INVESTOR ALERT – Look Out for Coronavirus-Related Investment Scams
The Securities and Charities Division of the Office of the Secretary of State of Georgia is issuing this Investor Alert to warn people about investment frauds promoted by con artists during this coronavirus pandemic.
Con artists often use sophisticated and effective tactics such as following headlines and using the latest news developments to lure investors into scams in order to line their own pockets. One medium in which con artists lure investors is through internet promotions, including via social media, claiming to raise capital for products and services that can detect, prevent, and cure coronavirus.
The Division urges investors to be aware of the potential for fraud during this time.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is also warning people about online promotions, including on social media, claiming that the products or services of publicly-traded companies can prevent, detect, or cure coronavirus and that the stock of these companies will dramatically increase in value as a result. https://www.sec.gov/oiea/investor-alerts-and-bulletins/ia_coronavirus
As an investor, you may lose significant amounts of money if you invest in a product or service with a company or individual who makes inaccurate or unreliable claims.
The Division asks Georgians to keep the following in mind when considering investment opportunities:
- Be cautious of claims that products or services can help stop the coronavirus. These claims may be made as part of fraudulent “pump-and-dump” schemes where fraudsters boost the company’s stock price by sharing positive, but fake, information before cashing out their own holdings.
- Avoid investment opportunities where there are promises of guaranteed returns. If it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is.
- When making an investment, be sure to understand what you are investing in, who you are doing business with, where your money is going, how it will be used, and how you can get it back.
- Always ask those selling securities if the securities are registered with the SEC or the Division.
- Do not click on links from sources you do not know. It could download a virus onto your computer or device. Make sure the antimalware and antivirus software on your computer is up to date.
- Watch for emails claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or experts saying that they have information about the virus. For the most current information about the Coronavirus, visit the websites of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Georgia Department of Public Health, and World Health Organization.
- Arm yourself with information. When considering to engage in any investment opportunity, including investment opportunities that claim to focus on coronavirus-related products and services, carefully research the investment.
Georgians are encouraged to reach out to the Georgia Securities and Charities Division if they suspect securities fraud or wrongdoing, including possible fraudulent pitches related to medical or bio-technology, or ‘sure cures’ related to the coronavirus situation. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, call us directly at 470-312-2640, or file complaint online at https://sos.ga.gov/cgi-bin/EMailSecurities.asp