Financial fraud can be devastating because it is so easy to lose a lot of money quickly due to hard to detect schemes. Something may seem so real yet be nothing more than a scam. 

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission suggests that before investing in anything, you take time to do research into the offer. Your research should be independent of anything the person provides you. For example, if the person gives you a website to get more information, you should also run a search of your own for additional information from outside sources. 

Be wary

If the offer seems too good to be true, then be on guard. You should also not be quick to accept any offer you did not ask to receive. Unsolicited offers are often scams. 

Trust the offer

Ideally, you should only invest in offers from people you know, but that is not always possible. Make sure, though, that you research the person. Check him or her out for legitimacy and research his or her history. 

Ask questions

Questions can be your best defense against a scam. People trying to run schemes will want to provide you with as little information as possible. They also rarely have a highly developed plan, so when you ask questions, they often cannot answer them. 

Once you start asking questions and wanting details, you may scare them off. The more you know about something, the worse off a scammer is. The whole idea is to keep you in the dark, so make sure you ask as many questions as possible.