Here are some tips to help protect you from losing your hard-earned savings to Ponzi-like investment schemes:
1.) Research your broker and the investment - Studies show fewer than 20% of people ever check up on their broker or where he or she may be placing their money. Two good places to start are the SEC's investor.gov & the Financial Industry's Regulatory Authority's brokercheck.finra.org.
2.) If it seems too good to be true, it's probably not true. When you hear phrases like "no risk" and guaranteed returns," run the other way.
3.) If you don't understand the investment, be wary.
4.) Don't be startruck - Celebrity endorsements don't really mean anything. The endorser is usually being paid or has a financial interest in you making an investment.
Above all, take your time! Don't let a broker try to hurry with warnings that the quicker you invest, thequicker your money will grow. It can also be the quicker you lose everything!