Silverstone Reiterates Fraud and Scam Caution Alert for Self-Directed IRA and 401(k) Investors
Retirement account providers at Silverstone announce a friendly reminder to self-directed clients of the potential for fraud and scams inherent in self-directed retirement investing. "While self-directed IRAs and other instruments make it easier to tap into funds and invest in alternative retirement assets, they also make it easier for fraud to be perpetrated," emphasizes Troy Jenkins, Silverstone VP of Marketing. "We’ve seen a greater increase in fraud in recent months with investment promises which have not panned-out and in some cases fraudulent activity."
In an effort to help curb self-directed IRA fraud, Silverstone provides the following helpful pointers when looking for alternative investment opportunities within self-directed retirement accounts (http://www.silverstone.net/ira/self-directed-ira/).
First, if an investment’s return sounds too good to be true, it probably is. While alternative investments can be quite lucrative, they also inherently hold a great deal more risk. Anytime a self-directed investor is promised huge returns with little to no risk involved, a red light should be ignited.
Second, retirement investors should always be wary of writing checks from their IRA when little to nothing is given in exchange. Without legal consideration, a check written to an individual or supposed investment company could result in large amounts of wealth being depleted from one’s account. Investing with one’s retirement funds generally means real assets are purchased. In many cases this means real estate, metal bullion, tax liens and even private company stock equity. We would consider the advice of Warren Buffett fitting "price is what you pay, value is what you get." If there is no immediate exchange of value, investors need beware.
Third, Silverstone advises investors to stick with what they know and are comfortable with. While Silverstone simply provides the vehicle, it has seen many a retirement investor lose thousands because they invested in some contract, business or idea which they knew little to nothing about. The need to stick within one’s realm of understanding in investments is particularly true when doing private equity deals within an IRA. Often private equity involves businesses that may be foreign to our outside the realm of a particular investor’s expertise. Caution must be exercised when investing outside one’s realm of expertise.
"While the instances of fraud within self-directed retirement accounts are relatively few, Silverstone hates to see clients incur losses due to fraud and ill-conceived investment ideas," says Jenkins. "When clients are needlessly ripped-off by shady investment advisors promising outlandishly absurd returns, it places a bad stain on the industry at large."