A Few Tell-Tale Signs of a Stock Loss Recovery Scam

Falling into the traps of stock recovery scammers is easy. They pretty much know what troubled investors want to ‘hear’ and what they ‘hope for’. So they make all the right promises with the intent of getting your upfront money. They’ll usually have great press to show you, although in most cases they’re press releases, or articles on third party site that they themselves wrote, or had written for them. Their goal is to impress you with their prowess in recovering lost investments, and might even claim to be the biggest or best in the country.

While stock loss due to fraud is real, so is stock loss recovery. So beware and get educated. FINRA, the regulatory body that oversees the securities industry, posts alerts on their website to help potential victims sidestep scams. So read these alerts.

Here are some of the red flags that should warn you you’re being set up.

Unexpected Pitching

The first sign of an approaching fraud could be unexpected calls from an investment recovery firm. While you may be happy, excited even, to hear the promises made by such a firm, first understand that investors’ information is confidential. So you need to see through the fog and wonder “how did they get my contact info, and how do they know about my portfolio? How did they know I potentially had stock losses?  In most cases they would have gotten your contact information illegally: either they stole it, or had someone inside the company where you placed your trades slip it to them.

A complaint on Scamalot clearly mentions this. The complainant reported that Cold Spring Advisory purchases confidential client information from numerous stock brokerage firms — through connections with “lead brokers”. This particular complaint also raised questions about Louis Ottimo, Anthony Ottimo and other such members or masked affiliations of this company. Moreover, National Securities filed suit against them for such actions. So, if you receive an out of the blue call from this company, its members or people affiliated with them, or from any other firm, beware – you could be dealing with a sham stock loss recovery firm.

Demand for an Upfront Fee

FINRA lists this as a red signal. Firms that demand an upfront fee for recovering your investment losses are highly likely looking for ways to get on a gravy train.  They may tell you it’s for “filing fees, not for them,” but legit recovery companies don’t do that, they work solely on contingency, meaning they incur all the costs and only recoup fees and a percentage of damages received if they win your case. Before you hand over your hard-earned money to any random investment recovery firm, stop and research them. And if there is lots of great press about them, diligently research the source — often it’s a press release them themselves wrote, and or is on a contributor site that they — or someone on their behalf — posted.

Losing money in the stock market is bad enough, don’t compound it by being scammed for more.

 

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How to Identify an Investment Recovery Fraud?

You are successful. You are intelligent. But, still you may fall prey to investment recovery fraud. How is it even possible? Well, when it comes to fake investment recovery firms, there is nothing much difficult to fool customers from all walks of life – no matter how brainy they are.

Here are a few red flags that may help you to identify a possible investment recovery fraud.

Incessant Persuasion

For companies that want to spin money out of troubled investors, the key is simple – persuade them with false promises till they cave in. The first loophole here would be contacting you out of nowhere. If you receive a call from a self-proclaimed ‘leading’ investment recovery firm, then the most important thing is to figure out from where did it receive your number, or even know that you had losses. In many cases they stole the information that is supposed to be highly confidential.

Fees Up Front

According to the FINRA alert board, this is a definite red flag. Credible stock loss recovery firms and lawyers work on contingency, meaning if they don’t recover your losses, you pay nothing! This includes fees. if someone tells you ‘this is just for filing etc. and you’ll get it back, surely, when we win’ — run the other way!

Credibility

Always remember to research the firm. There may be a disgruntled clients who say something negative about any firm, but if you see continual multiple negative complaints, you can check complain boards, like Rip Off Report, Scamalot, Complaint Board and Pissed Off Consumer, as well as industry magazine articles, like Investment News

You can also check blogs and BrokerCheck on FINRA. Research who the people are running the alleged stock loss recovery firm, company. Thy may be barred from FINRA, which is a tell-tale sign. Brokers that were sanctioned — or worse, barred from FINRA — for misleading the public or outright fraud, are likely applying those tactics to whatever new industry they’re engaged.

An article in the Wall Street in 2013 noted that 5,000 brokers were expelled from the industry due to bad acts.

Be vigilant. If credible law firms tell you have no cause of action in a case, then suddenly someone calls you from out of the blue with a lifeline saying they and recover your losses — for an upfront fee –, remember the old  adage: if it’s seems to be too good to be true, it likely isn’t.

For more details visit: http://www.brieaustin.com/2016/07/investment-recovery-co-cold-spring-advisory-and-louis-ottimo-uncovered

How Can You Prevent Losses In The Stock Market, Again?

You might have lost money in the stock market, and it might be a terrible feeling. But, do you know what’s even more terrible than that? Well, losing your money again in a stock loss recovery scam! So, what can you do to avoid making such losses?

Here are a few ways that can help you to avoid doubling your losses!

