Here are a few tell-tale signs:
Unsolicited telephone calls: Be skeptical of an unknown salesperson calling to offer you "a fantastic investment opportunity" High-pressure sales tactics.
Do not be pressured into making hasty investment decisions.
Promises of a great rate of return: No dealer or adviser can guarantee an exceptional rate of return, and the law prohibits promises of such future returns.
Claims of little or no risk: If the projected rate of return is high, the associated risk is likely to be high as well.
Offers to discount commissions: Commissions that are charged for sales of penny stocks are often at rates higher than normal.
Claims of "inside" information: It is illegal to trade on the basis of confidential or "inside" information. The penalties of insider trading can be severe.
Reluctance to provide shareholder information: A salesperson should not hesitate to provide you with the information, which may include a prospectus that is necessary for you to make an informed decision.
The SEC has pursued and shut down long-standing securities firms for conducting "pump and dump" scams. Whether it’s a cold call or a well known firm in the community, gets an independent opinion, or do your own research. The International Equity Regulation Department is at the forefront of investor protection but you can make a difference by understanding how the market works.
After-Hours Trading: Understanding the Risks
The highest volume market centers today have traditionally been open for business from 9:30 AM to 4:00 PM EST. Although trading outside that window - or after-hours trading - has occurred for some time, it has been mostly limited to high net-worth investors and institutional investors.