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You may have lost money in your investment portfolio,
due to mismanagement and not even know it.

Is this too good to be true? Yes, probably.

Everyone wants a sweet deal, and honesty would perhaps have most of us admit that our emotions start overriding our normal logical constraints when a third party begins pouring honey over a potential transaction.

That can become notably dangerous in the realm of securities investing, especially when rationality starts to become overwhelmed by tunnel vision focused upon outsized and uninterrupted profits.

A noted investment analyst and author addresses that slippery slope in a recent media piece. He warns potential investors that a deep breath and solid step back is often a critically important self-check to undertake when visions of never-ending riches start turning to fireworks in the brain.

Ken Fisher, writer of the top-selling book "How to Smell A Rat," says that no potentially scammable individual needs to buy any of his offerings to ramp up the personal acumen needed to sniff out a Ponzi scheme or related ruse. He contends that disaster can be steered clear of by being well attuned to just a few things.

Custody of money "is the biggest red flag," he says. Avoid placing your hard-earned cash directly into the hands of the individual soliciting it rather than investing it in a verifiable account in your name at a reputable brokerage or bank. Err here, and your money might just sail "out the back door" to fund vacations and spa treatments for your "adviser" rather than being applied to your benefit.

Be properly cynical of pitches guaranteeing endless and unbroken periods of cumulating profits. Even storied and unquestionably legitimate investors, says Fisher, "have nasty years whose visibility demonstrates integrity."

And tune your ears for arm-twisting talk that is replete with techno-speak and all sorts of analyses and jargon that simply sound over-the-top complicated, perhaps even nonsensical. When your ear canals are buzzing, put your hand over your wallet and walk away from the noise.

Being cynical is not a character defect. In the securities investment universe, it can be a personal attribute of the highest order.

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