We’ve all seen them: the email invites you to a “free” investor’s webinar taught by an “investment guru” promising to teach you how to invest. You get access to their “exclusive investment secrets” so you can have guaranteed success in any market. How great is that? It’s not really that great. The presentation may be slick and there are lots of fancy images but it’s nothing more than a ploy to get your money.
Here’s how the webinar scam goes:
You’ve been contacted out of the blue by an investor to sign up for a free or low-cost webinar to teach you how to make money online through investment opportunities. This special algorithm or proprietary software claims that it has the ability to double your investment overnight or in a short amount of time. Sounds great, right? You decide to give it a try. The “investor” you’re communicating with will even offer to coach you through the whole process. The webinar looks professionally done and the company really seems to know what they’re talking about. All you need to do is participate in their webinars and watch their introductory videos until the webinar is over and it’s time to start investing. The “investor” will tell you that you need to wire money after signing up for an account to “unlock” the secret algorithm that helps to get you rich overnight.
From there, if you choose to wire the money, one of two things will happen…
- You will wire the money to the “investor” then they’ll take your money and completely disappear.
- You will wire the money to the “investor” then they’ll claim they need more or that they never received it. If you send more, they’ll take off with the original amount and the extra amount sent and they’ll completely disappear.
Either way, if you send the “investor” money, you’re simply out of that cash. What were the signs that led up to this?
Red flags of a webinar scam
The red flags of an investor webinar scam are similar to the red flags of most investor scams. The biggest difference between a webinar scam and other types of scams is the webinar component.
Red flag: The presenter doesn’t talk about any credentials, or they only talk about their credentials in terms of being an “accredited investor.” This might be a sign that the presenter is trying to avoid disclosure rules. A legitimate presenter will have no problem talking about his or her background and experience.
Red flag: The presentation includes charts, graphs, or other visual aids — but they don’t show data points that make sense based on the claims being made by the presenter. For example, if a presenter is claiming that their investment strategy has been profitable 100% of the time over the past decade, but the graph shows only five data points, it’s likely they are just fudging the numbers to make them look better than they really are.
Red flag: The presenter is vague about the company or product. The presenter doesn’t provide any information about their company or their product. They could be trying to sell you something that doesn’t exist or is not available in your area/country.
Red flag: You’re promised that you’ll make money if you attend the webinar. It might be true that you can make money if you attend the webinar, but if they promise it right off the bat then there’s probably something fishy going on here.
Red flag: The presenter pressures you into investing at the end of the presentation. If the presenter repeatedly tries to convince you to invest at the end of their presentation without answering all of your questions first, they may be trying to rush through so they can just get rid of you and move on to their next victim who doesn’t have time for all those pesky details.
Red flag: The investor has no credible online presence. If the proprietary software or algorithm for investment has had such a huge amount of success, why is no one talking about it? Is this person a big name in the investment community? Try conducting a simple online search for the person or company, if the results are slim or unrelated, it’s likely that this is a fake identity.
One of the biggest red flags of a virtual webinar scam will be the allure of a big win. With the appeal of a massive return, investors may find themselves being more liberal with their money while also not doing as much due diligence. Adding this to the lack of personalized interaction with those conducting the webinars and those who are recruiting new investors, makes for an all-too-perfect storm for online scams. Even when visiting legitimate virtual conferences, it is important for investors to keep their guard up and to research all investments thoroughly. By doing so, investors can greatly reduce their risk of falling victim to a virtual investment scam.
Have you been the victim of a webinar scam? The first step to recovering your funds is to begin an investigation into the identity of the online scammer. Active Intel Investigations specializes in online scam investigations. If you’ve been the victim of a webinar scam, you deserve to know the facts.
Want to discuss your case with a licensed private investigator? Schedule a live, private consultation through our partner, TelaClient.com.