Iowa Insurance Division Iowa State University Extension Investor Protection Trust


Investment fraud can happen to anyone

Radio Transcript, 3 minutes 5 seconds, for use during week of March 24.

Description: Susan discusses investment fraud with Craig Goettsch, director of investor education for the Iowa Insurance Division

Announcer: Invest Wisely comes to you from Iowa State University Extension through a grant from the Investor Protection trust, providing investor education on the web at:

Susan: Craig, thanks so much for sitting down and talking to me today.

Craig: My pleasure. Penny told me you have questions about investment fraud.

Susan: Well, of course, I want to avoid investment fraud. But, I like to think I’m pretty sharp. Aren’t most fraud victims people who just don’t know very much about investments?

Craig: It’s my experience that most investment fraud victims are actually quite knowledgeable about financial issues. The fraudulent sellers are simply very good at what they do.

Susan: So anyone can be a fraud victim? A family member, a friend, a neighbor?

Craig: Exactly. You really need to know what to look for, to educate yourselves continuously and always ask questions.

Susan: What’s an example of investment fraud I should know about and watch out for?

Craig: Well, one example is what are often called ‘free meal’ seminars.

Susan: Sometimes I get invitations to free educational seminars.  I haven’t been to one, but they claim they’re not selling anything. Could those be ‘free meal’ seminars?

Craig: Possibly. Many free seminars are offered by legitimate organizations dedicated to providing investment education. An invitation to a ‘free meal’ seminar may appear to be to a legitimate educational presentation, but you may find otherwise when you attend. Sometimes the organizers are pushing a book. Other times, it’s a financial product, one that may not be right for you.

Susan: How can I tell?

Craig: The claims they make may be exaggerated or misleading. Often, the risks of the product are not disclosed.

Susan: So, I may not have enough information or the right information to make an informed decision?

Craig: That’s right. And often, at these seminars, you’ll find yourself pressured to make a decision that day, before you’ve had a chance to really do your homework.

Susan: Thanks, Craig. This information is really helpful.

Craig: You’re welcome. If you have more questions, I’d be glad to talk further.

Susan: I may take you up that. Thanks! And as Penny would say, we can always visit the ISU Extension website at and look for ‘Invest Wisely’ for more information.


Updated March 24, 2008