The state Department of Financial Institutions is out today with a warning against scams – what with turmoil in investment markets typically heralding the beginning of scam season.
There’s been turmoil, so be on the lookout for con artists, hucksters, offers too-good-to-be-true and people offering advice that will separate you from your money.
Among the tips DFI offers:
&bull Contact the state Securities Division with any questions about an investment firm, professional or product. Make sure that both the seller and investment are licensed and registered. If they are not, they may be operating illegally.
&bull Use common sense. Some things really are too good to be true. Get a professional, trusted third-party opinion when presented with investment opportunities that seem to offer unusually high returns in comparison to other investment options.
&bull Request written information that fully explains the investment, such as a prospectus or offering circular. The documentation should contain enough clear and accurate information to allow you or your financial adviser to evaluate and verify the particulars of the investment.
&bull If you participate in an employer-sponsored retirement plan, such as a 401(k) plan, get unbiased advice and guidance before making any significant changes to your long-term savings and investment strategy.
If you have any questions or come across anything you find financially questionable, contact the department at www.dfi.wa.gov.
Also, the department reminds investors that the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) maintains a special reserve fund authorized by Congress to help investors at failed brokerage firms. SIPC acts either as trustee or works with an independent court-appointed trustee in a brokerage insolvency case to recover funds. Additional information about SIPC is available at www.sipc.org.