SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — The Utah Department of Commerce is warning Utahns to be aware of investment scams that may take advantage of fear and uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus outbreak.
Chris Parker, the interim executive director at the department, said the spread of the virus is presenting scammers with unique opportunities to con investors.
“Con artists use any means available to increase their odds of taking advantage of their marks,” he said in a statement. “Coronavirus gives them a chance to cloak their scheme with an air of immediacy and legitimacy.”
Scammers capitalize on coronavirus fears
These scams capitalize on investments, increasing the likelihood of investors dealing with high pressure sales pitches. These pitches commonly guarantee “safer” and “guaranteed” investments in light of the coronavirus.
However, those in the Department of Commerce say to keep eyes open and be cautious when dealing with these pitches.
Utah Division of Securities: Beware of Investment Scams Using Coronavirus Fear and Uncertainty. “If you have concerns about your investments, talk to your financial professional.” #Coronavirus @UtahCoronavirus #ncpw pic.twitter.com/keOUAkwl7I
— commerce.utah.gov (@UtahCommerce) March 5, 2020
“If you have concerns about about your investments or retirement savings, talk to your financial professional,” said Tom Brady, director of the Utah Division of Security.
Three ways to avoid the scams
Brady said there are three tips to avoid falling victim to these investment scams.
First, all investments have risks. If someone is promising a “no-risk investment” with guaranteed results, it would be better to avoid the risk.
Second, Brady said to always be skeptical of deals that require an investor to “act now.”
“If someone puts you on the spot, don’t be afraid to walk away,” Brady said.
Lastly, make sure the investment as well as the investor is licensed and registered properly. If they’re licensed, they can face consequences later if they improperly pressured someone to invest.
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