Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft is urging Missouri investors to be cautious with any potential investment opportunities related to the war in Ukraine.
Ashcroft and his securities division, with the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA), want investors and securities firms to be alert for scams and cyber attacks.
Ashcroft says, “We encourage all Missourians to take steps necessary to safeguard from fraud. Always check out anyone who solicits you for investment. Ask questions and get answers before you hand over your money.”
NASAA president and Maryland Securities Commissioner Melanie Senter Lubin added, “Difficult times can bring out the best in people, but as regulators we know from experience that there are bad actors looking to exploit crises to perpetrate scams on unsuspecting investors.”
The Missouri Securities Division and NASAA offers some tips for investors:
1) Be skeptical of investment opportunities linked to the headlines. We are all aware of the rising costs of energy and fuel. Fraudsters may seek advantage by promoting extremely risky or bogus investments within the energy sector including possible oil and gas deals. Delete unsolicited emails and social media messages touting investments with little risk but offering significant or guaranteed returns.
2) Do your homework. Given the recent volatility in financial markets, investors are concerned about retirement accounts. Unscrupulous promoters may look to prey on this concern and attempt to convince investors to leave the regulated markets in favor of “less volatile” or “stable” investment opportunities. Investors are cautioned to investigate both the background of the person and firm offering the investment and the investment itself.
3) Monitor accounts regularly and take steps to protect your financial data. Be sure to keep an eye on your brokerage, bank, and credit card statements to spot potential fraudulent or suspicious transactions. Contact your financial professional, bank, or credit card issuer immediately if you see any questionable transaction or charge.
Ashcroft urges investors to call the toll-free investor protection hotline at (800) 721-7996 or go online to www.missouriprotectsinvestors.com for more information or to file a complaint.