Explore the Internet

Before trusting any company, it is important to research them. For example, Cold Spring Advisory Group spouts amazing results for their clients. Yet the only place you’ll find that is on their site, articles on 3rd party sites that they have written, and or press releases they’ve written that are redisplayed by 3rd party sites.

Research the owners and operating team

In the case of Cold Spring Advisory group Michelle Ottimo is listed as the chief executive. But if you search ‘Louis Ottimo’ you’ll find articles that alleged that Michelle has absolutely no experience in the securities industry and is really just the front person for her husband, Louis, who really runs the company. Further research will uncover why he is not listed as an officer; he was barred for life from the securities industry by FINRA for fraud, among too many other things to list, and in 2016 filed for personal bankruptcy.

Check out what others say

Louis Ottimo and Cold Spring advisory Group are mentioned on many complaint site and message boards. And, not in a good way. According to some complaints, they not only paid Cold Spring advisory Group fees up front, but Cold Spring Advisory and the representatives/ lawyers they selected lost the case causing their client to incur an additional $50,000 is mediation and compensatory costs.

Get multiple opinions about your case

If you have a real case with a chance of winning in arbitration, any legitimate stock loss recovery firm or lawyer will take the case on contingency — if you don’t win, they don’t get paid ether. If several firms tell you that you have no case, then another firm tells you that you do, they’re setting you up for … upfront fees. NEVER PAY UPFRONT FEES! According to the alert page at FINRA, upfront fee requests is a big red flag to walk away.

 

 

3 Warning Signs Of A Probable Stock Loss Recovery Scam

For someone who has already been a victim of instock loss due to broker misconduct, losing money again in a stock loss recovery scam can be agonizing. To help you recognize a potential stock loss recovery scam, here are some must simple tips.

  1. You have been contacted unexpectedly
    One of the most common warning signs of a probable stock loss recovery scam is that you receive an unsolicited phone call. They seem to know a lot about your situation. They listen to your answers to initial questions and are overwhelmed at how good a case you have. When people approach you unsolicited this is one of the warning signs listed in the FINRA alerts.
  1. There is an upfront fee to be paid
    Legitimate stock loss recovery firms work on contingency. This means if they don’t recover an award for you, they earn nothing. Less reputable firms ask for an upfront fee as written about in Moneywise. They’ll tell you it is to cover filing and other incidental fees — and you’ll get it back from the award anyway, they’ll say. This pissed off consumer fell into that trap and lost an additional $6,000.

    In another case represented by Cold Spring Advisory Group, the claimant they represented requests $29,000 in losses and $3,500 is “case preparation” fees. While we don’t know for sure that those case prep fees were paid up front by the client, there does seem to be a pattern for this company asking for upfront fees.  And there are many complaints against them.

    The Internet is swamped with complaints against this company, on PissedOffConsumer, RipOffReport, Complaint Board, and ScamaLot, among many others.  Reporter Brie Austin has been researching and writing about, as well has Bill Singer of brokenbroker.com, And according to Brie Austin, Louis Ottimo is the company’s shadow president. Stay clear of these guys: court document research shows that despite their claims to the contrary, they’ve lost a lot of cases that we’ve found, some by sheer incompetence, others dues to meritless cases.

  1. All that you can find is self-promotion
    When you research an investment recovery firm, you should be able to find independent and credible information about them. With the power that the Internet provides however, it has become easier for companies to create a false narrative. When you see a glowing article about a firm, and if it is on a credible magazine or newspaper website, check to see if it is an original article or just a redisplay of a press release.

    Press releases are written by the company that the release is about, so that is not credible. For example if you read this article  or this about Cold Spring Advisory it gives the impression that this a a good firm. IT’S NOT! It was written by them and they paid to have it syndicated and redisplayed on those pages. So you need to be diligent in your research.

These were just three examples of scam behavior to watch for. Scammers are adaptable, and they are continually evolving and changing their approach to get into your pocket. Stay alert and do your homework.

 

Protect Yourself From Stock Loss Recovery Scams

We are living in a world today where people are busy finding ways to defraud others. Various scams, cons and tricks have made millions of people lose their hard-earned money to crooks every year. The president of the United States Donald J. Trump himself was embroiled in a lawsuit that claimed he was part of a conspiracy to defraud their students. We’ll never know if he was guilty or not because he paid $25 million to settle the lawsuit.

More than ever, it is a rough time for those in the securities industries, and especially for unsophisticated investors. Finding the right broker to handle your account can be difficult; one that makes you money more so. But like everywhere else there are brokers who look out for their commissions more than your stock portfolio value and profitability.  When stock loss occurs due to their misconduct, you can pursue the recovery of stock loss.

