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Minnesotans warned of investment scams in wake of stock market drop

1/21/2016 4:09:09 PM

For Immediate Release:

SAINT PAUL – Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman is urging investors to be on guard for investment scammers trying to take advantage of fears about the current volatility in the stock market. 

“When the stock market goes down, the scam market can go up,” said Rothman. “Scam artists will try to exploit the fears of investors with investment schemes that promise high returns with little or no risk.”

Rothman said that investors who are close to retirement may be targeted by high-pressure scam tactics pushing phony or deceptive investments that offer to make up for losses in retirement accounts.

He encourages Minnesotans to hang up on aggressive cold callers, delete unsolicited e-mails promoting investment schemes and be wary of mailed invitations to attend free dinner seminars promising high returns with no-risk investment strategies.

In a turbulent market, investors may be tempted to transfer their money into unregistered securities and non-traditional investments such as promissory notes, speculative oil and gas deals, offshore “safe havens” and potentially high-risk, non-traded real estate investment trusts.

Before making an investment decision, be sure to check whether the agent, broker-dealer or investment adviser you are working with is registered in Minnesota or has been subject to enforcement actions.

Registration information is available at BrokerCheck, an online tool provided by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

Enforcement actions taken by the Commerce Department can be searched online using the Commerce Actions and Regulatory Documents Search (CARDS) tool on the Commerce website.

You should also always get detailed written information and disclosures about any proposed investment and then carefully review it or ask a trusted third party to help you evaluate it.

The Minnesota Commerce Department protects investors by enforcing the state’s securities laws. Rothman is president-elect of the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA), representing state securities regulators.

Commerce is here to help. 

If you have questions or concerns about a possible investment scam or fraud, contact the Commerce Department’s Consumer Services Center by email at consumer.protection@state.mn.us or by phone at 651-539-1600 or 800-657-3602 (Greater Minnesota).

________________________________________

Media Contact:
Ross Corson
Director of Communications
Minnesota Department of Commerce
P: 651-539-1463 | C: 651-368-5050 | ross.corson@state.mn.us

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