Regulators credit smart thinking for low incidence of COVID-related investment scams

COVID-19

(© Andy Dean – stock.adobe.com)

Hundreds of COVID-related investment scams have impacted people nationwide. Virginia has, fortunately, experienced almost nothing in this realm.

“I think this speaks to the proactive approach we’ve taken,” said Danny Taylor, manager of enforcement with the State Corporation Commission’s Division of Securities and Retail Franchising.

Other state and provincial regulators with the North American Securities Administrators Association say they have taken action against more than 200 alleged investment scams. The

The SCC currently has just one open COVID-related investment investigation in the Commonwealth.

Taylor pointed to the SCC’s membership in NASAA’s COVID-19 Enforcement Task Force, which it joined in May, as one example of the preemptive steps it has taken to help protect Virginia investors from COVID-related investment scams.

The Task Force consists of securities regulators from the United States, Canada and Mexico, who exchange information and are working toward the same goal.

“There’s tremendous strength in unifying our efforts to address these types of multi-jurisdictional frauds and we’re proud to be part of it,” Taylor said.

Taylor stressed the need to remain vigilant against COVID-19 scams and warned potential investors to avoid the following:

  • giving out your passwords or Social Security number;
  • trusting suspicious websites (NASAA’s task force identified as many as 200,000 coronavirus-related domains by mid-April);
  • considering work-from-home opportunities without properly vetting them;
  • investing in companies that claim to have COVID-19 cures, most of which are unsubstantiated.

“People often get caught up in the ‘fear of missing out’ on a profitable investment experience. Fraudsters prey on this emotion, so it’s important to reinforce to investors the need to do their research and be wary of promotions that seem too good to be true,” Taylor said.

He encourages investors to report any suspected fraudulent COVID-19 or other investment opportunities by contacting SRF at 804-371-9051, toll-free at 1-800-552-7945, or online at www.scc.virginia.gov.

For more information, investors may also visit the NASAA website at www.nasaa.org.


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