As Financial Scams Go Global, Here’s How to Avoid Being Stung

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[This is the sixth installment of a new series that is exploring ways for investors to recover from the U.S. financial crisis.]

Bernie Madoff's guilty plea to a decades-long $50 billion-plus Ponzi scheme pretty much guarantees the 70-year-old will have his likeness immortalized on the Mt. Rushmore of scammers.

The former NASDAQ chairman's December arrest – with collapsing U.S. and overseas stock markets as a backdrop – kicked up a firestorm that has forced investors to take a much-closer look at who was managing their investments. Scores of investors have lost their life savings, retirees found their nest eggs gone and countless charities discovered that they were essentially out of business; the cash that they once handed out to worthy causes had disappeared.