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MADISON – State securities regulators are warning Wisconsin investors to beware of potential “Sandy scams” in the wake of the widespread destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy along the Eastern seaboard.
“Scam artists have been known to try to profit in the wake of natural disasters,” said Patricia Struck, Administrator of the Division of Securities in the Department of Financial Institutions. “They seek to take advantage of unsuspecting investors and profit from the misfortune of others. Investors should be extremely wary if they are approached with unsolicited investment offers related to Hurricane Sandy.”
Among the red flags to watch for, Struck noted, are:
• Telephone inquiries from cold-calling salespeople.
• Internet offers that tout investment pools or bonds to help storm victims, or promote water-removal or purification systems, electricity-generating devices and distressed real estate remediation programs.
• Appeals from potentially fraudulent organizations masquerading as charities.
• Social media appeals from individuals purporting to need financial assistance.
Struck urged consumers to use common sense if they encounter suspicious investment offers.
“Hang up on cold callers who are pushing hurricane-related investments, and delete unsolicited Internet offers promoting companies that tout new-fangled cleanup technologies and products,” Struck said. “If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”
If consumers have questions about potentially fraudulent investment offers, they may contact DFI’s Division of Securities at 608-266-1064.