Our Hope for Investors
By Chris Myklebust, Securities Commissioner ~
At the Colorado Division of Securities, we regularly witness the awful sense of loss experienced by people that fall prey to a variety of scams. Sometimes, by the time we learn about a scam it is much too late to keep a tragic financial loss from occurring. As if it’s not enough that an investor will lose money, a cheated investor might also relive the experience again after the perpetrator of a fraud is caught and faces the consequences of his actions. While the legal process unfolds in an attempt to restore the money taken, investors are usually engaged in the process and are asked to share very personal stories concerning how they were misled. They are reminded of the false promises made to them. Commonly, investors remember the moment when the check was written and how they, themselves, placed their own money in the hands of a fraudster. We don’t want this narrative to apply to you. Below is a simple list of just three things the Division hopes for you when it comes to the safety of your nest egg and your ability to protect it:
1. We hope you check the facts before you give money to anyone. Many times, scammers take your money when they’re sure you’re afraid. They may tell you your loved one is in prison and needs cash immediately for bail. A scammer may tell you if you don’t invest right now you will miss out on the opportunity of a lifetime or promise you that you will multiply your investment very quickly because you’re getting in ahead of the crowd. Other times, they will tell you that you won a sweepstakes or a lottery that you never played. They instill the fear of missing out. Just send a few hundred dollars to claim thousands, guaranteed. This pressure to act quickly or the fear of missing out has cost some people their life savings. Don’t fall for it! Take all the time you need to check the facts and then make a decision after a lot of careful consideration.
2. We hope you trust in all the good decisions you’ve made in the past. It may be the case that you and your family worked hard over long careers, saved some money and invested wisely. This is your Prime Time in life and you should enjoy it. You might not consider yourself rich or poor but you don’t have to work for a living anymore either. For those of you that do enjoy the fruits of your labor please don’t roll the dice with a life you’re satisfied with. You’ve spent too many years and made too many sacrifices to get to where you are today to risk losing it. Trust in the fact that you made the correct decisions in the past. Like the old adage says, “If it’s not broken then don’t try to fix it.”
3. We hope you remember that you’re not alone. We care about the investors we serve at the Division of Securities. Call us when you have questions about any person trying to sell you an investment or when an investment sounds too good to be true. Check with us or with law enforcement if you’re being pressured to send money to get a loved one released from prison or to claim a big cash prize. Don’t be intimidated by a caller demanding an immediate payment. These are common scams that you can check up on, discreetly.
Remember these three hopes we have for you and remember them anytime someone wants to you give them your money. Remember them when someone promises to give you more money later in return for your money today. Finally, remember that we’re available to answer your questions and to make sure that investment advice is being provided by someone that is properly licensed in Colorado. We can be reached at (303) 894- 2320.