BRYAN, Texas — Ever since the coronavirus outbreak swept the globe, the economy has been on a roller coaster ride.
There’s a lot of uneasiness and uncertainty that comes with a pandemic. Scammers are using this time to take advantage and prey on concerned investors.
“There’s a fair level of anxiety or worse. I think some cases panic. The uncertainty of COVID-19, the perfect storm being connected to other market fluctuations, some derivative of the virus," said Texas State Securities Board Commissioner Travis Iles.
The constant ups and downs of the market have resulted in many scammers looking for easy targets.
“These aren’t just scams that are dealing with people’s savings and retirement funds," said Iles. "Opportunists that are trying to turn to folks and offer illegitimate opportunities, aren’t submitting those to the securities, are looking for any opportunity to part on unsuspecting folks on their money."
Different kinds of scams are offered to various investors.
“Some of those are phishing schemes," said Iles. "We have seen those as well as apps/ computer, email scams that are attempting to get people to acquire new goods, make donations for charitable purposes, do any number of financial transactions that they otherwise wouldn’t be involved in."
The Texas State Securities Board said not having a previous relationship with someone who is presenting you an investment opportunity is a red flag.
“Along with knowing who the individual is making the opportunity to you, is that individual targeting your emotions? To the extent that this is a very emotional time for folks and a very new way for them to go about their day-to-day,” said Iles
The board added that if you’re not sure about an opportunity, it would be very helpful to get a second opinion from a licensed firm.
The Texas State Securities Board offers a free annual texas investor guide with more information and resources on protecting your investments.