NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - If you’re a part of a church or professional organization there are fraudsters out there targeting you. 

The Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance wants to warn you about something called Affinity Fraud. 

Affinity fraud happens anywhere groups of people gather such as places of worship, tight-knit ethnic or immigrant communities, country clubs and online forums. 

The Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance says these scam artists and fraudsters use your trust to convince you to invest in investment schemes or phony business projects.

Many times victims fail to report this type of fraud because they're embarrassed or because they want to handle it in the group, which is actually a bad thing because it allows these scammers to continue doing these schemes. 

TDCI Spokesperson Kevin Walters says the best thing you can do is not let your guard down. 

“An affinity fraud scammer wants you to let your guard down. An affinity fraud scammer wants you to think i’m your best friend. Scammers are never going to be mean, they’re never going to be rude.  They’re never going to be ugly. They’re going to be well dressed. They’re going to be well spoken. And they’re going to always come to you and say ‘Here’s how I can help you. Really what they’re trying to do is help themselves,” Kevin Walters, Spokesperson with Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance said. 

Walters also recommends not acting quickly. If someone offers you an opportunity they say you can't miss and puts you on the spot...don't be afraid to walk away. Never make an investment decision without understanding where you're money is going, how i t will be used and how you can get it back. 

Remember there is no such thing as a risk-free investment. Don't believe them if they tell you that. 

For more information on Affinity Fraud, click here: https://www.tn.gov/commerce/news/2019/11/18/tdci-issues-advisory-to-raise-awareness-about-affinity-fraud.html

 

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