State joins task force to crack down on COVID-19 investment scams

Salem – The Oregon Division of Financial Regulation has joined an international enforcement task force organized by the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) to investigate investment fraud during the COVID-19 outbreak.

“We are proud to join our colleagues in NASAA’s COVID-19 Enforcement Task Force,” said Lou Savage, Division of Financial Regulation administrator. “COVID-19 investment schemes are a significant threat and fraudsters need to know that our division is dedicated to 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 consists of securities regulators and was formed to identify and stop potential threats to investors stemming from the COVID-19 outbreak. Task force members investigate websites and social media posts that may be promoting fraudulent offerings, investment fraud, and unregistered regulated activities.

A critical component of fighting fraud is investor awareness. To help investors identify common telltale signs of possible investment fraud, the division recommends asking three questions before making a new investment.

1. Is the investment being offered with a guaranteed high return with little or no risk?

All investments carry risk. Anyone who says their investment offer has no risk is lying.

2. Is there a sense of urgency or limited availability surrounding the investment? 

If someone offers you a “can’t miss” investment opportunity and pressures you to invest right now, just walk away.

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

You would not seek an unlicensed doctor or dentist; you should also avoid unregistered investment salespeople and products.

Investors who see or suspect they fell victim to COVID-19 related investment scams can contact the division’s advocacy team at 888-877-4894 (toll-free) or visit the division’s financial services page.

Visit the division’s COVID-19 consumer page for more financial services information.

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