News Release

Corporation Commission Reminds Investors to Beware of Con Artists Looking to Profit from Fear and Uncertainty

For Immediate Release | 3-9-20
Media Contact | Nicole Capone
Direct |  602-542-0713
E-Mail | NCapone@azcc.gov

Considering the ongoing developments related to the current coronavirus (COVID-19) situation and its impact on financial markets, the Corporation Commission is reminding Arizonans to beware of con artists seeking to capitalize on fear and uncertainty.

“We know con artists are opportunistic and use current events to cloak their schemes with an air of immediacy and legitimacy. Never make an investment decision without understanding what you are investing in, who you are doing business with, where your money is going, how it will be used and how you can get it back,” said Chairman Bob Burns. “Always ask if the salesperson and the security are registered with their state or provincial securities regulator.”

The Corporation Commission warns investors to be on the lookout for scam artists trying to use the market downturn and the coronavirus to scare investors into so-called “safer, guaranteed investments.” If you have concerns about your retirement accounts or investments, talk to an investment professional and avoid making decisions based on panic or fear.

To help investors identify common telltale signs of possible investment fraud, the Corporation Commission has provided three questions to ask before making a new investment.

  • Is the investment being offered with a guaranteed high return with little or no risk? All investments carry risk that you may potentially lose some or all of your money. Anyone who says their investment offer has no risk is lying. No one can guarantee an investment return.

  • Is there a sense of urgency or limited availability surrounding the investment? If the offer is legitimate, it will be there later. If someone offers you a “can’t miss” investment opportunity and puts you on the spot, don’t be afraid to walk away.

  • Is the person offering the investment, and the investment itself, licensed or registered? For the same reasons you wouldn’t go to an unlicensed doctor or dentist, you should avoid unregistered investment salespeople and their products.

The Corporation Commission encourages investors to contact its Investigator on Duty directly by telephone at 602-542-0662 or by email at securitiesdiv@azcc.gov with any questions about the investment promoter and product being offered. The Commission’s investor education website has helpful information on wise investing and fraud prevention, www.azcc.gov/azinvestor.

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About us:
The Arizona Corporation Commission was established by the state’s constitution to regulate public utilities and business incorporation. The Corporation Commission is Arizona’s co-equal, fourth branch of government.The five Commissioners elected to the Corporation Commission oversee executive, legislative, and judicial proceedings on behalf of Arizonans when it comes to their water, electricity, telephone, and natural gas resources as well as the regulation of securities, pipeline, and railroad safety. To learn more about the Arizona Corporation Commission and its Commissioners, visit http://azcc.gov.

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