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Tips to Avoid Being Scammed at Free Lunch Seminars

People running Free Lunch Seminars target seniors, believing that they are an easy target for their sales pitch. They know how to raise fears pointing to problems that can surface if you haven’t managed to invest money wisely enough to provide a comfortable retirement.

Attending a Free Lunch Seminar seems harmless and can be used as a fact finding mission. However, after an expensive lunch with seemingly personable financial experts, many seniors are seduced into allowing a sales person to subsequently come to their home where the “hard sell” can take place.

The return on investment can be tempting but it is important to understand exactly what is REALLY being offered. A legitimate company will not sell products that are inappropriate to the person’s circumstances and it will provide a contract clearly outlining all of the specifics and sufficient time for the buyer to review it.

To avoid being scammed:

  • Remember that you are under no obligation to buy anything even if the lunch is free
  • Don’t open an account of any sort until you have fully investigated the company and the investment products.

If the following has not been covered to your satisfaction, ask these questions:

  • What are the risks for the investment?
  • How much is the initial cost?
  • Are there additional risks or costs associated with the product?
  • How long will the money be tied up?
  • If I want to cash in my investment, are there fees that apply?
  • Which regulator has registered the investment?

If you are satisfied with the answers and they were provided in writing, check the company and the contract with:

  • The state securities regulator or North American Securities Administrators Association Securities and Exchange Commission
  • These regulators are unbiased and will gladly offer non-commercial advice.

To avoid being “taken-in” by fast talking sales people, take your time and be sure you understand the contract. Seek help in interpreting the clauses if you’re not fully comfortable with all of the wording. Good investments by legitimate companies are available. Just be sure you are dealing with one of them.

By Natasha Morgan of NotJusttheKitchen