Here's a "Top Ten List" Investors Should Not Listen To

10/3/2012, 2:23 p.m.

* Eight, despite all the news about the real estate market possibly bottoming out, beware of proposals to buy, renovate or flip distressed properties. Real-estate fraud is the third most common investment leading to state investigations and enforcement actions. Just one example: A Utah man solicited $4 million from investors to buy and refurbish real estate; he promised a minimum return of 18 percent a year at what he said was no risk. Last year the project went bust.

* Nine is the most common scam state regulators see: Private-placement investments, which don't have to be registered with the authorities. Usually it's hard to get your money out, hard to get good information and they don't get much oversight from the authorities.

* Finally, beware of salesmen who want you to sell your securities so you can buy one of their annuities. The elderly particularly seek a guaranteed return on their money without the market fluctuations of stocks and bonds. But annuities aren't always the best investment, nor is it always wise to sell your other investments to buy a new one..

If you need information on financial matters or to report abuse, email the Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking at disbcomplaints@dc.gov or disb@dc.gov or call (202) 727-8000.