8/30/2017 1:27:46 PM
For Immediate Release
Saint Paul, MN —In the wake of widespread damage caused by Hurricane and Tropical Storm Harvey in Texas, the Commerce Department is cautioning investors to watch out for opportunistic investment scams.
“As we are seeing in Texas, natural disasters bring out the best in people, with neighbors helping neighbors. Unfortunately, we know from experience that disasters also can bring out the worst in people, particularly those seeking to profit from the misfortune of others,” Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman said. “Unsolicited investment offers seeking to capitalize on the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey should be approached with extreme caution.”
Commissioner Rothman urged investors to watch for red flags of hurricane-related scams, including unsolicited email, social media messages, crowdfunding pitches or telephone calls promoting investment pools or bonds to help storm victims, water-removal or purification technologies, electricity-generating devices and distressed real estate remediation programs.
Scam artists also may linger to prey on storm victims who anticipate receiving large lump-sum insurance settlements. “The potential for fraud remains even after the skies have cleared. Be wary of any promoter promising quick and high returns on your investments,” Commissioner Mike Rothman said.
Commerce also cautioned about fraudulent charitable solicitations that prey on the goodness of people seeking to help those in need. “The best advice is to do your research. Give to those charitable organizations that are registered properly with state authorities. As with any charitable contribution, those who want to contribute to relief efforts should send contributions to only those charities with an established track record of making sure the donations get to the victims,” Commissioner Rothman said.
Commerce offered three tips to help investors avoid disaster-related scams:
Commerce is here to help
If you have a question or believe you have been a victim of fraud, contact the Commerce Department’s Consumer Services Center by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 651-539-1600 or 800-657-3602 (Greater Minnesota).
Director of Communications
Minnesota Department of Commerce
p: 651-539-1463 | c: 651-368-5050 | email@example.com