DFI Joins Task Force Cracking Down on COVID-19 Investment Scams
Madison– The Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) announced last week that it has joined an international enforcement task force organized by the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) to investigate fraudsters looking to capitalize during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are proud to join our colleagues in NASAA’s COVID-19 Enforcement Task Force,” said DFI Secretary Kathy Blumenfeld. “Investment schemes related to COVID-19 are a significant threat to investors in Wisconsin and fraudsters need to know that DFI is dedicated to effectively protecting investors from COVID-19 investment fraud.”
DFI is a member of NASAA, the membership organization of state and provincial securities regulators in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The NASAA COVID-19 Enforcement Task Force consists of state and provincial securities regulators and was formed to identify and stop potential threats to investors stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. Task force members are using online investigative techniques to identify websites and social media posts that may be offering or promoting fraudulent offerings, investment frauds, and unregistered regulated activities.
To assist in protecting investors from COVID-19 investment scams, DFI also encourages public reporting of suspected fraudulent COVID-19 investment offers. Investors who see or suspect they fell victim to COVID-19 related investment scams can contact DFI at (608)-266-2139.
“Reporting suspicious COVID-19 related investment offers is important to help DFI investigate and prosecute illegal activities and protect our citizens from falling victim to a financial fraud in these unprecedented times,” said DFI Secretary Blumenfeld.
A critical component of fighting fraud is investor awareness. To help investors identify common telltale signs of possible investment fraud, DFI suggests three questions to ask before making a new investment.
First, is the investment being offered with a guaranteed high return with little or no risk? All investments carry risk that the investor may potentially lose some or all of the invested money. Anyone who says their investment offer has no risk is lying. No one can guarantee an investment return.
Second, is there a sense of urgency or limited availability of detailed information surrounding the investment? If someone offers a “can’t miss” investment opportunity and pressures the potential investor to invest right now, don’t be afraid to walk away.
Third, is the person offering the investment, and the investment itself, properly licensed or registered? Investors should avoid unregistered investment salespeople and their products by asking if the salesperson and the investment itself are properly licensed or registered. This information can be confirmed by calling DFI at (608) 266-2139.
“Make sure you have all the facts before you hand your money over to someone else to invest,” said DFI Secretary Blumenfeld. For more information, please visit www.wdfi.org or call DFI’s Division of Securities at (608) 266-2139.