Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White is cautioning investors to watch out for opportunistic investment scams in the wake of widespread damage caused by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
“Natural disasters like this one have many stories which highlight the best in people as neighbors help neighbors, but these situations can also bring out the worst in people, particularly those seeking to profit from the misfortune of others,” said White. “Illinois residents should be aware of companies and individuals offering investments involving the aftermath of these hurricanes.”
White, who runs the Illinois Securities Department which regulates investment advisors and securities brokers, urged investors to watch for hurricane-related scams, including unsolicited email, social media messages, 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.
“Beware of any promoter promising quick and high returns on your investments,” White said. “Con-artists may claim that their companies have government contracts to help with the clean up or rebuilding effort. Investors should always research the companies and salespersons before investing.”
White’s Securities Department offered three tips to help investors avoid disaster-related scams:
- Delete unsolicited emails or social media messages and hang up on aggressive cold callers promoting hurricane-related investments, especially those from small companies touting unproven or new technologies or products.
- Use common sense. Claims of guaranteed returns or low/no investment risk are classic red flags. Every investment involves some degree of risk.
- Do your homework. Contact the Secretary of State’s Securities Department to check that both the seller and investment are licensed and registered. If not, they may be operating illegally.
For more information please visit www.avoidthescam.net or call 800-628-7937.