Where should your investment advice come from? According to a recent survey by Cisco’s Internet Business Solution Group, (March 30, 2011), half of those under age 50 use social networking for their investment advice. That’s a staggering number. Yet using the internet to make important financial decisions and then execute them without proper assistance could be a costly solution to your investment questions.
It makes no sense to take investment advice from anyone you don’t know and trust especially if they don’t understand your investment needs and objectives. That’s the response to the question “Should I accept investment advice offered over the internet: by The Canadian Securities Administrators, who have published a booklet on the subject, entitled “Investing and the Internet”, (http://www.osc.gov.on.ca/documents/en/Investors/res_investing-internet_en.pdf).
Fraud, in fact, is an increasing problem. Stats Canada reported on a 2009 General Social Survey on Victimization. Seven percent of adult Internet users in Canada, age 18 years and older, reported that they had been a victim of cyber-bullying at some point in their life. Seventy-three percent of those people reported receiving threatening or aggressive emails or instant messages and 8% had their identity assumed by someone sending threatening emails.
In addition, the survey showed that amongst those who used the Internet in the 12 months prior to the survey, 4% reported being the victim of bank fraud; that is, reporting incidents where credit or debit cards (or information from them) were used from an Internet source to make purchases or withdraw money without authorization from the cardholder.
It’s Your Money. Your Life. Why take a chance? When it comes to making financial transactions of any kind over the internet, it’s prudent to speak to your banking representative, or in the case of your investment transactions, a registered dealer or licensed investment advisor.
Evelyn Jacks is President of Knowledge Bureau and has recently been named one of Canada’s Top 25 Women of Influence. She has this month completed work on her 48th book, Financial Recovery in a Fragile World, with co-authors Robert Ironside and Al Emid, and has just returned from discussing the financial recovery with an inter-advisory audience at the Distinguished Advisor Conference November 13-16 in Palm Springs.