So you seek out a stock loss recovery firm, and if not careful can become a victim of fraud.  But there are ways to protect yourself. First, take your time. Do your homework. Act based on facts, not impulse. Here are a few tricks and tips when you’re seeking a stock loss recovery firm to represent you.

  1. Use the Internet to your advantage

The Internet is a chock full of information. This is true, but like in other facets of life you have to be able to separate hype from truth.  There are certain red flags that could alert you to a scam.

  1. Value others’ feedbacks

When you research stock loss recovery firms, don’t rely solely on what they say on their website, or in press releases.There are many complaint boards on the Internet as well, where you can review what customers had to say. Of course because a consumer posts a complaint doesn’t make it absolute truth either. So check and cross check to see what rings true to you. For example, Cold Spring Advisory Group says they are the biggest and best stock loss recovery firm in the country. Others disagree, and you can review some of their complaints on Rip Off ReportScamalot,  Complaints Board, or Pissed Off Consumer.

  1. Stay alert

As an investor, you should always stay updated with the alert notices that are published in the FINRA newsroom. The easiest way to protect yourself from stock loss recovery scams is to know more about stock loss recovery firms. Consider the guidelines set out by FINRA and remain cautious — if it seems too good to be true, it’s possibly a scam.

3 Reasons Why You Need To Steer Clear Of Cold Spring Advisory

No one really wants to bear losses. But, in case you have had a stock loss, then going to a stock loss recovery company may seem the next logical step. And it is not a bad move if you feel that your stock broker has acting in bad faith. However, one of the red flags FINRA lists as a scam is when the recovery firm asks for money up, like  Cold Spring Advisory Group does. 

Continue reading “3 Reasons Why You Need To Steer Clear Of Cold Spring Advisory”

The Path To Stock Loss Recovery May Lead You To More Loss

After incurring a stock loss, seeking a stock loss recovery firm seems like a good move if you suspect that your stock broker mishandled your account, or deliberating made buy and/or sales for their own gain, not yours. So how can contracting a stock loss recovery specialist be the wrong move? It isn’t unless you contract the wrong company.

According to FINRA in their alerts, the stock loss recovery segment of the industry has seen the rise of scams. The cite warning signs, like high-pressure sales calls, salesmen that find you instead of you reaching out to them. In some cases the very brokers that were barred from the securities industry for fraud, sometimes stealing millions of dollars from unsuspecting clients, are the same guys popping up and now offering to help you recover lost investments due to broker misconduct.

One of the primary telltale signs of less than reputable stock loss recovery firms is when they ask for thousands of dollars up front. They’ll assure you that it’s just for expenses, not for them, and you’ll get it back from winning the case anyway.

We came across a company called Cold Spring Advisory who seems to fit the profile. We’re not categorically telling you that they are a scam, just that they could be. You’ll have to make that decision for yourself. They claim to be the largest stock loss recovery firm in the nation, yet the only place you can find that statement is on their own website, press releases that appear on sites as news articles, but were actually written and published by them.

How does it work?

Companies like this sometimes contact you out of the blue and seem to know a lot about your trading account. At first this may give you a sense that they know their stuff. But in many cases these companies get their access to client lists of brokerage companies they’re targeting. They proceed to give you a high-pressure sales job; they’ll tell you your case is strong and the likely hood of success is high, though they can’t ‘guarantee’ it.

In one case a client claims Cold Spring Advisory Group charged $6,000 in upfront fees, then did nothing. There was another case where the attorney missed appearances and the arbitration fees kept accumulating.

In fact, as it relates to Cold Spring Advisory Group, the lawsuits against them – like the one filed by National Securities alleging that Cold Spring Advisory Group obtained their client list illegally –, are not the most concerning aspect of their business. The owner is Michelle Ottimo, who has no securities background whatsoever, and is the wife of Louis Ottimo, who many surmise is the practical force behind the company’s operations.  And his past record in the securities industry is littered with liens, judgements, sanctions, and bankruptcies. In fact, he just filed personal bankruptcy not too long ago.

Cold Spring Advisory Group and Louis Ottimo are not alone. There are many bad investment firms out there, and the bad brokers tend to follow there employment from one failed company to another.

So, if you get a call from out of the blue inquiring into your stock investments, and/or specifically about a loss, beware! When it seems to be too good to be true, it usually isn’t.

Check what firms they’ve gone after to determine if it is a wide variety, or focused in on just a few. That latter may be a tip-off that they may have obtained a client list illegally and targeting just that client base.

A little attentiveness can help you save thousands or tens of thousands of dollars. If you’ve lost money in the securities industry, move slow, find credible lawyers and/or recovery firms — they typically do not ask for upfront fees like Cold Spring Advisory does. No need losing more money on top of your existing loss — because you moved to quickly and bought into an aggressive sales pitch assuring you good and how strong it is!