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US State joins international task force targeting COVID-19 investment scams

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The Oregon Division of Financial Regulation has recently joined an international enforcement task force arranged by the North American Securities Administrators Association to monitor investment fraud during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Lou Savage, Administrator, Division of Financial Regulation stated: “We are proud to join our colleagues in NASAA’s COVID-19 Enforcement Task Force.” According to him, Coronavirus-related investment schemes are a major threat, and fraudsters should be informed that our division is focused on protecting Oregonians from these scams.

The division is a member of NASAA, the membership organization of state and provincial securities regulators in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The task force includes securities regulators and was created to detect and impede potential threats to investors as a result of the Coronavirus epidemic. Members of the Taskforce investigate websites and social media posts that may be encouraging fake offerings, investment fraud, and unregistered regulated activities.

An important element of fighting fraud is investor awareness. To assist investors in identifying common meaningful signs of possible investment fraud, the division recommends asking three questions before making a new investment:

1.  Is the investment offer having a guaranteed high return involving minimal or no risk?

All investments have risks. Anyone who claims their investment has no risk is probably deceiving.

2. Is there an element of urgency or limited availability around the investment? 

If someone is offering you a “limited time” investment opportunity and urges you to invest right away, it is suspicious. You should just walk away.

3. Is the person offering the investment, and the investment itself, properly licensed or registered?

You should also avoid unregistered investment salespeople and products.