The securities industry self-regulator in the US is FINRA. The FINRA website has a consumer protection section that includes a list of investor alerts.
Whether or not you think you really know what you are doing when you invest, you should check the FINRA website for any consumer investor alerts that may apply to any investment that you are contemplating.
Many investments that may not be in your best interests will involve high up-front and ongoing fees. These high fees may or may not be clear to you, depending upon the structure of an investment.
It is wise to look at the FINRA investment alerts, before you sign anything. Check this web site before you make an investment, because in most situations, you will not be able to back out of that investment without some penalty, after you have signed and funded that investment. Forewarned is better than regretting a lighter wallet.
About FINRA: This descriptive quote is from the FINRA website: "The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (FINRA) is the largest independent regulator of securities firms doing business with the public in the United States. Our core mission is to pursue investor protection and market integrity, and we carry it out by overseeing virtually every aspect of the brokerage industry. All told, FINRA oversees about 4,245 brokerage firms, about 162,230 branch offices and approximately 630,150 brokers. (accessed August 9, 2013)"