Washington State Department of Financial Institutions

News Release

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Contact

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

Bill Beatty, Director Division of Securities
PH 360.902.8723, william.beatty@dfi.wa.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:


Department Of Financial Institutions Warns Washington State Investors Of Investment Schemes Tied To Economic Uncertainty

Washington regulator identifies investor threats among financial products and practices

OLYMPIA – The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) Securities Division today released its annual list of financial products and practices that threaten to trap unwary investors, many by taking advantage of investors troubled by lingering economic uncertainty and volatile stock markets.

“Con artists follow the news and seek ways to exploit the headlines to their advantage while leaving investors holding an empty bag,” DFI Securities Division Director Bill Beatty said.

Beatty said headline-related investor complaints reaching state and provincial securities regulators include questionable claims, such as: “Realize safety and appreciation in gold;” “Wave energy: the future to power our homes;” “Synthetic fuels take the oilman out of our pockets;” and “Invest in foreclosed homes, help others and make a fortune!”

“Promoters often offer investors an opportunity to get in on the ‘ground floor’ of new technology or ideas to help others and make a great economic return,” Beatty said.

“Unsuspecting investors can be lured into these schemes, especially if they sound familiar. These offerings require careful research and a strong reminder that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is not true, nor will it be profitable to anyone but the promoter.”

The following financial products and practices threaten to trap unwary investors. The products and practices are listed in alphabetical order:

Products

Practices

Beatty urged investors to learn the warning signs of investment fraud and independently verify any investment opportunity as well as the background of the person and company offering the investment. The Department of Financial Institutions provides detailed background information about those who sell securities or give investment advice, as well as about the products being offered.

“Investors should do business only with licensed brokers and investment advisers and should report any suspicion of investment fraud to us,” Beatty said.

Additional information on how to protect yourself from investment fraud is available on DFI’s Website at http://dfi.wa.gov/ or by calling 1.877.RING DFI (746-4334).


About DFI
www.dfi.wa.gov ▪ 360.902-8700 ▪ 877.746-4334
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 also works to improve financial education throughout Washington through its outreach programs and online clearinghouse www.dfi.wa.gov/financial-education. In addition to posting information about licensees and administrative actions, DFI uses the Web and social media to provide financial education information: http://www.twitter.com/FinEd4All, www.twitter.com/DFIConsumers, www.finlit.blogspot.com, www.youtube.com/user/WADFI, www.homeownership.wa.gov.

About Division of Securities
www.dfi.wa.gov/sd ▪ 360.902.8760 ▪ 877.RINGDFI (746.4334)
The Division of Securities regulates securities investments, franchises, business opportunities, and off-exchange commodities sold in Washington and the firms and individuals that sell these products or provide investment advice. The Division handles complaints, conducts investigations, and takes appropriate enforcement actions to protect investors and combat fraud.

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