Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft identified several investment products and schemes that could potentially trap Missouri’s investors in 2022 and recommended steps investors can take to protect themselves from investment fraud.
The list was developed by surveying members of the North American Securities Administrators Association, of which the Securities Division of the Secretary of State’s Office is a member, to identify threats investors are likely to see in 2022. The following were most frequently identified by NASAA members as the top areas of concern for the coming year:
- Investments tied to cryptocurrencies and digital assets
- Fraud offerings related to promissory notes
- Money scams offered through social media and internet investment offers
- Financial schemes connected to self-directed Individual Retirement Accounts
- Commodities/precious metals
- Elder financial abuse
- Unregistered securities
“It is important for investors to understand what they are investing in and who they are investing with,” Ashcroft said. “Don’t be pressured to invest. If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”
According to the Securities Division, such investment offers that sound “too good to be true” often share similar characteristics. The most common sign of an investment scam is an offer of guaranteed high returns with no risk. All investments carry the risk that some, or all, of the invested funds could be lost.
Many of the threats facing investors involve private offerings, which are exempt from federal securities registration requirements and are not sold through public stock exchanges. “Unregistered private offerings generally are high-risk investments and don’t have the same investor protection requirements as investments sold through public markets,” said Securities Commissioner David M. Minnick.
Investors should always ask if the salesperson, and the investment itself, are properly licensed and registered. This information can quickly and easily be confirmed by calling the Securities Division – (800) 721-7996 – or visiting the Missouri Protects Investors website