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Posted: 6:00 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013

The top investment rip-offs

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By Clark Howard

ClarkHoward.com


You work hard for your money. Don't let smooth talking criminals take it away from you.

The North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) has updated its list of the top scams facing investors today.

New at the top of the list are private placement scams. Here's how this works: Somebody makes you an offer about a brand new business and you have a chance to get in on the ground floor. Private placements are called private because they're not sold on a stock exchange or through a traditional broker. They just hand you an offering circular with boiler plate language about how the offer has high risk. But nobody reads that stuff, they just hear the pitch. And unfortunately, the private placements are too often just out-and-out scams.

The number 2 problem area is real estate investing, which can be like a different form of private placements. You know the pitch: You can get rich quick buying real estate, fixing it up, and selling it. Sure, there are legitimate opportunities in this arena, but you need to be doing the work yourself or know a trustworthy person who is before you take the leap investing in this kind of thing.

In third place, we have people who are pitching opportunities where you can earn 1% or 2% on your money every month, when most truly safe investments only pay that every year!

The remaining top investing rip-offs on the NASAA list are:

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