Affinity fraud con artists target members of a particular religious group, ethnic group or nationality. Often the con artist has the same religious affiliation, ethnic background or national origin as the target group-or the con artist pretends to have the common bond. This perceived bond can cause the target group to let down their guard and become overly trusting.
Con artist usually sell the shepherd before sheering the sheep. Be careful when an investment opportunity is related by leaders of a group who have been sold on the idea first. For example your minister may be an honest person but is he or she really competent to pass along sound investment advise?
Also use caution whenever an investment is tied to some religious or charitable purpose. For example, be wary of an investment opportunity that promises that part of the profits will go to build orphanages in the third world.
Use common sense. Some con artists use big financial words and complicated sounding schemes to hide the con. Never invest in anything that can't be explained in terms that you can understand.
Be suspicious of promises of a return on your investment that sounds too good to be true.
Don't be bullied into making a quick decision.
Check out the investment and those promoting the investment through your state's regulatory agency.
Seek the advise of your trusted financial and legal advisers before investing.
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