.com.ph using 'Report on Possible Fraud' as the subject.

Visit https://metrobank.com.ph/fight-fraud and https://www.scamproof.ph/ for more fraud tips, news, and advisories.