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State issues warning against financial “Sandy scams”

Post by C.R. Roberts / The News Tribune on Nov. 2, 2012 at 10:58 am |
November 2, 2012 10:58 am

And so it begins, here in the shadow of disaster – the evil men do.

The State Department of Financial Institutions and the North American Securities Administrators Association are out today with a warning for investors.

Watch out for “Sandy scams.”

“Unfortunately, we know from experience that disasters bring out the worst in people, especially those seeking to profit from the misfortunes of others. Potential investors should be very cautious if approached with unsolicited Sandy-related investment offers,” said Heath Abshure, NASAA president, in a release.

In particular, beware of cold-calling telephone salespeople, advertisements and Internet postings that promote investment pools or bonds to help storm victims, or tout water-removal or purification technologies, electricity-generating devices and distressed real estate remediation programs.

“There will be fraudulent charity solicitations,” Abshure said.” Some will be looking for your money; some will be attempting to steal your credit card information for identity theft. As with any charitable contribution, people wanting to help with relief efforts following Sandy should send contributions to only those charities with an established track record.”

Recalling that many con artists attempted to exploit investors in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Abshure urged investors to:
• Hang up on aggressive cold callers promoting hurricane-related investments. Delete unsolicited e-mail or Internet messages discussing small companies with new hurricane-related technologies or products.
• Use common sense. Pie-in-the-sky promises often signal investment fraud.
• Contact the state – dfi.wa.gov – to check that both the seller and investment are licensed and registered. If not, they may be operating illegally.

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