Secretary of State Jason Kander marked National Fraud Prevention Month by alerting Missouri investors to the top threats that could potentially harm their hard-earned savings. In Missouri, investment advisers, broker-dealers and most products they sell must be registered with the securities division of Kander’s office. 

“My office works every day to combat financial fraud and stop schemes before they affect the hard-earned life savings of Missourians,” Kander said. “While the vast majority of investment professionals put the needs of their clients first, there are some people – either in the business or pretending to be – who prey on the trust of Missourians. Before investing in a new product, or with a new financial advisor, please take just a few minutes to call my office at 800-721-7996 and make sure there are no red flags.”

The “Top Threats to Missouri Investors” is an annual listing compiled by the securities division of Kander’s office. This year, the list includes:

•Third parties managing online discount brokerage accounts. Missourians should be aware of offers to set up or “manage” online brokerage accounts by individuals claiming to be investment professionals.  Do not share your user name or password unless you have verified the identity and trustworthiness of the adviser with Kander’s office.

•Unregistered salespeople. Whenever approached by someone claiming to hold special credentials or purporting to be exempt from registration as an investment adviser, contact Kander’s office at 800-721-7996.

•High yield or ponzi investment schemes. It is essential to remember that “high yield” means higher risks associated with the investment.  While some products may be suitable for investors, the promise of extremely high returns or a guarantee of safety should stand out as red flags. 

•Real Estate Investments. While housing prices continue to recover in many U.S. markets, Missourians should be aware that schemes related to new real estate development projects or buying, renovating, flipping or pooling distressed properties continue to be popular with scam artists.

•Investment Fads. Emerging investment opportunities such as digital currency, crowdfunding, oil and gas, or natural resource mining may sound appealing, but typically require an extremely high level of knowledge or acumen to be profitable.

Before making an investment decision, call the Missouri Investor Protection Hotline at 800-721-7996 or visit www.MissouriSafeSavings.com.

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