Washington State Department of Financial Institutions

News Release

Friday, February 29, 2008

Martin Cordell, DFI Securities Criminal & Enforcement Unit Program Manager
PH (360) 902-8772, mcordell@dfi.wa.gov

Lyn Peters, Director of Communications
PH (360) 902-8731, lpeters@dfi.wa.gov


DFI Announces Top 10 Investment Scams In Washington, Advises Residents To Be Cautious And Invest Wisely

OLYMPIA - The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) Securities Division announces the “Top 10” investment scams to avoid in Washington State. Most of the schemes on this year’s list are perennial favorites of scam artists who dress them up with the latest investment angle or news of the day. Each year Washington residents report losses from investment scams of between $50 million to $100 million. The amounts reported may only be a small fraction of the actual losses.

“Investors can protect themselves, and their financial futures, by investing a little more time before investing their money,” DFI Director Scott Jarvis says. “And remember— if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

DFI urges Investors to research investment opportunities prior to signing any agreements and to avoid any investment opportunity accompanied by high pressure sales tactics implying the offer won’t last. Consumers considering investing should first visit www.dfi.wa.gov or call 1.877.RING DFI to verify that an investment company is licensed to do business in the State of Washington before making an investment.

“Understanding what you’re investing in is crucial to making sound financial decisions,” DFI Director of Securities Mike Stevenson added. “Make sure you have the information you need to make educated choices before giving anyone any money.”

The “Top 10” investment scams in Washington State include:

  1. Ponzi Schemes
  2. Senior Fraud
  3. Promissory Notes
  4. Unscrupulous Brokers
  5. Affinity Fraud
  6. Unlicensed Securities Sellers
  7. Prime Bank Schemes
  8. Internet Fraud
  9. Free Lunches and Dinners
  10. Telemarketing Fraud

For details on these investment scams and more information on other investment scams, or to report possible fraud, visit http://www.dfi.wa.gov/consumers/topscams.htm or call 1.877.RING DFI.

About DFI
www.dfi.wa.gov ▪ 360.902-8700 ▪ 877.746-4334 ▪ In Espaņol 888.976.4422
The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions regulates a variety of financial service providers such as banks, credit unions, mortgage brokers, consumer loan companies, payday lenders, and securities brokers and dealers. The department has won numerous awards for its financial literacy and outreach programs developed to protect consumers from financial fraud. In addition to posting information about licensees and administrative actions, the DFI’s Web site features consumer tips on a variety of financial fraud-related topics.

DFI's Division of Securities
www.dfi.wa.gov ▪ 360.902.8700 ▪ 877.RINGDFI (877.746.4334)
The mission statement of the Securities Division is "To protect the investing public and promote confidence in the capital markets." This mission is accomplished through a variety of regulatory and enforcement tools, including: