Beware of investment scams using coronavirus fear and uncertainty

Stock chart

“Con artists use any means available to increase their odds of taking advantage of their marks, and coronavirus gives them a chance to cloak their scheme with an air of immediacy and legitimacy,” said Chris Parker, Interim Executive Director at the Utah Department of Commerce.

Here are a few things investors can do to protect themselves and their investments:

  • When making any investment, always ask if the salesperson and the security are registered with the state securities regulator.
  • Be extra concerned with high-pressure sales pitches that offer “safer, guaranteed investments” in light of coronavirus.
  • Consult a financial professional if you have concerns about investments or retirements savings.

Three rules of investing:

No investment can offer a ‘no-risk, guaranteed-return’. All investments carry risk, and the potential to lose some or even all of your money.

Don’t fall for high-pressure tactics and investments that remain available only if you “act now” or for a “limited time.” If someone puts you on the spot, don’t be afraid to walk away.

Is the person offering the investment properly licensed and registered?
Is the investment properly licensed and registered?
Licensed investment professionals have a fiduciary responsibility to you, and risk disciplinary action for offering improperly registered investments.

Have concerns about an investment opportunity?
Contact the Securities Division at the Department of Commerce

Brian Maxwell is the public information officer for the Utah Department of Commerce.