Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

14 of 21
BACK NEXT
14. Watch out for scammers
Con artists love bear markets - anxious people may listen a little longer to a "sure thing" pitch. Oil and gas scams, in which promoters sell partnerships in dry wells or shares in suspect drilling equipment, are especially big now.

"I've seen folks put a half-million dollars into them," says Joseph Borg of the Alabama Securities Commission.

Telltale signs of a scam: promises of guaranteed outsize returns and pressure to invest quickly lest this incredible opportunity pass you by.

In nearly all states, projects and agents need to be registered or licensed when oil is concerned, so check with your state regulators.

NEXT: Buy low - the brave way

Last updated August 16 2008: 4:37 PM ET
More Galleries
Best cars for the super-rich The Robb Report has selected these as the best new cars and SUVs for anyone who doesn't have to worry about how much they spend. More
Banned! 10 things you won't find in China China says it wants to open its economy more to the rest of the world, but Beijing keeps a tight grip on technology and access to media. These 10 items are still off limits. More
A morning at the AltSchool, an education startup that Silicon Valley is crazy about The AltSchool is a system of "micro schools" and an education software maker that has raised about $133 million from investors like Andreessen Horowitz and Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan's philanthropic fund. More

Special Offer